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Spooky Shadows

Discussion in 'East Hyrule Field' started by Chris Tewks, Feb 23, 2018.

  1. Vhailor's eyes returned to a bright, even red glow, and he stood up from the out of the way position he had been moved too, at the side of the guest area. He didn't remember much after Isla's remarks about rest, beyond a vague feeling of irritation. He felt the back of his skull, and it was somehow better.

    "Huh." He shrugged, figuring that perhaps his ability to resist death was greater than he initially supposed. He didn't know Stalfos could just regenerate like that, but it did explain a lot about the ones that Isla mentioned - the ones that required the utter destruction of their bodies.

    The outside was bright, uncomfortably so. He put the helmet back on, and was reminded as it pressed on the back of his head that whatever his own nature, dented metal was still dented the next day. Still, the helmet made the sun tolerable, especially if he kept his gaze low or level.

    He couldn't see those purple wisps anymore on the corner of his eyes anymore either, which was also odd. Perhaps he had been hit harder than he realized, and was simply seeing things last night. That did not bode well for the conclusions he had drawn and acted upon.

    "Bah." He moved out of Millie's house with confidence, his movements steady. Doubt is for weaker minds.

    Time to carry out the Plan of the Day: Contact Pierce, ask him about...what was that name again? Henrietta? See what he knew of her, and her state of being alive or dead. Before the day ends, draw a conclusion based on available evidence, and either solve the problem here or track them to their lair and solve the problem there.

    He made sure his gear was secured, and strode forward to Pierce's temple. He did notice something darker in the way the town was moving and going about its business, and they were giving him some rather interesting glances and being more furtive. Vhailor had been on the receiving end of one assassination attempt before when he was alive, and this had the air of one being considered.

    His hand instinctively brushed his hilt as he carried out his plan, and headed towards the small church. Let them come.
     
  2. Isla

    Isla I see dead people
    Kokiri

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    "Going without me?" Isla called from where she had slept outside against the wall of the house. After the relief of seeing the fairy work its magic on Vhailor, she still felt strongly that Millie didn't want her around, so she had slept outside. More comfortable outside anyways. Her coat kept her perfectly warm. Although keeping the mask on all night had not been so comfortable, so it was a win-lose situation.

    Scrambling to keep up with Vhailor's long stride she commented, "Feeling better? I wasn't sure a fairy would be enough. But it seemed to do the trick. You need to pace yourself even if you can't feel fatigue anymore. Especially after a battle. Nearly gave us all a heart attack when you collapsed."

    She followed along, silent after that, occasionally glancing left and right, but not tilting her head either way. She knew the feelings of the townspeople towards her own self, but she did notice a lot of them were looking at Vhailor with a certain furtiveness that was ominous to behold.

    To her own mind he seemed pretty obviously a good person, but perhaps that was because she could sense the tone of his soul.

    Shaking her head slightly to clear her mind and shake off the magic from reaching towards him, which would be most rude and invasive, she tried to contemplate something else. Lancing at the musical instrument at her back, she had a strange thought concerning the helmasaurs. Maybe... no... but... would it work?

    She'd pass it by Vhailor when the time was right. It was only a vague idea anyways.
     
  3. Chris Tewks

    Chris Tewks King of shadows
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    Millie was either still asleep or already tending to her crops. No one else seemed to be in the house so Chris just left. Outside he saw his friends already on their way. They didn't even wait for me? Rude. He called out to them then rushed to catch up. When he was walking side-by-side with the two he tried to catch his breath. “Hey,” he gasped. “Headed to Pierce’s?” It felt nice to be with them after all that happened yesterday.

    At sunrise he could feel his power slipping away from him. Usually this irritated Chris, but today he allowed his power to seep out of his body. He knew it was ridiculous. What kind of person fears his own abilities? Someone who can't control them, that's who. He needed to keep talking to get out of his funk, otherwise his thoughts would remain dark. “Hey Vhailor, how's your injuries holding up? Oh, and I don't believe I caught your name miss. Or if I did it slipped my mind.” He put his hand behind his head nervously. “I'm Chris… But I'm guessing Vhailor already told you that.” He put his arms at his side again, trying to act normal. Nice job. Now your so worried you can't even speak properly. Pull yourself together.
     
