Crent

The mining camp had never witnessed the likes of this. He was the talk of the town, and it infuriated him. They had no right to talk about him. How dare they? He yanked at his shackles as he reminisced about the past day.

Early start, as always. Crent had always possessed a lazy nature, this didn't suit him. He cringed nervously as the bunk bed cringed under the weight of the oaf on the top bunk. That was not the sort of thing he'd enjoy this early, not the least, the huge old veteran would probably squash him to death...

"Come on Crent, long day o' mining ahead, maybe today ye'll finally beat my income eh?" The old man chuckled as he put on his work clothes at the side of the bed.

"I beat your worthless haul every day Valith, and you know I do..." Crent retorted acidly, as he swung himself from his bunk

"Aye sure ye do lad, sure ye do." The old man chuckled harder, stroking his thick beard as he walked away from the bed. The stupid fool did it to wind him up, he knew it, yet it worked, Crent felt his blood boil underneath the surface, he clenched his fist, but let the anger pass quickly.

He had always been an outsider here. But that did not bother him overly, Outsiders were not asked about their pasts, or why they worked with the camp. That was a secrecy he enjoyed. Still, the old man was right about something, he did have a long day ahead of him. After pulling on his loosely fitting work clothes, he trouped out of the bunkroom. Not without first strapping a dagger to his belt, and covering it with his baggy shirt. Just incase.

The midday sun was beating relentlessly on the band of miners. Already Crent was steaming ahead of the old competition. His stacks of ore were at least 2 times heavier than those of the others. He had been the pace setter of the camp for some months now, no one could keep up with him, his powerful strikes crushed the rock face with ease. Crent paused his work a moment to look about; he could see Valith a short way across the rock face. The old mans paltry haul of ore was laughable in itself, but Crent could see the strain etched across his old face, and it brought a smile to his face. For all the jokes and remarks, he was just a stupid old fool who would soon be worthless to the mining camp. It couldn't provide for those who couldn't work. Crent watched as Valith's face lit up, the lunch bell had been rung.

Crent sat apart from the rest to eat, as he often did. He couldn't stand their company; their idle chatter about the most pointless things, it got under his skin. He tracked Valith's approach across the canteen towards him.

"I saw ye starin' into space earlier lad, the camp ain't go no room fer slackers ye know" Valith slapped his plate down on Crents table. Crent eyed him disdainfully before speaking

"And still I beat your haul, strange that" his words dripped with sarcasm.

"Ahh ye got lucky this mornin' found some nice ore pockets, ye won't be so handy this afternoon, I wager" Valith pointed his fork at Crent. He'd done it again, Valiths words cut into the usually calm Crent. He banged a clenched fist against the table and half rose.

"You stupid worthless fool! Just admit you cannot stand up to me! I am your better in every way, and you are just a smart mouthed, fat, worthless old man!" He snarled angrily as he reached for his concealed dagger. His outburst had drawn quite the audience, but he no longer cared, he would show this old idiot the error of his ways.

Valith had risen to meet Crents outburst, but the old man, with tired limbs could not do anything to avoid Crent's lunge. The younger Crents lunge was powerful enough to hurl the larger man to the floor, before he knew what had happened Crent was pinning him down. He saw the flash of Crents dagger as it descended, and felt the warm steel bury into his neck, forced deep, pushed further by the months of mocking. A shocked gasp turned into a horrific gurgling, as Valiths eyes closed.

Crent stared at his chains angrily. He remembered the face of a woman near the incident. Her face a mask of sheer horror puzzled him. He had done nothing wrong, Valith deserved his death, he would have been retired in a few months anyway, his usefulness was over...

Crent could see that the camp was not used to holding prisoners, that was for certain. The chains were weak, and of shoddy design. He managed to pull the chains from the wall with little effort. He quickly made his escape from the camp. It was a shame to leave the camp, it had served its use to him, kept him fed, kept him strong. Now where to head from here? He mulled over the question as he snuck ever further from the camp.