He handed his bloody dagger to Skahn knowing the lieutenant would have someone else clean and sharpen the blade. With the screams of the boy he just skinned ringing in his head the general sat down in his chair. He drank deeply from the mug of dark, bitter ale. The taste of the ale matched the general’s mood. Boys! The only opponent with the courage to face him are young, stupid boys.
He wiped the blood off his hands and took another drink. He wondered how his grandchildren were doing. The boy tonight was younger than his namesake grandson, Luriumer, IX, the ninth in a long line of soldiers of the Khan. He longed to be back lying in the sun on the shores of Lake Suppopri with his long-suffering wife, Maeve. He missed the comfort of her body next to his.
The Plains of Lethe were the crowning achievement of his career. The forces of Greth were men, at least. He was proud to dance the dance of death with Inanna that day on the Plains of Lethe. The army of Greth deserved to die. The soldiers of the Khan were soldiers for life. The forces of Greth were only men in armor holding weapons, not soldiers. But at least they were not boys!
The tanner would soon add another skin to his collection. He remembered the first man to feel his blade. They caught that bastard in the act of raping a young girl who could not have been more than five years old. He was proud when the lieutenant gave him the honor of skinning the rapist. He wanted that sick bastard to suffer. He managed to get most of the skin off before the rapist died. It was hard to remember, but it was not until his fourth or fifth time before he could remove all the skin and keep them alive, at least for a while. He remembered his pride of skinning the rapist lasted only a few short minutes. Then the lieutenant told him what he had to do next. They had no healers or healing potions. The poor girl was in agony from the abuse from the rapist. She would live her last few hours in terrible pain. His efforts to comfort the poor young girl increased her terror. The touch of a man terrified the girl. He managed to calm her. He remembered her sobs as he held her. He was quick. The blade slipped between her ribs and up through her heart in one quick motion. His action was merciful. The accusing look from the girl’s eyes as she died in his arms haunted him for days. Killing the boys was another act of mercy that would haunt him. He wanted to kill the parents of the boys. The boys should have been home in bed not out trying to assassinate someone. He hated the cloak-and-dagger attacks. He was a soldier, not a baby sitter. He longed for a good sword fight. Now he needed to look under every rock for an assassin. Boys! What next? Does he need someone to search the bottom of the latrine before he can take a shit?
He took another drink of ale. The death of a few boys was better than slaughtering another small town full of cowardly civilians.
He hoped the rumors were false and there was nothing here. The commanders of the Greth army were not just incompetent, they were amazingly stupid and naive. Broficult held the proof the commanders of the Greth army tried to use the Gimp’s staff during the battle on the Plains of Lethe. He knew they were desperate. But using an artifact from one of the Assimilated Ones was insane. The signs were there for everyone to see. It was obvious Bryce the Wizard lost his mind because of the staff. Only an artifact from one of the Assimilated causes that type of madness. Someone took all of Bryce’s notes and library. That was another thing to worry about. Bryce mumbled something about using the power of the Blind Seer to make an Eye to find the staff.
He took another deep drink of the bitter ale. Greth used powers from two of the Assimilated Ones: the Blind Seer and the Gimp. What next? Where they stupid enough to try and raise and free the Assimilator himself? Every child in the Khanate learn the story of the Assimilator. The Assimilator viewed the Khanate as beasts, so he created beasts to destroy the Khanate. The Assimilator created and unleased the Tronlth to destroy the tribes of the Khanate. The Tronlth nearly succeeded. The binding of the Assimilator and the Assimilated Ones allowed the Khanate to domesticate the Tronlth. Tronlth now provide milk, cheese, meat, and leather. The Assimilator made the Tronlth almost immune to magic. Few spells affect a Tronlth. Now the Tronlth are the symbol of the power of the Khanate.
Luriumer emptied the mug. It was going to be a long day. Getting rid of Thapent can wait. He needed to warn the Rabshaka (Commander of the Marazzar army) that Greth dug up the Gimps staff. Retrieving the staff had to weaken the spells binding the Assimilated Ones. He shuddered at the thought of the Gimp getting free.