  4. "I wasn't planning on leaving anyone yet, and I'm fine. Apparently I had sustained a head injury and I was in an excited state. I've seen it happen to others, usually following horse falls and careless training strikes." Vhailor kept up his stride as he spoke to Chris. "And yes, I am heading to speak with the priest about what he knows about the people of this town. One in particular, who might have something to do with the recent events plaguing this town. Isla claims to have encountered something very peculiar following last night's battle, and I would like to see if there is anything to it."

    As Vhailor strode to Pierce's hut, he noticed something in the middle of town - a contingent of Dorom's guard had blocked off the paths going to the manor. His instincts told him this was somehow related to the looks he was getting, although he wasn't sure how. He spoke to Chris and Isla as he gave a quick bow. "Excuse me. Something is amiss. I will return to course soon."

    As he walked up to the guards, he noticed everyone coldly parted ways for him giving him hateful glares, and the guards went on edge, lowering their halberds. "We ain't working for you, bonehead!"

    Vhailor's red eye points actually rolled in the sockets. "I didn't count you as resources that I would be requiring, so we agree on this. You work for Dorom, not me."

    They paused, trying to parse out any diabolical intent in that. "So...Dorom's an undead puppet now. Just like you!"

    Agreement started erupting from the crowd. Vhailor glared at him. "Are you drunk? It isn't even noon yet, an attack is recent, and you are drunk."

    "He's...taking over the town, and he's going to...to turn us all into the undead, one by one!" The other guard was joining in, and he honestly wasn't sure how close his aim was to being right, as he kept looking to the people around him and the other guard for confirmation.

    "Can he do that?" "You won't get away with it!" "We won't serve the Dragmire!" The crowd was getting rather ugly, and they weren't disagreeing with the guessing guard.

    Vhailor was listening to the crowd, and thinking aloud. "Dorom's dead, or near death. You think I did this, you think I can actually turn others into Stalfos, and you think I want to run your hovel of a town rather than save you from yourselves. And you are thinking all of this after I fought with you last night."

    He put a hand on his blade as he rubbed the forehead of his helmet, clearly annoyed at what he was dealing with. It didn't occur to him that not everyone knew what the undead forces were and were not capable of, and it also slipped his mind that he was still learning some things about being undead himself. "You are all idiots."

    At this, the crowd wasn't sure what to think. They weren't sure whether they needed to be angry, or what, so they settled for angry murmuring and confusion. The older of the two guards spoke up, trying to get his bearings. "Well...who else could have done it?"
     
  5. Isla

    Isla I see dead people
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    “Oh, Isla.. It’s Isla,” she replied awkwardly, “I’m awfully sorry about last night, sending you flying from that second attack… I made a real mess of things…”

    “Ahem” Eru cleared his throat.

    “Ah, yes, this is Eru,” she added as her fairy peevishy buzzed around her head.

    “Pleasure ta meetcha, despite the circumstances.” he said.

    When they came to the crowd she shrank back, watching the hostility worriedly.

    “Undead.. puppet?” she whispered to Eru and Chris as she watched Vhailor confidently take on the crowd. Things were turning ugly fast. This wasn’t good. People were so quick to only look at what Vhailor was, and not who he was.

    She wondered if the false Henrietta was behind this, helping whip up the bad emotions and feelings into hostility. Either way, Vhailor was a good man just trying to help these ungrateful people. She had to direct their hostility away from him before they mobbed him. He was too good a person to be killed by a mere mob, especially after she had just saved him from her own attack that had nearly done him in.

