Do We Run

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Do We Run

“Something isn’t right here.” Bucephalus closed the door to our room and leaned against it.

Wyanet sat on the bed. “Are you referring to the little care given to a girl being murdered, or a priest abandoning his mission?”

Bucephalus huffed. “You have no idea what I’ve been through.”

“Stop it. Both of you,” I sat down in the desk chair and leaned back.

‘We’re going to hunt Jack down, aren’t we?” Phebes slumped in her chair.

“I thought you said the three of you weren’t heroes.”

“We’re not, but innocent people are in danger, and the people who can do something won’t listen.” I countered.

“We should spend some time today asking around about this Jack,” Wyanet suggested.

“Or, we could leave town today. Head north until we find a port and book a ship to the Isle of the Gods.” Bucephalus offered.

“No,” Wyanet stood up. “These people need help, and I will not leave them to their fates.” She slid her club into her belt. “If you wish to leave, you are free to do so, bt you will be travelling alone.”

Bucephalus looked at me.

“I suggested staying in the first place, and I am not abandoning my friends.”

“I need a drink,” Bucephalus sighed and left the room.

“Where are we going first?” Phebes pulled her armour on.

“We should speak with a peacekeeper. The information they have will be better than the rumours from the town’s folk.” Wyanet tied on her cloak.

I fastened my new sword to my belt. “Irven might know something, and he seemed amiable enough.”

Bucephalus scowled at us as we walked out the front door.

Grey clouds replaced the fine misty rain. Moisture slick cobblestone streets glistened as the city continued in its lifeless cycle.

“You folks leaving us already?” Irven smiled as we approached him. “I didn’t think we were that bad.”

“Actually,” I stepped forward, my hand on my sword hilt. “We have some questions you could be able to answer.”

Irven clapped his hands together. “Great! I see you found Rory.”

“What do you know about the Ripper?” Phebes blurted out.

The smile on Irven’s face vanished. “You’ve heard about him then?”

“Jack is a she, not he, and we met her,” Wyanet replied.

 “Step into my office. All of you. Quickly.”

Irven ushered us into a cramped room attached to the gatehouse. A barrel bursting with arrows and another with crossbow bolts sat beside the door. A handful of spears leaned against one wall. 

Irven closed the door and shuffled through us to his desk. “Have you spoken with anyone about Jack?”

“An Inspector asked us about the dead woman we found.” Phebes bumped into the spears and they all fell into one corner.

“We wish to help catch The Ripper, but we need more information?” Wyanet stated.

Irven frowned. “I can’t give you much without losing my job. What I can tell you is The Ripper is a mass murderer. He targets prostitutes and has killed nearly one hundred women. But, you say Jack is a woman?”

“Yes, The Ripper is a woman,” Wyanet replied.

“I’d say a girl is more accurate. She’s in her early teens, maybe,” I interjected.

“What did the Inspector say when you told them?”

“They ignored us. They believe the girl to be an accomplice, not the murderer,” Wyanet replied.

“How do you know it was her?”

“I spoke to her, or she spoke to me,” I replied.

Irven steepled his fingers. “Okay, I’ll pass it along to my superiors.” He leaned back in his chair. “I can’t tell you anything else, but I can give you several warnings.” He held up a finger. “One, don’t look like a prostitute.” He held up another finger. “Two, don’t go asking questions about The Ripper around town. The people are scared enough as it is and you’re not going to get an answer.” Irven held out his thumb. “And third, stay out of the constabulary’s way. They have enough problems without wandering vigilantes getting in the way.”

Wyanet puffed out her chest. “You expect us to stand idle while more people die?”

“My advice,” Irven sighed. “Leave Vercingetorix as soon as you can. There’s not much good left in this city, and more of it vanishes every day.” Irven grabbed a quill and a blank piece of parchment. “Go on, I’ve got work to do.”

Phebes walked behind Wyanet and I. “What now? If they don’t want us talking to people or getting involved, are we going to leave? Stay and get arrested? Forget everything and leave with Ceph?”

