Still debating the crime within his own head, Gremlaw’s normal early warning systems of vision and hearing failed abysmally to warn him of the group of shadow hidden people who had stationed themselves in the mouth of an alley.
Gremlaw almost stumbled into one of the hooded characters, whose face was almost completely hidden beneath a thick cloak,
“Stupid, look out!” The man said in a thickly accented voice. Something familiar piqued Gremlaw’s interest at the accent and the young man had to think hard for a few seconds before he realised he had heard this accent only once before, coming from the lips of Dron’s wife, Mi-Zhu-Quan, a defector from the Empire of Lavash.
“Sorry,” Gremlaw mumbled, attempting to become as vacantly empty headed as the rest of the population in this town. Unfortunately for him, this was completely the wrong thing to do as the small group of Lavashians started the trading process.
“Pay us with Forever, how will you?” The Lavashian who Gremlaw had almost knocked into asked in his mangled Trathlainian. He had mistaken Gremlaw for one of the locals who had come looking for their next fix and the young man had no desire to become hooked on this pernicious drug.
Shaking his head, Gremlaw took a few steps backwards away from the group of men who had all turned to face him. Whatever the pair of men at the rear of the group had been doing, they had obviously finished as they faced him too, Gremlaw could not understand why his legs buckled beneath him and he fell to his knees on the grimy pavement. As the stunning pain which began to spread across the back of his skull reached round to steal his vision, the last sight Gremlaw registered was of a young woman. She had a look of abject terror plastered across her young face as she struggled to walk away from the group. As fingers of white fog misted across Gremlaw’s eyes, he noticed her face become slack and vacant, another victim of Forever.
“Zha Quin will want to see…”
“What are we supposed to…”
“We ought to just kill him…”
It was the incessant, remorseless thumping radiating from the back of his head which proved to Gremlaw he was still alive. Reaching around to feel if his skull had been smashed, Gremlaw discovered his hands had been tied to something. He allowed his eyes to flicker open and take in the sight of a partially rotten straw roof a few feet above him. A spike of scent rammed into Gremlaw’s nostrils, urine and faeces combined with damp straw. Glancing to one side the young man saw his wrists had been attached to a wooden wall either side of him with chains. All the information Gremlaw had pointed to him being chained in a stable although he had no idea where or by who.
Trying to ignore the pain from his battered skull, Gremlaw lifted his head to see a little better.
“Go and tell Zha Quin his little sleeper has awoken.” A male voice stated eloquently. However, while it was eloquently spoken, Gremlaw realized it had not been said in his mother tongue. This led to the two questions; what language had it been and how had Gremlaw come to know it. Looking down between his feet, Gremlaw noted a man sat looking back into his own eyes.
Small and stocky in appearance, the man had huge, round eyes, half again as large as his own, which seemed to take over the top half of his face. A small nose and thin lipped mouth sat below these orbs which seemed to hold Gremlaw’s attention.
“Wake, wake.” The man said in the heavily accented voice which marked him as a Lavashian, “Sleep you be long period.” Gremlaw grunted,
“So would you if your skull had been shattered.” The Lavashian man laughed harshly,
“Sickly boy.” He said before turning his attention to someone who had just entered, “Zha Quin, sir,” he spoke in his own tongue while snapping to attention, “Your prisoner has awoken.”
Gremlaw had no time to puzzle over his ability to understand the Lavashian tongue as a vaguely familiar face entered his vision. It took a few seconds for his concussed brain to make the connection; this was one of the two Lavashian agents who had been processing the wine in the warehouse Gremlaw had first arrived in. A good foot taller than the other man, Zha Quin looked down with the same large eyes, a vicious grin spreading across his face as he replied to his subordinate,
“Go and have a break, Min Sa, I will summon you later.” The shorter man saluted and left quickly. Zha Quin’s doe like eyes contained no compassion whatsoever as he said to the prone Gremlaw, “Manages to cost many cash have you. Who are you?”