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Authors: Daniel Sinclair


BOOK: Pentigrast
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A Winter’s Sorrow Tale


Episode 1


by Daniel Sinclair


All rights reserved. Except as lawfully permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this work blah, blah, blah…you know the deal. Look, if you're going to borrow/steal, please have the decency to buy a copy later. Oh, and be sure to tell your friends how awesome the story is so they buy a copy as well; this is how you get more of my words to read in the long run. Don't reproduce and redistribute this work, because it's not yours.


Copyright 2013 Daniel Sinclair










A Winter’s Sorrow Tale

Episode 1





The Meeting

She lay quietly in the love soaked sheets, her legs gently spread reveling the remnants of love seeping from her inner thighs. Her eyes stare lifelessly at the ceiling and the bruising around her neck showed faintly against her brown skin. She was 28 years old and very beautiful; she would soon be a ghost of loves past and another trophy for the mantle in his mind.


The door to the inn opened slowly in the dense winter air letting loose warm rays of light into the stark white snow drifts that lay outside the inn. Winter was in full bloom like a flower dying on a grave and this particular winter would be the worst seen in over a century. The old man limped into the inn from the cold and settled in at a table near the fireplace to warm his soul. The innkeeper brought him a ration of black rye, a bowl of hearty lamb stew and a flagon of mead to wash it down with. The innkeeper let the old man know that there were no rooms available at the inn this night but he was welcome to sleep in a chair by the fire if he wished, at no charge of course. After eating his fill the old man moved to a comfortable old wing backed chair next to the fire, from his threadbare grey woolen cloak he pulled out a supple leather bag containing the last of his tobacco and his pipe. Packing his pipe full of the moist brown aromatic leaves he struck a match and inhaled deeply the savory sweet leaf before letting lose a billowing cloud of smoke.


From across the room a voice in the shadow of the alcove spoke up “And what brings a man of your age out on such a winter’s night?” The old man drew strongly at his pipe once more savoring the sweet leaf much longer this time before exhaling the smoke with his answer “I don’t believe a man of my age needs to take account to anyone of his actions on this night or any other, especially to those not known to him.” “Forgive me Father” the stranger spoke quietly while crossing the room towards the old man and the open chair next to him. “I meant no disrespect, it’s just that it is a dreadful night and not many people are want to leave the hospitality of a nice warm fire for the bone baring cold.” “My name is Talen, may I sit with you a while?” “If you wish” the old man spoke up, “but I warn you I am not much for company this evening”. The two figures sat in silence for a small while as the flames licked at the soles of their boots and the fire made their shadows dance about the ceiling. As the old man continued to enjoy his pipe he eventually offered up that his name was Father Riven Lannister from the parish of Downwater. His companion gave the old man a faint glance as a momentary smile crossed his lips. “A far way from home you are, such a journey is hard for a man of my age in this weather, what brings you to Strongshire?” “Yes, a far way indeed” the old man said with some hint of displeasure. “I would like nothing better than to be sitting by my own hearth but it was required that I come this way, so come this way I have.”


As the two figures sat quietly beside the fire the innkeeper approached with 2 steaming mugs of mulled cider. “I see you have met Talen, Father Lannister, no better companion to have in these dark times. Talen is a trapper from Northridge, and no better man to be had when crossing the barrens in the dead of winter.” “Is that so.” Spat out the old man as if he had taken a bite of spoiled food.”Then it’s a good thing that my journey takes me elsewhere I would think.” Talen rose from his chair slowly contemplating his next move, he raised his mug to his lips and took a long swallow of the warm cider before speaking. “Forgive me Father, I meant no harm, only some warm words on a cold night.” The old man eyed him suspiciously before breaking his silence. “No need for forgiveness, unless there is something you would like to confess that is, otherwise I warned you that I was not much for company this night, perhaps any other night, but not this night.” “so you say Father, either way I hope your journey is swift and untroubled” Talen crossed the room to settle his bill with the innkeeper then pulled the hood of his dark green cloak over his head to shield his face as he walked out the door into the biting winter winds of the night.


“Is he the one?” The old man spoke softly as if to himself. “Yes, father” the Innkeeper spoke up “Do you think it wise to show such unkindness to the man you will have need of?” “I do not trust him, nor for that matter will I show kindness when none is offered. He cared not for my age nor for my travels he only sought to find out why I was here, and in good time he will wish he had let an old man be to carry this burden himself”. “When do you expect him to return?” “He will be back before nightfall tomorrow after checking his traps.” “Good” said the old man holding his hands up for warmth against the fire. “When he returns tell him I do have need of his services after all and to wait me by the fire in the evening.” “And where will you be Father?” inquired the innkeeper.” I will be in my room, the one you are about to make vacant for me. And I suggest you do so fast as I am tired and will soon be in a foul mood.” “But Father…” the innkeeper began. “ No buts about it my son, you are being paid well by the church to look after me and you will look after me now, won’t you.” “Yes, Father. Give me but a moment and I will ready my own room for you if that is to your liking.” “That will do just nicely” the old man said as he gazed into the fire as if searching for answers that he knew wouldn’t come.


