The smoldering ember of the poan rangers pipe floated in the gloam. He tapped the pipe idly against his palm before bringing it to his lips and taking a long, thoughtful drag.

He let out a self-satisfied sigh and lay back on his bed roll, thick white smoke billowing out around his head. He stayed there for a moment letting the pungent weed seep through his sub-conscious, raising his heart-rate and filling him with an edgy excitement.

Chuckling to himself, he stood up and paced over to the camp fire. He lifted the cooking pot off of the spit and emptied it over the flames. He was careful to stay away from the steam that sprouted up in a thick column as the contents were consumed by the hissing flames. Accidental suicide would not be noble way to die.

“Would his Lordliness care for a drink?” He said leaning over Jordan and checking the bonds that held his hands behind his back.

The High Lord was sat on his bed roll, bound, gagged and clearly seething with rage.

“On second thought” the ranger said, satisfied that the bonds were secure. “Perhaps a strong thirst will keep you docile. The countess doesn’t strike me as the type of woman who appreciates quarrelsome captives.”

He sucked heavily on the end of his pipe and blew a thick stream of smoke directly in to the lords face. Jordan’s eyes began to water as the acrid fumes burned the membranes of his eyes.

“Oh don’t cry” the ranger mocked “She won’t let you suffer…much”

It had been a relatively simple job for the ranger. When they had made camp for the evening, he had been assigned to the cooking duty. He had prepared two meals. One for himself and Jordan and another for the other rangers. In the latter he had changed the recipe slightly. Aside from the standard broad beans he had also included a very generous helping of castor beans. They didn’t have much of an effect on the flavour of the meal but the high concentration of ricin had effectively neutralised the other rangers. The four of them were lying  on their bed-rolls, retching and groaning in agony. They would suffer for at least week before succumbing to the effects. If they were lucky the scavengers on the plain would end their torment.

Jordan had been tucking heartily into his stew when the ranger had knocked him out with the hilt of his sword.

 

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