In those days there wasn’t much in the way of roads. The Romans wouldn’t come along to start paving things for nearly two thousand years. Since there wasn’t much in the way of trade between villages, there weren’t even dirt paths to follow. The closest thing to roads were paths carved by wild animals during their migration.
Elgar had become another wild animal. When his father had banished him, he had been allowed to take his spear, his club, and a pelt for warmth. That was more than he allowed me to take, I might add.
For weeks Elgar wandered the countryside and plotted his revenge. He knew he couldn’t simply charge back into the village. He might be able to sneak in at night, but that wasn’t how he wanted to do things. He didn’t want to obtain power by crawling into the village on his hands and knees in the darkness. He wanted everyone to see him seize power.
To do that, he would need an army. In order to find such an army, he needed to locate another village. That was easier said than done.
He survived by drinking what water he could find in creeks, streams, and rivers and killing any game that crossed his path. It should be no surprise that for an exile, Elgar lived pretty high off the hog. He didn’t have to dine on squirrels he scavenged from the ground. Though my tiny cave was better than sleeping on the ground, especially when it rained.
As luck would have it, he didn’t need to find a village. One evening as he sought a place to rest, he saw a group of fires. Elgar wasn’t stupid enough to run over and introduce himself. He crept up on the camp and watched it from afar.
There were about forty men, most of them as big as Elgar. They all had the hairy, scarred look of ruffians, just the sort Elgar would gravitate to. He couldn’t understand what they said around their fire, but he did recognize the one in the dog-shaped headdress. From what I had told him, he knew this was the Black Demon. You remember that expression, “An enemy of my enemy is my friend?”
Elgar decided to announce his presence in dramatic fashion. He crept up behind one of the ruffians and then seized him by the shoulders. Before anyone could react, Elgar snapped the man’s neck. Then he tossed the man aside and stared at the Demon. “I know you,” Elgar said. “I also know who it is you seek.”
The Demon’s eyes blazed red. “Indeed? Who are you?”
“I am Elgar, son of Uthr. I know you seek Merlin. I can take you to him.”
“Why do you think I need your help to find him? Long have I traveled at my master’s bidding. Many are the men I’ve slain along the way. Perhaps I will add you to their number,” the Demon said. He flexed his hands so Elgar could see the bear claws.
“Merlin is preparing for you. I can tell you his plan.”
“He is a feeble creature. His plans do not concern me.”
“He has fashioned a weapon to kill you. A spear. I know the man—the boy—who will carry it against you.”
“You still have not told me why I should let you live.”
“I want revenge on the village, on my brother, and on Merlin. If you will have me, I know I can have all three.”
“And what do you want in return?”
“I ask nothing but the chance to cut out my father’s heart and show it to him while he still lives.”
The Demon stared at Elgar for a moment. Then he nodded. “You may join us. You will lead me to Merlin and then you will have your vengeance. And I will have my prize.”
Elgar took his place at the fire. The other men glared at him, but they said nothing. Now that he had the Demon’s favor, none would dare to cross him. With a smile, Elgar envisioned his revenge.
TO BE CONTINUED...
Finally, tomorrow the Scarlet Warrior springs into action! But will his first outing be his last?