Monday, February 9, 2015

Day Eight-Hundred-Eighteen: And that makes three

Logan, Fynn, and Eve wandered. Though if nothing else they wandered per orders, which was better than wandering without purpose.

Left crushed and bewildered by the revelation of Dragomir’s heritage, young man and boy alike parted ways with the Sky Bitch less than half an hour after their meeting with Dragomir and Libby. Logan wanted time to reassess his relationship with Dragomir’s campaign; Fynn wanted time to reassess his self-image, having learned, definitively, that he was at least part Non.

Though content to let Logan go, Libby campaigned hard to keep her son close at hand. She became so violent that she needed to be sedated, for her safety and the safety of the crew. Dragomir took responsibility in the end, and he bore the scars of her vengeance for several weeks. 

It was ultimately the rats who sent Logan and Fynn on their way. Curiously content to see both men gone, one of the rats’ pint-sized representatives ordered them to investigate a disturbing lack of communication from a city to the southwest, deeper inside Imperium territory and ostensibly unthreatened by the Non push. Logan seized on the mission with zeal, a small part of him hoping he might find an excuse - a good excuse - to just ditch the war and return to his freewheeling lifestyle of the previous year. Fynn simply wanted out for a while, and agreed to stick with Logan.

Eve went along because she was Eve. Nothing Logan or Dragomir said could dissuade her from leaving with the boys. She offered no explanation that even Fynn, with his magical Eve dictionary, could understand. Indeed, she was curiously silent as they hopped onto a dragon and sailed most of the way to their destination. The three didn’t speak much along the way, though Fynn made some attempts to teach Eve how to play Old Maid.

“Wasting your time, kid,” Logan commented, leaning back in his dragon-moulded seat and digging dirt out of his nails with a small knife. “Eve doesn’t do what she doesn’t wanna do. Trust me, I know.”

“That’s… well…” Seated across from his sister with a clutch of cards in his hands, his bushy hair whipping about in the wind, Fynn sneaked a quick peek at Eve’s eyes. She was staring straight at him, forcing him to drop his gaze. “You don’t know. Maybe she’s okay with it.”

Logan looked over his shoulder. “Doesn’t look like it. Hell, looks like you’re lucky she hasn’t pitched you overboard.”

Eye blinked.

“She’s not…” Fynn coughed, tightening his jacket around his shoulders. The air stung his skin. “Well, okay, she is like that, but she’s not like that now. Right?”

Eve cocked her head, blinked again, and sniffed. Violent neutrality ruled her expression. Eventually she tossed the cards Fynn had pressed into her hands over her shoulder, and they flicked off into the creamy purple clouds behind the dragon and out of sight.

“Er… okay.” Fynn sighed. “Now I need new a new deck. Great. Thanks, uh, sis.”

The dragon, a bushy, orange creature that looked like a cat interbred with a winged snake, deposited the trio ten miles north of their destination, beside a massive, gnarled tree. Their only other companion, a rat that had nestled itself in the dragon’s tufted neck ruff, emerged to speak to them through the dragon in deep, grating tones once they’d landed.

“Return here in three days,” it said, its hot breath almost comforting as a counterpoint to the biting wind of the wintery plains. “I will have completed duties elsewhere, and will be waiting to pick you up. We will be… anxious… to hear your report on the region.”

Logan hefted his pack, wondering if he should offer the rat a smile, a salute, or some other show of confidence. He decided he didn’t like rats enough to bother, however, and frowned. “I still find it hard to believe you don’t have any rats out here to scout. There must be billions of you little buggers.”

The dragon’s shining white eyes narrowed. “We are occupied with the war. Domestic issues such as what may plague this region are of secondary concern.”

“Yeah, I guess you’re too busy sendin’ ill-prepped airships into combat against superior forces,” Logan said, shrugging. “Or shackin’ up with Non half-and-halfs.”

“Are you questioning our methods?” The dragon’s lips curled back, revealing long rows of smooth, sharp teeth.

“Oh, no, heavens forefend.” Logan held up his hands, not bothering to hide his sarcasm. “I would never imply you’re in bed with the enemy or nuthin’. No sir.”

The dragon reared back, the tiny rat on its head blazing anger… but it seemed to think better of lashing out, and, slowly, it sank back to the ground. Its teeth disappeared, as though sheathed, but fury dripped from every word it spoke next, and its eyes twitched. “You are… quite… the rascal. Your dedication to the preservation of balance… is… questionable. At best.”

Logan’s eyebrows narrowed. Nevertheless, he gave up and simply bowed his head. Gods above, this thing talks like it’s a lunatic. Maybe ‘cause there’s only the one rat in charge? Harder to control a dragon alone? Either way, better not push it. I bet Eve could take a dragon, but I don’t wanna find out.

“Three days,” the dragon repeated, its wings spreading. “Return by sundown. Any longer… and you will not find us here.”

The dragon darted into the sky, pushing up massive clouds of snow that nearly buried Logan, Fynn, and Eve. All three leaped out of the way, Eve dragging Fynn along with a light flick of her wrist. They watched the orange beast streak into the clouds, wheel around once to get its bearing, and disappear into the east. Some unspoken rule dictated they wait in silence until the dragon was gone.

“Well,” Logan said, adjusting his backpack. “That’s that. We go south. What’s this place called again?”

“Uhhh…” Fynn tapped his head as he straightened his own gear. He wore an expression of perpetual worry, one that had decorated his face since they’d left the Sky Bitch the previous day. Logan suspected it had something to do with Fynn’s mother. “Forebode? Forlorned? Fore something.”

“Ah.” Logan shrugged. “Well, that’s good enough. C’mon, kiddos, let’s get lost in semi-suburbia.”


  1. Finally caught up! Man, binging the archives was an adventure. Loved every moment of it and I can't wait to read more.

    1. Yeesh, that must have been a hell of a binge. Welcome to the present; hope you enjoy the remainder of the story. Everything falls apart from here.