Scattered Jewels of Southsea

Jil and Dominic, Part III

Jil's Adventures Before the Caravan

Bluebooks: As Jil | As Finneus
Songs

This is part III; read Part I and Part II first.

“The runes move,” Jil said, flopping down into the ample cushion of the bed. “They slide around his skin. So slowly you think you’re imagining it at first, but you’re not: they really do move.”

Dominic was peering out the window into the darkness, watching the coast. He knew he’d not see the ship, but some part of him couldn’t help but watch. Perhaps more, he didn’t want to let Jil read his expression; he knew how much she already knew, and didn’t want her knowing any more than she must.

“And there’s a slight green glow to his eyes that flickers as he speaks. You can almost imagine it sparking down his throat and reflecting up.” She was spent, and she wished that she could just close her eyes and fall asleep, but she knew that she had to give this report first. She knew, too, that if she slept now she’d only dream of those flickering eyes. “He’s well-built; maybe six-four. Has definitely seen better days; he’s got a giant gash on his left arm and is missing a finger.” She held up her left hand and wiggled her pinkie.

“So it seems he’s been a busy man in the decade he’s been gone,” Dominic said, still staring out the window. The sky was black as pitch and the city was as dark as it ever got; all the taverns had closed for the night and none of the bakeries had yet opened. In a half-hour the horizon would begin to brighten and the day would begin, but for now Dominic looked out over the city as she slept. No one had any idea of the danger lurking offshore. “Did he mention where he’d been?”

Broflan,” Jil said. “Only he didn’t say it; one of the crewman did.” She raised herself onto her elbows and looked over at Dominic. He was obviously trying to hide his emotions, which meant that he was scared. The question was how much was directed at Harrin and how much elsewhere. Perhaps she could downplay Harrin and see how much that eased Dominic. “Harrin wasn’t too happy about it, either; he shot the crewman a look and you could see the pain on the guy’s face. I’d wager Broflan didn’t go so well.”

Dominic turned his head enough that his peripheral vision could see Jil, who slumped back into the bed with a muffled thump. “Have you heard anything out of Broflan about this?”

A white hand waffled back and forth. “There was something last year about a Guard unit that tried some… unorthodox policies, let’s say. I heard some of Pelor’s finest came to the rescue, but I heard that from a brother of Perlor, so it could be just about anybody.”

Dominic looked back out the window. He had heard it was a gnomish assassin. But then again, Broflan was a strange place, and all or none of this could be true. “The history is muddied, as usual. What’s he after now?”

“He wants what he has always wanted; more power and more control.” Jil took a deep breath: should she downplay this to gauge reaction or tell the truth to aid preparations? “I’m unsure of the exact plan, but it involves the Bloodball game this week, and probably the mayor.”

Dominic spun around. “Does he seek political power for himself, or merely to decapitate the city and feed on the chaos?”

Jil rolled to her side and cracked a slight smile, as if they were in on some private joke. “Harrin couldn’t take political power in this town and keep it; there are too many who know what he did with it last time, and quite a few of you who were there to–” she paused, carefully choosing her words– “witness it.” She kept her eyes on Dominic. That question was too obvious; he wanted to make sure she was paying attention.

Dominic was smiling, now, too. “Right,” he said. “So Captain Harrin wants the Lord Mayor dead. The question then becomes: do we stop him, or do a little bit of chaos-feeding of our own?”

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