The village of Imbrick was perched far on the northern shore. The forest to the south of the village was so thick that from above it looked as though the village was being engulfed and eaten by a giant dark green slug. The forest was infested with packs of wolves and so the locals rarely ventured down the road through the forest, and instead they traded with the odd fishing boat that passed by. The villagers were often out of touch with developments in the towns and cities far to the south and so it caused great excitement when each year a priest would visit the village to bless and preach to the villagers and give them news of the events affecting the rest of the nation.
One evening a strange man cloaked in the tattered robes of a cleric stumbled into the village. His flesh had been scratched and ripped so the villagers took him in and tended to his wounds. The strange man pretended to be asleep while the villagers around him discussed who he could be. The blacksmith argued that because of his robes he must be the priest who came to visit them each year. The milk maid pointed to the torn garments and proclaimed that they were too small to be a man’s. The village was divided and did not know which to believe. The strange man hearing this awoke the next day and introduced himself to the villagers as the replacement priest sent to visit them each year about this time. He said that he had been attacked by a wolf and most of his robes torn away from him. Continue reading “The Fool of Imbrick”
In the centre of Humhyde, Heinrich and Otto were discussing the village’s troubles.
“I don’t know how or even when this happened, but nearly all our supplies of pig fat and offal have been taken,” exclaimed Heinrich.
“What? Did they steal our meat too?” asked Otto.
Heinrich shook his head, “No. That’s the thing. The bacon and the hams were stored in the same shed, yet they didn’t touch any of that. They only took the fat and the offal. They took it from the vats, and then resealed them so no one would notice.”
Otto laughed, “Someone must be playing a joke on us. What kind of thief breaks in and goes to that much trouble to steal pig fat?”
“It’s not funny. The offal doesn’t matter, it was going to be used as fertiliser, but we needed that pig fat to preserve our food supplies for the winter. We might not have enough to store enough food properly this year. We might have to ration this winter out.”
Otto frowned and placed a hand over his belly. He was a woodsman and like most woodsmen he was a tower of a man. Easily the tallest and strongest in the village as his job required him to cut down trees and haul the logs by hand through the forest. The forest was not a safe place for most people; only big men like Otto could work in the forest with some degree of security. Only a fool starts a fight with a giant. However, the problem with being so big and strong like Otto was that he needed to eat more than most men and no one suffered more from rations than men like Otto. Continue reading “The Horror of Humhyde – Part 2”
Not a breath of wind touched the brush. The leaves, the branches, the twigs, were united in stillness. Silence was weaved into the black forest like the morning fog. The only sunshine peered in from a road that cut through the trees like a long narrow gash in the woodland. Between the bows the sunlight bled into the darkness and was eventually consumed completely; some two dozen yards therein. On either side of the dirt road the trees stood as though two armies of colossal wooden soldiers were hunched over and facing off from each other. Smaller shrubs and bushes clawed at the edges of the road with their gnarles roots. Slowly the brush was consuming the road and healing the gash in the forest.
From somewhere out of the shadows of the forest crept a man covered in mud and a ragged cloth with twigs poking out of it. In one hand he held an axe, in the other a large circular scythe. He looked first up the road and then down the road. He listened patiently for a while. When satisfied that he was alone he gently placed his axe on the ground and started hacking off the smaller branches of the brush. He worked with speed and skill, but incredibly making hardly any sound. Within half an hour the brush was retreating from the edges of the road and it looked as though the two armies of wooden giants were slowly moving apart from each other. Continue reading “The Horror of Humhyde – Part 1”