Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Strange Tale Part 1

The only furniture in the small room was an old bed and a dresser where a chamber pot sat. And both of the victims. They were piled, one atop the other, on the bed, laying face down. Their Silvercloaks piled on the floor, to the right of the bed and on full display so that when the Watch responded they'd see that not only had two of their own had been felled, but that they also had been members of the dreaded Silvercloaks.

Inspector Solomon Strange took in the whole tableau, before walking around the bed. He had known Clancy and Verra since working with them on the malediction of Donal Bluth. Solomon found it impossible to detach himself from the victims. He had drunk and cried with both of them after their collective failure at keeping a four year old girl's father from falling to the darkness.

Clancy was very rigid and by the book, but if he had your back, he would fall dead before letting you down. He had nine children, the oldest only eleven. He made them toys in his spare hours.

Verra was the daughter of the Minister of the South, yet she'd he had hidden that fact well from most of the Watch. She wanted to succeed on her own merits, her dedication made many had call her distant, even cold. Verra knew what they said, but hid her pain using her keen intellect and bravery as a shining beaconing in the night. A hardened veteran and a shy girl of only twenty-seven.

It was a sad day for the Watch and the Silvercloaks, in fact the second of such in a mere nine days. There were only ten Silvercloaks now, with three having fallen in short succession. This was ill tiding for the whole of Jarlsburg. It was ill work for Solomon Strange.

"INSPECTOR. I'M WAITING FOR YOUR OBSERVATIONS." Codex broke Strange's reverie, oblivious to his partner's sorrow.

"Of course, Codex. We have two victims, both Silvercloaks of the Watch. Inquisitor Clancy Drabb and Inquisitor Verra Ap...Frost."

Codex addressed his partner, "INSPECTOR? IT IS RARE FOR YOU TO MISTAKENLY PRESENT THE FACTS OF A SITUATION, ARE YOU FEELING WELL?"

"I am. Would you mind if I explained my mistake in private?" Strange took a moment to move his attention to the Seargent, a warforged he had worked with for nearly a year now. Codex had been at his side ever since the Uberwold Affair, the Watch insisting he would no longer be allow to work without a partner. He firmly believed Codex was chosen for his ability to record everything that Solomon said or did and that the information was reviewed by their superiors. The Watch, indeed. The warforge's very nature had made the last year a weary one for Strange, but he knew Codex took his duties seriously and they had almost begun to find some common ground.

The warforge answered, "OF COURSE INSPECTOR. MY OLFACTORY SENSES HAVE DISCOVERED SOMETHING UNFAMILAR?"

"Yes, I believe it's a hard candy known as a Fizzy Pop." Strange began getting that all too familiar sinking feeling in his gut, had had begun to detect the presence of something else in the room with them. A lifetime of dealing with darkness and death made him keenly aware of what lurked just beyond the Veil.

He looked over his shoulder and called to the lead Watchman standing in the hallway outside the room, "Constable Marple? Would you make sure that everyone out there gives us plenty of space?" Marple stared at the Inspector in utter confusion, Strange spoke again, "I"m saying back everyone up, please." It didn't require Marple's intervention for his warning to be taken seriously.


Solomon moved all around the room, his eyes scanning the faded wallpaper with it's rooster pattern, now barely visible after years clinging to the walls. He studied the ragged hardwood floor and the ancient and broken down dresser with a new chamber pot setting on it. Brand new, in fact. The Inspector looked over at Codex and gestured for the warforge to be ready. Then he inhaled deeply and held his breath, while simultaneously closing his eyes. Strange let down his wards and began to carefully adjust his senses to the Veil that squatted, usually invisible, on top of our own world like a malicious spider on it's prey. Or was it their world?

He opened his eyes and exhaled at the same time. Solomon found his culprit on top of the dresser, where the chamber pot had rested moments before. A young boy or at least a monster was wearing it's shape. The boy sat on the dresser swinging his legs, grinning to himself and sucking on a Fizzy Pop, until the goose pimples began to raise on his bare arms. He was well dressed in short pants and a short sleeve shirt, both all black, but no shoes. The boy's flesh was very pale and his hair was like woven shadows, dark freckles dotted his young face. The lad was beginning to realize that Strange could see him now. The boy's wide eyes were brimming with blackness, far darker than any night Strange had ever endured. Those black eyes began to narrow and stare defiantly at the Inspector's face.

"Ye see mine presence then? What are ye?" Spat the lad.

Strange spoke clearly, daring to stare into the inky depths of the boy's eyes, "I'm a shadespeaker. I'm going to guess that you know something about the corpses in this room."

"Herherheherher....ye mean your a necromancer, ain't dat right? A shadespeaker! Thoust kind are so deliciously afeared. Words dunna hurt ye, teeth and claws and steel hurt, well at least yer kind. And aye, I know something, but I'm only to parley with a bloke called Solo."

The Inspector took a moment to survey the rest of the small bedroom. There was a faintness to Codex now, he was less defined, hazy to his Sight. Solomon was both relieved and sad to see that his fallen compatriot's souls had moved on already. This could make his task much more painful.

Finally, Inspector Solomon Strange answered the boy, "It's been nearly a year since anyone has called me that. Hail young master ill met, you may know me as Solo."

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