Monday, July 1, 2013

Day Four-Ninety-One: He's baaaaack

Bronze bells are much more pleasant than cannon blasts. It's a shame the former was quickly drowned out by the latter.

Jeffrey's verdict was never properly read last week. After Pagan ordered us all to our 'posts', whatever that meant, the occupants of his manor streamed out, the trial all but forgotten. I'd forgotten it, too, dashing down the road to the nearest section of wall I could reach. Explosions, explosions, explosions beyond the perimeter -

- and, from out of the forest, illuminated conveniently by a blast of lightning, an enormous figure. It yawned up and over the wall for a moment before the ill-held spears of two guards forced it back. Giant black claws raked at the wall and disappeared again.

Yells. Screams. Calls to arms by the broad-chested, bearded man whom I call my father. Every guard in town rushing to man the walls on all sides of Pubton, dozens of them, carrying their spears and looking too nervous. They obviously didn't listen to the rumours, the stories of the last siege, the warnings that maybe they shouldn't get work in Pubton.

Sprinting past the baker's house, screaming at Eve to STOP FOLLOWING ME, GO WITH EDMUND, I climbed onto the wall by ladder. A thundering crack from the heavens brought rain down on my head as I hit the top, and another flash of lightning turned everything white.

When the light faded, and I was standing beside one of the recruits, I got my first look at the forest between Pubton and the mountain. It should have been beautiful at this time of day, the leaves sparkling under a high sun. Instead it was dark and oppressive, the trees buckling under the force of powerful winds… and the weight of heavy hands.

Eyes looked back at me. Swirling, bouncing, liquid eyes, tinted the same vicious green I've come to associate with extreme badness. "They're just people," I tried to remind myself… but no. They're not JUST people. They're the Non.

A massive shadow claw reared out of the forest, attached to an enormous Non at least as tall as the wall. It smashed the stone between the recruit and I, knocking the poor lad off the wall and into a mound of straw. I tumbled to one side, hoping I looked like an expert warrior but suspecting that I better resembled a panicky hedgehog.

The Non propped its chin on the edge of the wall and laughed. I recognized the dull near-basso at once, even though I hadn't heard it in over a year.

"Brock!" Shuddering to my feet, trying not to slip on wet flagstones, I sneered. "You son of a bitch! Get outta here!"

The Non's head rolled, contorted, shrank, and transformed into the familiar square-jawed Royal Guard who'd once led me against a cadre of strikers. "Do I know you, pint-size?"

"Dragomir! The Co-Mayor! Formerly the Guard!"

Brock's head swivelled a full three-sixty, face contorting into all manner of weird configurations that will give me nightmares tonight. "Meh. Doesn't work for me. Bad memory, ya know. Happens when you live for a couple hundred years. What say I just call you 'Snack', eh?"

Human skin folded back into the darkness of the Non's face, and its circular head stretched upward, revealing a row of sharp teeth. I tried to roll off of the wall, but a team of tendrils shot out of Brock's mouth and caught my legs. They began to drag me towards the guillotine of his maw. Brock's laughing continued -

- but only for a second. Before I could reach the mouth there was a BANG in the distance, and a cannonball ripped through Brock's face, wiping out his eyes. The tendrils wrapping me up faltered, and I followed the recruit off of the wall and into the pile of hay. Seconds later, the resounding thud of Brock's body hitting the ground shook the wall.

So, yeah. Climbing up there wasn't a great idea. But I needed to confirm it. I needed to know it was them. And it was. Thank the gods that Queen Daena is an extremely good shot with her cannons.

The siege continues. After their initial assault, drawing all of our fire, the Non more or less retreated. They're hiding effortlessly in the forest. I don't dare send any guards out to hunt them down, because… well… I have no idea how many there are. There hasn't been any serious damage to the wall, and I thank Harold profusely for building it so well.

The entire town is on alert. More than just guards are taking shifts, watching the battle slowly unfold. The Non have attacked the wall at least seven times tonight, each time raising quite a racket and setting off a slew of traps… but never doing much hurt. None of our guards have even been killed.

I know why, too. The Non aren't trying to kill us. They're containing us. I don't know why they'd bother, but… we aren't their objective. Not really.

The mountain. I have to get to that mountain.


  1. Eve the warrior reappears soon, right? I mean, she'll still have the ability to express herself nicely, just that she can fight armies single-handedly. Right? Please!

    Oh, and Grayson releases Libby, and she constructs some super weapon. And June sends her army of people to help fight because it's better the Non stay far away from the mountain.

  2. Wow...what a dire'd be handy if a SLOTH-ZERKER would just wander by and help.

    (I just can't get the image of a Kilt wearing Sloth with Braveheart style face-paint and a big-ass sword out of my head XD)


  3. Totes forget who Brock is.
    Shame he's dead.

    1. His part was not huge. And now his head is gone.

      Also, yes, woot, Canada Day. I celebrated by working and listening to a nearby dog howl at fireworks.