Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Page 1009

You don’t find it exciting?’ said Garovel.

Ibai’s smile waned as he looked at the reaper. “No, I’m afraid I don’t. And if you don’t mind, I’d rather not hear the rest.”

Really? But there’s a lot more to tell.

“I’m sorry for confusing you, then. I prefer happier tales.” The aberration required a moment to find his cheer again. “Do you have anything with unicorns?”

‘fraid not.

“I see. Well, never mind, then. I’m suddenly in the mood for something sweet. Does anyone else want a snack?” He didn’t wait for anyone to answer. “I’ll be in the kitchen.” And he teleported away again.

Horatio gave a sigh, and Hector watched the man’s silent exchange with his reaper, no doubt asking where Ibai went. The reaper pointed, and bodyguards all rushed off.

Hector decided to follow along. ‘What was that about?’ he asked Garovel as he ran. ‘Trying to test his bloodlust or something?

Pretty much,’ the reaper said privately. ‘I just wanted to see how he would react, really. Didn’t expect him to run away, though. Not sure what to think now.

I can’t imagine he would’ve confessed to enjoying that story.

Sure, but I thought he’d at least be curious. I mean, aren’t you?

Hector had to concede that point, at least. He hadn’t heard the term Dáinnbolg before, but he had a fair idea what it referred to. If it was where Garovel came from, then it was probably on the other side of the world, where the Lyzakks originated; and if it had been ‘devastated,’ as Garovel said, then it was likely related to Exoltha, the dead continent. Or perhaps the Dáinnbolg was just another name for it.

Exoltha was a land torn asunder by ancient wars, but that was where common knowledge ended. Today, that land was considered beyond uninhabitable. From what Hector understood, few people ever dared to go there anymore, because none had done so and returned to tell the tale.

Or so the story went. Hector had experienced a passing fascination with the place a couple years ago, but now that he knew about reapers, he wasn’t quite sure what to believe. He remembered scouring the internet for information on Exoltha and finding nothing scientific, save only satellite images of endlessly dark storm clouds.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Page 1008

We’re glad to see that you are enjoying yourself,’ said Garovel.

Horatio and the other bodyguards caught up again, but they must have been growing accustomed to it by now, because none of them bothered to chastise Ibai. Horatio was looking even more haggard than the last time Hector had seen him.

“By the way, Garovel,” said Ibai, “the last time we spoke, I believe you promised me a story time.”

Ah, I suppose I did.’ The reaper began floating away, and Ibai walked with him.

Hector made sure to keep pace as well so that he would always be between them. He remembered what Garovel said about not antagonizing Ibai, but that didn’t mean he was going to leave Garovel wide open to a sudden attack.

What kind of story would you like?’ said Garovel.

“Something exciting!” said Ibai.

Hmm. Alright. Are you familiar with the story of the Dáinnbolg?

“Of course,” said Ibai, “but I’d be more interested to hear a story of your own.”

It IS a story of my own,’ said Garovel.

That made the aberration blink. “What do you mean?”

Garovel spared a glance at Hector. ‘I mean I used to live there. Before all the devastation, that is.

Hector had more than a few questions of his own now, but he decided to let their conversation play out.

Horatio Blackburn, however, chose to chime in. “You used to ‘live’ there? As in, before you were a reaper?” The man’s own reaper looked interested as well.

That’s right,’ said Garovel. ‘Chergoa and I grew up there.

“Wow,” said Ibai. “What was it like? Was it fun?”

I suppose it depends on what you consider fun.

“Were there birthday parties?”

No, I’m afraid there weren’t.

“Pity. But there had to have been some parties, right? Seasonal celebrations and the like?”

Sure.

“Then I think it could’ve been fun,” said Ibai. “But anyway, what was the story you wanted to tell me?”

Well, you see, when my sister and I were very young, we witnessed the slaughter of an entire village of people. It was quite bloody, and in the span of a single day, the village became a ghost town.

Hector saw Horatio and the other guards shift uncomfortably, but it was Ibai who responded first.

“That’s horrible. I thought you said this story would be exciting.”

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Page 1007 -- CXIV.

Chapter One Hundred Fourteen: ‘Thy discerning nature...’
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Rather than sleeping, Hector spent most of the night exploring Dunehall. And he wasn’t the only one. He saw other people wandering around wherever he went. It must have been a side effect of the long day trip, he figured. Everyone had slept on the way here, and now they were all restless.

He finally managed to give Madame Carthrace a call and inform her that he would be staying in Sair a while longer. She told him that the reconstruction was proceeding steadily, though at a slower pace than when he’d been there to assist. Apparently, the workmen kept asking about him. He hoped he’d be able to return soon. This elaborate sand fortress was a feast for his eyes, but it really just made him want to work on Warrenhold again. In particular, there was a windowless gallery that was giving Hector ideas. It overlooked Dunehall’s domed courtyard, offering a lovely view of sandstone monolith surrounded by humble greenery and a small stream. The whole thing reminded Hector of Warrenhold’s central plaza, that open space between those eight hulking towers. He wondered if there was any kind of plant that could grow in Warrenhold. Probably not, he supposed.

When he wasn’t thinking about decorations and structural design, however, he was wondering about what the Rainlords were doing. The heads had all gone into another meeting not long after their arrival, no doubt still trying to reach a consensus about what their next course of action should be. Mostly, Hector wondered if they had reached a consensus concerning Ibai Blackburn yet, especially because he kept seeing Ibai pop up all over the place.

Though, that might’ve also been because Hector was slightly following Ibai around. Just a little.

The man seemed to be giving his guardians a hell of a time keeping up with him. Hector overheard Horatio chastising him a few times.

Upon the fifth sighting, Ibai spotted Hector and didn’t hesitate to teleport over.

“Hello there!” said Ibai. “Can’t sleep, huh? Me neither. Well, I don’t sleep much in general, but still, it’s pretty exciting, isn’t it? This place is so neat! I hope we can stay here a while.”

Frankly, Hector was surprised that Ibai had been allowed to roam freely, but he guessed there wasn’t a whole lot they could do to stop him from going wherever he liked.