“We will talk to Bella first,” Wyanet replied. “She might know more. We will decide after.”

A warm gentle breeze caressed the back of my neck. I stopped walking and looked around. “Where are we?”

“I dunno, we didn’t come this way yesterday.” Phebes stopped beside me.

My eyes settled on a dilapidated octagonal building. A barren oak tree grew out of the centre of the building’s roof. 

“Hey, Wy, can we check this out quick?”

Wyanet came back and stood beside me. “Something isn’t right here.”

“I know.”

I walked up to the building and entered where the door should have been. Stained glass of a myriad of colours crunched beneath my feet. Splashes of dark brown stained the floor, walls and ceiling.

“It appears to have been a shrine.” Wyanet circled to the left of the oak tree. “Who would do such a thing?”

“I thought the Dawnfather was well-loved.” Phebes circled to the right. A stained glass window in the roof meant to resemble the rising sun painted her red.

“We should leave here immediately,” Wyanet pulled her war club from her belt. “This is an evil place.”

“What did you find?” I went to Wyanet’s side. A six-foot-wide eye, painted in blood, stared back at us from the palm of a left hand.

“My people know this as a symbol of undeath.” Wyanet pushed past me. “We are not safe here.”

The story will continue, January 23rd  2020.

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Written by: Sweeney (@oceansoul316 on twitter)

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Vercingetorix Noir

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Vercingetorix Noir

I awoke to a dark room. Gentle rain pounded a steady rhythm against the window in time with Wyanet’s breathing and Phebes’s snoring. I pulled on my damp clothes and crept down to the common room.

Dull red coals popped in the fireplace. Bucephalus thrashed about in his sleep. I cleared away a handful of tables and started my morning workout. I finished the first two sets and began the third as the front door of the tavern opened. A massive white tiger with blood-red strips slunk through the open door. It sat on its haunches and chuffed at me. I ignored it and continued through my exercise.

“That’s a curious workout for a rager.” A woman said.

I looked for the source of the voice. The tavern door thudded closed. A woman close to my age stood where the tiger had been. White hair with a blue streak framed her face.

“Pardon?” I stopped mid-action.

“I asked what you were doin’ down here in the dark?” Raisa replied from behind me.

I turned to face her. “Oh, uh, sorry. How long have you been there?”

“Not long. I came down to get started on some things for breakfast, and I saw you out here.”

“I wanted to run through a morning workout before everyone else woke up.”

“Okay, be sure to put all the tables back when you’re done, else Bella won’t be too happy.” Raisa walked back to the kitchen.

Bucephalus shot up. His chest heaved and rivulets of sweat matted the fur on his face.

“Bad dream?” I grabbed a table and pulled it back to where it had been.

Bucephalus turned his head toward me. “Only the same ones that have plagued me since birth.” He clasped his hands and started muttering to himself.

“When you’re done begging for forgiveness for shit you didn’t do, help me move these tables back.”

Bucephalus glared at me. “You would do well to submit yourself to the service of a god. They have much to offer us.”

“Save it for the choir. I don’t need some stuffy old man telling me what to do.”

Bucephalus snorted and went toward the bar. “I need a drink.”

The Dwarf clomped down the stairs, a round hat in his hand. “Morning, sir. Has anyone gone to fetch the constable?”

I put a chair back. “I don’t know.”

The Dwarf put his hat on. “I’ll go and let ‘em know about last night.”

Bella emerged from the kitchen, a candle glowed in her hand. “That sounds like a splendid idea Mister Bigtoe. The sooner we can put the mess of last night behind us all the better.”

Bella floated about the room lighting candles. The smell of fresh bread filled the common room. Not long after Mister Bigtoe left, the rest of the guests filtered down. An uneasy silence clung to the air and no one made eye contact with one another.

I took a seat at the table by the fireplace. Bucephalus flopped into the chair opposite me. He took a long pull from his hip flask then extended it to me.

“No, thank you.”

Bucephalus shrugged and took another drink. “That younger girl told me it was too early to sell me any liquor, so I had to tap into my own stash.”

