Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Page 3172

Regardless, a wrobel was a major problem.

He hadn't thought about them in many, many years. Or Grigozo hadn't, rather. But that smell. It brought everything back in an instant.

With the benefit of hindsight, Grigozo's encounter with wrobels had been a supremely rare event. It certainly hadn't felt that way at the time, though.

Being enslaved by them for half a century had left quite the lasting impression on the reaper. As a young, still-living man, Grigozo had been pulled from his family and into their thralldom. For years, the Sparrows used him for all manner of errands. Cooking for them. Washing their feathers. Cleaning up after them. Fetching items for them. Lying for them. Helping them hide from the rest of the world.

A hellish existence, with only fleeting moments of freedom here and there. Little glimpses of himself as he once was. Able to control his own body for a few precious minutes. Only to have it all ripped away from him again when the Sparrows realized their slip up.

In the end, Grigozo finally used one of those fleeting moments to stab himself in the heart with a kitchen knife.

He'd thought his nightmare done. And yet, it wasn't the end at all. Because he revived as a reaper. And his slavery continued, though the wrobels had to find new uses for him.

It wasn't until the eldest Sparrow in the nest eventually died of old age that Grigozo found his opportunity to truly escape. He fled into the ground. Down and down and down. All the way into the Undercrust.

Those memories came readily into Banda's mind, needing little to no time for him to process them. More than anything, they were instincts now. Emotions more than ideas.

And everything made sense.

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