Thursday, August 23, 2012

Day Two-Sixty-Nine: Recon Deconstruction

We know what's happened to the castle, now. At least to the extent that we can know without risking the lives of a bunch of goblin mooks.

After a horrible night of cramps and cravings for more bacon, me and the rest of the escapees were shuffled up into King Gok's throne room. Gok's attendants offered to carry me up in his royal litter so I wouldn't have to climb the stairs, but I turned them down. I'm not so pregnant that I can't handle some damn steps.

Plus, uh, the litter was… very… small. And the goblins… also… small. Don't think it would have turned out well for any of us.

Gok was surrounded by his court when we got to the throne room, and they'd moved all his knickknacks out of the way so we could have a proper meeting. He greeted us, bade us have a seat on a giant heap of pillows on the floor, and hopped into the pillows himself. He edged up next to me and asked me in hushed tones how the baby was doing, and whether or not I'd considered the name he'd suggested the previous night.

The, uh, name was Manfred. I doubt I'll be calling the kid Manfred.

Gok described the situation as it had been reported to him by his spies: the castle, our castle, is a smoking ruin. The walls have crumbled, and most of the moat has been filled with mortar and stone. The king's tower crashed down into the main thoroughfare, wiping out most of it, and there's a massive hole where the east wing of the keep used to be. The west wing isn't much better, though there are some walls still standing. All of the wooden structures appear to have burned down. There's no sign of human life anywhere.

Note that I said 'human' life. There is lots of life. It's… just… yeah.

The spies couldn't identify what they saw, because most of the time the smoke issuing from the castle was too thick. Hiding in the smoke, though… moving through it… they saw things. Huge, black, rumbling things, most on the ground but some flying, with bodies the spies couldn't classify as anything but endless shade. They might not have even spotted these creatures if it weren't for their eyes, which Gok described as 'shockingly green'. That sounds familiar.

What are they? Don't know. What were they doing? Don't know. Are they friendly? Don't know. Are they hostile? Don't know. The nobles asked many questions, and they got almost no answers, because Gok knows very little about what happened. He suggested that the things probably came from the mining operation Jeffrey had set up under the castle. Told us that Grylock had been spying on Jeffrey's operation to learn if the hole was actually a threat.

Did Jeffrey release the things on purpose? Don't know. I bet he did. I hope they killed him for it. Better that Daena not have to suffer him as a husband.

Gok asked a few, more pointed questions of all of us to clarify some points, then announced that everyone was invited to a grand welcoming feast in his tower's great hall, on the bottom floor. He'd been skimpy on the welcomes when we'd first arrived, and he wanted to remedy that mistake now.

With… one exception. Me. He said he wanted to speak with me in private. Even went so far as to invite me when everyone else was already shuffling out of the throne room. I agreed, 'cause he seems like a nice enough guy, and the look in his eye told me that it's something serious.

And, possibly, something I shouldn't bring up with anyone else.

I begged off on the invitation to dinner with everyone else when we got back to our chambers, saying that I wanted to rest instead. Edmund and Harold looked concerned, but the bard shoved the pimply noble out the door when I made it clear that I'd be punching anyone who got in my way.

Because… because… I wonder if Gok's spies found more.

I wonder if I was wrong.


Maybe he's alive…?


No comments:

Post a Comment