Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Day Five-Thirty-Two: The Gob with the Golden Nose

Thank the gods for Grylock and his nose. He might be a belligerent, insulting drunk, but I'll be damned if he's not useful.

Our resident goblin has some of the best eyes in the group, despite his thick glasses. I've theorized that he doesn't have bad eyes, but that the glasses actually magnify Grylock's vision. He tends to notice things that other people miss, and loves pointing out how goblins are superior to humans in that respect. (And most respects. Grylock's pretty racist, isn't he?)

In this case, Grylock caught slight, slight movement in one of the buildings.

We were prepping to head out after a day of fruitless searching when the little green bastard came charging up to me on his boar. "Oi, fearful leader! I think I've got something!"

I winced as the boar skidded to a stop and promptly began to lick my boots. It has a bizarre fascination with my footwear. "Dammit, cut that out. What's up, Grylock? Find anybody?"

"Maybe." Grylock pointed over his shoulder, towards the row of empty stores. He winced a little as he made the gesture - the countless bruises peppering his skin haven't quite cleared from his shoulders. "Saw a shadow movin' in that general shop over yonder. I tried to be sneaky, but it must've seen me. Up and scurried off when I moved in too close. Care to go for a look-see, m'lad?"

I nodded. Calling over a few more bodies, all lightly armed in case of trouble, I followed Grylock through the front door of the shop.

I don't think 'shop' is quite sufficient a word for the place, really. It was a grocery store, and quite a large one at that. Only scarcely lit by a pall of misty light from the broken windows, the space was filled with rows of nondescript wooden shelves. Most of them were at least partially tipped over, if not outright smashed to pieces. I'd assigned Edmund to survey the place yesterday, and he came back to me with a negative report. Nothing of value or interest inside.

Grylock hopped off of his boar and took the lead, sliding through the runs more easily than anyone else. His nose rose into the air, sniffing tentatively, guiding him on a track none of us could see. He muttered to himself as he went, and his voice only rose to audible range when he reached the rear storeroom. He waved us over.

"S'in here, Dragomir." Grylock pointed into the vacant back room. "Somebody's in here. I can smell jam. Strawberry, maybe. And… hell, they had chicken in here at some point, but not anymore…"

I rolled my eyes and stepped inside. It was not a large space, maybe ten feet deep, and there were few hiding spots. I checked them all and found no one.

"Well?" I asked, turning back to Grylock. "Where's this mystery shadow o' yours?"

Scowling, Grylock dropped carefully to his knees (gotta love bruises) and sniffed at the floorboards. His thin fingers ran along the wood… stopped briefly as they met a splinter, which he's been working at ever since… and collided with a thin, almost imperceptible seam in the floor.

I waved my fellow travellers forward, into the storeroom. They took up positions around the seam, which, we quickly realized, was part of a small trapdoor set into the floor. I stepped out to give everyone more room, as well as to block the door, and Grylock used his poisonheart short sword to discretely pry the latch open.

Tension. Quiet. Poised weapons. My bladder, ready to flood should something horrible pop out.

The door clanked open.

Nothing came out.

Grylock looked first. Rising slightly, he peeked his nose over the gap in the floor and tilted his head. Those fantastic eyes of his stared down into the darkness.

"C'mon up, kid. Nobody's gonna hurt ye."

At the sound of 'kid' I stepped back into the storeroom. Shouldering past one of the labourers, I peered into the trapdoor. At the bottom, huddled amongst a small stash of crates, was a small girl, her dirty face almost buried in a thick mane of dark hair. She cringed when I came into view, her eyes wide and uncomprehending.

Memories. So many memories came back when I saw her. It's not her, I know it isn't, but… but…


Getting the girl out of her little hideaway was no easy task. She fought like a caged beast, struggling and screaming and biting as friendly hands tried to gently restrain her. After five minutes of one-sided abuse we managed to haul her out of her hole, and when the light hit her she fainted dead away. We've taken her, and the small stash of supplies we found her with, back to the Dauphine.

According to our onboard medic, the girl's in okay shape. A little malnourished, maybe, but her body's working the way it should. Her mind's quite fucked, though, and at the moment she's trapped in a wide-eyed stupor. Each person aboard is taking a one-hour shift to keep an eye on her while she recovers in the Dauphine's little medical hold. (I'm just hoping she doesn't come to again in the middle of the night and go on a rampage through the ship.)

We're leaving Vacia tomorrow. Grylock's personally been through all of the buildings, and he's confirmed that there are no more recent traces of human scent. My hope is that we can get this little girl to tell us what happened, but at this point, I won't hold my breath.

Little girls.

Kinda tired of little girls.

They're always more than meets the eye.


Dragomir the Wanderer


  1. I did it, I'm finally up to date.

    1. Oh man. I don't think I've ever seen that cartoon before. M. Bison looks so... so... so.

  2. Replies
    1. She's a bit less annoying than that, I hope.