Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Page 1917

'Germal?' said Garovel. 'That's an Ancient Melmoorian folk hero. How do you even know that name?'

"Mugh?" was all Harper had to say.

Darsihm chimed in for him. 'You're very knowledgeable. But as it so happens, Germal is also currently the name of a prominent member of Abolish. Perhaps you've heard of him without realizing it. The Liar of Lyste?'

'Ah, yes, I remember that moniker,' said Garovel. 'Have the two you ever encountered this person?'

'We have not,' said Darsihm, 'but one of our superiors has taken a keen interest in him--an interest which I think has rubbed off on Harper here.'

Harper looked like he wasn't even listening, anymore. He was staring at the bartender, who was busy pouring a glass of wine for a different guest.

'When he's sober, anyway,' the reaper added.

'Hmm. Which superior would that be, if you don't mind my asking?'

Darsihm took a moment to perhaps deliberate whether or not he should share that information with them. 'Captain General Frederick. I'm not at liberty to share any more than that, I'm afraid. I probably shouldn't have even shared that much, honestly, but I feel you've earned a modicum of trust.'

'I understand,' said Garovel. 'Believe me, there's no need to explain yourself.'

The reapers kept talking, but a familiar voice acquired Hector's attention.

"Lord Goffe?"

He turned to see King William standing there, looking quite regal in his formal attire. His coat was mostly white laced with silver, aside from the big blue sash that extended diagonally down his chest. The man's missing arm wasn't all that noticeable if one wasn't looking for it, but Hector was. In fact, it was usually the first thing he thought of when seeing the King, and that probably wasn't going to change anytime soon.

Hector had no intention of ever forgetting the brutality that Abolish had visited upon this innocent man.

Upon his king.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Page 1916

'Mm, sort of,' the reaper said privately. 'We can suppress it temporarily, and we can numb the pain of a hangover, but they just come back stronger later.'

Perhaps Darsihm was guessing what they were thinking, because he said, 'If there's anything important you want to talk about, I can put him back to normal for you real quick.'

"What're you sayin'? I'm not broken. I'm feelin' great, right now. I could talk about anything. I could tell you the secrets of the universe. Ask me whatever you want. I've got an answer."

'Is that right?' said Garovel through mild laughter, and Hector could already tell that the reaper planned to screw with him.

"You're damn right it is," said Harper, sniffing loudly.

'Alright, then I've got a question for you,' said Garovel. 'What is the meaning of life?'

"Oh, duuude. What a great question. Y'know somethin'? You're a great questioner. Anyone ever tell you that? 'Cuz it's true. Hundred percent. So great. If I could give you an award, right now, I would. I'd vote for you, too. Come election time. You'd be a great prezi-p-prezi... m-minister."

'Well, thank you.' Garovel sounded like he could barely contain himself.

"You think I'm kiddin'? I'm not. You'd kill it. I'm sure you could fix. Just. Everything, y'know?"

Garovel was nodding along. 'Do you even remember my name?'

Harper squinted at him. Then he inhaled so much air at once that Hector wondered if he was trying to inflate his whole body until he popped like a balloon. "Yeah, o'course I 'member your name. You're... V... Vvv--?"

'Starts with a "G",' advised Darsihm, who apparently didn't feel like keeping that bit of assistance private.

"Mm." Harper thought for a long moment. "Grant?"

'That's a Vanguardian Field Marshall,' said Garovel. 'Good try, though.'

"Buh..." Harper scratched his head. "Germal?"

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Page 1915

Amelia and her apparent secretary set to work writing up apology letters, including requests to reschedule. It looked like Hector was going to be having sporadic meetings with the rest of the Atreyan lords for the next two or three months.

He wasn't terribly excited by that notion, but at least it freed up what little remained of the evening. He still hadn't even gotten to talk to Harper Norez yet.

When he finally did, however, it was not quite the reunion that he had expected.

'Well, look who it is,' said Darsihm, Harper's reaper. 'A pleasure to finally see you two again.'

'Likewise,' said Garovel, though his hollow eye sockets were drifting towards the unconscious man sitting at the bar. 'Uh...'

'Oh, ah--sorry.' Darsihm tapped his servant on the back of his head, and Harper jolted awake.

"Mugh?!"

Hector caught the stocky man before he fell off his bar stool. When Harper turned and squinted confusedly at him, Hector returned a flat smile. "Hello, Mr. Norez..."

The man needed a moment. "Oh, hey." He stood up without Hector's help and suppressed a burp. "Great to see you guys. How've you been? You look great. Been workin' out? It shows. Me, I'm doin' good, too, thanks for asking. You guys are so thoughtful, y'know that? There's no one better. Y-you--you guys're just the best. I hope you know that, okay? If anyone tells you different, y'just--" He had to steady himself on the edge of the bar. "Y'just send 'em my way. I'll set 'em straight, mkay? And y'know what else? This country of yours is great, too. You should be so proud of all the things that, uh, y'know. You have. Here. It's just great. Everyone's great. I hope we can--"

And the man just kept talking.

Hector was wholly entertained, but he did have a question. 'Garovel, can reapers fix drunkenness in their servants?'