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The Crowfall Chronicles - Part 5 Of ?


oridi
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Part 1 of the Crowfall Chronicles - http://community.cro...cles-part-1-of/
Part 2 of the Crowfall Chronicles - http://community.cro...cles-part-2-of/
Part 3 of the Crowfall Chronicles - http://community.cro...cles-part-3-of/
Part 4 of the Crowfall Chronicles - http://community.crowfall.com/index.php?/topic/1739-the-crowfall-chronicles-part-4-of/

 

The Crowfall Chronicles - Part 5 of ?

 

Trep felt his knees ache with exertion as he climbed the concentric steps up to the entrance to the Nest.  He knew that his master had sent him back alone through the woods to the castle as both punishment and to teach him a lesson in survival.  He had, in fact, learned something along the way as his straight and narrow path took him across the deeper part of the river.  It was with a sense of slight terror mixed with satisfaction that he could now say he’d learned how to swim.

He pulled open the right side of the heavy front door and stepped inside to the safety of the entry hall.  It was a relief to get out of the chill, bitter wind and away from the glares of the crows lining the upper walls of the castle.  Trep’s moment of calm was short lived however as he noticed a smell.  A wonderful smell, a glorious mix of food and smoke and something that was like bread but when was the last time bread was baked in the Nest?  Not since his arrival that was certain. And whatever the cause, no one should be cooking.  No one should even be here.

Trep followed his nose, and predictably it led him to the kitchen.  A fire was blazing in the smaller fireplace and 3 loaves of bread were cooling on the shelf by the oven.  Seated at the table was the Creature.   She had washed her clothes and her hair looked less like a dead bush and more like an unruly rabbit perched on her head.  It was Trep’s guess that she’d tried to cut it.  In front of her was a bowl full of what looked like stew and a covered pot along with a half a loaf of bread were on the table, wafting  delicious promises into the air.

“Help yourself” mumbled the Creature with her mouth half full.  She gestured to the pot of stew and chewed slowly.  Trep thought for a long moment.  Thinking on his feet was not a strong point.  He slowly reached out and took the bowl of stew from the Creature, and then the spoon from her hand.  She grinned at him, “Smart man”, and then got up for another bowl and spoon. 

Trep wolfed down the stew and when he saw the Creature take more from the pot and eat it without harm he helped himself to another bowl and some of the bread.  He decided if he was going to die of some obscure poison he’d go out with a full stomach. “You can’t be here”, he offered to the Creature by way of thanks for the food. “I know”, she said. “I took a risk.”
 

“He’ll kill you”, said Trep in a conversational tone of voice.  He was starting to feel as if nothing was quite real.  The Creature was sharing a bowl of stew and some excellent bread with him.   He’d survived the river crossing and could swim.  It was so preposterous that he couldn’t take the situation seriously and was a bit unnerved to notice himself softly chuckling.  The Creature smiled a lopsided smile at him and Trep found himself asking her what her name was.

“Oridi”, she said. “My name is Oridi.

---

 

Grand Inquisitor Bepps muttered to herself as she searched her robes for the key to her quarters.   While the fluttery mass of dusty ruffles was an excellent announcement of her supposedly diminished faculties the actual logistics of wearing her robes could be challenging.  With relief she felt the cold iron of the key slip between her fingers and with an odd flourish of her other hand she unlocked the door to her rooms.  As was her habit she called out to a pet squirrel she’d never owned and bent down to pretend to pat it.

A glance at the shadowed area in the entryway showed the small hole drilled into the pattern of the wallpaper was blocked by what she assumed was an eye.  So she was still being watched.  A genuine chuckle passed her lips as she found delight in the small victory of keeping up her pretense while being under such relentless surveillance. Pretending to be batty while keeping one’s mental facilities sharp was actually more difficult than she had thought it would be.   With a bit of luck she could slip off to her home planet in the Dregs soon.  She would much rather face an endless round of assassins and rogues trying to kill her on sight than deal with the insipid political game of cat and mouse here at The King’s Court.   She grimaced at the thought of spending years more at the court and shrugged off her outer robe.

The first decade at Court had not been so bad.  She had plenty of chances to use her real skills of combat back when the brutal climb to power had been clear and honest.  These days it was all about poison and “accidental falls” but back in her heyday you simply fought your competitor for a place on the court openly.  She’d been injured a few times but the victories had come often enough and the quicksilver dagger her father had given her had never failed to finish the fight cleanly.   Some had said she could have risen to the Throne itself but that had never been her desire.  Behind the scenes, secrets and misdirection, that was more to her liking.  And her fights had brought her to where she wanted – the position of Grand Inquisitor.  

The next 50 years of her life had been glorious.  She had spent her days running her spies and gathering information and her nights luring various assets into indiscretions.  Her efforts had turned the tides of wars, put The King’s father on the Throne, help establish the Eternal Kingdoms as a central hub of commerce, and made the campaigns of the great generals succeed without them having to kill the bulk of the Inner Planet’s populations.

But those days were years gone and the new King wanted nothing to do with his father’s old advisors.  One by one they had been killed in accidents and Bepps knew her time was limited.  It was difficult for The King to function when there were such clear reminders of how much less competent he was than his father.  She usually kept out of sight to avoid drawing attention to herself and her apparent feeble and slightly batty act made her no threat to anyone.  However when she heard that her home planet of Parl was on the schedule for The King’s review she knew her chance had come and risked drawing attention to herself.

A knock at the door came unexpectedly.  She pulled on her outer robes and then pulled them off only to put them on again backwards.  She unlocked the door and beamed at the page standing bored before her.  “Message from The King” he droned then handed her a sealed envelope. 

She took the envelope, closed the door, locked it, pet the imaginary squirrel, half glanced at the eye at the spyhole and then opened the envelope.   It was a command to travel to Parl with 50 of The King’s troops and investigate the matter of unpaid taxes.  Normally she would have had to fake dismay at what should be terrible news but was actually for her quite a wonderful development.  But in this case she had real concern about the journey.  Rather than an all expense paid, King sanctioned trip back to her homeworld where she could quietly disappear upon arrival, this was a journey with a bit of unpleasantness attached.  Apparently Head Chancellor Mirl had gotten on The King’s disfavored list and according to the King's note the Chancellor would be going with her to Parl.   And he was not likely to take his eye off Bepps long enough for her to slip away, especially since it was his eye pressed to the spyhole in her entryway.

 

The Crowfall Chronicles - Part 6 of ? http://community.crowfall.com/index.php?/topic/2011-the-crowfall-chronicles-part-6-of/

Edited by oridi

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The Chronicles of Crowfall           The Free Lands of Azure            RIP Doc Gonzo.

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