DEADFIRE PART 2: On the Beach with Farson Windhoek
DEADFIRE, PART 2 by Forbes West
Farson Windhoek is a fan-favorite character in the podcast. We’re excited to share with you the first chapter of a forthcoming novella going deep into Farson’s backstory. Be sure to visit every Friday for a new installment!
Farson Anaris remembered what Galen said and it had stuck in his mind like a large splinter, long after he had agreed to betray his liege and set out with the young man to this place of mystery located dead center of these newly settled lands.
“One strange house.” Farson said to himself, before giving the order to disembark. “One strange damn house,” he said again.
Farson, holding a silver key in his black-gloved hand, took a breath and blew it out. It was like a small fog coming from his mouth. “Let’s get moving. And pray no fool finds that horse.”
OF COURSE, a fool did though, because what the gods and the dungeon masters decree, so all men must abideby. Miles away and near a cold sea full of abominations and terrors of the deep, a fool was being executed on a beach.
“You see lad, this is the Trade Lands. The open territory, the merchant heaven. You’re here now, like you wanted, but you won’t see much of the place. You probably think I’m a petty and mean old bastard. That may be true, young bard. That may be true. But I’m not the one tied to the stake on an empty beach, waiting for the tide to come in so that the little creatures, the little swimming beetles, can come out of the surf to eat my flesh. That’s you. And that’s all that’s gonna happen here, friend. I’m not going to stick around and watch something so ugly. I’m a fair old bastard too, you should know that. Your pack is next to you. You get out before they chew on you, you’re free to go. My blessing.” He began to laugh the laugh of all old mean but fair bastards.
Farson Windhoek, tied to a stake sunk into the beach, shivered and struggled against the tight black ropes that held him.
“Oh, I regret having relations with your wife, and this is terrible. Anyway, have a good trip back to Accadios. Remember, she likes it when you pull her hair—”
The boat captain, burning with rage at Farson’s lackadaisical comments, spit on him.
“That’s gross, asshole,” Farson said, wiping his cheek by lowering his head onto his leather clad shoulder. “Don’t spit at people, man.”
“You’re a dead man, Farson! A dead man! They’ll eat your bones and chew on your face, you lying, thieving bastard. I look forward to returning here and finding you are nothing but a hunk of meat and bones! I’ll love every moment thinking about when they pluck your eyes out! I wish I could stay for that! I wish I could stay for that!” the boat’s old captain said, as his men pushed their longboat back into the cold surf on its way to the galley anchored yards offshore. The longboat bobbed up and down on the ocean, its sails rippling in the rough breeze. The boat captain was the last one to jump aboard the rowboat. His young, blonde and well-endowed wife with breasts barely concealed by her blue tunic cried and waved a handkerchief at Farson, who winked at her as best he could from his prostrate position.
“I love your body! And your smell! I like that red hair!” Farson yelled to her.
Moments passed and the longboat’s passengers found themselves back aboard the galley, heading for the cold, open seas. They would find a river, find the bridge of graves, and laugh at the bard’s terrible death on the beach. Or so they thought.
The stake was sunk into the black sand beach and the two other sailors had tied him well, half-laughing and half-apologizing as they did so, as they were all mercenary bastards. Farson took a deep breath and thought about the sea. There was nothing for a good hour, and he began to think that perhaps the crazy old boat captain was full of horse manure. He smelled the sea and felt the heavy winds from offshore, like a oceanic god blowing in his face.
“Swimming sea beetles coming out to eat my flesh. That sounds… bad.” Farson cleared his throat, and began to think, then got distracted by something, then starting thinking again. He noticed a glow in the water was getting closer, at first a mile out, and soon, just a few hundred yards away. He spotted the first little beetle to come out of it. It was a fat, green little bastard that shined with a neon glow under the cold, pale sun. It started to make its way toward him, and Farson crushed it under his boot easily, the thing’s body oozing out something that looked a bit like Key Lime pie to Farson’s eyes.
“Well, that’s one.”
Farson took a deep breath and started to wiggle, but the black ropes were expertly tied and he was having little luck trying to get out. The glow in the ocean was becoming worse, as if someone were shining a great, blue light beneath the foaming waves. He could see an odd sparkle and shimmering with every crest of the waves.
“Oh-kay,” Farson said. “Starting to panic. Starting to freak out a little.”
Two more beetles came out of the surf, and Farson stomped them out. They were quick bastards too and Farson began to realize that things would not go well unless he got the hell out of there soon. One had managed to take a small bite from his right boot, leaving a piece of leather on the sands. They had little razor-like mouths that snapped open and closed when they came out of the surf.
“Now I’m—yeah, I’m going to soil my breeches here. Son of a bitch.”
Only the howling wind heard him as it whipped the air full of that brine shrimp smell of sea salt. He kept wiggling and doing what he had been taught in order to escape, but the rope wouldn’t budge.
He coughed and kept wiggling.