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Draw the cloak tighter, I hunger
‘How the Light shines when you do, I dread we will be seen.’
All the better to see their throats, My Dear
‘I do not want to do this!’
You defy me? Your will is pitiful, yet you attempt to defy me still? You are Mine. Accept it
‘You make me do these terrible things, to people I do not even know, all for your insatiable hunger. And then you mock me for it! I hate you ! I curse you! .. I hate myself.‘
Curse? You are much too late for that, My Sweet. And hate as much as you can, it adds a delicate bouquet .. be still. One comes!
From off the aqueduct road, down the ramp opposite Chaz’s cooperage, light feet trip and patter. In the half-light and rising purple haze, a girl child.
‘no. No. NO!’
You find Fight? You have some Will? How droll! You amuse me with your foolish defiance. And needless. Look again
A child’s height, but most certainly not a child’s figure. A wavering flame sparked in hope dies in a wisp of smoke and ash.
See that proud jut? A Gnome’s nose for certain. Now go! Feed me!
From the nook of the retaining wall, from the deep hiding shadow, bright sparkling haze bursts forth into the street light and takes a few quick steps. A hand to the shoulder, spin her around, other hand to the throat ..
‘no! punch! let me punch! she will not feel if unconci ..’
NO MORE DEFIANCE! Do MY will NOT yours!
Both hands to the throat and .. squeeeze. Eyes raised up, looking up, noting, observing even to the point of death.
How Gnomish. Curiosity to the last. Move on, there is nothing left here. And you foolishly lost the means to move it to your .. Place of Final Rest. Let the dogs scavenge, there are enough of them needing the meat.
Hurried steps away, two corners, a dead-end of deep shadow. Slump to the wall heedless of unfelt cold even though the frigid breeze caresses bare skin.
You can be so pitiful at times, so weak even with my strength in you
‘I would have you gone, I would rather crawl than stride at your command’
You would crawl? Then do so. Be yourself ..
Collapse, barely missing a puddle of drunkard’s vomit. Retching, roll away, curl up and .. no it won’t permit that easy escape. Struggle up. Find the Will while it slumbers, find the will. Hear the dogs. Find .. the .. .. DOGS! No! Nononono ! Surge! Find the Willpower ..
From almost forgotten classes so long ago, ancient and foreign texts of interest to scholars, Sages and desperate clerics in dire need ..
Now is the time!
The Light Shines!
Stand up, draw breath of cold air, feel the bite on bare skin .. get dressed! An ecstasy of fumbling at pack and pouch. Pants! Tunic! On! On! Put them on! Boots! Cloak! Grab pack and .. scrolls! Are there? .. There must be .. scrolls! RUN !
Retrace those escaping steps, return to the crumpled body, fight off the .. .. no dogs! No Dogs! No dogs. Thank You, Sif. Thank You. Forgive me Sif, Thank You, no dogs! Breathe. Breathe. Composure. Read the scroll, stop the trembling hands blurring the words, read the scroll!
“Ohh! Uhhhh! Wha . . . what, uh, what happened? Uhhhh. I . . .I uh, oh my head!”
“Looked like you were dead there, Little Sheila .. had to scroll you up again! What happened to ya, cobber?”
“Uh, well, thank you”.
Her upward look conveys, surprise, uncertainty, gratitude to a kind stranger, and not too much nose at all.
“I, uh . . I was on my way to the cooper’s . . and, and . . there he was, or mayhap a she?”
“I’m not sure . . . it happened so quickly!”
“Chaz is a bruce for deffo, gnome bruce at that. Can’t mistake him, not with his nose. So what did happen?”
“She was standing there in the light . . . she startled me. I began to speak to her . . . then, then she attacked me! For no reason! She began beating me about the head . . . I, . . . I tried to defend myself. but . . . she was, she was very strong”
“My Word ! That’s not nice of her!”
“Then she grabbed me about the neck, her fingers tightened, I felt as though I was caught in a blacksmith’s vice! The power of those hands! I’ll never forget it.”
A reflex motion brings the fingers of both women to their own throats, testing, assuring.
“See! Look here!There must be bruising!”
“Yea .. some .. looks like finger marks for sure. Unfair go there, cobber. You actually got strangled to death?”
“I did that! And for no apparent reason! Daft she was! Evil too! I could see it in her eyes as I lapsed into unconciousness.”
“You .. uhh .. manage to get a look at this grievous great galah? Any description? Cos sure as joeys jump, you got to report this to the watch!”
“She was wearing a strange helm.”
“But it happened so fast . . . I think it might have had something on top and a bright, shiny colour . . . I’m not sure . . . It was so fast. I think she was female. About your height and build, but with a strange helm. It all happened so quickly.”
“Lots of sheilas around my height and weight .. still it’s a start.”
“I’d know the helm if I saw it again, I’m sure of it. I’ll never forget it.”
A pause, reflecting on the insanity of violence, sudden death, the kindness of strangers, the narrow averting of absolute disaster.
“Well, I must be off. Thank you for raising me. And I did not catch your name .. ?”
“No problem, cobber, only too glad y’know, it’s what I, uhh, clerics, are supposed to do. But mind yourself, looks like we have a problem brewing around here.”
“I think you’re right, umm .. ?”
“Ah! A fine name!”
“Vala Feimakiir, shieldmaid of, uhh ..”
“I’m Boppi, Boppi Baulnurd. Pleased to meet you, and thank you again Vala!”
“Only too glad, Boppi, nice to meet you too.”
Watch her go. Diminutive but vital, breathing, Alive. Slink back to the shadowed nook from whence sudden violent death sprang and huddle in shame and mental turmoil.
Clever of you. That one can feed me again. We must try that more often.
Tss, resistance is useless. You are mine, you belong to me. A little while longer, just a little while, and Sif will renounce you utterly. You will be MINE!”
Draw the cloak tighter, I hunger
[Not being an absolute plagiarist I offer a quick Nod and half a Beck to John Milton and Wilfrid Owens, fine poets both; to Douglas Adams, and to Aelswith for dialogue spoken in game. I thank you.]