    I could have.” she spoke up, voice low but clear. She stepped up beside Vhailor and looked up at the guard who had spoken last, “I’m the one who led the helmasaur attack on him last night, after all. By all accounts you should be looking at me as the one with the most motivation since I literally tried to take him down last night.” She said with some frustration. Let them direct their anger to her, not Vhailor.

    The crowd seemed somewhat stunned at her bold proclamation as she continued, “As Vhailor… Sir Vhailor,” she added with emphasis, “Keeps proving by his actions, he’s not interested in taking over or killing people. He looks scary, he looks like a bad guy, but he already proved last night that he was willing to risk his life for a guy he didn’t even like. How often does a villain do something so noble? Can you say you’d do the same? So stop trying to make him the scapegoat on account of his looks.”

    She did not use her power often on people, but the situation seemed to warrant it. She tried to make them think, tried to paint a picture in their minds of Vhailor, last night by the torchlight, fighting off the helmasaurs practically singlehandedly, moving like a trained soldier, a Hylian. She tried to paint over the skeletal face they knew, making it human, with skin, eyes, a regular nose. Imagine him as he was. He was still that man, just different on the outside.

    "If you want to be mad as someone, start with me and let's work our way up from there? Let's be civilized about this and maybe we can figure out who's really pulling strings, 'cause I'm not the arch-villain in this picture either, just a flunky taken in by honeyed words, now trying to make amends."
     
  6. Chris Tewks

    Chris Tewks King of shadows
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    Chris did not like the way things were going. He was planning to tell his friends and the priest about what happened at the same time. Clearly it wasn't going to be that simple. He was fairly certain that they didn't already know anything about the events of last night but Millie could have told them earlier. As soon as Vhailor went off to see what the commotion was about the Goron rushed after him. As the townsfolk exchanged words with the Stalfos, Chris began to realize a few of the after affects of his handiwork. First of all, they had no idea that he was the true culprit of the crime and the Goron was reluctant to enlighten them. Secondly was the fact that they seemed to believe that the sheriff has become a Stalfos, when that clearly wasn't the case. Chris couldn't possibly cause something like that… Could he? If he had the power to create undead… He dismissed the thought.

    What am I going to do? He certainly didn't want to inform the growing mob that he was the real killer. Yet, he also had misgivings on allowing Vhailor to take the blame. He grit his teeth as he wrestled with his conscious. Fine. I'll tell them the truth. He started to speak but to his surprise Isla stepped forward. The nerve of that women. She must be scared out of her wits. Despite planning to do the same thing moments ago, the Goron's courage left him after seeing how well the Kokiri soothed the crowd. There's no way they would be that understanding if I told them what I did. Still he knew that everyone would have to find out eventually.

    Chris couldn't take the guilt any longer. Which by itself was curious to him. He found it strange to feel guilty just as an honest man would feel strange lying. The Goron raised his voice enough so that all nearby could hear him. “Ahem. I have a little knowledge on the subject.”

    One of the more rowdy villagers spoke up. “Oh yeah? Whatchu got to say Runt?”

    Really these pesky Hylians never seem to learn. Still, the little Goron held in his anger. It is much easier to be convincing when not in a blind rage. He began speaking as calmly as he could, “What I have to say is that I am responsible for the Sheriff’s death.” Was this a smart thing to say around a crowd of angry people? Probably not, no one said that Chris was a smart man. Scratch that, no one claimed he was a sensible man. He'd like to believe that he is rather intelligent. At the very least it quited the crowd. “I'm sure you are all aware of the circumstances of his death.” A few head nods from the crowd.

