Dakkara- Future written in blood
This is a sequel to the story Dakkara - light in the dark
One of the sources of income for the Kuidar family was muscle work for the Anduvian humans and Pavlos intended for Dakkara to train her negotiating skills a bit. So he allowed her to arrange meetings and deals. As a lesson, Pavlos decided that she is in charge of arranging a deal with a local Anduvian nobleman called Jorma.
In the market of Bradenhall Pavlos overheard one of Jorma's stable boys that Jorma cannot collect a debt from a local blacksmith. Pavlos didn't waste a second and he ambushed the stableboy saying that Kuidars are more than able to resolve this unfortunate issue if his lord would be only kind enough to meet the Kuidars on a Unicorn's meadow just outside the Bradenhall tomorrow morning.
Poor stableboy's name was Hopler and he could not have been older than 13 years. Hopler was not used to communicating with the Dark elves. His father taught him they are similar to vermin and are allowed to co-inhabit with humans in this magnificent kingdom only because of queen's Antea immeasurable mercy and kindness. He just stood there frozen, his eyes wide open, highly surprised that his Dark elf is even speaking with him.
Pavlos saw this kind of reaction numerous times before, he wasn't insulted, he got used to this, after all, he has been dealing with humans for 15 years now. Seeing the stable boy's reaction Pavlos was sure that Jorma will be at the meeting place tomorrow.
Pavlos came back to the family camp where his wife, Kurilla was trying hard to sew something useful from a piece of leather. Dakkara was sitting on a log opposite of her mother, throwing knives into a wooden plate next to her. She seemed distracted, her mind far away from her. She has been like that for some time now. Pavlos didn't think too much of it. A teenager growing up in a world she doesn't deserve, there was little he could help her out with but prepare her as best as possible for the challenges she is about to face.
He walked up to her, she pretended she didn't even notice him.
"Tomorrow we are to meet a small-time local lord, you will handle the negotiations and the work. I will let you take a lead on this one. It is time you master this kind of things"
"Oh thank you, father, for this great honour, I am about to talk with a disgusting elf-hating human all on my own so we could earn a couple of coins. I am so grateful." - Dakkara replied with more bitterness in her tone than Pavlos was accustomed to.
"Watch your tone girl, You will obey. We do what we must to survive. We are in no position to be picky" - Pavlos then continued to scold her. He may be her father, but he is also her mentor, her teacher, and no teacher allows disobedience -
"Cool of, whatever you are going through, deal with it. I expect you to squeeze as much money as you can from that money lending small-time crook who calls himself a lord. This is your life now!"
Contrary to his prediction, she didn't fight or argue. Pavlos now began to suspect that her problems are bigger than he thought. He will talk to her after this Jorma business is done.
Next day Dakkara was awake even before the sunrise. Nightmares kept her up most of the night, again. She laid in her bunk thinking, when her father came for her.
"Get up Dakkara, it is time. Let us eat something, and off to work"
"I am up, you eat up. I will be waiting for you. I am not hungry."
"Dad I am sorry I snapped at you yesterday. I have to go through a lot lately. I didn't want to bother you or mother, but the truth is that I am scared." - Dakkara looked at her father like a scared little girl. There was no defiance, no sarcasm in her words. She was showing her naked soul to Pavlos.
Pavlos realized he missed out on something, but he didn't want to open what seemed to be a sensitive topic, while a possibly lucrative job is at hand.
"It is all right girl, whatever it is, we will figure it out. As long as our family is together we will get through it, whatever it is. I promise we will talk as soon as this is over."
Dakkara smiled "Thank you, father."- she needed kind words.
When the two of them reached the meadow they saw Jorma standing there, waiting. He brought two of his militiamen with him. He probably came with just two of them because he doesn't want too many people to know that he is dealing with Dark elves.
"You are late, filth" - Jorma shouted, then chuckled looking at the muscled tall guy on his right. Militiamen chuckled back approving of his master's joke. Jorma was a tall, obese fellow. His scruffy beard and hair showed that he didn't care much about his appearance. His clothes looked like something from the king's wardrobe but has in meantime been trampled over by a herd of stampeding wild horses. All in all, he looked exactly what would you expect of a lord of a meaningless town under the mountains.
