Friday, September 13, 2013

Day Five-Hundred-Thirty: Obvious mystery is obvious

The pee. The pee should've been the clue. Gods, it was so obvious. Why didn't I pin it on him earlier?

One of Celine's ninjas (or is it ninja? She corrected me on the pluralisation, though I dunno if she's right) came to fetch me after breakfast, tapping me on the shoulder and greeting me with a brief "She summons you". It was one of the few times I've ever seen one of them out in the open, and judging by the way she kept peeking over her shoulder, I suspect walking around exposed feels unnatural. Though, uh, I doubt she has much to fear, considering she's got a cool-ass sword strapped to her back.

The ninja led me down into Engineering, which I'd ordered sealed off until Celine gave us the okay to recommence operations. My work shifts end around 3 and I don't usually visit Engineering in the night, so it was strange to go down and find the guts of our great machine at rest.

The ninja guided me through a maze of gears, pulleys and levers to the rear of the Dauphine. Glimpses of light peeked through the wall where the aft loading door waited for the command to open. Pinned to the wall beside the door, flanked by three ninja and Celine herself, was Grylock.

 I gaped, but only for a second. In that second logic caught up, and it all made perfect sense.

If there's one person on the Dauphine with a justifiable reason to hate Jeffrey, it's Grylock. Jeffrey has inflicted pain upon all of us in the past, but Jeffrey humiliated Grylock, what with the whole mooning-the-kingdom-from-the-king's-tower-in-the-dead-of-Winter thing. Jeffrey was also responsible for loosing Eve on the goblins who attacked our castle, no doubt killing at least a few of Grylock's friends.

Also? Jeffrey kinda spearheaded the digging process that unleashed the Non on the world. Bad resume, that.

I halted in front of the goblin and shook my head. "Let 'im down, Celine. C'mon now."

Celine nodded to her entourage. They removed several strategically-placed spikes from Grylock's clothes, and he flopped down onto the deck. Seconds later the ninjas were gone.

"When we caught up with him, he was attempting to pour a bucket of scalding hot water on my father's head." Celine nudged Grylock with her toe. "I suspect it would have left substantial burns."

I stooped to investigate Grylock. "This true?"

I expected the goblin to withhold an answer. Barring that, he would unleash a torrent of denials or complaints meant to deflect the issue. Instead, he grinned and nodded, wincing at the bloom of dark green bruises on his face, neck, arms, legs, annnnnd probably other places. I'm not sure I want to know what was done to him to cause such damage.

Lending him an arm, I helped Grylock to his feet. Celine handed him his walking stick and his poisonheart. He took them without apparent malice - indeed, he seemed almost respectful. He sighed and leaned on his walking stick, cradling his head.

I gave him a few seconds to get his bearings before speaking again. "Why'd you do it all, Grylock? I know why, but… why? Why, after all this time?"

"He deserved it," Grylock croaked. "He's a shithead and he deserved it. And a whole lot more that he didn't get."

"His trial is over," Celine noted. "The ruling body of Pubton absolved my father of all charges. If punishment rests in the hands of anyone, here, it is Mud. Not you."

Grylock raised a considerable eyebrow at the name 'Mud'. I shrugged. "'Mud' has retired. He doesn't have political jurisdiction over me, nor anyone else. 'sides, I never said I was workin' on the side of the law. 'n if I feel like it, I'll do it again."

"I understand." Celine smiled. "I will stand between you and my father. If I catch you harming him again, I will act accordingly. You will not enjoy the results."

"And I'll toss you out of the Dauphine," I added. It seemed a rather lame addendum to Celine's veiled threat, but as the de facto leader of this whole thing, I needed to say something.

Grylock ignored me. He was fixated on Celine. "You're a tough little bitch, y'know that? Remind me of your brother. Bit less emotional, maybe, but the spark is definitely there. Cheers to ya."

Celine curtsied.

The pranks stopped there. Grylock promised not to do anything else to Jeffrey so long as Celine's around. He also promised that he might renege on his vow the moment she's distracted. Celine accepted this with restrained cheer, shook Grylock's hand, smiled widely when he groaned at her touch, and skipped away. I daresay they're now rivals, of a sort, and I fear what their friendly grudge will breed in the coming months.

I tried again to warn Grylock not to do anything to Jeffrey. He tried to piss on my shoe. Neither succeeded. Stalemate.

So that's that. The pranks have been resolved. I kept the culprit's identity a secret, as we really, really need Grylock to stick around, and I don't want him to become the centre of some anti-Jeffrey movement. I'm pretty sure Celine can control him. I hope she can control him.

It's so much fun to have your comrades fighting each other. Really, it is.


Dragomir the Wanderer


  1. Y'know, I really like the addition of what's going on with Eve and The Baron because it means there's so much happening that will eventually affect Drago and the gang. Setting up for the future and keeping us aware of the outside world.

    1. These Friday panels were a last-minute addition. They were never part of the planning process for the new season - all I have is a text file outlining, for my own convenience, what's happening elsewhere in the world. But I knew that a year without at LEAST Eve would be tantamount to heresy, given her popularity, so there you go. Friday panels.

      I have fun with them, so I'm glad I conjured up the idea. The Baron, didn't have much to do in the second season, and I didn't want him idle in season three as well.

  2. Replies
    1. Yeah, the pee is kind of his trademark. Not terribly original, is Grylock, but we all love the little bastard.