    The Goron stretched out his hands. In one he held the cruel blade he kept by his side as a reminder of his mistake. The other he held flat, with his palm facing downward. He elongated the shadows at his fingertips. He molded them into the darkness under his palm soon he had a replica of the Knife in his other hand. A cheap parlor trick, but it got the attention of the Hylians. “You also know my power,” With this he paused to look into the crowd, staring down the most unruly faces. “Last night I broke into his house and killed him. Not with my fists like a true Goron. Not with this knife like the thief I am. I blacked out his soul until he could no longer breathe in this world.” Chris turned to his companions. “Vhailor, Isla. I cannot have you take the blame for my actions. I hope you don't think less of me.” He spoke to the crowd once more, “I have taken the lives of others on the past. Dorom did not deserve to live. You should have someone else lead you. Someone who has your best interests at heart.” Chris wasn't sure what was going to happen next. Surely the crowd would revolt. His companions would likely do nothing to stop them. I'll be locked up for riding this town of a cruel man. Of course Chris knew that if it came to that he'd just run out of town like he did before.
     
  7. Vhailor simply looked back between Isla, Chris, the uneasy mob, and the now uneasy guards, and commented snidely. "Let's not ALL take the credit for this deed. I'm sure there half of the town didn't do it, or would have a motive in this."

    The guard spun from Chris to Vhailor, halberd raised and gesturing to Chris. "Stop your jestin'! He said you were his puppet, he did."

    "How did the sheriff die? Wounds, fists...strangulation?" Vhailor's eyes had dropped to harsh narrow points.

    "Actually...yeah, come to think of it, he did look like he choked on something. He looked all blue and stuff."

    Vhailor sighed, a bit of dust emerging from the helm. "Chris...you are a fool. I need to ask you a few questions about this, and I have a strange feeling all of this ties together in a way I will not like, but I will not ask here, and not now."

    "Hey, anything you got to say you can say in front of-" Vhailor's eyes blazed to full orbs at the speaking guard. "In front of the incompetents who were getting drunk while the man they were charged with guarding died?! I owe you cowards nothing. Some of your unit fought, the younger ones, but you? I guess all of that fighting you didn't do tired you out to the point of dereliction. If you were in my unit, I would have you flogged and discharged in disgrace for allowing your superior to die on your watch!"

    A few in the mob nodded and voiced agreement, a sentiment which made the other guard quietly shrink away while his partner went red in the face. "He's right."

    An old crone's voice made itself heard from behind the guard, and matriarch Dorom stepped out of the manor, hunched and slow, her hair concealed by a tall, curly blonde wig done up in a column. She was dressed entirely in black, clearly in mourning, although her face was hard as marble and her eyes cold as winter. "You are inept. You literally had one job - keeping my warrior son alive, a task he normally made laughably easy. Now shut up, and step away from the Stalfos before I ask it to gut you."

    The guard did step back, and gave the old woman room as she spoke. "So, your master claims to have killed my son."

    "I have no master, save the heir of Hyrule."

    "I don't care about the specifics of your insane oaths, Stalfos. The only thing I care about is what you intend to do with your victory." She shot a hand up to cut off Vhailor's protest. "And yes, this is a victory for you, no matter who did this to me. Who will be the sheriff? Because it sure won't be this fool."

    She gestured to the guard who had been talking, who was now trying to merge into the wall to disappear. Her aged eyes glinted with interest. "So I assume you had someone in mind."

    "I didn't. My hope was that your son would have grown a spine, and made thinking of a replacement unneeded."

    The matriarch's eyes went wide at Vhailor's admission, and then she gave a long and harsh croaking laugh. The crowd seems to have calmed down, as the question takes a grip on them, and they try to think of who it's going to be. They quickly came to the realization that Dorom wasn't someone they liked after all, but was more tolerated because of his prowess with a blade.
     
  8. Isla

    Isla I see dead people
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    Relief wasn’t quite what she would call her feelings on hearing Chris’s confession, but the realization that she was not going to be mobbed did cause Isla’s legs to give out from underneath her and she flopped onto her hands and knees. A whirl of emotions and confusion enveloped her, and honestly, she thought she might be a little sick as the butterflies that had been fluttering in her stomach since she began talking suddenly decided they liked the passage in her throat better.

    But why? Why would he just confess like that? To Murder! She herself had only pointed out she had motive, not that she had in fact… oh goddesses more dead people! Would his ghost remain? Would she have to talk to him?

