Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Day Six-Fifty-Two: Dreamtime

Well, that's verified. The sloth is on the move.

Lacking any other form of entertainment, I slept the morning away. What else could I do? Celine is out of things to talk about, and the other nearby prisoners are too lewd or too nutty to offer good conversation. One fellow offered to boil my chickens for a half pence and three metal logs. What the hell are any of those things? So, yeah, I slept. I slept as long as I wanted.

I dreamed of Eve. My almost-wife. She must be... two-and-a-half years old, now. How sick is it to be married to someone that young? Granted, I hear she's grown these days... but still... that's just weird. 

In the dream, Eve and I were on a picnic. Very similar to the one I'd set up back home, in fact, up on the ramparts. I was sipping wine; she was pounding a velociraptor to death. Good times.

"Hearty spirits," I'd said, lifting my glass in a toast - and wiping a spray of raptor drool from my tunic. "These are the best of times."

Eve looked up from her kill, face painted in blood. "You should duck."

I smiled. "What did you say, my dear? I fear I did not quite hear you."

Eve casually hurled the raptor's remains over the ramparts. "You should duck. Drags sees you ducking; you should really listen to him."

"Drags, ma'am? Whomever might that be?" I took a sip, relishing the salty pop of bubbles stinging my tongue.

"Drags." Eve shook her head. "He has nightmares. In one of them, you lose your head. Because you didn't duck. So you should duck."

I laughed, sipping more. Ahhh, sweet opulence. "And why should I duck, hmmm?"

"Because the wall in your cell is about to collapse." Eve paused, smiled, and dissolved. "Say hi to Drags for me. I hope he sets me free again soon."

My eyes popped open instantly. The diary was leaning open against my chest. I hadn't been reading it, so I had to assume it'd crawled up onto me.


I screamed "DUCK!" and hit the ground mere seconds before the ceiling was ripped clean away from my cell. I felt dimly nauseous as a great, tumbling something hurtled over my head, crushing the walls of my cell as though they were made of paper. Stone flew and fell, sprayed in all directions, and I was only saved by my fantastic reflexes. I rolled towards the splintered remains of my door as the ceiling caved in, popping up and out into the hallway as my cell became a would-be tomb. 

I ran. Celine, freed from her own cell by the same mystery projectile, joined me. The dungeons crumbled around us. Prisoners who'd survived the initial attack screamed for help; we ignored them. I'm not sorry I did, but I still feel bad.

As far as I can tell, the northwest wing of the Imperium's palace has collapsed. After a great deal of picking through rubble and dodging debris Celine and I managed to quietly reach the third floor of the palace, and from here we spied the remains of a massive section of Rodentia's outer wall. It had ripped into the palace at an angle, apparently hurled with tremendous force through a dozen city blocks. Easily several thousand tonnes of stone, chucked with the casual clumsiness of a testy toddler chucking a stuffed animal across a room.

We looked out onto the city from an abandoned perch, the remains of an opulent corridor filled with busts of long-dead Imperium generals. Much of the stonework had collapsed, puking blocks into a vast pile of debris far below. Even further below the Imperium's army scrambled like ants, attempting to mobilize, to repair, to do... something.

I whistled, propping my chin on this diary. "Helluva thing, a sloth. We're lucky to be alive."

"We are." Celine cocked her head. "You knew when to duck. How?"

I shrugged. "Intuition?"


Celine grabbed the diary away from me. Popping it open, she stuffed a wad of toilet paper covered in writing inside. Then she handed it back.

"The hell's this?"

"The missing day, of course. I wouldn't want Mud's diary to go without."

Mud. Oh, Mud.

As far as I can tell, the palace is currently being evacuated. There are no guards in the remains of the dungeon, which is much more spacious than I'd anticipated. I don't think the crew of the Dauphine has been killed - but we don't know exactly where they are, either. Celine and I will have to play hide-and-seek with the guards while we look for our wayward chums, as well as our confiscated gear.

But, hey, look on the bright side. We did escape.


Logan the Thief

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