Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Day Six-Ninety-Eight: Tracker? I hardly know her

Lords above. This situation is heating up faster than I'd figured.

The tide of yesterday's discussion changed rapidly, and I suppose it changed because Nagi's safety was no longer the concern. Doc is a doctor; Doc can fix people. He can also fuck people up, I noted, but Libby was quick to point out that if he fucks Dragomir up, we will fuck him up. Seemed convincing enough to me.

Grim but eager, the crew began planning for the coming confrontation. Libby has ordered full speed to the Dauphine to get us to Doc's meeting place before Friday, and just about everyone has pitched in ideas for somehow blindsiding the Non and his entourage. There was also plenty of veiled discussion as to why Doc wants Dragomir so badly, but it died off as little more than wild speculation.

I didn't take part in most of this. I was drawn into a confrontation of a different kind. One that freaked the shit out of me.

I was chatting with Celine about how to kill a Non - I saw Eve kill a few in the hole, and it seems a pretty straightforward process - when Grylock came looking for us. At first he only wanted me, but he seemed to remember something and invited Celine along as well.

"Where we going?" I asked, wondering why he was leading us into Engineering. I could barely hear him over the grind of the Dauphine's gears.

"Back," he replied. "And in. I need help trappin' something."

"Trapping?" Celine's expression didn't change, but I recognized the interest in her voice. "What are we trapping?"

"Good question." Grylock patted the sheathed poisonheart at his side. "Let's find out."

The goblin took us well away from the engineers toiling in the heart of the Dauphine and into the fore cargo compartment. Normally filled to busting with food containers of all shapes and sizes, it's looking a little barren after so long without restocking. Hints of light slid through the edges of the Dauphine's front loading ramp.

"Celine, secure the hallway." Grylock removed the poisonheart, nodding with satisfaction as it dripped sizzling green and purple droplets onto the deck. "Arm yerself. You'll know what te stab when it comes at ye, I'm sure."

"Goody!" Celine retreated into the shadows. The last I saw of her was the glint of a blade. i caught the faint padding of footsteps somewhere behind me; doubtless Celine's secretive ninja had followed us down.

"Logan, middle of the room. That blowgun any good at close range?"

I slid the bowgun from its saddle on my back, thinking of its previous owner, a jaunty pirate. Long, wooden and somewhat unwieldy, it's more a novelty item than a weapon. "Not really. Can bludgeon somethin' to death, maybe. Why...?"

Shaking his head, Grylock pressed a finger to his lips. He stalked into a corner of the cargo bay, clenched the handle of the poisonheart in his teeth (gutsy little bastard), and disappeared against one of the walls. The faint 'thunk' of shifting wood reached my ears, and after that, a slow padding.

I waited, blowgun drawn, in the middle of the cargo bay. I felt more than a little foolish.

I'm not accustomed to skulking around in the open. I don't like it, not if I'm in a situation. I prefer the shadows. The shadows are safe. The shadows allow you to spy. The shadows allow you to avoid situations, whatever they might be. I prefer to creep around situations.

This, after three minutes of relative silence, was beginning to feel like a situation. And it only got worse when I heard the voice.


It came to me gradually. So gradually that I wondered if I was imagining it at first. You know when you step from a light place to a dark place and it takes a few moments for your eyes to adjust? It was kinda like that. At first I heard only the thrum of the Dauphine's wheels through the deck; then I heard a tittering whisper; then, as I strained my ears to catch more details, I noticed a distinct stream of words. Crazed, English words.


I tensed. My legs, perhaps smarter than my brain, slowly and quietly carried me over to a crate. I knelt and peered around the compartment, scanning the walls and ceiling for any sign of an interloper. I saw nothing.


Something above me BANGED open. I rolled away from the crate, unsure whether the move would carry me away from, or into, danger. A shrill scream filled the compartment, young and utterly inhuman, and a big, black shape dripped onto the floor to my right. Part of the ceiling fell down beside it -

- and Grylock flew down onto the deck, cursing. His poisonheart cut into the wood. "FUCK, GET IT!"

Rising, I brought the blowgun to bear, wielding it like a bo staff. I've used it as such a few times, but I'm pretty clumsy with it, and the hard wood shaft smacked down uselessly. The black blob was slithering away, flying between my legs and towards the hallway. It gibbered the name 'Kara' over and over again.

I lunged. The blob whirled to the side. Grylock, surprisingly agile, leaped across the room and attempted to impale the blob. It formed into a donut to avoid the tip of his blade, and lithe pseudopods emerged from its oily surface to smack the goblin aside. Grylock hit a box, fell, and groaned.

The blob reformed. For the briefest second I spotted the intermingled flash of a glowing green-and-purple core, sheathed somewhere inside its black body. That broke my hesitation, and I tried to smack it again, with no success. The thing wriggled out of the cargo compartment...

... but it didn't get far. Three figures converged on the blob as it slid up the left wall, and three blades pierced its jiggling membrane. A hole opened in the darkness, and it wailed miserably as Celine and her two ninja flung it back into the cargo compartment. Grylock finished the job with a swift stab of his poisonheart, and soon the gibbering was swallowed up by magic toxins.

Breathing hard, we gathered 'round the remains of the thing. The slick exterior had all but withered away, revealing a near-perfect, fleshy orb. Once bright green with a veiny suffusion of purple, it struggled weakly as a deeper, deadlier shade of violet engulfed its surface. It let out one last weak 'Kara' before dissolving completely.

I fell on my ass. "What... what in the hell was... what in the hell was that!?"

Coughing up a wodge of blood, Grylock sheathed the poisonheart and wiped his face. Rather than answer me, he turned to Celine. "Sorry, kiddo. I got 'er this time."

Celine shrugged. "My kill was more artistic. Yours lacked subtlety."

"Subtlety my shiny behind," the goblin retorted. "Nuthin' subtle 'bout slittin' throats. Ye've got a few things te learn before ye become a proper assassin, young lady."

"Dead is dead," Celine retorted.

"Most of the time. Not always, eh?"

They bickered a few moments longer before I cut in, grabbing Celine by the shoulders. "Explain."

Grylock poked me. "Still got the diary? Dragomir's diary?"

"... yes?"

"Look back 'round September of last year. Might fill in a thing're two." Without another word of explanation, he walked off to soak his aching bones in a bath. Celine also left, grumbling that she'd not 'finished the job'.

I went back and did some reading.



I don't know if that explains anything.

But... at least I know who Kara is, now...?

What the actual fuck,

Logan the Thief

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