Welcome to my world and beyond...

A collection of snippets of the books I write and, occasionally, my life and the things that inspire my writing...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My New Favorite Villain: Kemball

Copyright 2011 By Teresa Cypher  All rights reserved

This is where I hide from the world... Currently hip deep in a novel titled "THE CRIMSON MAOLGURDANE".  This is a first draft, by the way :-)  This villain is the nemesis of the Ruler of the Maolgurdanes.  He bears a personal vendetta against the Ruler (Baldura). is mounting a coup, and is on a mission to the hinterlands to find Baldura's son, young Tybalt, to eliminate him from inheriting the title (and to collect his ears on a string).  This is his first night on the way.  I love creating villains. They are so much more interesting than any other characters... That might just be me though.  The trick is having the reader find some bit of good of them...to avoid the dreaded flat character that no one cares about.

"It was evening when they neared the river pass of the great ridge. Kemball told his group to make camp just inside the wooded edge of the trail, hoping to catch an unsuspecting traveler who might be unfortunate enough to use the pass during the night.

The men tethered their horses, gave them their grain, then set about building a fire and cooking dinner. Finally, they all slept, except  Kemball.

A gibbous moon illuminated his way as he walked up the high trail, surveying the distant hills and plains.  He was not so much looking for what was there, but imagining what could be.  The land was rich with resources, and innocent of the ways of plunder.  The wuftas could be systematically eliminated or even driven out, just as history showed had been done years before in the Maolgurdane world.

And the hinterlanders?  What of them?  They could be useful, he reckoned. A great, thriving, culture always needed those who were willing to work for the privilege of merely having a roof over their heads and a meal at the close of day.  They could be brought around, he was sure.  And he had no need, no desire, to court their affections or their respect.  People could be ruled as easily by fear as by affection. And he well understood that affection for a ruler was merely an illusion anyhow. It allowed a man to sleep at night. Look at how easily people had been turned against Baldura…a man whose greatest crime against his people was complacency, yet with the right bit in their mouths so many had been led in a direction that found him guilty of treacherous behavior against his own.

He looked up at stars veiled by a fine haze, and listened to the sound of frogs singing in a slough.  “Three times through the looking glass.” his mother used to tell him.  The frogs woke and looked up at ice covering their watery world, waiting for the thaw,  to sing their courtship.  And when the ice returned, they crawled back into their muddy slumber.  But the third time the looking glass was gazed upon, the thaw would be final and then it would be time to sing the loudest, the longest, and with the shrillest chirp.

Kemball spit on the ground beside where he stood while thinking about what pathetic creatures the male frogs were.  Males in general, the more he thought about it.  Singing, courting, chasing, following their lust rather than following gold.  Mere men…unable to control their impulses, their vices, their longing for validation in the eyes of a woman.
Clouds loomed in the distance off to the northeast. And with the setting moon behind his shoulder, he knew that daylight was not long to arrive.

His mind continued planning what he would build out here. Here, in this pristine land away from the filth and vulgarity of the crowded city.

Controlling the flow of who came, who went, who was permitted to dwell here in his new city beyond the ridge, was paramount to the success of his utopia.  All would either be entitled to live on the account of the title, or would work to serve those who were entitled. No riffraff, no drunken bums sleeping on street corners, no hungry beggars, no sickly children who would never support themselves as adults…there were so many ways to control it.
Beyond the great ridge…yes…here, he could picture the utopia of his making, where those deserving of it would be treated as the near-gods that they were, and the rest would serve.
And they all would bow before him and his queen.

Women…he thought. Why do all thoughts eventually return to women?  He had a situation brewing at home; not one that was unmanageable.  And as far as Baldura’s daughter…a tool to be used throughout his coup…for his own pleasure, and to inflict pain to others.  He found himself thinking about her youthful body.  That was a pleasure, untried, and oh, so, willing.  Then he thought about Bissy and the things she knew how to do, the things she could do to him. Evil bitch…that she actually must think she could put a ring in his nose by starting at his pants.

If men could just reproduce without women, imagine how much better it would be?  None of the weakness that a woman gave to the child…just pure strength.., pure power. The world would be ruled by might.  Not ever even influenced by the charms of a woman who had brought a ruler, first to her bed, and then to his knees.

His fatigue from the day of travel overtook him, and he sat on the ground, then continued thinking.

