The Marshal's Road:The Song of Erik of Candar... - 4.

Eric paused, turning back to check his fire. He rolled the sausage, golden brown sizzling skin hissing as he pulled them off the hot stone. Readjusted (and baptized with a generous splash from his skin) Erik turned his attention back to Darby, slowly rocking his cage back and forth. He headed back towards the man with the skin of wine, taking in a mouthful as he walked over. He moved closer this time to the incarcerated man, eager to get a better look at him. The man was young, maybe twenty if Erik had to guess, and eye catchingly handsome. He had chiseled cheeks and piercing blue eyes that seemed to stare deep into a person when he gazed at them. His hair was long and blonde, though appeared darker under the week's worth of sweat and grime. His clothes were tatters, bloodied and torn clothe hanging off his thin, muscular frame. 

"You say you been here a week and ain't a stitch of hair on your chin," Eric commented as he stared at the handsome man. 

"Couldn't grow whiskers if my life depended on it," Darby smiled, rubbing his dirty hand across his cheek.

"It's why folks took to calling me Darby the Dandy. Mind if I get a pull off that wine? Been drinking rain water and piss for six days now and I'm not ashamed to say I am very thirsty." 

Erik thought about it for a moment, the penalty for disturbing a man held in bondage nothing he felt like experiencing. But his loneliness thought better for him, his ears no longer fancying the dead silence of night. 

"Guess there wouldn't be no harm in a pull... Not like you killed a man," he relented, handing the skin through the bars. 

"Thank you, my Lord," the caged man replied, eagerly pulling off the skin. 

"That's quite enough," Erik said, after feeling the man was taking too great a liberty with his skin. He grabbed at the leather strap, yanking it from the man's hands. 

"Them sausages is gonna burn." The man then said, sending Erik into a race to his stove. He got there in the nick of time, the skin starting to burst as oil and juices exploded out from the cooked flesh. 

"They sure smell good..." The caged man called out, hoping to perhaps befall a little more of Erik's charity. 

"Did you get those in the Keep?" 

"Yes," Erik said, tearing off a chunk of two day old bread, placing it in the grill to freshen up a bit. 

"From Wallace? Oh, you're in for a treat, mate. That man was put here by the gods to make sausage, and he certainly does them honor..." 

The man paused watching Erik in the flickering light prepare himself a sandwich.

Erik could feel the convict eyeing him as he tended to his supper, the sight and smell perhaps more tortuous than his sentence in the cage had been up to then. Finished preparing his sausages, he sat by the fire to eat, still feeling envious eyes fixated upon him. It gnawed at his good nature, having spent too many hungry nights himself to let another man wither away while he gorged himself. 

He got up, carrying the three sandwiches and his skin, the flickering torchlight guiding him back to the cluster of cages. He set the sandwiches down on a stone as he tended to making a quick fire, bundling together loose sticks and moss before kissing it with his torch flame. 


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