Monday, June 24, 2013

Day Four-Eighty-Six: True colours

Gods. A veritable shitstorm, today. I barely even had time to wake up before it started.


To begin the entry…

A sentence.

"They are coming. Right now. You have to leave."

No introduction. No 'hello'. No 'How are you, Dragomir? I am doing fine.' Just… that.

It's been a while since I last received a letter from Lord B.T., and there was one waiting for me when I arrived home early this morning. (There was also a greatly-relieved little girl. Eve isn't much for talking yet, but actions like hugging do just fine.)

I was hungry. Thirsty. Tired. Heat-beaten. Nevertheless, reading the letter over, closely and carefully, was my first concern. It confirmed something I've suspected for a little while, something which I should have figured out from the beginning. All the interest in Eve, all the talk of troubles in his kingdom, all of it… all.

I should have known.


My pen pal…


Lord B.T…. is an ally of the Non. Probably one of The Baron's lackies, spying on me through correspondence. Gods, it makes so much sense.

Here's the rest of the letter.

"You weren't supposed to still be in Pubton. I wanted you out. I prayed you would be gone by now, that the team I sent would be successful in retrieving you. But they weren't. It appears that they've failed, not once, but twice.

I am sorry for that. You would not leave your town of your own volition. Not with the threat of violence hanging over your head. You are too good a man for that. I tried to press the issue… but I failed. I am so sorry I failed.

There's nothing I can do, now. My influence has eroded too much. My people no longer want a diplomat. They want a warrior. So many of them, too many of them, want revenge. They're stomping on my plans, expanding them far beyond what I'd hoped, and I… my support base… I can't tear it out of his hands…

They are coming for the mountain, and for Pubton. Pray they do not find a way to fast track an entire army in the next week, or you shall have no time to prepare.

Not that you should prepare.

You must take your people and run. Or leave them behind. Either way, you must go. NOW. Leave Pubton behind to die. I would lose my mind if you suffered the same fate twice.


When you flee…



That's all. The rest of the letter was torn. I don't know what B.T. wanted me to 'leave', and I don't care. I'm not going anywhere. Pubton's more my home than anywhere I've ever lived before. If it's going to burn, I'll burn with it.

But that doesn't mean I wasn't interested in Lord B.T.'s letter. Or, for once, the guy delivering it.

I haven't seen him often, but the local postman who ALWAYS brings in B.T.'s letters is a guy named Tobo. I've mentioned him once or twice before, and when he's in town he always hangs out in Bora's Beefiary for an hour before disappearing again. Nobody knows anything about him.

I just prayed that I would be able to catch him before he fled this time.

The letter still in hand I dashed out into the morning air, a pleasant combination of coolness and the smell of Pubton's bakery firing to life. I ran down the street, past a few tired and bewildered citizens, all of them asking where I'd been. I yelled 'ARGHBAJDBN' and kept going.

The Beefiary was almost empty. It was still early; workers wouldn't be filtering in for breakfast until 7. Aside from a few dozy guards, still not accustomed to late shifts, the only people inside were Bora… hunched over the bar… and a man in a bulky merchant's outfit. He had a wide-brimmed, straw hat on his head.

A wide-brimmed straw hat.

I've had dreams about that hat. Extremely vague dreams.

Hoisting the letter into the air, I charged across the Beefiary, nearly tripping over a stool. "TOBO! YOU'RE TOBO, RIGHT? HEY, HEY!"

The figure whipped around, a single, slitted eye glaring at me through a break in the hat's brim. Tobo lurched off of his stool and backed away, and I was only kept from him when Bora leaped over the bar and stood in my way.

"By god, Dragomir!" She pushed me back. "It's not even breakfast yet! Keep it down, people're trying to sleep!"

I tried to get around her. "No! No! This letter! You, Tobo, you, you're Tobo, right? Answer me!"

Tobo didn't respond. He took a few steps backward, towards the end of the bar.

"Who are you working for?" I reached around Bora, brandishing the letter like a weapon. It slipped from my fingers the moment I considered hitting Tobo over the head with it. "Oh, for the god's sake! Bora, MOVE!"

"No! You calm down! No roughhousing in here! We had enough o' that when you kicked out the slob!"

"Bora, I swear, if you don't move -"

"I'm not going to move -"

"You -"

"Don't make me -!"

"I -"

Then the unthinkable. Bora grabbed me by the ears, pulled me forward, and kissed me. The taste, as bad as before, possibly worse, stopped me cold and sent me to my knees in front of her, shivering. I spat and swore, clutching my throat.

Bora whirled. I don't know what she did, but by the time I got to my feet, Tobo was out of sight. One of the catcalling guards yelled that Tobo had escaped into the kitchen. Shooting Bora an evil glare, I followed… and she didn't stop me.

Of course she didn't. Because by the time I got there, Tobo was gone. All that remained was the straw hat… and, weirdly, a huge pile of matches. Not set into matchbooks, just a big ol' pile of loose matches.

I searched the kitchen for a way out, largely in vain. I knew Tobo wouldn't be there, and I knew there was no other way out of the Beefiary. Not through the kitchen. The windows are too small.

Bora was waiting for me at the door of the kitchen. She was staring at her feet, looking guilty.

"Why the hell did you stop me?" I growled, kicking at the matches.

Bora flinched, as if I'd kicked her instead. "I… I made a promise. Can't go back on promises."

I wanted to know what she meant. I wanted to ask her a thousand other questions.  I wanted to ask her the question, the one I don't think I want answered, because if she answers the way I think she will…

"You've done a lot for me. For my baby. Thanks for that." I jammed an accusatory finger so forcefully into Bora's face that it nearly went up her nose. "But if you do anything to endanger Eve, or this town, I'll see ya strung up beside Jeffrey. You'll go ta hell together. Do you get me?"

Shrinking so much she looked like a chastised little girl, Bora nodded. She stepped out of the way so I could storm past. She's not going to be taking care of Eve anymore, I'll tell you that much.

Bora. I thought she was loyal to us. This hurts me… hurts me so much, that… gods… it's not happening again, is it…?

Tonight I visit Pagan. Tomorrow we have a trial, whether the fucking defence lawyer is ready or not.

Also, I may have kept the hat. It looks good on Eve.


Dragomir the Co-Mayor

1 comment:

  1. Wow...that's all kinda harsh. Hopefully Dragomir calms down a tad, Bora comes clean, Eve looks cool in her hat, and someone cleans up all the damn matchsticks lying around!