Chapter Seven: There’s War Drums…In Those Eyes

Posted by | September 9, 2007

On her way back to the Sunspire with her plundered goods, Helvetica began to notice a queer thing: cat corpses. All over the place. As far as the eye could see. Dead black cats, dead white cats, calico, torties, seal point, not a single one spared that unknown wrath. It seemed as if a family of rats had gone on a vengeful spree and slaughtered every cat in sight.

She had examined a cat once. “Critter,” it noted, “Level 1.”

Tough creatures they were not, possessing of apparently little hit points, and couldn’t usually survive a single blow from even a dagger—except that someone, or something, had taken it upon themselves to obliterate the population. The smattering of corpses continued through the Sunspire as she trotted up the curving ramp to where Solanian stood.

As she passed through the ground level audience chamber, however, Jesthenis Sunstriker stopped her with a look. This is not to say that he simply looked at her. No, the gaze of a potent and well trained paladin is a terrible thing. Caught in the full glare of his stare, Helvetica found herself rooted to the spot, unable to move. His glowing eyes pounded down upon her like mallets on bass drums. Thoom, boom, doom.

“Um,” she said. “Can I help you?”

“I sense a soul in search of answers,” he said.

“What?”

“Never mind, Blood Scout,” Jethenis said. “You have done well. Taken on your first feathers and already you have blooded yourself. I am impressed, to say the least, not many have gone so far in so little time.” His eyes flickered to the Burning Crystal shard floating nearby. “Now that we are out of earshot of those fools, I would like to congratulate you. I don’t know a single of the Blood Knights who has managed to gain such a powerful weapon. In all my time, in fact. You should be congratulated.”

The drums maintained their saturnine pounding, back beating his voice and punctuating his periods.

“Thank you,” she said.

“It is time that you were elevated in rank.” Jesthenis raised a hand

Foom!

“You are now a level four Blood Scout and have acquired the rank of Squire,” he said.

“Er, wait, level four? Didn’t I just skip—”

“Think nothing of it, Blood Squire!” the paladin boomed, puffing his chest out. “All in the service of your people. We cannot leave talent like yours wasted.” He lowered his voice to a near-whisper. “Plus, with this sort of power level you won’t have to go back up there and talk to you-know-who again. In fact, just sell his stuff to Shara, she likes shiny things.”

Doom, boom.

“Okay…but…”

“I do require one task of you, before you are to report to the Lady Liadrin I want you to hunt down a rather surly individual. One of the Wretched. Bring me his head.” He handed her a parchment with a briskly painted glaring face, scratched out in dark lines and angles, depicting bright teeth, glowing eyes, and a haze of smoke. Scrollwork beneath gave his appellation: Felendren the Banished.

“Be careful not to fall. Do not become one of the Wretched.” Thoom, doom. “Now go. Do not disappoint me. Your people are depending on you, Squire.”

Stunned, and uncomprehending, Helvetica walked away. She tried to recall the conversation but much of it became scrambled in the text and melted into a blur. Something about selling someone’s head to Shara and shiny things for Felendren still remained before it rattled into confusion by the deep booming of the drums in the Sunstriker’s eyes.

A player wearing purple and red robes—a color pair that clashed so badly that it brought her mostly out of her bemused state—trotted up, followed by a small creature who seemed to have the worst case of Athlete’s foot that she had ever seen.

“Hello,” the player said. “Do you know where to find Dath’Remar?”

Dazed, Hevetica said, “I’d love to help, but I haven’t the faintest idea…” After a moment she added, “Is there any chance you know how to turn down the sound of those drums?”

“Drums?” the player said. “The sound track to this place reminds me of Lord of the Rings.”

Behind her a Blood Knight sauntered past, swaggering like a peacock, pausing only to dispatch a cat. Merwf!

Back Away Slowly…

NEXT >> Chapter Eight: At Felendren’s Pad


The author Helvetica writes the Helvetica Venture and Hellvetica Chronicles for Vox Ex Machina and proudly supports the works of Kyt Dotson, whose writing includes Mill Avenue Vexations (a gothic webserial featuring cab driver Vex Harrow), Black Hat Magick, and Helljammer and invites you to check out the novel, The Specter in the Spectacles by Kyt Dotson.


1 Comment so far
  1. Jorwyn
    September 10, 2007 8:39 am

    Mewf! Pooooor kitttties!
    Purple and red, wow! … Yay for more Helvetica! Almost makes me wanna play. (almost)

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