Despite the joy of the evening, Dragomir had no intention of joining in.
The people of Pubton were out in droves. Robbed of good news for months, the humans, goblins, orcs, and snake people had congregated in the streets to welcome the heroes of the campaign against the Non. Most of the heroes were sleeping by now, granted, but that didn’t stop anyone from having a party. It was an unusual display of solidarity in a town often split between goblins and everyone else, and racial tensions were set aside for a few hours. No one remarked on the fact that they’d been united by a common hatred of yet another race, as that would no doubt put a damper on the festivities.
Dragomir wanted to avoid it all. He knew if he was spotted that he would be hailed as some sort of savior. He was, after all, the most visible leader of the war effort against the Non - or at least he was here.
Risking a transformation into his Non form, Dragomir took to the rooftops of Pubton, hopping stealthily from one home to another, hiding behind cobblestone chimneys and tall weathervanes whenever someone came into view on the streets below. Everyone was very drunk, so it wasn’t too difficult for a shadow to go unseen amongst shadows. Dragomir watched the party-goers with glittering green eyes, a mixture of contempt and longing swirling beneath his eyelids.
Yet, he mused, leaping from the roof of a smithy to the town barracks, that ain’t really what’s bothering me. I shouldn’t give two craps ‘bout these people. They aren’t at fault. That prize goes to someone -
Sparks erupted from Dragomir’s fingers as he landed, swirling around his hand at a frenetic pace. Dragomir gasped, nearly losing his footing as he landed on the edge of the barracks, and he slumped forward to avoid spilling into the street. The sudden, pixelated storm chewed at the roofing, ripping gashes in the wood, and Dragomir forced his arm into the air with a pained grunt. His vision, normally a faint tinge of green as a Non, nearly whited out entirely. He gasped, concentrating on consciousness. How would he explain skulking about on rooftops the next day, after all? He needed to stay awake.
Focus kept him awake. Focus allowed him to shut down the coruscating Catastrophe after several moments of strain. Focus forced Dragomir back onto this feet, panting, glaring at anything and everything that could serve as a source of blame for his current condition. A wad of dried dove poo atop the barracks did the job.
I hate you, Dragomir thought, glaring at the poo. Lemme think about that for a moment. I hate the shit out of you, ’n that’s why I need to keep it together.
The poo did not respond to Dragomir’s mental hatred. it did not seem to have much of an opinion about anything.
After a few seconds of concentrated dislike, Dragomir sighed, shoulders sagging. The pain in his head subsided a little, and the tingling sensation in his arm faded. The sparks of the Catastrophe took several more seconds to disappear entirely, but they stopped ripping away at reality itself, and Dragomir contented himself with the fact.
“Gotta stop doin’ that,” he said, quietly, to the poo. “’s gonna kill me, if I keep using that thing. Whether I mean to or not.”
The poo neither validated or refuted Dragomir’s beliefs on the subject. It was, he thought, a good listener. He liked that, because people seemed too bent on offering opinions and ideas these days.
Why don’t we send this contingent of zombies east? They could cut off the Non supply lines. We know they have at least a minimal supply line.
Why not send people off to find the dragons? Maybe they’ll fight for us again. Freely, this time.
What if we gathered up a bunch of rats? Sure, they aren’t smart anymore, but maybe they still have some power in ‘em. We could use that. Maybe.
I still think we should levy some sort of mercenaries’ fee on our services. Bill it to the Imperium. I mean, hell, we barely get paid as it is -
The ship is a mess. Repairs, that’s what’s needed. And some upgrades! Upgrades would be great on this tub. I’d like a sun room, personally -
If we borrowed some cannons, we could really -
Maybe we should get a -
Hey, look, listen to this -
Are you listening?
Dragomir, I -
I think we need rocks. Big rocks. We could throw the rocks.
Dragomir stopped. His hands had been shaking hard, the tremor growing with the memories of each suggestion that had passed his ear in the last week, but they died as soon as that last one came to mind. It was stupid, it was ridiculous, it was inane, and it was spoken in a voice that sounded way too familiar, a voice that grated at Dragomir’s brain and set his teeth together in a clenched line. It was his voice.
The Catastrophe erupted again, this time much stronger and larger than before. The sparks flew out of both of Dragomir’s hands, curving around his arms in arcs that became looser and looser with every second. The jagged squares sizzled in the air, leaving behind the vague scent of sulphur every time they struck the roof of the barracks. Realizing far too late just how agitated he’d become, Dragomir leaped, trying to keep the murderous pixels away from anyone and everyone -
- and, hanging in midair, peering down, he realized two things: one, he’d jumped almost twenty feet into the air, and two, he’d left a huge hole in the roof of the barracks. He could see training equipment through the enormous, collapsing scar. The wonderment inherent in both of these acts killed the Catastrophe, but not before Dragomir had spent several long seconds suspended in limbo, surrounded by flecks of deadly red and green. He was the world’s deadliest firework, and through some miracle no one in the city had noticed him.
Dragomir landed smoothly on the far edge of the barracks. He didn’t turn to look at the hole he’d created. He refused to acknowledge the roiling pain in his noggin, now so intense that he suspected his ears were bleeding. And he most certainly ignored the face that kept surfacing in his thoughts, a vapid expression so gleeful and hated that Dragomir knew he might put a dagger through it if he met the man on the streets tonight. The fact that he probably still couldn’t carry a weapon didn’t matter, he would find a way to murder the guy.
He really needed a drink.