Friday, June 8, 2012

Day Two-Twenty-Five: It was a lousy vacation anyway

We're okay, diary. We're fine. We're alive. Safe. Secure. Inside the Matriarch. Rolling back, as fast as we can, to Castle Bonvoyage.

It was a trap, diary. This whole fucking trip was a trap. Driscol wasn't just aiming to get rid of The Baron. He wants to oust King Jeffrey. We have a full-blown coup on our hands. Even worse, a revolution.

(Didn't I ask for that a few weeks ago? Rather than a strike? I NEED TO WATCH WHAT I SAY FROM NOW ON)

After my last normal entry, Libby and I grabbed some dinner at a little local tavern. Good food, friendly people, busty waitresses (I've come to appreciate the power of the bust, diary, call me perverse if you want), and lots of chatter. My rhino steak could've used a bit more seasoning, and I felt REALLY conflicted the whole time I was eating, 'cause the rhino back home is just so friendly

Stop. Stop. Get to the point, Dragomir. Don't dawdle. Tell diary what is the matter.

After dinner we wandered into the streets, figuring we'd try and catch some of the nightlife before we left the next day. We'd been told the talks were finished, and to have as much fun as possible before daybreak. We found a little roadside theatre, the first thing we started, and watched a play.

Tried to watch a play.

Got about five minutes into the play.

And it was engrossing! I mean, I only caught a sample of the plot, but from what I could tell it was about these two families who are feudin' away, and the one side has this girl, and the OTHER side has this dude, and they wanna be all smoochy-smoochy, or at least HE does

Distracted. Back on point, Dragomir. Diary don't care 'bout plays none. It wants to know what happened.

So I'm standin' there watching this little stage, clapping as one of the puppets picks a fight with another puppet, when somebody grabs my hand. I'm understandably surprised, so I look down. Whom do I see but little Princess Celine!

"Father!" she said, beaming up at me, "I've found you! I've been searching everywhere!"

I blink. Last I checked, I ain't royalty, 'n THEREFORE I can't be the father of a princess. So I start to correct her. "Pr-"

That's all I got out. Princess Celine squeezed my hand tighter - so tight that I thought she might break my fingers. She wasn't super-strong, like so many other girls I know, but she knew juuuuust how to apply pressure. Can't help but think she might be even scarier than her brother.

"Father," she repeated, "we have a reservation in fifteen minutes. We have to go. They might give away our table!"

"Who's this?" asked Libby, eying the princess suspiciously. "You haven't got some love child -"

Celine grabbed Libby's hand and squeezed her fingers in the same way. Libby squeaked and shuddered, trying to hold in the pain.

"It's me, Celine! I know it's dark out, mother, but please don't tell me you've forgotten your own daughter!" The princess smiled broadly.

Libby got the message faster than me. Shaking the ache out of her fingers she nodded, smiled back, and ushered us out of the small crowd of theatre-goers. I tossed a copper piece at the actors; I dunno if it actually reached 'em or not. Tip your local artists, diary, that's what I always say.

(When I'm carrying around allowance money from the queen, anyway. Tip with my own moolah? Not bloody likely!)

Celine led us into an alleyway, inhabited only by some snoring drunk, and filled us in with one short sentence:

"Evangelina tried to kill Eve."

My jaw dropped. "What! Gods above! Is she alright?"

"Yes, she's fine. The Lord Knight managed to -"

I shook my head. "No, no, I meant Evangelina. Is she still alive?"

Any other kingdom, any other country, even, I woulda received a look of scorn. Interested in the welfare of some other woman over your own daughter? How despicable. Celine knows Lord Knight Eve all too well, though, and she understood completely. I wasn't worried about Eve 'cause NOBODY kills Eve.

'course, I… kinda got in trouble with Libby 'cause I asked about Evangelina. Why should I be concerned with a bitch that tried to kill my daughter? I dunno, it just seemed appropriate.

I'm dawdling, so I'll explain in short. Turns out Celine herself had been tailing Evangelina the entire week, secretly listening in on every meeting between the ambassadors. Every other day they'd been meeting officially, discussing alliances between their kingdoms and King Jeffrey's - and then meeting secretly behind the scenes. The 'official' meetings were just for show.

Tonight, they decided to talk openly. In front of Eve. Hell, they explained the whole situation to her, because that's what villains do. They tell the heroes their scheme, then proceed with an overly-complicated execution, 'cause, y'know, the heroes will NEVER escape. That's why Eve was brought along on this trip: Driscol wanted her away from Castle Bonvoyage, so Evangelina and her men could kill the Lord Knight.

