“Well, I wish it had been under better circumstances,” Nathan sighed. “But thank you. I’ve been sleeping… well enough. I like mornings, though. I do my best work in the early morning. What about you? Are you well?”
“As well as someone my age can be,” It mused. “But I am not sure what you mean by the circumstances you refer to. I have been kept on the infirmary staff for the Crusaders of the Council primarily. I know very little of what happens in the business of the Convergence.” It turned to you, a look of concern crossing its face. “Please, what happened?”
“Well…” Nathan twiddled his thumbs nervously. He liked Datta. Datta was consistently kind and calm, seemingly a sturdy rock others could rely on. But he didn’t know Datta. So this conversation could potentially go sour pretty quickly. Still, he saw no reason to lie.
“It turned out that Prophet was a corsin,” he said bluntly. “Tried to kill us all. He’d been one the whole time he’d been a Crusader and all of us were too blind to see it. Ran off with the repair hammer we enchanted while we were all drowning, too. And killed our mission-giver.” Nathan held his head in his hands, leaning his elbows on his thin, weak knees. “Jaka was a corsin, too. He had to be executed. We couldn’t save him.” A bitter laugh. “Ten minutes into being Commander and I had to kill one of my own. Some fucking leader I am.”
“Oh…Oh dear,” It said, looking down and away. Its at this point that Datta noticed the drawing on the ground. “…I see…this must be why Visphot came to you.” It placed a hand on your shoulder and tries to smile reassuringly.
“Nathan, whatever Prophet and Jaka did to become Corsins has nothing to do with you, and you having to execute someone does not make you a bad leader. Making that decision is not an easy one, regardless of who is being executed. It just means that you were doing your job. He was not the first to be sentenced to execution in this group.” Its tone became very motherly and nurturing as it spoke. “I am sorry that you had to make the decision, though. I am having trouble even understanding how Jaka could have been a Corsin. He seemed…rather fatherly.”
“That’s part of it, from what I understand. Bob – the Et’Ada of slavery, we can’t say his name or else he gains power – marked his family and made Jaka do things to protect them. But… He also committed many heinous crimes without regret.” Nathan dug his nails into his pants. “I gave him two strikes for summoning Sheo, who in turn sent the messenger of Hircunos on fire, and he took it out on two pale kids in Corsiva. Murdered them because I punished him. And that’s nowhere near the worst of it.”
“…I see. That is…quite disturbing behavior.” It looks thoughtfully back towards the clinic. “Perhaps there was some true to Jeremiah’s ramblings,” it muttered to itself. “Well, nevertheless, you did what you felt was right, and if he did indeed do those things, then you were simply doing your job and upholding the law. Those poor children…” While Datta looked sad, Visphot only growled and made its fur brighter and hotter. “To be killed for such an awful reason…”
It was early in the council when the halfling made their way through the building. They were short, even for a halfling. Brown curly hair covered their face, and their stained white cloak covering the rest of their body, as if they were a floating across the hallway like a ghost.
In their hand, they clutched an envelope in a death grip.
Finally, they stopped at a door. The door that belonged to Tinnuon.
Rapidly, they knocked on the door.
Tinnuon opens the door.
“Yes? Can I help you?”
“I– I have a letter for you, S-sir,” The halfling says nervously, as they rise the letter above their head slightly.
“Oh? From who, and why could they not just send a familiar?”
He holds out his hand for the letter.
“There was no familiar, sir!” The halfling says. “It is from–” The halfling stares in the distance, as if confused. “The socio-economic residual effect of the Farthing-Eriador policies, and the–the– foothold taken by former Justicar-based policies and the positive sustenance therewithin. I have been told I can also read it outloud if it would suit your tastes.”
“I…don’t suppose you could repeat that in Elvish? Common is not my first language. And yes, please do read it aloud. Actually, just a moment.”
Tinnuon goes back into his room to retrieve a notepad and a pen, then returns.
The Halfling gently takes the letter out of the envelope. They slowly unfold it, and say
The Halfling then took a deep breath, and blew an entire puff of red dust onto Tinnuon’s face, that had been situated in the letter itself.
Tinnuon quickly reaches into his pocket to grab his symbol, and shoves it in the face of the halfling. The symbol glows softly, both from apotropaic magic and Tinnuon’s own will.
“You’re going to answer some questions for me before whatever this is takes effect. What did you just spray on me, who really sent you, and just who the hell are you?!”
The halfling’s dead eyes stare into Tinnuon distantly. Their hands unfurl, revealing etchings on their skin.
“This one is called Nerium, Tinman. I hope you like my special alchemical concotion. Had to deduct a Stupid Tax, but consider this loose end… dealt with,” The halfling moves their tongue over, and a tiny packet is visible in their mouth. They bite down. Within seconds they start shaking and wretching from a dose of deadly poison. It seems like they only have a few seconds left to “live”.
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