Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Day Four-Seventy-Three: The Three Brusqueteers

Ahhh, home is closer, so close, so close I can almost taste it. I wonder what happened with the trial. Has a verdict been reached? Are verdicts usually reached on the first day? Probably not, but, I kinda hope it has. I'd like it to be over without me taking the stand.

And June. What the hell has she got planned? I still don't know much, but she's sitting on something big. Something important. Even if she won't say what it is, she'd better keep it away from The Baron's guys. She'd just better.

Libby. What're you up to? Is Grayson taking care of you? If he isn't… I'll surely do something. Something.

Lots of stuff. Lots of stuff happening. And I might be missing all of it. Stupid forest.

Back to the story.

The third day started off horribly unpleasant, because that's when we came across the man. The man and his tent.

He was an older man, with a bushy grey beard and more laugh lines than I've seen on a person. He must have been camping, because when we tromped into his little clearing in the forest he was stomping out a small fire. Not the smartest guy in the world - he hadn't even bothered to dig a fire pit - but harmless.

Harmless doesn't matter to Doc. It doesn't matter at all.

Doc's face broke apart into a massive, toothy smile the moment his glaring green eyes fell upon the man, and he ordered CeDrisArd to pin the guy. CeDrisArd's voluminous cloak is mostly gone, now, so I got my first look at its weaponry as the Cedric part of the creature used its huge werewolf arm to press the man against the ground. A small sword is rammed through Bernard's stitched-on reptilian arm, and he pointed it at the man's face to stop his struggles.

Blue made me look away. She didn't want me to see what gleeful Doc did to the guy. There were a lot of cutting sounds and a lot of screams, and when we walked away the clearing was painted red. Doc bitched for almost an hour about not finding 'parts of sufficient quality'. I pray to the gods that he's horribly murdered some day.

We stopped in the evening, as usual, Blue complaining that Doc was overworking her legs. Doc bitched back that they weren't making good enough time, and that if she'd been present at the cave like he'd planned they might have been able to skip all this walking nonsense and use their 'fast track' (more on that soon!) to return to the castle more quickly. More complaining ensued, and, ultimately, died down as they both went to sleep.

That left me to converse with CeDrisArd. A stranger chat I've not had in a long time.

Whispering, Cedric got the ball rolling. "Hey, fucktard. Good work getting yourself caught. This's what they've been waiting for, y'know."

Sneering, though in a friendly sort of way, I stuck my tongue out at my former captain. "Pfft, not my fault. You guys couldn't have warned me, or something?"

Bernard shook his head. "Naw. We can only talk 'n shit when that little bastard's not payin' attention. Or if he lets us. Which, y'know, he doesn't. Was right pissed when he found out 'bout Driscol, here, strollin' off to chat with his sissy. Ain't that right, Dris?"

Driscol grimaced and looked away. "Shut up. Talk to him, not to me."

And they talked. They talked as much as they could while Doc slept, telling me how they'd all died… and then, miraculously, been brought back to life. Cedric and Bernard vividly recalled the pain of being ripped in two by Omega Corpsers, and that pain hadn't much dulled upon being stitched together by Doc. Less intense, perhaps, but still so, so painful.

"How do you cope?" I asked, wincing.

"You don't," said Bernard, and he shed a fretful tear.

"Meh," said Driscol.

"Gets boring," said Cedric. "Four, five, six months of pain, after a while, who gives a shit?"

I smiled sadly. "You probably do, cap'n."

"Go fuck yourself, lazy-ass."

Since being cobbled together by Doc - though they can split apart, when necessary - CeDrisArd has been an active component of bringing down trouble kingdoms. Apparently their strength has been greatly amplified by Doc's tinkering, to the point that they could give the old Eve a good fight. A bit awkward in a scrap, perhaps, but pure brute force can overcome troops with straightforward battle tactics any day…

… especially when that brute force is backed by a legion of shadow.

They tried to tell me more, to explain what little they knew of the Non, but a stirring Doc drove the trio back into silence. They refused to talk any more that night, and I would have to wait until the next evening before I learned anything else.


Dragomir the Mayor

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