Thursday, June 6, 2013

Day Four-Seventy-Four: Worst nightmare

Almost home. Almost home. Almost home. So tired of forests and drinking dew and eating plants. I can't wait for a strong bowl of squid gruel. Can - not - wait.

Blue again complained about her legs the next day, demanding that we stop early. She's not built for a lot of walking in the forest, says she, and I know firsthand that she takes a fair number of tumbles. Tends to happen when your head is buried in the treetops half the time. Doc eventually agreed, probably knowing that she'd squash him to death if he tried to leave her behind.

Ha. Squashed. To death. That's a nice mental image. One swat would flatten the little prick. Ahh, potential good times.

The Non don't eat a whole lot, but they do need a bit of nutrition every few days. Doc, being the sadist he is, decided to hunt for game - and he forced Blue to go with him so she could scare game in the direction he wanted. Since this usually meant sitting down and frightening animals from one spot, Blue didn't mind this so much. Cedric and Bernard went with Doc to further pen in his prey.

This left me, alone, tied to a rock, with Driscol as my only company.

You have no idea how awkward that was. I've never liked Driscol, and he's never liked me. He used to call me The Baron's 'dog'. Back then I hated it because it wasn't true. In retrospect, I hate it because he was kinda right. I did The Baron's work for him.

Also, Driscol was a dickwad. Threaten me for spilling soup? The nerve.

Death didn't change Driscol much, and it took ten minutes of silent brooding before he finally wandered over to me. He's the middle section of CeDrisArd, so he has no arms. Looking at him… not pleasant. Not at all.

He caught me off guard with his first question. "How is my sister?"

I reeled. "… wh… what?"

"My sister. Evangelina.  Is she well? Have you let her out of prison?"

"Oh." I stared at the trees. Anything to not look at Driscol's scarred-and-stitched torso. "Uh. Yeah. She's fine. I, uh, um… let her out. Gave her a job."

"A job?"

"Yeah. Advisor. I'm… a mayor, y'know. She helps me."

Driscol sat and snorted. "I'm surprised. After the trouble we caused the kingdom, I thought you might not forgive her."

I laughed, thinking back to a monster made of sticks and baleful orange eyes. "Y'don't know the half of it."


"Nuthin'." I cleared my throat. "Bigger fish to fry, or whatever. You and your sister tryin' to take the kingdom from Jeffrey… hell, it was probably the right thing to do. Considering how it all turned out."

"Perhaps." He lapsed into silence for a few moments. "Though squabbling with The Baron and attempting to siege the castle was not the optimal route to success. Clearly."

"Clearly. D'ya know he tried to trick me into thinking you were behind all the shadow shit? Had your face on and everything. Could tell by his voice it wasn't you, but… y'know. He tried."

"Yes, I know." He swallowed. Sweat stood out on his veined brow. "I… I was there."


Driscol explained. After his 'suicidal' attack on The Baron in King Jeffrey's throne room, the would-be conqueror was supposed to reappear outside the castle. The spell was not actually suicidal…

… but it hadn't worked properly. Instead, he'd woken up in a coffin, the same coffin I'd found at the bottom of the hole, watched over by The Baron, Kierkegaard, and Eve. And there Driscol had remained, bound and trapped, until Doc came along and turned him into a pet project.

"Gods." I fidgeted as he finished his story, staring at the ground. "I wouldn't wish… being trapped in a coffin… on anybody. I'm sorry you went through all that."

"Mmm." Driscol shook his head. "I won't apologize for what I did, because I still believe it was right. You did what you did because you thought the same. So don't apologize. It won't change what happened. Live with it."

"Yeah…" I bit my lip. I didn't know what else to say, so I asked the question that had passed through my mind so many times. "What does he want with me, Driscol? What's The Baron planning?"

Driscol looked at me, and I forced myself to match the glare. Flecks of orange and green danced in his eyes, fighting for control, the orange always losing to the green. "I'm not sure. But I think it's more what he doesn't want for you. He doesn't want you in that town of yours."

"Pubton? Why?"

"Like I said, I don't know." His glare hardened. The old impulse to obey all nobles kicked in. Driscol is not Lonnie, I'll give him that. "But I can tell you this much. These things… the Non… they're coming for that mountain. Once they're done with one last kingdom, they're coming. And I suspect they'll happily flatten your shitty little burg in the process."


Dragomir the Mayor

No comments:

Post a Comment