    “Keep it together, Isla,” Eru whispered next to her, concern in his little voice, “It’s okay, you’re okay.”

    A man had just been murdered. Henrietta had been murdered! This was not okay at all!
     
  9. Vhailor took a step back at her laughter, and then turned away in anger, his voice making his emotions clear. "You are insane. Know that I am not saving you."

    He started walking to Pierce's residence, and paused for a moment. "Chris, you are going to be needed. Same with you, Isla. I cannot work alone, and I've got some really good questions to ask."

    Pierce was not at home, but one quick question redirected Vhailor to the graveyard. Most of the graves here were crude stones, other some of the older ones were formal tombstones from the stable days of Hyrule, worn down but still legible. Pierce was at a fresh grave, while dirt continued to fly out of the hole in front of it. "Ah. Vhailor. I'm somehow not surprised you have not followed my advice and left town."

    Vhailor's voice was a blade, direct and ruthless. "Save it. Dorom is dead. What's your hand in this?"

    Pierce looked surprised and amused at the direct accusation. "I might have seen a vision or two of his demise and failed to speak up about it."

    Vhailor drew his blade and gestured to Chris. "You are equally complicit in murder as he is. Why does everyone want to be at the top of this anthill of a town, thinking it is a mountain?"

    Pierce cocked his head at the sight of Vhailor's weapon, clearly not worried, and still with a small smile. "I'm not interested in control, Vhailor - I simply foresaw a dire fate if Dorom was allowed to live. I've lived a full life, and I would rather simply die in peace. But the grave holds no terror for me. It is another who will control the fate of this town, one who is brave, respected, and willing to fight in the town's name."

    Vhailor was clearly annoyed, based on his tone. "We do not match all of that description, and even if we did-"

    Pierce rolled his eyes. "Not you, you arrogant bag of bones. Millie. She will lead this town now."

    Vhailor's blade actually went straight up, as he shifted his stance to one that didn't point the business end at Pierce, a high-stance. "She cannot swordfight, and would be killed by one who can."

    Pierce smiled as he watched Vhailor's growing discomfort. "The matron has her mercenaries, and she still wants to defend her investment. She will not kill Millie, as she needs her now."

    Vhailor was more asking as a hypothetical at this point, clearly looking for an excuse to kill Pierce at this point. "It sounds like you've planned this well. So why shouldn't I just cut you both down?"

    A voice came from the grave. "Hey, man, I didn't do anything but dig this hole." Pierce gestured to Chris and his gravedigger, as his hands indicated 'calm down.' "Not you - just keep digging. And because I didn't actually DO anything you can prove. Your code will not let you kill me on a hunch, and if you felt Chris was wrong your code demands his death. 'His wrath undoes the wicked,' and yet he still lives, as do I."

    "I've donned the black, and my nation is gone. I serve no one, and no power. You should be very afraid of that." Vhailor's stance shifted once more as he prepared for a rush.

    "And you still serve Hyrule in your soul, whether it exists or not. You serve an ideal, and you will not cut me down without knowing for sure of my guilt - and especially not with the actual murderer still living. Your sense of justice will not allow this, and you do not know if Dorom's death is itself justice, but you know as well as I do he was wicked, and that in brighter times he would never have been tolerated. Strike me down, if you must, knowing that real justice will not happen to me within the system you once served. You will only have blood on your hands, nothing more." Pierce was calm as could be staring Vhailor down. "There is a reason I advised you leave immediately. The new world is too grey for you and your code, Vhailor. You should have moved on, and accepted death."

    "A true knight will sheathe his sword." Vhailor let out a long, dusty breath, and sheathed his blade, forcing himself to calm. "I originally came here to ask you about Henrietta. Goddesses help you if you killed her too - I'll see your gravedigger working a double, right now."

    Pierce's face looked like it had been hit with lightning. "She's dead?"
     
  10. Isla

    Isla I see dead people
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    Isla listened to the conversation with mounting worry. This whole situation was one long ugly nightmare and she didn't see a way out of it. She almost moved to comfort the frail old man when she saw his shocked expression on hearing of Henrietta's death, but she held herself back.

