Friday, April 10, 2015

Day Eight-Forty-Four: Comeback

Miraculously, the Non did not all die. But the majority fell.

Eve’s arrival on the battlefield was a windfall for Dragomir’s forces. Knocking zombies aside she leaped at the Non, slashing mercilessly at her fellow Non with her battle axe. The axe itself was no big deal - it was, instead, Eve’s speed and ferocity that felled her foes, and within a minute of her arrival she’d gutted four smaller Non and decapitated one of the larger guardians. More would follow, even after Eve’s axe crumbled away in her hands.

The werewolves, therefore, were simply overkill. Swarming over the Non ranks, their savage claws and merciless ferocity drove the enemy steadily backward, never quite enough to overwhelm the Non but certainly enough to force them into retreat. In many cases they served as barriers for the Non, giving Eve time enough to turn her attention to key sections of the battlefield and swoop down upon her targets.

The Non on the ground did not last long. The Non in the air, safe from Eve and the werewolves, flitted away without a word. As their darkened forms swooped away from the battlefield, Logan came across Dragomir.

The older man was watching the battle from atop what appeared to be a half-crumbled plateau, one hand over his eyes to block out the sun. His diary was hopping about at Dragomir’s feet, smacking into his ankles. Dragomir was motionless and silent, though he offered Logan a small nod. “Hey. Surprise surprise, meetin’ you here.”

Logan joined Dragomir in watching the rout-in-progress, though he concentrated on the Sky Bitch as it soared above the plains, taking potshots at the fleeing Non fliers. “Yeah. Fancy that. Your little girl brought us, as surely as if she was a freakin’ bloodhound.”

“Huh.” Dragomir half smiled. “Well. That’s… well. Makes me a bit warm inside. Nice to know she still cares.”

“She does. In her weird way.” Logan cocked his head. “Onea the only people who hasn’t changed a hell of a lot since I met her. Nice to have some continuity.”

If he got the jibe, Dragomir didn’t acknowledge it. He immediately changed the conversation. “Those’re werewolves.”

“Yep, sure are. Don’t worry, they’re on my side.” Logan coughed. “Fynn might be controlling ‘em.”

Dragomir raised his eyebrows. “Really. That’s… something. How long can he control ‘em for?”

Shrugging, Logan hunted for the tall boy in the crowd. He spotted Fynn’s over-large frame amid a cluster of werewolves, a shimmering veil of green surrounding the whole group. “Doesn’t seem to have a limit. His new partner’s kinda practiced at this sorta thing.”


“It’s a long story.” Logan smiled. “Your kid’s grown up, man. You should be proud.”

“I don’t think he’s even two yet,” Dragomir grumbled. “But never mind that. We have bigger problems.”

Logan narrowed his eyes at Dragomir’s somewhat dismissive attitude towards his own son. They narrowed further yet when Dragomir raised his left hand, which, Logan realized, was holding something: the fat, unmoving body of a rat. It was suspended by its tail, and its eyes looked flat and vacant, a marked contrast from the usual shrewd expression carried by the creatures.

“Is it dead?” Logan poked at the rat. “Y’know, even though we fed dead rats to the live ones back home I don’t think I’ve ever seen a rat corpse.”

“It’s not dead,” Dragomir replied. “Well. Might be brain dead. But its body still works. It went kinda flopsy during the fight, useless bastard. Gave me a chance to try somethin’ I’ve been wanting to do for a while.”

Setting the rat on the ground, Dragomir motioned for the diary. It skittered over to his hands, a quill whipping excitedly in its tail. Dragomir ignored the quill, however, and popped the diary open without any apparent desire to write in the thing. Logan sympathized with the creature - its desires were so simple as to be pathetic.

“I guess it’s ‘cause it’s made out of rat skin,” Dragomir said, “but this diary’s obviously connected to the rats in a big way. They use it to talk to me all the time, ’n it has the same animal controlling powery bullshit the rats have. So for a long time now I’ve been wonderin’ if the diary can connect to the rats like the rats can connect to it. Didn’t wanna test it with a live rat, though.”

Logan shook his head. “You sure your, uh, diary, can do something like that? It’s just a book…”

Flipping closed for a moment, the diary offered Logan a silent raspberry, its face puckering up. He wondered again how he’d never noticed its eccentricities before.

“I know it can,” Dragomir continued, “because we already tried. A couple minutes ‘fore you showed up. Didn’t seem like there was anything I could do ‘bout the battle; figured I would give it a try. Now I’m regrettin’ it.”

Dragomir flipped through the diary idly. He seemed to Logan to be avoiding one particular page, flitting back and forth through entries almost a year old. “Didn’t have to do much. All I asked was ‘Can you tell me what’s wrong with the rats?’ ‘cause they’re definitely fucked up these days. It went rigid for a sec, ’n I thought maybe I’d, I dunno, broken it…”

Dragomir took a breath. “… but I hadn’t. It just needed a second to process, I guess. But it walked right over to the rat, ’n their tails wrapped together, and, well, shit. Then it started drawing in itself.”

Logan stepped in close as Dragomir opened the diary to the page he’d obviously been avoiding. On it was a meticulous, damn near beautiful sketch of a tower, one so oddly sculpted that Logan knew he’d never seen its like in real life. Around the tower floated dozens of small, yet instantly-identifiable rats, their tails connected to the base of the tower. Hovering at the top of the tower was a face of a young man, one Logan recognized at once. He had, after all, watched the young man die.

“Aw, hell, you’ve gotta be kidding me,” Logan moaned. The symbolism was obvious enough. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

“Nope.” Dragomir shook his head. “Grayson strikes again. We’ve been workin’ for him this whole time, the little bastard.”

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