"Don't let him provoke you, we are here to strike a deal remember" - Pavlos whispered to his daughter.
She wasn't provoked, on the contrary, she felt calm and deep hate. This attempted insult couldn't irritate her to jeopardize this deal that her father entrusted her to see through. She hated Jorma even before he spoke a single word, and she would have hated him and his bodyguards even if he hadn't talked a thing through the entire meeting.
Her hate has grown deep towards humans these couple of months.
"Lets cut the crap, oh supreme lord of this glorious shithole."- Dakkara returned, showing she could conjure a nice insult her self. "Just tell us the name of a poor soul we need to shake down. You will get your debth plus the interest paid, and for that we' ll charge our services 10 silver andals. Do we have a deal? " - she started her bidding at 10 andals, but the truth is that for a simple shakedown like this 6 silver and 8 copper andals would have been more than a fair price. Pavlos didn't twitch at all what gave Dakkara confidence that she is doing good so far.
Jorma laughed from the bottom of his soul, he laughed so hard, that his fat belly started to jump up and down uncontrollably. When he finally calmed down he replied -
"Oh you dark beggar, considering we allow your race to roam our lands you should learn to be more modest, but I appreciate your meagre attempt at a negotiation. The truth is girl that for that kind of money I could have hired a party of true knights, instead of Dark elves criminals. No girl, this is how things are going to play out - I will not hire you, both of you will be taken as my slaves, and I will sell you on Spolta's slave market. To be honest, over the years I have grown very fond of the dark flesh, so I will probably sample the goods myself first before selling you to some fine gentleman." - Jorma was dead serious at this point, He raised his hand obviously signalling someone in the bushes.
It was an ambush.
Still processing Jorma's words Dakkara saw her father stepping in with blades in both of his hands engaging the two large Jorma's bodyguards. - "Run, Dakkara, run. Save your mother.... RUN!!!"
"No. I am not leaving you. Let's slay these pigs" - Yelling like a lion Dakkara jumped to help her father. She jumped high, both hands on the sword. When she landed, the blade was deep in the skull of the same militiamen who moments ago approved of Jorma's insults. Unable to get the blade out of a skull of a dead human she reached for her daggers. Now it was two on two.
Jorma lost all his sense of humour when he saw two fierce warriors in front of him, waving his sword around he screamed in panic -
"Get them or kill them, both of them"
Moments after his screams Pavlos decapitated his second bodyguard with a swift parallel motion with both of his swords. But they were unaware of the troops that were now coming out of the bushes. A single arrow pierced the air and pierced the leather armour Pavlos wore. Seconds later blood rushed out his mouth, and he fell to the ground. Dakkara's father was beyond saving.
"Father!" - Dakkara screamed letting her guard down. A second arrow flew, missing everything but the third arrow hit Dakkara in the left thigh. She fell to the ground, although she felt no pain, she was still focused exclusively on her fallen father. Her eyes were filled with tears, and in her grief, she started making uncontrollable sounds.
Jorma was relieved, he sheathed his sword, but still, he took a step back from two Dark elves. Four of militiamen who were hiding in the bushes now brought out their maces and they approached the wounded girl. Dakkara became aware of what was going on around her, yet she didn't care. The grief stopped her from taking any meaningful actions, and she had no more fight in her left. The only sound that didn't make any sense to her was the sound of a galloping horse in the background.
Four militiamen were approaching Dakkara, she lost all track of Jorma, and her consciousness was slowly abandoning her. Blood loss and a broken heart have left her completely defenceless. Dakkara closed her eyes, she was beaten.
Next sensation she felt was not a hit to the head with a mace what she expected, instead, she felt she was being pulled up. This was highly unexpected. Curiosity alone gave her the strength to open her eyes. She saw she was on a horse, and she managed to get a glimpse of a rider. His hair was black, his eyes wild.... and his skin was.. it was dark blue, like her own.
Dakkara didn't manage to remain conscious for long, when she satisfied her curiosity she passed out.