    "Sir, she is very dead, and has been for some while. Someone or something with very strong spirit magic is parading around as her. This impostor exercised their magic on myself and others, manipulating us into leading the helmasaurs to Dorom last night. It was only my unique connection to the dead through my own spirit powers that allowed the real Henrietta to communicate with me and help me break from the mind control going on.

    "Millie..." she paused and grew pale under her mask, but continued evenly,"Millie is likely to be in danger from this Henrietta impostor, whom I believe wishes to take over, now that Dorom has been removed."
     
  11. Vhailor, at this point, noticed Chris was missing. Illusion magic? Likely, given what Vhailor had just said in anger - it isn't as though he would blame someone from running from that.

    Well, if the Goron wanted to disappear, perhaps Vhailor could get an answer out of him later as to what he was thinking when they had both had put some time between this event. In the meantime, his focus was on Pierce.

    "What killed her? Who killed...?" Pierce began thinking. "Hold on."

    Pierce leaned on a tombstone to steady himself. "Okay. She was a student of mine in the arts of magic. We weaved several spells together, meant to bless the town, protect it, guide it - we were the steady hand that kept the sails of the town blowing right, and the Dorom's had the money and the economy. The sheriff's excesses made this an unstable relationship, but it worked."

    He took a breath to steady himself as he recalled the past. "Henrietta informed me that she believed the sheriff needed to go, and I said no. I was not going to be a party to murder without a very good reason."

    "I see that didn't last." Vhailor's voice was dripping with contempt.

    "I know why I changed my mind regarding the sheriff, but this...changes things. There are not many beings that could pass as a human, and fewer still that could possess a body." Pierce's clutched his heart. "Oh, Henrietta, what did you do? What unholy power did you try to contact?"

    "Tell us what could do this before your heart gives out. Bring some good out of your deeds." Vhailor's voice was cold as ice as he spoke.

    Pierce, on the other hand, snapped at him. "Don't lecture me about my deeds. I've been one of two things stopping this town from careening into the abyss while you were busy rotting away under the castle all these years. I've been here, living in this world the goddesses condemned us with while you-!"

    "Name. Creature. NOW!" Vhailor was losing patience again.

    Pierce steadied himself once more, and focused his mind on the task rather than acting on the urge to fire off a smiting spell at this stalfos and ending his woes. "Strong spirit magic, capable of conjuration...probably Wizzrobe. Malevolent magic incarnate, desires only to sustain itself, increase its power, and cause as much pain and suffering as possible for no reason other than that it can. If it kills Millie, it won't be out of a plan, but simply because that's what it does."

    Vhailor's mind vaguely recalled something hearing about such beings, but never faced them before. This was new to him. "So, it is occupying Henrietta like a puppet and isn't so much smart so much as it is just really hateful?"

    "Likely, although underestimate that kind of ruthless mind at your own peril." Pierce looked to Isla hopefully. "Can...she be brought back to life? To the person she once was, and that I loved?"

    The gravedigger, realizing how silent it had gotten and not wanting to draw attention to himself, stopped listening and went back to digging. He'd heard all kinds of things in this town, and had stayed alive by not drawing attention up until now.
     
  12. Isla

    Isla I see dead people
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    Perhaps it was because she did not know him so well, but Isla felt sympathy for this dying priest. She had been fully prepared to be angry, vindictive, as Vhailor was, but hearing those brokenhearted words coming from Pierce, she could empathize deeply. Had she not her own regrets of the past, of those long dead whom she still wished she could have saved? She knew the pain of lost loved ones.

    So Isla moved to put a hand on the Priest's. Mostly because of her empathy and also a little to alleviate the tension. Vhailor was not prepared to be sympathetic, and a little kindness went a longer way in life than intimidation and harsh words, if she did think so herself.

