Friday, April 29, 2016

Page 1210

Garovel relinquished a nod. ‘I suppose it is. And now that you mention it, I was hoping to ask you for a favor. Would you mind going to Warrenhold ahead of us? Aboveground, I mean.

We could do that,’ said Qorvass, ‘but would it not be more prudent to stick together?

Perhaps, but it would also be very helpful to have someone who can open the entrance for us when we get there. The door is rather strong, and trying to break it down might prove problematic.

Curious,’ said Qorvass.

“I understand,” said Asad. “I will send my children to do this task for you. I fear I may be needed in the Undercrust. One never knows what one will encounter down there.”

True enough,’ said Garovel. ‘How many children do you have, by the way?

“Only two,” said Asad. Then he turned around to talk to his daughter, who’d been standing behind him the whole time. “Were you listening?”

“Yes, abbi,” said Jada.

He placed a hand on her shoulder. “Go to Kuros and fetch your brother. Then take him to Warrenhold and wait for me.” He turned to Garovel and Hector again. “Can you give her directions?”

Of course,’ said Garovel.

Jada interrupted, saying something in Valgan, to which Asad responded, also in Valgan.

Hector glance at Garovel.

She’s asking about her mother,’ said Garovel privately. ‘Wants to know if she should bring her to Warrenhold, too. Asad says no. Jada says taking her brother will upset her mother. Asad says they’ll discuss it later.

Apologies,’ said Qorvass to Hector and Garovel. ‘Please have no doubt that we will see this task completed.

Your diligence is appreciated,’ said Garovel. ‘But before you send anyone to Warrenhold, there’s something I should mention. It concerns mental health.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Page 1209

Yeah, that’s the theory,’ said Garovel. ‘Mummification used to be pretty common. These days, people seem to think it was only royalty and the super rich who were mummified, but that’s not quite true. Anyone who worked under those people could also be mummified--sometimes, even while they were still alive.

Hector’s brow lowered. ‘What? Why?

Because tradition, that’s why. For example, if your job was washing the king’s feet, and then your king went and died before you did, some cultures believed that you should be entombed with him.

That’s... so fucked up.

Such were the ancient customs and religions of the world.

Hector still had more questions about Couriers, but they got shoved out of his mind when he saw Asad and Qorvass approaching.

“You’re awake!” said Hector.

Good to see you both,’ added Garovel.

Asad looked pretty sore, judging from how stiff his movements were, but he offered Hector a handshake as soon as he was close. “When I heard about what you did for everyone, I had to come thank you.”

A bit confused, Hector took the handshake. “What I did?”

Asad tilted his head at him. “Zeff told me all about it. You lured the Salesman away from Dunehall and saved all our lives.”

Hector blinked. Zeff had been conscious through all that?

Really, though, that whole affair felt so surreal now, like a dream he’d had, rather than anything he’d actually lived through. A dream. Or nightmare, maybe.

Hector wasn’t sure what to say. You’re welcome? No, that was stupid. Shit, this was getting embarrassing very quickly.

Garovel helped him out. ‘You’re welcome.

Hector gave the reaper a look, but Asad and Qorvass both laughed.

Dammit.

Zeff also brought us up to speed on the current plan,’ said Qorvass. ‘We were wondering if there was some way we could help.

You’re asking me?’ said Garovel.

It is your plan, is it not?’ said Qorvass.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Page 1208

Hector had another question already queued up in his head. ‘What’s the deal with the foggy mirror?

Ah, that’s how they choose who they work for,’ said Garovel. ‘I’m sure you noticed how the Courier only responded to Lord Duxan. When a Courier chooses to work for you, they just show up out of nowhere and give you one of those mirrors.

Hmm. Weird. How do they choose people, then?

Dunno. That’s what I meant by not knowing why they do what they do. They can apparently choose anyone, and their reasons for doing so are never made clear. It’s all very odd, but they do seem to gravitate toward people with power and influence.

Hmm.

Hell, one of ‘em could show up at Warrenhold and give you a mirror, someday. You’ve been getting pretty famous, lately.

Does, uh... does that mean they work for Abolish, too?

Yep. They don’t have any set allegiances that I know of. Oh, and they can decide to take their mirror back at any time and stop helping you.

...This sounds like some conspiracy-type shit. Controlling the flow of information or whatever.

You’re not the first to have that thought.

You trust them?

For the most part. They have a very solid track record when it comes to keeping sensitive information secret.

Hector supposed he’d have to take Garovel’s word on that.

They’d been walking for a while now, with Garovel leading the way, but only now was Hector finally starting to see some Rainlords again. This place was a bit of a maze, but with the way Garovel navigated it, Hector wondered if the reaper had been here before. It wouldn’t be too surprising, he figured.

But before any of that, he still had more questions about about the Couriers. ‘Where do they come from? They’re mummies, right? So they used to be human?

Page 1207

We know, more or less, HOW they operate,’ said Garovel, ‘but the specifics are still pretty unclear. Their movements are especially confusing. You saw how that one just “appeared” out of nowhere, right?

Yeah.

They can all do that. They can just show up wherever they want, seemingly.

Sounds like Ibai’s power.

Garovel paused at that. ‘You’re right. I hadn’t put that together. Aberrations are still a relatively recent development in the world. I wonder if that’s just a coincidence, or if there’s some underlying reason behind it.

You think aberrations and the mummy guys are related somehow?

Alright, well, before anything else, I should probably mention that they’re not actually called “mummy guys.”

I find that hard to believe,’ said Hector.

In Valgan, they’re generally called “zalabaram.” In Mohssian, they’re called dark walkers. Or dark messengers.

Or mummy guys.

Yes, Hector. Or mummy guys. Might be easiest to just call them Couriers, though. But capitalized. Because capitalizing things means they’re special.

So I should capitalize Mummy Guys, in other words.

You’re not gonna stop calling them that, are you?

Why would I?

Because you’re supposed to be an Atreyan lord now, and calling a group of ancient and mysterious beings “Mummy Guys” makes you sound about as dignified as an eight-year-old playing in the mud?

...That’s a really good point.

I know.

Hector wanted to say “Mummy Guys” again, and could see Garovel waiting for it, too, but he resisted, choosing to go for another question instead. ‘Do they ever talk?

No,’ said Garovel. ‘As far as I’m aware, none of them have ever spoken.

...Little creepy.

Maybe. But they’ve never been hostile. Not to anyone.

Or maybe everyone who ever noticed their hostilities is dead.

Or that highly unlikely thing you said, yes.