Who knew what the future could bring?  Maybe, he would give each of them earrings from some exotic place, made of precious stones…and then he would proclaim his undying affection  In time the earrings would be side by side on a string of ears.  How fitting…he found himself smiling that sick smile. He would take Tybalt’s ears and string them next to Cinnie’s…and one of Bissy’s on either side of theirs.  The marm…always watching and caring for her little charges.
And what of Baldura’s ears? Somehow, there was something very appealing in the image of the ruler’s ears on their own string, dangling from Kemball’s seat at the head of council. Or he might hang them from his nightstand next to his bed.  Maybe he would just wear them as a constant reminder to any who might give a thought to a world without Kemball sitting at title.

Then the merc felt a thrill run through his body…a thrill far greater than any woman had ever made him feel.  It was like lightning…starting at the top of his head where his hair seemed to tingle and stand on end. Then it coursed downward, through his chest where his heart beat wildly, past his stomach to his loins. The excitement filled him. And finally through his legs which had begun to tense and cramp, to the very soles of his feet. Even his toes were affected; they itched. He was thinking of Baldura’s tongue.  The ears were one thing…but the symbolic nature of taking the ruler’s tongue was nearly orgasmic as he sat picturing it.  The tongue that had uttered the words, “Remove Kemball from serving, take his rank, his weapon, and his red fur coat. His actions have dishonored my title.”

Birds chirping woke Kemball, completely unaware that he had fallen asleep until the morning sounds barged into his dreams.

He stood quickly and looked around to see if anyone was about.  Then he made his way near soundlessly down the trail until he heard the sounds of camp.  Beyond trees, tucked in next to the roundness of a horse-sized boulder, he stood, listening.

In his mind he could hear his mother’s voice saying, “Kemball!  Don’t you sneak the sounds. You know people who eavesdrop never hear anything good about themselves!”

Well, Gloke above, he had never given a care for hearing anything good about himself.  What consequences did the good things, when voiced, have anyway? It was the bad that paid him handsomely to know… who said, when and what exactly they had said.

On this morning, he had an urgency brewing in his mind…and his body yearned to see it through.
His target would reveal himself to him in short order, he was sure. He was just not sure if there would be one or several.
He could hear Fadrick; he knew him by his loud mouth.  He had thought him a big, clumsy, oaf of a man.  But he had great strength in battle and a complete absence of morals when it came to life.  The rare…he was, able to sit and buy an ale for man, arm wrestle him, listen to him go on about his mate and his children, but if coins were dropped in front of him to cut the life out of the man, he did it without hesitation. Kemball personally knew that to be the case-- having tested him one time.

This day, the oaf was quickly becoming the target of Kemball’s need, by the words that were spewing forth from his mouth.

“Ya pantywaist boys…wanting to turn and run away like little girls!  Where is yer backbone?  Yer steel? Ya just look at it like this. If the cold bastard comes at ya, jus pull out yer blade…what in all of creation did Gloke give ya hands for?  To grab a woman and to grab a blade. I don’t think old earstring boy could be bought off by any woman ya grabbed, so grab yer damn blade if he threatens ya, and threaten him back.”

Kemball waited a few minutes. The men were silent, probably eating their food.

When he emerged from the trees, he noted the looks that passed between his men.  But as he made eye contact with each of them, they were like dominated dogs, quickly averting their eyes.
Inside he smiled at their cowardice…so afraid Fadrick had been heard and that there would be assumed guilt by association.

He walked to the fire and poured himself a cup of the hot brew, then turned and with no particular purpose noticeable, wandered near where Fadrick stood.  He sipped at his cup, scowled and said, “Bitter…who would drink such slop?”  Then in a fluid motion, threw the scalding hot drink into Fadrick’s face and had his left ear dripping blood, held in front of the startled man’s eyes before he could even open them.

The other men backed away, as if Fadrick had just been declared a rabid oaf.

Fadrick cursed in pain, with one hand at his ear and the other trying to get at his blade. Desperately blinking his eyes, he tried to see through the pain that had managed to engulf nearly every bit of  him above his neck.

Kemball had his knife at the man’s throat, which immediately stilled the giant.  He looked at the bloody ear in his hand, then at Fadrick, then back at the ear, then at Fadrick again and said, “Nice ear. Do you realize that I took the one without an earring?  I did show you consideration, but boy, you best settle down or I will have both of them.  I appreciate your need for locating sounds and hope to not have to take the other. Understand?  And if I ever hear you or…” he paused his words while he looked around at all of the contrite faces staring back at him, “anyone else talking about taking their blade to me, there won’t be a one of you worth a pint of piss at hearing the enemy approach. Understand?”

Heads nodded at Kemble then he said, “Have you all lost your tongues?”  Then he laughed like the mad man that he was and added, “Mind your words and your intent…or you could lose your tongues along with your ears.”

The men finished eating in silence, rolled up their blankets, saddled their horses, and were on their way.

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