Friday, March 8, 2013

Day Four-Hundred-Ten: Democracy, Interrupted

Holy shit.

I'm sitting beside a bed. In it… 

In it…


I'll start at the beginning.

We held the vote today. Everyone knew the arguments inside-out after a week of petitioning. There were no big and nasty surprises beyond what had been said in public, and from what I'd heard around town opinion was pretty mixed. Almost a split fifty-fifty. I was interested in - or perhaps 'dreading' is a better choice - the outcome, 'cause either way, somebody I loved would be pissed.

We carried out the poll as I remembered from the castle, since we're all still kinda hazy on election procedures and democracy in general. There were a bunch of rocks left over from my abortive attempts to build a church, so we counted the people in town, broke up the rocks so we had a small one for each person, and created three polling stations with little ballot boxes made of wood. If you voted for Libby, you put a chalk mark on your rock. If you voted for mom, you left the rock blank. All rocks went into a box underneath the balloting stations, and when the box got full we put in a new one. 

After twenty slow minutes of shuffling feet and frayed tensions, watched over by the two candidates as they pointedly ignored each other from a wooden podium surrounding the base of the golden tree, the last voter cast their ballot. Three of the nobles were elected to count the ballots, watched over by me to ensure fairness.

They counted. One rock, two rocks, three rocks, five rocks, ten rocks, 25 rocks, 37 rocks, 68 rocks, 92 rocks, 128 rocks in total. There were supposed to be 129 votes total, one for each person in Pubton, but they didn't care about an absent voter. It likely wouldn't come down to a tie.



The nobles tallied their numbers, each drawing from heaps of rocks and carefully ticking off counts for Libby and counts for my mom. They finished their tally once, frowned, mumbled something to each other, murmured agreement… and began to count all over.

Then, with even deeper frowns, they counted one more time.

The tension was palpable, if tension could be palpable. It clung to the air, mucusy and jelly-like, pushing us all into a sickening, tenuous slump as we waited, waited, waited for the results, waited for them to reach something other than what they'd reached during the first two counts, to find that inevitable mistake.

There was no mistake. The woman with the animal hats stood up, a bison astride her brow, and boldly proclaimed "WE HAVE A TIE!" to the gathered masses.

A roar of protest rose up around here. The people of Pubton screeched about the failures of democracy, many exclaiming that this, THIS HERE, was proof that one needed a monarchy, a lord, a ruling class to make the decisions, and then when the nobles stopped talking the peasants COUNTERED them by saying they were twits, no, you don't have to be a lord or a rich man or that shit, you just need somebody to say what's RIGHT -

I listened to it all, cringing behind the golden tree, my hands in my pockets. One clutched a rock. On it was no chalk mark - but its blank face wasn't a decision, either.

I shouldn't have thought about it so much. I was found out immediately. "MY DAD DIDN'T VOTE!"

The shout didn't still most of the crowd, but it surely caught Libby's attention, as well as my mom's. Grayson had yanked my hand out of my pocket and was waving it around for everyone to see, and though I managed to wrench away from him in seconds the damage was already done.

"Dragomir?" my mom breathed, looking confused and hurt. "Didn't you vote?"

"HAW!" dad bellowed from nearby, arms flailing. "I TOLD YA YOU WOULDN'T VOTE! FUCKIN' PANSY-ASS! WIPE MY BUTT WITH DEMOCRACY, I DO!"

Libby swiped the rock away. Striding down to the polling stations, she grabbed a piece of chalk. By now most people in the crowd had caught on, and they watched her turn back to me, expectant and grumbling.

She shoved the rock back into my hands. With it was the chalk. She glared. "Vote, Dragomir. Vote now."

I trembled. In anticipation of the worst I hadn't drank anything during the day, but my bladder whined and complained under the weight of fear nevertheless. I stared at the chalk, at the rock, at Libby, at my mom, my dad, the crowd, the friends and neighbours and confidantes, not knowing what the hell I should do or say or whether I should put a mark down or not, only yearning, praying, HOPING I would suddenly wake up and discover that, hey, I'm just a guard who wants to start a diary, so MAYBE I shouldn't think to store it in the rat farms and completely FUCK UP MY LIFE BY BECOMING A MAYOR WHO'S FORCED TO VOTE IN A STUPID ELECTION ABOUT SERIOUS BUSINESS, BECAUSE GODS HELP ME I CAN'T MAKE DECISIONS LIKE THAT, AND WHO COULD, WHO COULD AND STILL BE IN THEIR RIGHT MIND? WHO?!

All that ran through my head. I kid you not, diary. It took thirty seconds of quiet, frenzied, trembling deliberation before somebody, anybody, spoke up to interrupt my horrified thoughts.

But it wasn't me.

It wasn't anybody on the platform.

It wasn't somebody at the polling stations, or in the crowd.


It was a merchant. He was passing through town with his cart.

We all looked at him. He took a step back, a bit surprised at the mass attention.

"Whaddya want?" Libby yelled.

The merchant shuffled his feet and adjusted his hat. It looked the same as Tobo's, though this clearly wasn't Tobo. "Uh. I've… well, I was just passin' through, and -"

"We're in the middle of something!" Mom yelled, cross but polite.

"Beg pardon, ma'am," the merchant said, taking off his hat and adjusting his glasses nervously, "but I was on my way through here, 'n I found a little girl passed out on the road a ways back. Was wonderin' if, maybe, I could find a bed to set her down in? Looks to be in bad shape, and my cart's hardly a fit restin' place for the injured."

The crowd murmured, perplexed and annoyed.

The merchant set down his cart. "Serious! She was unconscious! I… I don't know what y'all are up to here, but… have a look, maybe one of you knows her…"

He reached into the cart. His hands looped around a thin, frail, limp form, clad in beaten and dirty clothes. He lifted it out of the hay and supplies stocking the cart -

- and a cascade of long, dirty-blonde hair fell over his arms.

And that's when I knew.

I threw the rock. I threw the chalk. I forgot about the election, about the wife and the mother, the overly-critical father, the bastard non-son, the constituents, the buildings, the progress, I forgot about anything and everything that had happened in the last year-and-a-half in that one perfect moment where, weeping and running and lunging, I pulled my daughter from a kind man's gentle grasp. I held her close, I said her name over and over, I thanked the merchant, and I brought her to the pub to recuperate.

She's back. Weekends and deities and all things be praised, she's back.

Eve is in a coma. I don't know how she got here, or how she got away from The Baron, but it put her in a coma. And that's okay, because she's here, and I'm gonna make sure she gets all better.

I'm safe, Eve, thanks to you. And now you are too.

Bless the gods,

Dragomir the Father


  1. I had chills at the mention of a little girl, and I smiled my way through the rest. LONG LIVE EVE!

  2. Oh, and she needs to destroy Grayson.

  3. Eve looking adorable? I don't understand at all.

    Still, gonna cause tensions with the missus.And we've all seen that Dragomayor is really not very good at the whole "explain yourself without making things worse" bit.

    Honestly doubt she could straight destroy Grayson. She may be a max level Warrior, but we all remember Logans max level thief skills. Grayson seens like a mage.

  4. Oh sweet Eve, how I've missed you! now you can balance out the bullshit that Grayson is pulling...ITS ON!!!!

  5. I keep coming back to smile at Eve's return. I cannot contain my excitement.