Name That Tune, Part 4
“Vann? How rich am I?” The question was a ritual.
“You have wealth unequaled, sir. Of all freelords of the king, you have the most spoils and been given the most from the king’s coffers.”
“Does it matter?”
“I think not, sir. There is always more wealth.”
“Vann? How honorable am I?” The words bore no humor.
“You have none, sir. You strike at night, you burn and pillage, and you allow less than ten survivors in a town of thousands. You are the blade edge – your strength is your only honor, and how you are wielded.”
“Then I must ask, Vann – why are we here? Why do I do this?”
Vann paused – again, part of the ritual. “We have nothing else to do. Nothing else we can do.”
Martill nodded. “Indeed. We are useless men.”
Vann nodded as well.
Martill raised his axe in one hand, and took from Vann the urn with the fuse. Vann lit the fuse from his torch, and Martill waited. The world held its breath, the men tensed and ready. Martill’s arm jerked as the urn flew upward, exploding with a thunderclap of bright blue fire.