It didn't work. They set up a huge network of elaborate traps in the meeting room before Eve showed up, AND they brought in a cadre mercenaries to attack Eve once she was incapacitated, but, pfft to that. Eve killed everyone who attacked her and destroyed every trap with her arms alone. Celine told me that Eve even managed to rip a giant, swinging mallet out of the wall and use it to turn a dozen soldiers into floor paste.

I'm so proud of my little girl. Sniff.

When we got back to the caravan, we found Eve waiting - along with, oh, ten slaughtered attendants. All Evangelina's men. The fiend herself apparently escaped unharmed, and even Celine doesn't know where she's gone. It doesn't matter, either, 'cause her part in all this is finished… though it mighta been nice for her not to get away, so as to prevent a bunch of assholes in armour from TRYING TO BLOW UP THE MATRIACH

We were discussing what Celine had overhead with Queen Daena (more on that later) when the whole Matriarch rocked slightly. There was a loud BOOM, the upper clamshell shuddered, and a CANNONBALL whizzed RIGHT over our heads. We checked out the edge of the caravan, and what do we see but a well-armoured platoon of soldiers in foreign colours, advancing on our position and reloading their cannons!

Queen Daena sprang into action. She ordered Libby to close the clamshell immediately, telling the rest of us to take shelter around her tree as the shell clanked shut. Three more cannonballs flew over our heads, and one came so close that it would, for sure, have killed Queen Daena…

… if, y'know, she was a normal person. She's not, though, and she kicked the damn thing right back into the crowd of soldiers. I heard a few pitiful screams and an explosion before the clamshell muffled the noises outside. Best queen ever.

Eve wanted, SO BADLY, to burst through the side of the Matriarch and slaughter every one of the bastards. She was shuddering violently, the pommel of her sword gripped tight in her hand. Queen Daena managed to get through to her by pointing out that we all needed to leave immediately, and Eve miraculously restrained herself.

The pedalling apparatus descended around Queen Daena's tree. Timing her kicks she brought the massive gears of the Matriarch to life as she hit the pedals. The wheels rolled, and Queen Daena steered them in a wide arc, away from the caravan… and right over the soldiers.

Crunch. Splat. Scream. The whole lot were either crushed or sliced apart by the spikes on the underbelly of the Matriarch. I mighta been more squeamish about it, but I've worked on the Neck, so the sounds didn't bother me much. Not as much as the cannonballs that were now flying through the Matriarch's clamshell from a DIFFERENT direction, anyway.

Libby, Eve and Celine manned the cannons at the rear of the Matriarch as it pulled away from Bottomless and sped into the early night. I'm sure they managed to knock out at least a few of the soldiers, but Queen Daena picked up speed so quickly that their aim was probably off. It only took a minute of clunky acceleration before we were all well out of reach. Considering some of the soldiers were mounted on horses, that's saying a lot for Queen Daena's leg strength.

Once the cannonfire in the distance had stopped and we were well away from Bottomless - and the rest of the caravan, I should PROBABLY mention that we abandoned everyone - we gathered around Queen Daena. ('cept Eve. She went on top of the Matriarch to keep a lookout, or… something.) The queen told us the plan, no questions asked, no excuses allowed: we had to get back to Castle Bonvoyage. Immediately.

Now, diary. She's never looked so tense. Not even when dealing with her husband's brainless proclamations.

Why? Because Castle Bonvoyage is under attack. Evangelina and Driscol's plan, as Celine overheard during her spying, was to lure Eve away, murder her, and place the kingdom under siege. Evangelina hasn't been negotiating with ambassadors, she's been talking to the heads of mercenary companies to assemble an army for Driscol. This trip was used to pay them for their services as much as it was an excuse to kill Eve.

(This all makes me wonder what happened to Grylock. Was he the only LEGIT ambassador? And did he manage to escape before, um, Eve killed a ton of people? Hope he's alright.

Unless he was in on all this.

In which case…

He's a bastard.


I don't know what else to say, diary. Queen Daena's determined to stay up all night, pedalling home at full power. Libby's remaining by her side, to keep the Matriarch running properly… and to provide moral support. And Celine, hell, she's vanished again. I think that trait runs in children.

I can't sleep. I don't know what to do. I'm panicking. The castle's under threat, and for once, I'm not inside it. Are we gonna come across a massive siege when we get home? Will we even be able to get past the walls again? Or are we gonna arrive and find Driscol's stupid tree symbol riding high on the flags?

Son of a bitch. I KNEW HE WAS UP TO NO GOOD. I shoulda figured the trip was a bad idea, but it JUST WASN'T OBVIOUS AT ALL


Dragomir the Escapee

1 comment:

  1. I can totally imagine Dragomir riding atop the Matriarch and waving a flag as they charge XD