I rolled my eyes.

Phebes claimed the seat beside me. She arched her back and stretched her arms above her head. “What’s everyone waiting for?”

“The constable. That Dwarf went earlier this morning to get them.”

Wyanet sat in the last chair at the table. The tavern door swung open. Mister Bigtoe, soaked through, stepped in and held the door open. A six and a half feet tall Dragonborn followed the stout Dwarf into the tavern. A dark grey poncho hung to the Dragonborn’s knees and a matching pith helmet sat on top of their scally head.

The Dragonborn stepped further into the room and removed their helmet. “I am inspector Norixius.” Their copper scales half reflected the candlelight. “Mister Bigtoe has informed me that there has been a murder.”

Bella rushed out from behind the bar. “Yes Inspector,” She fumbled with the keys. “The body is right in here.” Bella opened the door to the private room. 

Inspector Norixius turned back to the patrons. “I will need to speak with each of you in private, then, you can all be on your way. I will start with those of you who visit this establishment on a regular basis.” They looked at our table. “I will speak with the four of you last.”

Bella crossed behind the inspector and unlocked the other private room. “You can use this room here. No point in gathering around a dead body.”

Inspector Norixius turned back to Bella. “Thank you for your cooperation, ma’am. I want to speak to you and the rest of your staff first. Inspector Norixius strolled into the offered room, unclipping their poncho as they went.

Bella followed the Dragonborn into the room and closed the door. A few minutes later, Bella emerged from the room and Raisa went in. The cycle repeated over the next hour with the other patrons. Halfway through, Raisa brought breakfast out and Grazer moseyed his way over to us.

The front door thudded closed behind the last patron. 

Inspector Norixius emerged from the private room and strolled over to our table with a notebook in their hand. “I will interview the five of you together.” They lead us into the room with the body and stood at the head of the table. “Who wants to tell me how this girl died?”

I stepped up to the foot of the table. “We heard a scream last night and ran to see what was going on. We found Carina bleeding out in the street. We tried to heal her, but didn’t get to her in time.”

Inspector Norixius rapped their claws on the table without breaking eye contact. 

“I don’t know,” Grazer chimed in. “I had an order to deliver here last night and found these three with the dead girl in the fog. It looked like they needed help, so I did. I probably would have gotten lost if it hadn’t been for their nifty light spell though.”

Inspector Norxius looked back to me. “Some of the other patrons accused you of killing her.”

“How could we have killed someone while sitting in the common room?” Wyanet interjected.

Bucephalus shrank into the corner.

“Okay, we found her and then a little girl taunted us about killing her and then she ran off,” Phebes blurted out. “I knew it was a bad idea to bring the body back.”

The corners of Inspector Norixius’s mouth smiled.

“We spoke with her departed soul.” Bucephalus whispered.

The smile on Inspector Norixius’s snout vanished. “What did you say?”

Bucephalus loomed behind me. “I said we spoke with Carina’s departed soul, and she told us who killed her.”

Inspector Norixius raped their claws on the table. “How did you accomplish that?”

“Being a priest has its benefits.”

“Who did she say killed her?”

“Carina claimed someone named Jack killed her.”

Inspector Norixius’s shoulder’s slumped and they rubbed their eyes with one hand. “I suspected so, but I needed to be thorough.” They looked at Phebes. “You’re certain you spotted a little girl running away from the crime scene last night?”

“Oh, um, uh, yeah.”                   

“Dai, I mean Percival tried to stop her, but she disappeared into the mists before he could catch her,” Wyanet added.

Inspector Norixius sighed. “At least there is a new development in the case. I just wish more could be done to stop this evil man.” They scribbled some notes into their notebook and pushed past us to the door. “I’ll send someone from the temple to collect the body this afternoon. If you all would be so kind as to stay in the city for the next few days, in case I have more questions for you.”


The story will continue, January 16th  2020.