    "I'm sorry, but Henrietta cannot return to the living. Her ghost is... is around..." Isla glanced to where a faint Henrietta floated, sadly watching her old beloved friend, "I'm sure there are... things she will want to say to you... when we've... when we've solved this problem and defeated the impostor. I can help relay it t you. But… but right now we need to put Dorom’s… death.. well, if not behind us,” here she glanced at Vhailor, “At least aside for now. Let’s deal with the monster parading as human, before we tackle humans being monsters, shall we?”

    She hoped desperately that the two could come to a truce, otherwise she didn’t know what to do except maybe go into full on big-sister mode and start yelling at them to go sit in their corners until they were prepared to make up.

    She was technically older than the two of them put together. She could pull the seniority card… maybe.
     
  13. Vhailor's red dots moved in what would have been an eye roll had their been anything there. "I'm not cutting him down. I would only be avenging one evil deed done to another evil being."

    "Glad you are seeing reason-" Vhailor cut him off, his voice not raising a bit, but clearly tense. "Shut. Up. That doesn't make you right. Your sheriff had training but no courage, and your new sheriff has courage without training. Your problems have reversed, and your source of law cannot defend this town unless she can win the respect of Dorom's troops, or somehow replace them as well."

    Vhailor's head looked down in what would clearly have been an imperious sneer had he facial expressions. "I don't suppose your solution to that was going to be to kill all of them as well and replace them with peasants."

    "Hardly. They are loyal to the matriarch of the Dorom household. Millie needs to win her respect, or at least political immunity to her retribution." Pierce glanced into nothing in particular, and smiled at what he apparently saw. Vhailor saw that strange aura he had witnessed around Isla earlier, except Pierce's wasn't attached to anything but himself. He pulled a golden seal out of his pocket and handed it to Isla. "Find someone you can trust, and have them go into Kasuto Village. Tell them to go to the Office of Titles...whatever it is called these days, bring up Millie of Dorom as the new Sheriff of that region, and have your trusted person give the clerk this seal."

    "The 'find someone you can trust' is a big flaw with this brilliant scheme of your to get a title bestowed upon your new sheriff, but I think I see where this is going and why. I presume this Kasuto Village destroys Stalfos on sight?" Pierce smiled strangely at Vhailor, and Vhailor's glowing eyes shrank suspiciously in response. "No, Vhailor. Just you and those with you, because you didn't leave immediately as I suggested. The Matriarch is a vengeful old bat, and already has a rider sent to destroy your reputation. In a matter of days, soldiers will be dispatched here to begin the process of tracking you down. But now you know they are coming, and they should have a harder time finding you. It doesn't change the fact that traveling with Chris and you is now very dangerous, and they don't like taking Stalfos intact when they decide to go after them. Blame the Dragmire for that."

    "So...I should have left your town to be destroyed by your Wizzrobe and your Helmasaurs is what you are saying." Vhailor's arms crossed indignantly, and Pierce's strange smile turned into a grin. "No. I'm saying that after what I saw just now, the new future as it is, I do not believe Millie to be in any danger from my possessed ex-lover as long as you continue to...live."

    "Goddesses damn it, for the last time! I am not remaining here! I cannot protect her if I am gone!" Vhailor was wondering why he felt the need to repeat that, and Pierce's grin just got wider. "I know. That's why you need to leave, and the sooner the better. I will have a messenger send food for Isla, and some quality stones. If Chris shows up, he is well fed for the journey. If not, you might get some resale out of them."

    Vhailor's mind was going over this. "The Helmasaur nest-"

    "Is not your problem anymore. The one agitating them has other things distracting her-...it. Namely, you. You are very good at making enemies, and if you are not careful it will be the death of those around you. So be a good decoy, and get as far away from us as you can."

    Vhailor was clearly skeptical of Pierce, wondering if this was another game he was playing. Pierce just turned his gaze to Isla and gave a sad smile. "Thank you for the offer, but I will see her in person soon enough. I think she can wait until then. Besides, you've got your hands full. Your new warrior friend is going to need the gravity you provide to stop him from drifting off into despair."

