The livestock started bleating and moving about restlessly as they heard the distress of the boy. The horses started rearing up and kicked at the pin doors. Pigs started squealing and running about their pins. The whole barn was in revolt and I knew I had to get rid of the horrible dirty rat. I guided him to the door and opening it I kicked him harshly to the snow telling him never to come back. The striking of the clock interrupted Blake 12 long bongs betraying the hour. Blake waited patiently for the sound to stop and then continued. He was determined to tell his tale. “Will fell face first into the snow leaving an indention. The boy wide eyed and terrified picked himself up and ran into the woods. All that was left of him was a thick red stain left in the snow. I thought for sure that would be the last I saw of the scamp. I returned two days latter to throw out the old belongings to make room for my new hire. There was no sign of the boy. The work was going well until I tried to remove some worthless and useless knickknacks left in the corner. On the floor laid out was a blue wool blanket the kind used to swaddle a baby in, between the folds was three wooden soldiers one of them with a missing arm. Scattered on the blanket also was a hairbrush and a shabby locket with a picture of Will and his mom when he was an infant. With contempt I kicked at the small pile of junk crushing the locket, breaking it in two. I heard a yell of pain and outrage as Will came running, screaming without words. He had been hiding between to large barrels. His face was puffed and three times its normal size. His right eye was swelled tight keeping light but not tears from streaming through. Will fell to the floor crying in agony and grief. He clutched the busted locket in his small hand and hugged the blue blanket. Pitifully he knelt sobbing. I thought to myself here was clay fairly fresh and untouched. Clay I could mold and use to show the world how to burn and destroy sin from our bodies. I would teach him and mold him in my own image as the lord does with us. Just as God taught Moses by letting him die in the desert, so would I teach Will.” Blake was grinning with apparent pride. He had the smug look of one who understands true knowledge. David was unfazed by his warped and cruel logic. He understood though he needed to get Will away from the malice this man represented. Looking Blake in the eyes David spoke “Yes that is quite good and all but I would rather talk about payment now for the services you whished rendered.” Blake pinched his face tight, three wrinkles formed on his forehead “But of course my friend, I see you are more akin to an animal and whish only to feed your fleshly desires.” David rose throwing his napkin down “What I whish is no concern for you Sir. I want payment in gold not petty wisdom from a fool.” Blake’s skin melted like writhing snakes as he tried to keep control “Payment will come after the deed is done in gold not wisdom as you wish, five hundred pounds.” David sat smiling now that money was being discussed “And what about now, have I not needs that need to be met now? I need some money up front to grease the skits as it were. Oh lets say two hundred pounds?” Blake’s eye’s narrowed into slits “Two hundred pounds for nothing. How do I know you simply won’t spend the money on booze and harlots while I get nothing? Fifty pounds is the most I will give.” David smiled looking past Blake towards the way Will had left. “I’ll take the boy instead; I have a great many debts. The kind of debt that gets a man killed. Neither of us will be served if I end up with a knife in my back. Give me the boy. I know a man in the city who would pay well for flesh so fair.” Blake slammed his fist into the table “You wish me to allow you to sell Will to a flesh peddler? Outrageous, I see truly I am dealing with a serpent. I will give you a hundred pounds no more.” “A serpent yes.” Said David smiling. “A serpent that gets things done, things you need done. The flesh peddler as you call him is a very powerful man and the offering of the boy will settle many debts. It is the boy or nothing, now hurry the hour is late and I wish to be off.” Scowling but not knowing what to do, Blake knew the wrath the Baron could unleash. He needed this deal done “Ok two hundred pounds up front the boy stays.” Shaking his head David stood walking away from the table. Sweat thick round balls of it beaded up on Blake’s pasty face, he never imagined such a turn. It would seem David was very much the predator. He should have known better after all he was sent from the Baron. “The boy it is then.” Blake called out. David turned if he had not known he would have thought Blake was ill very ill. He was sweaty and shaken as if he had walked through a fog of fear.
David and the boy stood outside the keep. “Do you remember what I told you?” asked David. The boy looked up with large eyes his nose still swollen. His chest though was puffed out with pride. Will shook his head yes. David handed over the messages to Will knowing it would be easier for him to deliver then him. It was important that the message to the king was received without the Baron knowing it was being sent. The business with Blake was sure to have more to do with the Baron then Blake himself. He needed to know how the king wanted to react to this unfolding plot. In any event he needed to travel to Bayside Port in order to give the appearance he was complying with Blake’s whishes. “Remember you are now a squire of the knights of Westbury.” David said in a serious voice. “Yes Sir!” said Will his eyes ablaze with hero worship. “I will deliver these messages and protect the lady Calderon with my life Sir!” Will’s face was pinched into a warriors scowl; it had all the ferocity of a puppy growling. The golden feather David had given him waved freely from his cap, a sign that he was now a squire. David checked and rechecked his plan, it was risky to ask the boy to do so much however, he felt Will was up to it. There was nothing he could do but trust in the boy to deliver the messages. It was time for him to leave; David raised his hand in a salute, Will snapped to attention and returned the salute. With that David rode away leaving a blazing trail of dust.
The Baron sat at his table smiling. A large greasy turkey leg was waving from his hand. In front of the portly man was a feast fit for six. However, the Baron and the Baron alone ate at this table. Blake sat uneating even though the Baron gave him many prompts to do so. Waving the leg gaily in the air the Baron spoke “He took the boy as payment to sell into the meat market. A true viper he is, this it quite a turn of events.” The Baron laughed. Blake sat umamused by the Baron’s musing “Snakes my dear Baron have a way of biting. Why must you deal with such a character?” The Baron tore into the flesh of his turkey leg grease squirted down his shirt and face “And who am I to deal with if not snakes
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