Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Day Two-Fifty-Two: Gettin' depressing

Strike. Whaaaaaaaaaat a surprise.

I woke up this morning and found Robert, good ol' brother Robert, standing in my living room. He waved cheerfully, tossed a bundle of yak tarts on the bed (Libby grabbed one in her sleep - does she do ANYTHING but sleep these days?), and invited me to come chat with him.

I did. Got dressed, donned my armour, and followed Robert into the streets. What I found was controlled mayhem.

The main thoroughfare is blocked off. No traffic in or out of the castle. Workers are screaming at all hours behind a barricade, facing off against Queen Daena's Matriarch. I think she's the only reason they haven't stormed the keep: they have neither the guts, nor the inclination, to try to get around her. They all still love her.

Not so much Jeffrey. His decree this morning set everybody ablaze, and would have done so literally if anybody dared to follow it. He ordered everyone, without exception, to set fire to one another's clothes as a form of greeting. Disobedience punishable by death.

Nobody's on fire. Not unless you count bales of hay, stacked up near the entrance of the keep. I don't think the royal guards are even attempting to enforce this decree, as the odds against them are preeeeeeeetty stacked…

… what with the guards and the soldiers now disobeying the king.

I've never seen it before. Guards, soldiers and protestors, all standing together, united in a common hatred of King Jeffrey. His royal ass-iness TRIED to order his men to set the workers back to work, but it didn't… y'know, work. Everybody subtly declined. And when the royal guards tried to move in to restore some order, the guards fought 'em off! Held them at bay with those fancy new arms we've been given. Good on them, I say.

Robert told me about all the things I'd missed. Then he asked me a crucial question, one he'd asked me before, back in more civil times: "You gonna join us, Dragomir?"

I thought, long and hard, 'bout that. For years, now, I've felt myself bound to king and country by the oath I took. First day of guarding, right out of the gate, I took an oath. 'Defend or die.' I may have skimped a bit at places…

At numerous times…

More times than I can count…

And VERY willingly…

But my heart was always in the right place. Defend the castle. Defend the king. Defend the monarchy.

('cept maybe the other day, when I contemplated pushing King Jeffrey out of the king's tower. That was a LITTLE treasonous. Doesn't count if you don't act on it, though.)

That's where my heart stayed. Defend the castle. Defend the king. Defend the monarchy. I told Robert 'no'.

He scoffed at me. "You gonna join your Captain Cedric, then? 'n his dunce Bernard? Try and hold us all off with those flobbin' Omega Corpsers?"

"Oh, hell no," I replied, waving the suggestion away. "NOPE. What could I do? I can't swing a weapon, you know that. But I'm not gonna help you."

Robert grunted. "Fair enough. See you on the other side, bro." He walked away, off to support his blue-collar troops.

True to my word, I didn't help the Omega Corps. I slipped right past the bastards, using a secret entrance I found while searchin' for Driscol to get inside the keep. I've still got that map Logan drew for me, and I've been usin' it to get around quite a bit. At this point, I only had one destination: the library.

The library's been a nice little sanctuary for me, this last year. (Cripes, it's almost been that long, hasn't it, diary? Time flies.) Despite our 'professional' disagreements when I worked here, Robert the Librarian's always been a friend to me. He listens to everything I have to say with a kind word and a kinder smile. He's the type of father I WOULD have liked to have.

Y'know, if I hadn't been cursed with that bear of a man from whose loins I sprang forth.

(Metaphorically speaking. I didn't ACTUALLY come from his loins. I don't know anything about babies, but I'm CERTAIN they have nothing to do with THINGERS. I'll find out more, some day…)

Robert greeted me as cordially as ever, asked about Libby - she hasn't visited him in a while, too busy - and invited me to sit down with him and share a book. Not many people have been in his library, of late, and I think he's lonely.

So, by the gods, we shared a book. The Plight of the Slothians, it was called. Kind of a dumb thing, but Robert obviously loved it to death, so I let him keep reading. Wish he hadn't stopped every five sentences to analyze the text, but there you go.

As we got to the end, I decided to ask Robert a question that'd been on my mind all morning. "Are you gonna leave the castle?"

"And the great bear said unto the Slothian, 'Be not… eh?" He stopped in mid-sentence and stared at me, blinking. Confused. "Say again, Dragomir?"

"Leave." I fidgeted. "Are you gonna leave the castle? What with the riots and wars and all, I mean."

"I'm… not certain I understand the question, Dragomir." He frowned, glancing down at the book. "What do you mean, 'leave'?"

I pointed at a nearby window. "You know, go 'out there'. Escape. Vamoose. LEAVE. You've read enough books, Robert, you oughta know what 'leaving' means."

Robert shuddered. "Oh. Oh. No, no, that won't be necessary. I'll remain in the library. Why would I leave? That's rather a silly thing to say, Dragomir."

"But…" I went slack-jawed for a moment. It's tough to argue against silliness. "But the castle's, like, fucked! Pardon my language! Everybody knows it! All the workers HATE the king - "

"Dragomir!" Robert gasped. "That's lunacy!"

"Oh, shush, it is not. They HATE him." I sighed and stared right into Robert's tiny eyes, gently clasping his enormous head with both hands. "Everybody's leaving, Rob. Something bad's happening, and… I owe you too much to see you stranded -"


I flinched away. The authority in Robert's voice knocked me for a loop.

Robert gripped his cane and muttered to himself. Then, cross, he turned away. "This… this is my home, Dragomir. This is… all… I have. Everything! There is no other place for me! I can't leave, and I won't, even if the whole world comes crashing down!"

"But -"

"FINAL!" Robert slammed his stick against the ground. "So long as a single piece of this library remains, I will remain with it! Now get out! OUT! Don't you dare come back!"

I've never seen Robert so mad. Even when I was buggering up his book collection, he didn't get THIS upset. I gathered up my things and retreated, oddly confident that I would never set foot in the library again.

I may have gone home and cried.

Libby slept. What a douche.


Dragomir the Guard

1 comment:

  1. Poor Dragomir, that's like being exiled from paradise!