lands imagined by eye and ear
A column of pikesmen lined the last of their course. As Morio passed, they thrust weapons aloft and chanted low the verses of a wordless dirge, ominous and old. Ahead at the heart of the hold they marked, a glow of soft gold awaited, cast by a bale of spun oil just now laid down and lit.
Here, Morio’s keeper sent him sprawling, headlong into the haloed ground, with one final blow from behind. “Down, clown prince.” The hammering nailed him, whiplashed and cross-eyed, while from his hair fell a pound of the ironwood’s precious nettles. Oddly, those had done no harm, for the deep heap of curls he wore atop had made a cushion to catch them in style and spare his skull a certain riddling. But he was on his knees now, blinking back a haze, adaze and confused.
In the bat of a lash, Syar-ull stood over his kneeling prey, this sack of skin awallow in the stinking mud and soiled black blades once sweet and green. The master Guard looked to call for his mount, but the mighty chevox needed no command. Sovereign charged hard from the rear, eyes ablaze and snorting foul fire.
With the right of his two great horns, he hooked the marked man by the brace of his britches to hang him high and helpless.