The sound of the surf beat violently against the muddy morass of the coastlines, creating a slurred sound. It was an unpleasant noise and set Randall’s nerves on edge. Everything in sight practically seeped with water, even the weathered jerkin he wore. Even the surfaces of nearby rocks seemed unnaturally slick, the whet sheen on their rough, corroded surfaces reflecting the reddish glare on his torchlight. This was an unwholesome land for humans, its very environment alien and confronting. Mastering this perpetually waterlogged land had proved an impossible task, its stubborn and arbitrary nature proving as intractable and infinitely more difficult to subjugate than its repulsive, monstrous inhabitants. The brutes with their bone weapons and armour, despite all their savagery, had proven no match for Company steel. The very land itself however could not be tamed so easily. This was a place where disease was rife, with half of every new group of arrivals succumbing to some foul pestilence. He himself had seen men die as their bowels expelled their gut sin an explosion of blood shit. Meanwhile, the dark, foul waters that stretched in every direction that the eye could see, nibble greedily at the wooden edifices that they built, as if possessing an almost sentient outrage at man’s arrogance in seeking to dominate this dank, wet land. No matter. Holy Jove had demanded as had the Shogun of the Company. One way or another, the true faith would be planted here and the demonic inhabitants rendered faithful slaves of Jove and Banhosea, the land that Lord had adopted as his own.
‘’Private!’’. Inclining his head in the direction of the cry, Randall immediately spotted the burly sergeant of his companion, a barrel chest, red haired man with a tangled, beard which would not have looked out of place on a legendary dwarf. He reacted by raising his grubby sword in a half-hearted attempt at a salute. Sergent Grimwall’s efforts to turn the men into his fawning and cringing slaves had thus far failed, in large part due to the knowledge that his own life rested in their hands. In Banhosea he would have been flogged for putting on such a pathetic farce of a salute, but this accursed land was anything but Bahosea. If Grimwall so much as laid a hand on the men, they would have absolutely no qualms about feeding him to the monsters dwelling within the water’s of the coastal swamp.
‘’Well?’’ Randall inquired in a deliberately insolent manner. An ineffectual scowl flashed across Grimwall’s face. Beneath that farcical attempt to instil the discipline that should ordinarily have been due to him, a blazing hatred festered there. Randall had no doubt that if Grimawall could have his way with the company of men he detested as a thieving rabble, he would have all of them turned into mobile target boards for the Company Marines. Neverthless, given much reduce scope of his once extensive powers, Grimall had to content himself with delivering the orders he had been given.
He cleared his throat once and then that familiar yet always disturbing rasp issue from his lips. ‘’His lordship, Father Merrin , wants you and the boys to go out on a slaving raid to get some heathen brutes that we can introduce to the faith. Souls to save for the Lord and all . Get five of your fellows to suit up. If you and your mates aren’t ready within five hours, the Father will personally see to it that you whore sons have your stinking hides ripped off’’. Having completed his mission, Grimwall made as if to stride off. Then, quite unexpectedly, he spun around abruptly and gave a massive grin, revealing a mouthful of rotting teeth. As his foul breath wafted over Randall’s face, Grimwall gave a mirthless chuckle.
‘’I’ve heard that the monsters are on the war path right now. You’d best be careful that you don’t get a bone arrow in your throat, you little shit’’.
Randall swore furiously once Grimwall’s heavy footsteps had died away. The bastard had deliberately selected him for was clearly a mission of self-destruction. Contrary to what that deluded old fool Father Merkin believed it was impossible to persuade the monsters to embrace Jove. Salvation was something possible only for humans, not slimy horrors that would as soon eat you as listen to preaching. If he ever returned alive, Randall swore that he would personally slit Grimwall’s throat