Bog's World

Altogether elsewhere

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Going Home

Tűd stood in the gateway to Signar itself. Truly the biggest city he had ever seen. With warjacks powered by lightning and an Iron Road connecting it to most of the other major cities in the nation, such wonders as a man could scare believe. Being knighted, honoured, by King Leto [Leeto] himself had indeed felt good. Seeing Juliana again had been a disaster. He’d spent his entire time trying to avoid her attempts at denunciation. How, she asked, had he actually known the future ? It was his past, but he couldn’t make her understand that. She’d assumed that it was a fabrication for her benefit, not the truth.

And the fortune he’d sent her ? Payment for her lost virtue. A very difficult situation for him to comprehend. But apparently a great and unforgivable insult. But not one that she wanted made public, which surely meant that it wasn’t so great an insult that she wouldn’t want it decried from the highest rooftop; so none of the other young ladies of Cygnaran [Signaran] society would speak to him in any but the most perfunctory manner. And he knew better than to ask about the money.

Amidst his own burgeoning arcane power and the wonders of Signar’s nascent industrial revolution, with recognition from the king himself and feted by the Fraternal Order and the Church of Morrow, Tűd found rejection. Where he should have been ecstatic, he was miserable. Somehow returning to Oerik didn’t seem quite so bad. The more he thought about Juliana, and he couldn’t help but do so, the further away he wanted to be. But she was there, in his mind. All. The. Time.

Tűd turned back to Kamilata. They rode back, in case Kamilata’s unique, er, ability did something to the train. They pointed their horses northwards and rode back to Corvis.

Sweating in the tropical darkness, Koldde Darkmane knew from its passing that her firstborn already had the stubs that would one day be a glorious rack of horns. Faint from labour she waved away the midwife and her daughter. Noble blood indeed, she mused. At least with a daughter she didn’t have to hunt down the father…

Selar winced as Evie wiped her bleeding elbow with a handkerchief dabbed in one of Selar’s ever present bottles of absinthe. “For a captain of the Griffins and famous knife fighter, you’re a big baby.” Said Evie, frowning at her ruined haberdashery.
“That stuff bloody stings !” growled the leather clad half-Iosian.
“If it hurts that much on your skin, just imagine what it does to your insides.” Selar laughed contemptuously at the suggestion.
“I’m not laughing.” Evie’s fingers brushed Selar’s face, turning her so as to maintain eye contact, something Selar normally avoided. “Between you and Moe, you’re now it as far as the Griffins go. If you spend as much time with the green fairy as you’re used to, you’ll quickly end up in a canal somewhere.”
“So what ?”, quipped Selar with a petulant sneer, which Evie ignored.
“So it doesn’t have to be like that. Moe and you have the skills, knowledge and the support from most of the Griffins and people of the Bend and hereabouts to not be taken over by the Gertens or who ever takes over the Black Hand.”
Evie sat back and looked at Selar. She could see the street raised, tough, villainous woman’s emotions rushing over her like a waterfall.
“Where I am from, I might one day have need of someone I trust who has the ability to run a street gang, to have people watched or followed. Should that come to pass, I’ll send for you. If I can…”
“So you are leaving then….”
Evie stood up and smoothed down the front of her dress.
“The rest of Tommy’s girls are well taken care of. And Old Mrs Solor is doing us a favour as well, so no jobs near her gaff. She’s a lovely lady, but will have enough trouble with the girls as it is. It would be nice if everyone knew that she and hers are out of bounds.”
“So you’re giving me orders now ?” Selar leaned back and gave her a mock salute. “So what about the Witchfire and your little “sister” ?”
“She and it are coming with us.”
“Your entire little circus ?” Evie winced at the word. It was one that Pelith might have used. Evie nodded. Hitching her skirts up with one hand she put one foot up on Selar’s chair, resting her toes on the space between Selar’s legs. Evie let hand lazily wander down her own leg to the silver anklet, Selar’s eyes not leaving hers for a second. She unfastened it and knelt before Selar, pulling one boot off and carefully fastening it around one of Selar’s ankles.
“It’s Iosian. And it’ll make it easier for you to deal with people.”
Selar stood up and taking Evie by the hands, helped her up.

Almost within sight of the city, a striking woman in furs and leather armour stood on a lightly wooded hill. The brief, stilted, almost painful conversation ended and the armoured man mounted his horse. Kaya stood watching the new knight of Cygnar ride back down the road to rejoin his companion. There was so much unsaid, so much more that could have been achieved. For both of them, personally, as well as for the cause.

Kaya turned away and Baldur emerged from the undergrowth, awkwardly cradling an infant in his arms.
“So, he is returning to his world then ?” he asked, rhetorically. She nodded.
“Here, have your son back.” He handed the infant over. Kaya smiled. The boy may never know his father, but it was of no matter, the wolves of Orboss were raised by the pack.
“You didn’t even tell him, did you ?” Kaya shrugged and walked past him back into the Thornwood Deeps.

Ulfas Borloch walked free. Apparently the interim government had not wanted it too widely known that the city had known about his profligacy, bungs, pocket lining and so on. Too many of the cities career politicians’ had houses or business interests courtesy of or propped up by, Borloch’s money. And in the event of a trial, Borloch would take them all down with him. So he walked.

The officers of the Watch watched from the courthouse steps as the man who had sold his entire city to evil strolled out. Ulfas climbed into his carriage a little easier than he used to. His months in gaol would mean cheaper trousers for a while yet. Beaming a smile and tipping a wink to the scowling Capt Helstrom, he tapped the underside of the roof with the pommel of his cane. “Take me home, Draegin.”

Rain hammered on the canopy of the tent. Thranduil sat, Kilena’s sword across his lap as he meditated. Sat opposite him on the polar bear cloak, spread out like a rug, was the fortune teller. Krysania Galanodel Nailo fed the modest brazier. Smoke from bundles of herbs produced an acrid taste at the back of the throat. Visions came. Thranduil saw Kilena. Memories of tenderness, contentment and passion flooded him for a brief moment. She had changed, her desire for revenge consuming her until she lead her band as mercenaries in the pay of Kirx. The enemy of her enemy had become her friend. The Dragon God of the Nightmare Kingdom was ever eager to fight his progeny. Her consorting with the undead repulsed him.

He saw Lilith Voassir. She wasn’t dead. Or even undead. She was superbly proficient at what she did. It was easy to admire such excellence. And she held a cold and distaining beauty that captivated him. Their deadly earnest combats somehow held the feel of sparing, of enjoying each other’s company. It made him want to tame her. To make her his.

The sharp slap brought him out of his stupor. He lifted himself off of the frightened Krysania. “I know what you saw, what you felt. I think you’d better leave now.”
He offered her his hand, but she shunned it, gaining her feet and moving away from him.
“Go home, stranger. You are done here. And if you stay much longer, both of those women will come for you, and you will have to make a choice. But it is not a choice of either woman, it is the choice of Everblight and whatever power Kilena ends up serving.”
“’Tis worse than that.” He replied. “This place holds insidious corruption for my kind. The attraction of elf kind to unlife or other powers just as evil rules all who remain here.”
She nodded.
“I would come with you, but whilst Skyrah yet lives, there are a few of us who retain a little hope. We are not yet taken by despair.”


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