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Written by: Sweeney (@oceansoul316 on twitter)

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Unquiet Dead

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Unquiet Dead

Steady hooves echoed through the cobbled streets towards us. Dense fog and darkness surrounded us, obscuring our vision. Blood from the dead woman at my feet stained my clothes and hands.

“We should take her back to the tavern,” I suggested.

“Why?” Phebes argued. “If we run now and get you guys washed up, no one will suspect us, and we won’t get arrested.”

“I will not disrespect the dead in such a way. This woman could have family looking for her. We have done nothing wrong, why would we get arrested?” Wyanet countered. 

The echo of hooves marched closer.

“How do you know we won’t get blamed? You guys are literally covered in her blood, and no one will believe the truth. I know how these things work. One minute you’re minding your own business. Then a guard sees you and blames you for something you didn’t do. Then you’re in the stocks getting rotten fruit thrown at you.”

I grabbed my belt buckle and spoke the arcane word for light. Cool white light radiated out, casting strange, fuzzy shadows in the fog. I squatted beside the body, crossed her ankles and grabbed her wrists. I hoisted the corpse onto my back. Warm sticky blood ran down my shirt.

“We’re taking her back to the tavern. End of debate.”

“This is a bad idea.” Phebes crossed her arms.

A dog as high as my knee covered in shaggy black and white fur trotted into our circle of light. It barked once and turned back the way it came.

“Thanks for the light friends.” A smooth deep voice rumbled. “It got really dark and foggy all of a sudden. I thought I and my friends here were going to get lost.” An eight-foot-tall man with bovine ears emerged from the fog. Thin grey fur covered every inch of the stranger’s exposed flesh. A bushy, twig strewn, flame-red beard protruded from his chin. “Oh that doesn’t look good, let me help you with that.” The stranger lifted the corpse from my shoulders and laid it on the back for his overburdened donkey. “The name’s Grazer by the way. I’m heading to an inn up the road. Maybe someone there can help your friend.” Grazer collected the donkey’s lead. “Dog! Oh, there you are, girl.” The black and white dog sat at his feet, tongue lolling out to one side. “How’d this happen to your friend here?” Grazer walked through us.

“A creepy little girl stabbed her, and ran away when we got here and is going to frame us for her murder.” Phebes blurted out.

“That’s pretty wild. You didn’t kill her, did you?”

“No, we did not kill her.” Wyanet followed after Grazer. “We heard a scream, and came to help, but we were too late.”

“You heard a scream, at night, in Vercingetorix and you ran to help? That’s pretty brave.”

“We’ve faced worse.” I fell in behind the donkey.

We walked the rest of the way in silence. Grazer stopped our party outside of the Atropa Belladonna.

“Here we are.” Grazer knelt and patted the dog’s head. “Take Donkey to the stables. I’ll be out soon to get you two settled in.”

The dog barked once, licked Grazer’s beard and took the lead rope from his hand. Grazer lifted the dead woman’s body and carried it into the Atropa Belladonna like a child.

        The patrons gathered around a single table and whispered in hushed tones. Raisa and Bella whispered an argument behind the bar. Bucephalus stared into the fire, our table littered with empty cups.

“What happened?” A Dwarf man poked his head out of the group of patrons. 

“Was it the Ripper?” A pale-faced human woman in her middle years asked.

“Grazer, take her into one of the private rooms.” Bella hurried from behind the bar, a key ring jangled in her hand. “I don’t want blood all over my common room.

Bella let us into one of the snug private rooms by the main entrance. Eight chairs sat around a square table in the centre of the room. Grazer placed the body on the table while Bella drew the curtains shut.

“Raisa, get in here and get the candles lit!” Bella barked out the door. 

Raisa elbowed her way through the patrons crowding around the door, a lit taper in her hand.

“Someone should fetch the constable.” The middle-aged woman declared.

“That’s a really good idea!” Grazer echoed.

Raisa finished lighting the candles and blew out the taper. “I’ll go.”

“No, you will not. It is far too dangerous for a woman to walk the streets alone at night.” Bella pointed at the Dwarf. “You, fetch the constable.”

