Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Day Five-Hundred-Eight: Mystery Wife

Getting the people of Pubtwon back? Great stuff. Learning that we now have free reign over a major source of valuable metals? Peachy. Discovering that the population of Pubton continues to grow, because we're now the only existing settlement within a hundred miles? Fan-fucking-tastic.

None of this seems to matter to me, though. Because, gods help me, I'm too damn curious about what Dragomir, his platypus, and his wife - yes, his wife, Libertine's in on it - are doing. Something is up.

I know I said that I trust Dragomir. I trust him to do right by us. If he's keeping his cards wedged so tightly to his chest that he'll have clubs, spades, hearts and diamonds stuck in his chest hair for the rest of his life, then, sure. It's probably for a good reason. But I want to know what that reason is. To hell with Bora, I WANT TO KNOW.

So… I may have… been… spying. On the house. This may be a thing that I'm doing.

Yes, I know. I'm a noblewoman. I should not stoop to such lows. I should be refined, and gentile, and honourable. Kneeling in the mud outside some guy's house and trying to peer through his windows is none of those things. But I'm also a witch, a bitch of the wilds, and in that role I feel perfectly justified having mud on my boots.

And slouching in the rain.

And hiding under a windowsill.

And… waiting for Dragomir's mail. So I can open it first.


Critique me if you want, but this is the stuff I was raised to do. Mysterious though she was, my mother didn't hide that she loved information. She taught Driscol and I the subtleties of communiqués, of interpreting large messages from tiny gestures. I can miss a whole lot if I don't pay attention to what's going on, and I don't trust anyone in this town enough to do my spying for me.

And you know what? It paid off. Because today, for the first time in several months, I got a look at Libby.

If Dragomir has been reclusive and aloof since the Non attack, Libby has been a non-entity. A freaking ghost. She appeared at the battle, and a few people claimed to have seen her beating up her son… and everyone saw Dragomir embrace her, and pull her into his house… and that's it. Nothing more. For a visible workaholic like Libby, that's unusual.

Dragomir and Plato disappeared into the forest again in the early evening, and I knew following them wouldn't much help me. Instead, I gambled on Libby making an appearance outside the house, if only for a few seconds, to tend to… something. Anything. I didn't know what. I just knew that it was difficult for anybody to remain indoors, alone, without nothing to do, for three or more hours.

As the sun dipped below the horizon and darkness came, the front door opened. A cloaked, hooded figure stepped out onto the front deck of the house. It clicked the door shut and sat quietly on the bench by the door, so silent and still that it could easily have been mistaken for a sack of potatoes. A really big sack.

I'd been hiding UNDER the deck, and when Libby appeared, I crawled out. She noticed me, but didn't flee.

Dusting the dirt off of my clothes, I waved. "Libby, right?"

She paused a moment, pulling the hood tighter over her face, and nodded.

"Hi. Mind if I sit down?"

She shook her head. No sign of the telltale eyes, so like her daughter's. May that little girl, talking head or no talking head, rest in peace.

"Thanks." I gave her a reasonable amount of space. No point spooking her. "How are you doing?"

A small shake of the head.

"Yeah. That's what I figured." I clasped my hands together and looked out at the street. "Is Dragomir home?"

The tip of the cloak wagged in my direction. 'You already know the answer to that', basically.

I shrugged. "Okay, okay. So I hid under your porch. Old habits die hard. Do you know what he's up to?"

No movement. A long, cold stare in my direction, the intensity of her pupils suddenly appearing beneath the hood. I didn't avert my own eyes, but I was chilled. I've seen Libby's muscles at work before. I might be fast on my feet, but if she ever pinned me…

I smiled, attempting to soften the situation. "I just want to know in case I can help. That's all. We all want to help."

Libby turned away again, peering over the houses across the road. I imagine she was waiting up for Dragomir, wondering when he would come home. I waited with her in silence, at first anxious, but soon envisioning Pubton as a town of stone and brickwork, with paved roads and a set of walls that would put most castles to shame.

Yes. Maybe one day, that could happen. One day.

Dragomir came home an hour later. He quietly led Libby back into the house… though he offered me the tiniest smile as he passed. I guess that's a start.

But it's still not enough.


Evangelina the Co-Mayor (and Spy)

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