Togullen stopped by the next statue in the Hall of Heroes. Like the hero the Forgotten One, this one too had bandages covering all exposed areas of his flesh. There were differences though. For one thing, the Nusallean hero’s likeness looked gaunt. With hand stretched out in front of himself, he cowered on the pedestal.
Togullen read the bronze name plaque – Dollifer.
He sat down on the stone bench set aside for the public. Dipping his quill in his clay ink pot, he set it to parchment…
Dollifer sat back from his tribe. Light flickered from the central fire pit against the bricked ceiling. Its glow outlined their many backs. His tribe usually shared their grisly repast together, here, in what they called the long room. The room itself was cavernous, reverberating the sounds of their revelry. They could make as much noise as they wanted. Even though Caliet’s poorer quarter slept just above them.
Tonight they celebrated, for they had done well on the hunt.
Dollifer only ate of scraps and meat he found on the tribe’s raids. Never did he eat of the main meal from the fire pit. The thing they roasted no longer resembled a human being. He saw the barely conscious man they dragged into the tunnels. They said “he thought bravely.” Dollifer had no doubt. The man looked huge with spirally tattoos. Obviously a Nezlander seaman, possibly a pirate. Beyond that, Dollifer had no clue as to the man’s identity, nor did his tribe care. Their interest in him ended when they made him their next meal.
Dollifer reluctantly listened to the retelling of the Nezlander’s capture. His tribe knew of every tunnel, hole, and dark alcove. Never could they have taken the man in a head on confrontation. They followed him and struck from the shadows, before he knew of their presence.
In Caliet’s poor quarter, the people had a saying, “little fish are eaten by bigger fish.” Dollifer had seen the truth of these words. A drunken man might sleep in the gutter; the smallest fish. Then a bigger fish preys on him in the form of a selskirt. She slips her hands into his pockets to relieve him of his last coins. In turn, a bigger fish preys on her. A homeless waif will then pick her pocket and run into a back lane. There the waif meets with a bigger fish, a ruthless thug. The thug too is preyed upon by the Nezlander pirate.
In his drunken swagger, the Nezlander made the mistake of walking the back lanes. He thought himself safe from any cutthroat. His size, strength, and cutlass could best any armed Nusallean. In his pride, he did not realise that there were even bigger fish.
Dollifer’s tribe clubbed him from behind. The Nezlander buckled, but refused to fall. He attempted to draw his sword, when a knife stabbed his wrist. With blood running freely down his arm, he punched into one of the tribe. The bandages parted where he struck, revealing a face of livid nightmare.