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Shrill Heresy Whispered the Spears of Barbary…
Prentice Dolphin Chapter 8
…among the snow fields before the wretched hamlet of heretics known as Mountain Door, Prentice Dolphin shivered in the snow, his feet wet from the long march, his heart wrestling with devils of doubt. The sixty odd spears whipped in the wind ahead of them, the people of this place long since expecting them, to be sure. The many wooly-headed, ashen-hued, wide eyed, hide-clothed figures of the Barbary folk whose ill-constructed huts and ramshackle long-house clustered before the anciently-bored hole in the mountain that ate the road that ran into its maw, were standing in a semi-circle of vile reception. The men, some sixty of them, were in the front of the crescent. Women and children and old men, numbering twice that number, were gathered in gaggles behind them, with large dogs also heeled besides the old men, two or three of these beasts with each of the half-dozen or so elders, distinguished by their great dragon-headed canes.
The Elder Pikeman barked his order, “Advance to a bowshot and form shield, Prentice in the center. Junior [addressing the young crossbowman who had been Prentice Dolphin’s guard], stay with Prentice. If the Justice does not relieve us before we are cut to pieces, cut his holy throat. A Prentice of Soliloquy will not be raped by this mangy pack of dogs in human form.”
‘Raped?’
The men were silent and grave, and he continued, “Bigun One!”
The largest pikeman stepped forward at attention, a giant of a man, with a face like a bear, brown eyes darkly alight with a battle hunger, great hands flexing away the chill of the snowy morning.
“Ground your pike for the rally point and buy us sometime between the lines.”

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