    "I'm fine. It is this town which is bereft of honor in its leadership." Vhailor adjusted his scabbard to balance the weight for a march, and began moving. He paused, and turned back to Pierce. "So which-"

    Pierce was already pointing to the east, towards Kasuto Village, with a knowing smile on his face. "The signs are still intact. The funeral procession is coming here soon, and you do not want to tarry. Good luck in your journey and quest for knowledge, knight of the old realm."

    Vhailor looked down for a moment in thought, and then turned away sharply, giving a formal reply. "Good bye, priest of the old realm. May your way to the goddess's embrace be a peaceful one."
     
  14. Isla

    Isla I see dead people
    Kokiri

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    She wanted to argue, but the priest was right. There was no working this out with the three of them around. Too much misplaced ire was on Vhailor, and Chris had openly admitted his part in Dorom's murder. She wasn't certain if the villagers counted her for much of the problem still, but it was unlikely she could do much alone. It seemed there really was nothing more they could do to help.

    That irritated her, leaving things without something of a conclusion. She didn't like leaving the wizzrobe to its own devices, she even had a little bit of a revenge wish since it had duped her so. But, she had seen the village, how they fought last night. Maybe they were alright on their own. They had the bite well enough, they seemed capable of weathering and even overturning hardship.

    "I'm sorry I couldn't help," she said quietly, turning the seal over in her gloved hand before secreting it away in an inner pocket of her coat, "I hate to leave things unsolved, but I guess leaving is the only option..." she looked at Henrietta, then looked on the cemetery.

    "Yet I wonder..." she stumped further in, looked about, kicked over a rock, and out popped a fairy. Crouching down she whispered, "I know I just called on you last night, but I need another favor. You know Millie? Think you could watch her for a while? She may run into trouble, and need healing, or just a light in the darkness. You never know. Watch her back a while."

    The fairy bobbed an affirmative and scurried off. It wasn't much but it was all Isla could think of to make amends for the mess she helped create.

    Coming back to the others, she offered a nod to Pierce, and then stumped along before Vhailor, "Let's go collect Chris and get gone."
     
  15. "Agreed. Although that might take a while if he has no wish to be found. I just want to know why he agreed to this plan of...his." He dismissively waved a hand to Pierce. He moved behind Isla. "Lead the way. If there is danger, we will deal with it. If there is peace...I'd like that for a change."

    He sorted out everything that had been said. He had to fight an urge to simply hurl the seal someplace where it could never be found. But if something good could come out of this town and its events, he was going to do his part to make sure it happened.

    Besides, Vhailor made a point of not acting out of spite, in life or death. That was for lesser men...beings...than himself.

    With that in mind, he was going to have to think about his code, and his place in this world. Much had changed: men like this Dorom would never have been discovered in the old realm, as his cowardice would never have come to the fore in a time of peace. He'd have simply administrated and died, unremarkable in life or death.

    The code did not have rules for what to do if the ruling powers were the problem. The errant knights of the old realm simply administered punishment for laws broken. They never made laws on the spot.

    But the code did demand personal virtue, and it demanded a life for that virtue. If one's superior was the problem, one could only fight react against such local tyranny until larger forces arrived, or the errant knight perished. Simply killing the nobleman was unthinkable.

    But what happened when there was no system anymore? "I have to rewrite my code. It is not adequate for these times. It was made with the presumption that the kingdom would never fall, and that we would continue to have the favor of the goddesses. I do not know what we did to earn their ire, but we can certainly accept it and the new world they demand us to live in."

    Defend the helpless and fight for the weak. - No change there.
    Be valorous, virtuous, and honest. - Still good.
    Direct your wrath to the wicked. - Easy; terrifyingly so, of late.


    The rest was formalities that had no place in the new and savage world he was reborn into. The next time he ran into one, a petty tyrant now had something to fear from him. Nobility and birth were no longer shields.
     

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