Death Dances in the Shadows: Wyndwrayth – Excerpt from Gideon’s Journal.

The year 1349?

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During the past few decades, I have made an effort to talk with Millar. Several things have been clarified for me, mostly concerning life, or as I should more aptly call it in our case, living death. The years pass and although I seem to age very slowly, Millar on the other hand, ages normally for him, an immortal. In a conversation that we had last spring, he casually estimated that he was over 4,500 earth years old but he could not be sure, as time has no meaning when you’re immortal. However, it did give me the knowledge that my position as Millar’s guardian, was far from unique. When I asked him about this, he clarified the situation by guessing that I was the tenth, or maybe eleventh holder of this role.

“Never mind,” he added, “You can console yourself with the fact, that you will die one day but not until you have fulfilled your part of the bargain you struck with my Father.”

I am not sure he tells the truth about the number of previous guardians, Millar lies for fun. After all, if they had lasted 1,000 years each, as in my own bargain, then that would mean a maximum of 4 previous guardians, as he was a young adult when sent here in punishment. Then I think what do I know, demons are notoriously manipulative.  Maybe they struck shorter deals, or maybe Millar got so strong he destroyed them? It is worrying to be sure.

Millar is hard to like and I’m unfortunately stuck with him, for Odin knows how long but not more than a thousand years. I tried to trick him by asking him how long will I live. He just laughed mockingly and said:

“You Gideon, are to be my nursemaid,” he said sarcastically. He was laughing, on and off, for the next few days. Sometimes I could hear him chuckling, if such a thing is possible, somewhere from within in the copse of Lime tree’s. Eventually I asked him what was so funny about my question. His answer chilled me to my core.

“Well then,” he hissed. “How long do you think you’ve been stuck here on this godforsaken rock?” That was a very pertinent question, for as hard as I attempted to remember some event I could at least lock onto, the more the memory slipped away into the mists of time.

“Do you want me to tell you?” Millar said, looking out over the lake and grinning. Then somehow, he turned up the menace level and for the first time in god knows how long, I felt an essence of fear.

“You can’t remember, can you,” he sarcastically stated and repeated his question, revelling in my fear and confusion. “Come on then, give me an answer, or I’ll tell you,” Millar hissed and drew close to me, his foul breath flooding my nostrils and almost making me gag. “Three hundred and thirty-three long years and now something deadly, is coming this way.” He grinned widely and began to drool.

I suspected that he was just attempting to rattle my chains and spat back at him:

“How can you possibly know that?” I asked, sharply.

“I can smell it on the wind,” he idiosyncratically replied and then fell silent. Millar sat there and continued to look out, towards the far lake shore as if expecting something. Although I didn’t know what it was that I was looking for, I too crouched down and stared out across Llyn Isaf.

“There’s Plague on the far shore,” Millar said, with a distinctly twisted smile on his face, “and soon it will be here and we shall feast!” He said it with an alarming surety and more than a touch of glee in his voice. It was a tone, which I didn’t have the will to counter and the brethren would be left to pay the price.

*

Over the years, I have learnt through experience, that when Millar says “we,” much of the time, he is talking about himself alone. Looking back, I have seen many of these, so-called attacks of Plague, in many places and I fully expect this latest one will be nothing like as bad as the doomsayers predict. I don’t doubt, that many of the deformed, or those who have been weakened by age, along with some of the very young, will undoubtedly perish in its grip. However, I don’t see this island community having much to worry about. The Christian Monks have absolute control, when it comes to who’s allowed to set foot on Ynys y Niwl and they will protect the community, from the pestilence.

Millar is an uncaring and selfish creature. I don’t know exactly what it was he ate last night but eventually, after several hours of invisible, yet nevertheless continual consumption and just as I thought my stomach would burst, thankfully he stopped. I got the distinct impression, that he was out there, in those trees, which border the grassy hill. So, I went and took a squint at what he was up to these days….

*

I’ve just seen the remains of our shared meal and now I can’t dismiss the disgusting image of it, from my mind. I was just about to finish the setting of the fish traps, my lips craving their taste. After all, I reasoned, a small meal of my own wouldn’t make much difference to Millar’s growth, when I turned the corner by the great oak tree and tripped over what I naturally thought was one of its mighty roots. It wasn’t. It was the butchered body of some pilgrim who had made it no further than the shoreline, in his quest to pray with The Holy Father’s and that way, seek absolution.

The body was brutally mutilated, drained and discarded, once it had served its primary purpose. Great chunks of flesh had been ripped from the corpse and what remained, was simply left for the crows to feast upon. They had certainly taken their share of the spoils, beginning with the eyes.

However, it was the black pustules, which could clearly be seen on the remaining skin, that were the biggest distraction. The man was a plague victim and Millar had eaten much of the corrupted flesh, straight off the bones.

The prospect of devouring Plague victims, revolts me to my stomach but Millar insists that I’ll be ‘thankful for any such morsels’ by the time this Pestilence is over. I can but hope, that he’s wrong.

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