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Destiny について話し合おう
AggressiveBaconにより編集済み: 3/10/2019 2:35:58 PM

The Lords of Ambros (Chapter 10, Part 2 (continued))

Table of Contents: [b]Chapter 10, Part 2 (continued)[/b] After allowing the boy a moment to process this, Roak spoke, his cold voice belying a fury which threatened-with the utterance of a syllable more-to burst forth, and to burn all that it touched. “Get up.” Hardy, in keeping with the day’s precedent, offered no response, save silence and sorrow. He made no move to stand. Roak turned from the boy with effort. In lighter circumstances, the Warlord might have seen the youth, broken as he was, and offered him pity. Yet today’s burden had not been a light one. Roak searched himself, as he paced away from the killer of his friend (though that title had never been pronounced between them), and found that he had only hatred to offer the wretch. Hatred-and a vengeful blade. Whatever the manner in which Hardy sought to receive the latter of these gifts-whether with the pride of a man or with the shame of a kicked dog-, Roak resolved that he would not forgo its delivery. Hardy learned of this conviction soon thereafter, as the soundless shape of a second knife rent the air beside his head. He felt the cold touch of blood as it trickled down the length of his neck. Realizing that surrender would do him no favors, the boy frantically snatched up the knife at his lap, and scrambled to his feet. He now looked to where the Wolf stood, some distance away, his own blade in hand. His figure was drawn into a fighting stance, and he was circling. [i]No[/i], Hardy corrected his thoughts. [i]He was prowling.[/i] The boy’s hands began to tremble as he looked into the face of his soon-to-be-executioner. He imagined the red of his blood splashed upon the white of the Warlord’s armor; now, upon the white of a wolf’s fur. He imagined his flesh broken by a sweep of the Warlord’s dagger; now, by the sinking of a wolf’s fangs. He did not imagine, but heard, the cry that now tore from the Warlord’s throat as he lunged. It was a cry of anger; of hunger; of longing for the dead. It sounded, to Hardy’s ear, like the cry of a wolf. When next he thought, Hardy found himself fallen to the earth, a knife in his gut. The Wolf was atop him, bloody as he had imagined, with one hand at the grip of his weapon and another clasped behind the boy’s back, holding him in the embrace of death. Only, Hardy was not dead. He was, in truth, quite alive, and his ears rang with the screams of his assailant. “Fight me!” Roak cried in anger. “Fight back! Fight back, filthy bastard!” Though Roak did now know it, Hardy [i]was[/i] fighting back. Of course, his half-hearted efforts were quite ineffectual when pitted against the shields of the Warlord’s armor-armor which would have been removed in interest of an even match, by any honorable opponent…by any Iron Lord. Roak knew, by this time, that he [i]was[/i] no Iron Lord; was not qualified to be one; never [i]would[/i] be one. Dwelling a moment upon these thoughts, and driven by the loss of that which never was, the Risen raised his knife to strike again-this time, to kill. Something latched onto his arm, and he halted. Turning his head, he saw the tear-streaked face of Locke, whose single hand was clasped at his wrist. Seeing that he had gained the Wolf’s attention (and knowing that he had no means of stopping him, should he lose it), the boy said, plainly and confidently: “No.” Having been pulled from the moment, and so caring little either way, Roak humored him. He lowered the hand of his knife; took Hardy’s; sheathed both. Still, Locke looked at him expectantly. This puzzled the Risen, until he recalled the boy who lay dying beneath him. He stood, and looked back to his increasingly impatient companion. Then, tearing a strip from the hem of his cloak, he bandaged the sufferer’s wound with the efficient almost-apathy of a field surgeon, stood, and dusted himself off. He glanced at the killer again, appraising his condition. What he saw in it, none else could tell, for he quickly turned and left without a word. ________________________________________



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