Thursday, October 2, 2014

Day Seven-Sixty-Four: Always watching

“No. I don’t believe it.”

“Believe it,” Logan growled, exasperated and still chilled. “I watched her do it, Dragomir.”

“You saw someone do it, and Gok said her name.” Dragomir folded his arms. “It wasn’t her. I know her, Logan. She wouldn’t do that.”

Logan rubbed his cheeks. He’d returned to Dragomir’s hiding place in the swamp three hours after infiltrating Pubton, choosing a very careful route through the city to avoid the populace as they went back to life as usual. By the time he returned his father and Libby were both gone, off to investigate the mining colony of Pubtwon. Dragomir was conferring quietly with his diary when Logan returned to the muck and the trees, and he’d stubbornly refused to believe this most crucial point in Logan’s report.

I know her too, Dragomir,” Logan insisted. “I knew her a lot better ’n you ever did while I was growing up. Woman was a damned snake. Polite enough to me, I suppose, but I was the prince, for fuck’s sake. She was no better than her boy-toy Driscol, that’s for sure.”

“They’re brother ’n sister,” Dragomir muttered.

Logan’s eyes whipped open, and he pursed his lips. “What? Really? Since when?”

“Since ever. That’s how it works, I figure.” Dragomir shook his head. “Couldn’t have been her. ’n are you sure the guy’s name was Lonnie? Sure that he’s even dead?”

“You don’t fall six or seven storeys without dying, Dragomir.”

“You could.”

Most people can’t fall six or seven storeys without dying.” Wiping sweaty hair out of his eyes, Logan lightly punched a nearby tree. “The hell’s with you? I know what I saw. Doesn’t matter what you think, man, I know the facts.”

“Facts are never as simple as what you see and hear,” Dragomir replied. His face tightened, seemingly on the verge of betraying a fact of its own. “Anyway. Nevermind. Thanks for that. Now I need you to do somethin’ else, if you don’t mind.”

Logan laughed. Seating himself on a fallen log, he reached into a pack on the ground and grabbed a stale bagel. It went down well enough with a bit of mead from a wineskin. “This oughta be good. What?”

Dragomir didn’t answer at once. He flipped his diary shut, staring at the cover. It beamed up at him, its smile both reassuring and creepy. Its little legs kicked at his arms, and it wiggled in obvious delight. He seemed to take refuge in the expression, dipping into its happiness to gird himself for what he had to say next.

“I want you to kill Gok. Make it look like an accident.”

“… what?”

Setting the diary aside, Dragomir covered his face. “You heard me. Take… take him out, Logan. That’ll screw up their whole… command structure, or something… ’n we can use the confusion to slip in.”

Logan slowly drew away from Dragomir, rising off of his log and into a protective crouch. He couldn’t stop his eyes from forming into wide, lidless circles, and his lips twitched in horror. “You’ve gotta be kidding.”

Dragomir shook his head, and as Logan watched, the rat that had accompanied them slowly climbed up onto Dragomir’s shoulder. It looked no more unsettled by Dragomir’s words than if he’d ordered Logan to throw a surprise party for Gok, and Logan knew where the request was coming from. Him actually saying it, though…

Mouth dry, Logan quickly found a counterargument. “I… don’t think we need to go that far.”

The rat’s snout dipped in obvious disapproval. Dragomir didn’t look up. “You got something else in mind?”

“I… uh… well, Gok mentioned… rebellion.” Logan cleared his throat. “It sounded like that Lonnie guy was helping rebels. So… I figure… I can slip back in, and try and find them…? Bet they could help us retake the town, without… you know…”

The rat shook its head, quite adamantly. Dragomir, however, seemed to embrace the idea - at least in part. His eyes appeared between his fingers. “You think you can find ‘em?”

“I can try. Just give me a bit of time.” Logan offered a fake smile. “Maybe I can find a way to help your dad out, too. Maybe.”

The rat shook its head again, pointing to the diary. But Dragomir nodded, and without a word he waved Logan away. The look on the rat’s pinched face as Logan gathered his things hinted at a terrible conversation to come, one he was glad he’d be missing.

The return trip to Pubton took longer than before, as Logan was forced to adopt an alternate route. The guards he’d knocked out during his previous trek had obviously been found, and their numbers were redoubled. It took several hours of careful scaling and dangerous feints to get back into Pubton again, though in truth Logan relished the exercise. It felt natural, and far less cloak-and-dagger than his previous conversation. He could kill, yes, but assassinate? That was another thing altogether.

Logan was so wrapped up in avoiding goblins, as well as his plummeting opinion of his ‘leader’, that he completely failed to notice the birds observing him almost every step of the way. Their eyes twinkled a faint orange, and through them, a witch watched. She didn’t confront Logan until he was safely inside the city, planning out his next move behind a dilapidated granary.

“Hello, prince.”

Hunched over a barrel of tepid water, deciding whether he should drink some or not, Logan froze. His hand dipped to the sword dangling at his side, the motion so slight beneath his ragged cloak that it should have been imperceptible.

“Don’t bother,” the witch said, tapping one boot impatiently. “I can see you from every angle. You certainly grew up, didn’t you? Stand and turn around. Slowly.”

Cursing under his breath, Logan obeyed. He let his impromptu hood fall away from his face, putting on as charming a smile as he could manage when he spotted the woman standing nearby. “Oh, my darling, I’ve missed you. Such a beauty, as always, ma’am.”

Evangelina rolled her glowing orange eyes. She was dressed in a suit of leather armour, in the same dull green colour so typical of goblin ware, though much of her chest, belly, and legs were bare. Judging by the cut of the leather, Logan suspected that her backside was covered only by her flowing emerald cape.

Logan looked her up and down. “That’s… practical. Do you always dress this way for intruders?”

“I always dress this way for his majesty,” Evangelina replied, voice as dry as a drought. “He insists. And no, I don’t mean you, so don’t bother with a witty retort, o unruly son of the monarchy.”

“The goblins must love you,” Logan said, hands rising at a gesture from Evangelina. “Fetching. Bet you make a killing down at the ol’ whorehou - “

Logan’s crude comment died halfway out of his throat when something smashed into his head from the left. He let out a short yelp - and then another, when something else struck him from the right, then the left, then above and below. He clutched at his face, attempting to pry what felt like planks of wood from his skin, but they remained firmly fastened through some unknown force. Soon his head was encased in an unwieldy ball of twigs, branches, and sawed-up bits of lumber. He staggered and fell, unable to see, his breath choked out of his lungs.

“For your information,” Evangelina countered, now standing over Logan as he writhed at her feet, “most of the goblins find me repulsive. So this outfit isn’t a big deal. Still, I’ve been wanting to do this to someone for a long time. Always fun to reverse a familiar spell.”

Logan struggled, fingers clawing at the wood, but none of it would budge. Even the weakest branch seemed invincible compared to his waning strength. His body soon ran out of air, and when it did, he blacked out.


  1. FUUUUCK!! It HAS to be June, err, July! It HAS to be!!

    1. I will go through every month ere I leave this world.

    2. I meant the same thing. She'll have so many incarnations by the end...

  2. So Months (if you'll pardon the name, lol) has taken her own daughter's body now? I am remembering right when I think Evangeline was June's daughter, aren't I?