Saturday, March 3, 2018

Page 1572

((Triple Saturday -- Page 2 of 3))
Durendia paused to think. The name sounded familiar, somehow, but that was the extent of it. She shook her head. “What happened to this place?”

“Some very bad people came and destroyed it,” said Germal.

The smoldering ruin had dozens of columns of smoke, all illuminated in the moonlight and bending in the wind.

“Why did they do that?” she asked.

“It’s a game they play.”

That piqued her curiosity even more. “A game?” She liked games.

“Oh, indeed. They try to destroy all of each others’ things.”

She didn’t much like the sound of that game, though. “That sounds scary...”

“It can be. They take it very seriously. Perhaps because they play for such high stakes.” He patted her head. “But there’s nothing to worry about, cedo. There are other games we can play.”

Koh came up beside her, dragging a heavy cloth in his mouth. He nudged it against her, obviously wanting her to take it.

She was beginning to shiver, so she did so. She scratched behind his ears for him while she tried to warm up again.

A speck of white fell across her vision, and she looked up at the sky another time to discover that it was beginning to snow. It made her smile. She’d always liked the snow.

“Master Germal, sir!” The distant voice grew quickly closer as a man she didn’t recognize ran up to the three of them. “We may have found a lead on the attackers!”

“Oh?” said Germal. “Do tell me more.”

“Ah, well, there appears to be a trail through the forest, but we’re not entirely sure yet, sir. I would’ve reported this to the Knife directly, but I don’t want to trouble him if it turns out we were wrong. He might, um... well...”

“Wise of you,” said Germal, chortling. “Allow me to guess. You previously worked under Dunhouser?”

“I--yes. That I did, sir. How...?”

“The fact that you are worried about bursts of violent outrage from your superior is rather telling, I’m afraid. But I don’t think you need to worry about such things with Jercash. From my understanding, he’s not one given to crushing his subordinates.”

The man looked surprised. “O-oh... uh... really, sir? But, ah, didn’t he just take out Horace a little while ago?”

“Oh, indeed he did. But I believe it was Horace who started that, not Jercash.”

“What? Why would anyone ever--? You’d have to be an idiot to attack the Knife first! But then again, I guess Horace was kind of stupid...”

“Who knows what came over him?” said Germal.

“Ah. Anyway, sir. I apologize for getting sidetracked. There was another reason why I came to you for help, actually. I’ve heard that you were in the 11th Ranging Division, which would make you an expert tracker, no?”

“Well, not so much me as him.” Germal motioned toward Koh.

The man’s eyes went hesitantly to the giant dog.

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