- Markshire PCs:
You remember the guard what confronted the three oâ€™ us in Carona Sariâ€™s Stables who wanted to take off Sun-Oksâ€™ boots, thinkinâ€™ they looked like the ones the strangler was wearinâ€™? Well he must oâ€™ been followinâ€™ us all over the place cause right after we popped Valaâ€™s helm off, he comes runninâ€™ up to us huffinâ€™ and puffinâ€™, his face red with anger and lookinâ€™ for sure like he wanted to take a bite out oâ€™ someone!
He insisted we tell him which one oâ€™ us had been tearinâ€™ through the streets, clatteringâ€™ along with an iron flower pot stuck onto their foot! It caused a dreadful racket and he said it woke up just about everybody who lived in the neighborhood!
Oh geez! He tells us heâ€™s got a list oâ€™ complaints â€˜bout the noise from half the folks in the Laatner district!
Well . . . Sun-Ok was standinâ€™ there, still hanginâ€™ onto the flower pot what sheâ€™d pulled off my foot a moment before . . . and friendship only goes so far, and most times Iâ€™m in enough oâ€™ a pickle with Father Ryche and I ainâ€™t wantinâ€™ no more trouble added on to it. So right quick I caught the guardâ€™s eye and kinda nodded my head a few times in Sun-Okâ€™s direction, thinkinâ€™ for sure, heâ€™d notice her holdinâ€™ the pot, ya know?
But when the guard seen Vala laid out on the ground in front oâ€™ us, his jaw dropped and he stood there gapingâ€™ at her, his eyes growinâ€™ large as saucers and he forgot all about those poor folks what I disturbed during the chase!
â€œAh ha, what have we here?â€ he said, in that deep authoritative tone what all guards seem to have. I thinks they only makes guards out oâ€™ men who can speak like that. Yup! You canâ€™t have no guard sayinâ€™ â€œHalt, who goes there?â€ or â€œStop or Iâ€™ll shoot!â€ in a squeaky little high pitched voice, cause no one would pay â€˜em no mind at all!
Anyways, Bel tells the guard the girl on the ground is none other than the Stonemark Strangler and her name is Vala Felt Marker! Or . . . somethinâ€™ like that. Belfron goes about showinâ€™ the guard her helm what matched the description he had oâ€™ it, and Bel also pointed out the day-glo colored threads hanginâ€™ off oâ€™ Valaâ€™s gloves what she still was wearinâ€™!
Everyone knows that Boppi, one oâ€™ the stranglerâ€™s first victims, is the only person in all oâ€™ Markshire who wears a day-glo colored scarf!
So, there it was! All the proof he needed! While the guard was occupied with the criminal, Sunny managed to place the flower pot directly behind her and then she sat down on it, her gown flowinâ€™ â€˜round it, coverinâ€™ the pot up and all the while glarinâ€™ at me and mumblinâ€™ somethinâ€™under her breath I couldnâ€™t quite understand.
The guard untied the ropes what Iâ€™d used to bind up Vala, which I thought wasnâ€™t such a good idea, but I kept my mouth shut about it. Then the four oâ€™ us started marchinâ€™ our prisoner off to a little building the guard told us about, what was down the road a bit that had a shield bounty booth and a tiny jail just big enough to hold one person.
We figured weâ€™d lock her up tight in it till we could alert the proper authorities about her capture. All I could think of was the reward money, which for sure Lord Mark was gonna be handinâ€™ over to us as soon as he heard the news!
I figured my half and Sonnyâ€™s half should be about the same cause even though Iâ€™d done most oâ€™ the catchinâ€™ she hid the flower pot from the guard, thereby keepinâ€™ me from gettinâ€™ into a big mess, you know? Bel whoâ€™d done almost nothinâ€™ at all in the way oâ€™ helpinâ€™ me and Sonny because he ran so slow and had trouble keepinâ€™ up with the chase, deserved the smallest half out oâ€™ the three oâ€™ us. At least thatâ€™s how I seen it.
Anyways, while the four oâ€™ us was makinâ€™ our way to the jail with Vala, the guard kept yammerinâ€™ at her, goinâ€™ on and on, not lettinâ€™ up, tellinâ€™ her he hoped heâ€™d be the one the judge picked to lop off her head or at least let him torture her a bit before she was put to death! Oh geez, Sunny, Bel and me could see he was workinâ€™ himself up into an awful frenzy!
By the time we got to the steps in front oâ€™ the building the guard was demandinâ€™ Vala remove her gloves â€˜cause he wanted â€˜em for evidence and if she didnâ€™t, he threatened to chop off her hands right there where we was all standinâ€™! Vala just stood there tremblinâ€™ and mumblinâ€™ over and over again somethinâ€™ about not beinâ€™ able to take the damn gloves off.
Sunny and Bel seen things was startinâ€™ to go down hill real fast so the two oâ€™ â€˜em run off to the Temple to get Bishop Kolton, knowinâ€™ he was a good mediator and thinkinâ€™ heâ€™d be able to calm things down. I stood there watchinâ€™ Vala and the guard not knowinâ€™ quite what I should do.
The guard started screaminâ€™ heâ€™d have those gloves one way or another, drew his short sword and went straight for Vala, aiminâ€™ for a spot on her right arm â€˜bout half way between her wrist and elbow.
As quick as a cat Vala dodged his blow, and with a fierceness Iâ€™ve only seen in one possessed by a demon, she went for the front oâ€™ hisâ€™ neck what was bare and un-protected, with those gloved hands oâ€™ hersâ€™, clamping down with a vice like grip, tearing away a huge chunk, spattering blood and gore all over the three oâ€™ us!
The guard fell to his knees a look of shock and supprise on his face, his left hand reaching up for the large piece of his neck that was no longer there. He gurgled once, turned and looked at me, knowing his time would soon be over. He could no longer speak. That part of his throat had been ripped away, but in his eyes I read his message. He was pleading with me to stay with him. He did not want to die alone.
I knelt, cradling his head in my lap as I watched my reward and my new gowns along with Vala run off, finally disappearing behind a building far in the distance. The guard looked up at me and gave me a little smile. I suppose he was thankinâ€™ me for the bit oâ€™ kindness I was showinâ€™ by stayinâ€™ there on the steps with him. Then he sighed once, closed his eyes, and he was gone.
I guess thereâ€™s a lesson or two what could be learned from all that took place that evening, you know? The first one beinâ€™ you shouldnâ€™t be countinâ€™ the reward money before the chickens hatch . . . or somethinâ€™ close to that.
The second one applies to the guard. I know heâ€™s dead so itâ€™d be hard now for him to benefit from it, but Iâ€™ll writ it down anyway.
The thing is this. He tried twice to remove items from a woman. He wanted to take off Sun-Oks’ boots when he first met us in Carona Sariâ€™s stable. Iâ€™d say it was good luck for him he changed his mind and backed away. Then, here on these steps only a few moments ago, the poor man tried to remove a pair oâ€™ gloves from Vala. This time he wasnâ€™t so lucky and as Iâ€™m lookinâ€™ down on him, lifeless, with a huge gapinâ€™ hole in his neck and his body already cooling, Iâ€™m thinkinâ€™ he paid quite a steep price for attemptingâ€™ that trick!
I guess lesson number two would be that a man ought not to be tryin’ to remove any clothing from a woman . . . unless he gets express permission from her first!!