Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Shepherd

Olaf coughed, choking on the tainted air and choking up bloody bits of Nurgle knows what.  Looking around, he noticed that nobody was watching, so he coughed louder and doubled over as if writhing in agony.  Maybe if the overseers saw how blessed he was, he would get recruited into the ranks of the Plaguetown yeoman.  

Sure enough, one of the overseers turned and began to walk in his direction.  He had finally been noticed!  He wondered what gifts Grandfather Nurgle would grant him for his faithfulness.  Perhaps he would get the bloated belly and squirming tentacles of a Blightking, wouldn't that be something for old Olaf?  The overseer grabbed him harshly by the arm and rasped something unintelligible.  The intention was clear though, it was time for him to meet The Shepherd and ascend to the ranks of the Rotbringers.

They walked through the village toward The Shepherd's manse, a two-story home with a rotting balcony.  The interior was musty.  Disgusting spores filled his lungs, making his coughing even more ragged and convincing.  After a moment, his eyes adjusted to the dim light, and he could see an armoured giant of a man sitting upon a makeshift throne at the far end of the room.

The Shepherd stood from his seat and walked toward Olaf.  Two rotten heads dangled from a wooden frame mounted on his back.  He snaked a tentacled hand against Olaf's face and turned it from side to side.

"Why did you bring this to me?" He asked, his voice deep and phlegmy.  "He does not show the buboes of Nurgles favour.  His cleanliness disgusts me."  The overseer knew better than to explain himself.  He turned to lead Olaf away, back to pasture.

"Wait.  I may have another use for him," The Shepherd commanded.  He drew a knife from his belt, took Olaf by the hair, and in a single smooth, practiced motion, he sheared the head free of its body.  Olaf was shocked.  He hung there for a moment, blinking and gurgling in disbelief before his eyes dimmed and life left him.

The Shepherd took Olaf's head and hung it among the others on his back.  Now there were three again, much better.

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