The Dwarf took a few steps back. “Why do I have to go? How do we know the killer isn’t waiting for another lone target?”

“I can go,” Grazer offered. “They didn’t attack me.”

“We don’t even know who you are!” A Halfling man shouted. “How do we know you didn’t kill that woman?”

“He did not kill her.” Wyanet stepped in front of Grazer.

“Enough!” Bella bellowed. “Grazer, go get my food and don’t go anywhere else. You’d get lost after a block.”

“Yeah.” Grazer chuckled.

Bella pointed a sharp slender finger back at Grazer. “He’s the reason the lot of you haven’t starved to death yet. If you want to accuse him of something, you can get out of my tavern right now.”

The patrons studied their shoes.

“If only we could speak with the dead.” Another man mused.

Wyanet’s eyes lit up with inspiration and she pushed her way into the common room.

“Why are you looking at me like that?” Bucephalus mumbled.       

 A table crashed to the ground. Wooden cups and utensils clattered against the floorboards, followed by the impact of a heavy body.

“What in the hells was that for?”

“A girl has died. We need to know how and why.” Wyanet replied.

“What do you expect me to do about it?”

“You are the only person here who can speak with the dead. That is what I have heard other Colonizer priests claim, now go do it.”

Bucephalus’s feet clomped across the floor. “Fine, I’ll do it. Silver Armed take pity on me.”

The crowd surrounding the door parted and let Bucephalus pass.

He looked at the body and Bucephalus shook his head. “We’ll need privacy.”

“And you’ll have it.” Bella jumped into action. She pushed the patrons from the area and closed the door behind her.

Phebes, Wyanet, Bucephalus, and I gathered around the body. Dim candlelight danced shadows around us. 

Bucephalus placed his hands on the table flanking the dead woman’s feet. “The ritual only lasts a short while. It won’t bring her back to life, but it will allow you to ask her a handful of simple questions. Choose them carefully, the ritual will only work once.”

He pulled a stick of incense from his pouch and clasped the holy symbol on his neck. Bucephalus lit the incense and waved it over the body while muttering a prayer. Smoke seeped into the small room from under the door. Bucephalus finished his prayer and kissed the dead woman’s forehead. 

Smoke rushed into the corpse’s mouth and nose. Her chest expanded and her eyes rolled open. 

“You’ve got five questions.” Bucephalus backed into the corner chewing on his fingernails.

“What is your name?” Phebes asked.

The corpse’s head jerked and stuttered to look at Phebes. “My… Name… Is… Carina.”

“Do you have anyone we can take you to?” Wyanet asked.

The head shifted again. Small amounts of smoke slipped past the corpse’s lips as it spoke. “No.”

“Why not?”

“My… Family… Died… Years… Ago… In… The… Plague.”

“How did you die?” I asked.

The corpse turned its blank smokey eyes to me. “I…Was… Escorting… A merchant… Man. Jack… Found… Us… My cli…ent… Abandoned… Me… Jack… Killed… Me.”

“Why did Jack kill you?”

“Jack… Kills… Whores… I… Am… A… Whore.” The last of the smoke trailed out of the corpse’s mouth.

“What? No! That was hardly anything.” Phebes grabbed the corpse and shook it. “Cast the spell again, we need more.”

“I can’t.” Bucephalus removed his thumb from his mouth. “If you want to wait a few weeks we can, but the ritual won’t work again before then.”

A soft rapping came at the door. Bella let herself in. “What did you learn?”

“Someone by the name of Jack killed her,” I replied. “She doesn’t have any family, and that’s all we got.”

“So it was the Ripper then,” Bella frowned. “Town is bad enough as it is without a madman running around slicing girls open.”

“I do not think Jack is a man,” Wyanet stated. “We saw a little girl flee the area when we arrived.”

Bella gasped. “That’s a foolish thought darling. Why would another of our, superior sex let alone a child, do this?” Bella glanced at the corpse. “Poor thing. I’ll get a sheet to cover her up. We can send for the constable first thing in the morning.”

