nasty, brutish, and short

So, the first upload is out of the way.  I hope you enjoyed Syd’s encounter with inevitability.

It’s time to upload something else, and I thought this week I might give you one of my favourite characters from the series that has been running through my head for a while.  Of course, it is tremendously naive to begin creating a series before your first book is even published, but tell that to the voices in my head.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Yadiste.

Yadiste

Yadiste always maintained that life was nasty, brutish, and short, but that since he was the same way he would always do alright. At twenty-two, he was just entering into his prime, with a thrice-broken nose that whistled in warm weather and gummed shut in cold. His voice was a low rumble that made every utterance a threat, punctuated by the occasional snort and spit to clear his ruined nose. At the sight of Yadiste, people would cross the street and keep their eyes downcast.

But Roheline had found him and saved him.

His filthy tunic did little to conceal his muscles, which bulged underneath skin made hard by sun and rough living. On his face were bristles that blunted razor blades, even to the point that he was barred entry from certain barbershops for costing more money than he brought in. Hair leaked out of the ‘V’ of his tunic. Only on his hands were the scars visible, but they covered his whole body, each one proof that something had not been strong enough to kill him.

He had not always been so. Just over a decade ago, that bull neck had been slender, that back had been straight, and those eyes had been not vicious but terrified. Yadiste had lain in the dark, his skin pale as milk, and he had sobbed. He had seen little of the light, instead filling his days with endless dread for the taunts, the beatings and worse that would come his way. For years he had wandered his cell, understanding little of the why, knowing only that life was so. Would it be the foul words that slowly reduced him to tears tonight? Would it be the leather or the wood that slapped across his bare thighs and buttocks? Or would it be the other, the helpless pain, the heavy breathing and the scratch of the beard?

But Roheline had found him and saved him.

There had been no fight, no reckoning. The door to his cell had opened and there she had stood, a black-clad angel, four years his senior and with a smile so sharp Yadiste had drawn back as if cut. He had been scared. He had been desperate. Roheline had held a hand to him, and when he took it she had thrown a cloak over him and bundled him from the building.

Over the years, the skin had turned from milk to ale, his body had recovered as best it could; he had grown strong; he had grown mean. Some scars had disappeared, some had remained, and some scars had worked their way inward like worms that festered at his soul; fighting them was Yadiste’s daily exercise. He tortured himself with pointless questions: if he saw that man today, if he recognised him, what would he do? How long would the killing last? Which part would he remove first?

“I heard you sobbing,” Roheline had explained to him. “I heard you, and I came for you.” That had been years ago. A different campfire, a different time, but Yadiste’s promise would never sway.

“One day you will need me, and I will come for you.” A pale boy of twelve, his nose crushed and dripping. “I will come for you.” His promise had been holy.

But he had not kept it.

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