Talen walked to the nearby stables and untied his large black destrier from the feeding post.  Mounting him in one swift movement from the stirrup he wondered what tomorrow would have in store for him and the sour old man sitting in the inn. He had heard that the man was coming and he already knew the stories of Riven Lannister for some time, he knew the old man would have want of him and why. As he rode out of the stables his horse gave a low whinny as if to say beware. Talen rode for his encampment on the north face of the mountain and he would sleep a fitful sleep that night.


Talen awoke in the morning and settled in next to the fire to eat a ration of hardtack and brew some red tea to bring him some warmth to his bones. As he surveyed the stark expanse of snow across the valley he thought back to the old man in the inn. Talen had heard stories since he was a child of a man called Riven that did certain jobs for the Church, although in the tales it was never told he was a man of God. If the tales were true then Father Riven Lannister was much more than a humble old priest, he was a killer of men. Some say the men he killed had dark souls, others suggest that Father Riven Lannister is a dark hand of the church itself, taking on the role of a secret confessor and executing those the church found unworthy. Either way Father Riven Lannister was a man to be watched. Talen Knew that it would only be a matter of time before he would come for him, after all it was he who had found the bodies of the women in the barrens, all so young, all so beautiful and all too dead.


He had found them in a cave on the North face of the barrens high granite walls. They were sitting in a circle as if by a fire but in place of a fire ring there was a circle drawn in blood with a pentagram at its center. Each point of the pentagram pointed to one of the dead women. The four bodies were naked and posed in a sexually ritualistic way about the pentagram, four bodies and 5 points; it seemed this grotesque work was yet unfinished.  Each woman was beautiful and in her prime, Talen thought to himself that none of the women could have been more than 25. They sat there legs spread wide giving their womanhood to each point of the pentagram, twisted smiles upon their faces showed the last of their death throws and the heavy bruising on their necks told the tale of their demise. There was no telling how long this sculptor of the grotesque was at his work, the cruel winters grasp had frozen the bodies solid with no hint of decay. When it started could be guessed, sometime after the first fall of snow, with mid winter fast approaching this queer scene still had ample time to conclude.


Talen shuddered and came back to the present, the hair on the back of his neck standing on end he sipped his hot red tea quietly wondering what this traveling priest would have of him; he assumed he would find out soon enough.


As the pale grey winter’s day last light was stolen by the darkness Talen neared the Inn. It had been a long cold ride and he was want of a warm meal and a seat by the fire. He walked his horse into the small livery and removed the bridle and saddle. Covering his horse with a heavy woolen blanket and fitting him with a feed bag of oats and barley he thought to himself he would much rather be his horse on this night than parry words with this priest again.


As he entered the inn the innkeeper took him aside and told him that Father Lannister would like to have a word with him in private after he had eaten his meal. Talen had suspected as much and settled in at a table close to the fire. Although the inn was full tonight with many strangers eating their meals in the main room there was still ample space at the table for Talen to eat in peace. The innkeeper brought him a fresh bowl of venison stew and a mug of strong ale, as if he knew it would be needed to lighten his mood. After Talen had finished his meal and started on his second mug of ale he was led to the innkeeper’s private quarters where old man sat by the fire smoking his pipe and waiting. The Innkeeper asked if anything was needed and the old man motioned him closer and whispered something in his ear, the innkeeper hurriedly left the room closing the door tight behind him.


“So” Talen uttered “You have want of my services after all then Father?” The old man gazed into the fire and motioned for Talen to sit. “Let us not play this game any longer than needs be, you know who I am and why I have come here and you know that I have come for you, Talen Morgan. Tell me of the women and the place in which you found them.


Talen crossed the room and stood by the fire for a movement before finishing the last of his ale and taking a seat next to the old man. Talen looked closely at Father Lannister’s face and thought to himself that this could not be the man of legends that the tales spoke of. Surely that man was strong, confident and a killer. The man that sat before him now was a ghost of a man at best. Easily well into his 60
winter and seemingly frail and bent. Talen sat his mug down on the small table between them before speaking. “You already know all the facts of this matter, if you would like I will take you there myself in the morning.”


The old man considered Talen’s response as he pulled on his pipe. “I have heard the tale and know the facts second hand; I would hear it again from the man who witnessed it firsthand.”


Before he could answer the door to the common room opened and innkeeper rushed in with a flagon of mulled cider and a plate of hard cheese. Sitting them down on the small table he quickly filled the men’s mugs and hurriedly made his way back to the door, making sure to close it tight as he left.


Talen took a sip of the warmed cider before telling the old man all he knew about the matter.


“I was just finished a good month of trapping in the barrens and had packed up my pelts to take to Quinth for trade.  Quinth Lies West of the barrens by 40 leagues. The barrens itself is a natural valley beyond the mountains ridge guarded by 100 foot sheer granite walls on either side and the borderlands of Quinth at its end. There is a cave on the North wall of the barrens about 20 leagues from here, I often use this cave as a camp during my journey between Strongshire and Quinth, which is where I found the women. As to how I found them they were sitting in circle, naked, legs spread wide and a pentagram was drawn in blood at their center. Each woman was sitting at a point of the pentagram and there was one empty space for yet another.”

BOOK: Pentigrast
11.35Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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