The story will continue, January 9th 2020.

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Written by: Sweeney (@oceansoul316 on twitter)

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2020 Release schedule

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Update:

Legends of Cobalt will return next week on Thursday, January the 2nd at noon EST. The story will pick up right where it left off in November on the streets of Vercingetorix.

Moving forward, Legends of Cobalt will have a new schedule for release. It will still come out every Thursday at noon (EST) but instead of getting nine chapters in a row, four chapters will come out, followed by a two week break, then five more chapters followed by a four week break. Also, in the middle of the four week breaks, there will be a short lore post. This way, you’re never more than two weeks from a new Legends of Cobalt post.

This is the model we will be publishing in for the foreseeable, baring the occasional break for significant holidays.

I hope you have a fantastic holiday, whichever you celebrate, and I’ll see you all in the new year. Thanks for reading!

Sweeney

P.S.

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This is also a great time of year to tell your friends about Legends of Cobalt so they have time to read from the beginning to catch up.

https://dreamforgeproductions.com/2019/03/21/desperate-times/

Inquisitive Loss

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Inquisitive Loss

 Wyanet and I jumped to our feet, weapons at the ready. A hulking cloaked figure pushed into our room. Phebes staggered backwards. The Fae scrambled for a place to hide.

“Why have you been following us?” Wyanet demanded.

The figure closed the door it blocked. Phebes tripped and fell hard on the floor. I kicked my chair out of the way and moved as close to the wall as I could. The figure stepped closer to us, its hard-soled shoes thunked on the floorboards.

“Who are you and what do you want?” I put my sword in a low guard and got between Phebes and the figure.

The figure reached two meaty, fur-covered hands to the hood of its cloak. “I mean you no harm, lest my company.” A deep voice spoke as it pulled the hood back, revealing a horned Minotaur. “My name is Bucephalus. I am a priest of The Silver Armed, and soldier of the Inquisition force of The Isle of the Gods.”

“Are you here to kill us for attacking that priest?” Phebes whimpered from beneath the table.

Bucephalus’s jaw dropped. “What did that old fool do now? Never mind, it doesn’t matter. I’m not here to kill any of you. Quite the contrary, I need your help.”

I slid my sword back into its scabbard. “You’ve come to the wrong place. We’re passing through on our way further South.”

“YOU MUSTN’T GO SOUTH!” Bucephalus’s eyes got large. “Pardon my outburst. I meant to ask why your companions spent their day asking questions around town if you do not plan on staying?”

“Information is a valuable resource. You can never have too much.” Wyanet moved around the table. She held her dagger in a reverse grip, the blade pressed against her arm.

“Please, at least sit down and have drinks with me. I’ll tell you what I know. After that, if you still don’t want to help, so be it.”

“Are you paying?” I asked.

“The church will take care of us this evening.”

“Let’s go downstairs.” I helped Phebes out from under the table. “You’re buying me a new dinner as well.”

I lead the group down to the common room. Half a dozen people sat in ones and twos around the room. Raisa floated between the groups, topping off drink cups and delivering food. Bella leaned on the bar, chatting with another guest. The murmur in the room silenced and all eyes settled on Bucephalus. We crossed the room and took the table by the roaring fireplace. Bucephalus sat first, facing the main door.

Raisa crept her way over, she stood as far from Bucephalus as she could. “You folks didn’t have a Minotaur with you earlier? Did you?”

Wyanet sat opposite Bucephalus. “No, he wandered up to us.”

“I don’t remember seeing him enter the tavern even.”

I sat with my back to the fire. “He’s paying for our food and drinks tonight.”

“Okay then,” Raisa shrugged. “What can I get for ya?”

“A keg of stout, a bottle of whatever aged spirit you have and some house wine if you have any.” Bucephalus listed off.

Raisa’s eyes bulged. “That’s a lot of liquor.”

“I can handle it.”

“Cider if you have any,” I added. “And a bowl of stew if you have any left, please?”

“Cider’s gettin’ low, but I’ll see. Same for the stew. These girls not save you any?”

“We did, but it got spilt when we got interrupted,” Phebes said.

‘That’s a shame. I’ll be right back with what I have for ya.”

“Talk,” Wyanet ordered.

Bucephalus leaned in over the table. “I and a group of five other Inquisitors got ordered to Spinel to investigate reports of Lycanthropy.”

Raisa brought our order to the table and sprinted back to the bar.

Bucephalus popped the cork off of a clear glass bottle and drained the contents before he continued. “We uncovered a demon-worshipping cult after three days.” Bucephalus cracked open the keg and dunked a tankard into it. He took a long drought of the dark liquid. “We spent a week trying to eradicate the cult. The rest of my Party died at the hands of undead and other abominations to order.” Another long draught. “With her last breath, the Captain ordered me to escape, and bring back a proper company to finish our task.” Bucephalus polished off his tankard and reached for the wine bottle. “That happened a month ago. I’ve been trying to leave Crescent Moon Bay ever since.” He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.

“That still does not explain why you followed us.”

I shifted in my chair to look at Wyanet. “He wasn’t following us. The person I saw looked human, and they were much smaller.”

“I did follow you this morning. I had to make sure I could trust you.”

“I’m telling you, someone else followed us when we entered the city.”

Phebes sipped on her cider. “Why don’t you ask one of the local churches to send you home? Can’t they do that?”

“No, I can’t.” Bucephalus shook his head. “Part of our mission was to investigate corruption in the local churches. The movement of Inquisition forces is secret. Much of the world does not trust our existence.”

“That’s your own damn fault.”

Bucephalus snorted at me and clenched his fist. “The actions taken by the Cardinal Conclave several hundred years ago have been forgiven. Not to mention no victim of that particular slight is alive today.”

“Tell that to Sweeney,” I whispered under my breath.

Bucephalus slammed his fist down on the table, sloshing liquid from all our cups. “The Inquisition is a force for peace and good in the world.”

 The tavern went silent again. Everyone stared at us. Bella detached herself from the bar and started marching toward us.

A woman’s scream pierced the windows of the tavern. 

Bella froze in her tracks. Wyanet and I rushed toward the door. Phebes kicked at our heels.

We sprinted into the night. Cool moist air cut through our clothes. Half the oil lamps lining the street stood dark, the other half flickered in an unsteady breeze. Thick clouds blanketed the stars. Most of the windows on the street stood dark.

We waited, and listened.

The woman screamed again.

“This way!” Wyanet sprinted up the street into darkness. 

We ran right behind her.

After a block, we found a young woman bathing in a pool of her blood. Wyanet vaulted the woman and studied the dark, foggy street. 

I knelt beside the woman, her blood soaked into my leggings. Deep gouges crossed her chest, and another lined her neck. She reached up to me, gasping for breath. I grasped her cold, sticky hand in mine. I placed my other hand over the slashes in her chest. “We’re here to help.” I focused my mind and energy. A dull flash of light pulsed from my palm into the girl. Blood continued to well through my fingers. “Wy, my healing isn’t working.”

Wyanet spun around and knelt opposite me. “Let me try.” Wyanet placed her hand where I had mine. A brighter light pulsed from her hands. 

The woman took a deep breath. She gasped and choked. A cough sent another spurt of blood from her wounds.

Wyanet let go of the woman and shook her head. She extended her hands over the woman and began to sing in her native language. 

A dome of warm light encased the dying woman. She stared into my eyes, pleading for help.

The woman’s hand went limp in mine. Her eyes went dark, and her jaw slacked.

I folded her hand on her chest.

A small figure in a green cloak removed itself from the dark alleyway beside us. “Another whore dies.” A little girl giggled. “He is still hungry, but the children won’t be.”

I rocked back onto my feet and approached the little girl. “Do you know who did this?”

A strong wind extinguished the remaining lamps. A dense fog surrounded the girl. Her giggles surrounded us, and she vanished.


The story will continue, January 2nd 2020.

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Written by: Sweeney

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