[Vfw-times] MK Penance and retribution, part 4

Oren Otter bevary at atcjet.net
Wed Nov 17 14:48:51 CST 1999

Chapter 4 
Evil Suffered

	"So all this time, you've been spying on me, Oren?" said Charles in a
harsh whisper as Oren met him around the far side of the wagons.
	"Yes..." replied the otter, hesitantly.  "But it's not like I was doing it
to hurt anyone.  I was just looking in on my friends in order to stay in
	"And so you practiced on me?"
	"Well, yes."
	The rat ran his hand across his forehead in a gesture of frustration with
the lutrine.  "You know by now, then, that I have a number of secrets which
I don't want anyone to know."
	"I know quite a few secrets from many different people.  You'd be
surprised what I know about Rikkter.  But I've never spread anything around."
	"Until today."
	"Not true.  I read the prophecy in the original Hipocci because Phil
couldn't.  You're the only one who knew that my glance connected it with you."
	At this point, Charles let out a rather inhuman squeak of anger.
"Confound it all, Oren, can't you see that what you did is just plain wrong?"
	The Hipocci was half dumbfounded.  He'd never seen Charles like this before.
	"You've no regard for others, Oren.  You've shown that to me since the day
you arrived at the Keep."
	"I've got a list at home as long as my arm of things you've done.  Like
how about the time you yelled at Gornul until he left you and started
following me around the Keep?"
	"What?  Charles, that was months ago!"
	"It's just one example of how you have no concern for anyone but yourself."
	Oren slowly turned his tail on the rat.  "I can't believe you kept a
record of my wrongs.  A friend doesn't do that kind of thing."
	"No." said Charles, barely containing his rage.  "You don't go and turn
this around on me."
	"And why not?" growled Oren, whipping around, his face the very picture of
anger.  "You dare to call yourself a follower and yet you've kept a record
of my 'sins'.  You ought to be ashamed!"
	For what seemed like years, the two mammals stood and faced each other,
eyes red with contained rage, teeth bared, each one tensed for a fight.
Oren wondered for a moment exactly what the sondeck might do to one with a
magical immunity, should Charles deign to strike him.
	At last, Charles pulled himself up straight.  "This is foolish." he said.
"We have a mission, here.  We can't afford to be fighting each other.
	Oren assumed a more dignified bearing as well.  "All right then, rat.
We'll speak of this later."
	* * *

	When Binge was found by his fellow longs, his face was a mass of charred
meat.  His screams had long since died into whimpers, and his mind proved
unable to endure the pain which he had suffered intact.
	"Shell took her!" Binge babbled.  "Took her away, away to where they went.
 Dark fire burn little Binge.  Shell took her away.  Darkfire burn.  Shell
took her."
	Misha instructed a pair of women to get Binge up to a healer.  "And keep
your torches about you!" he called after them.
	Even as the hastily appointed paramedics left the scene with their
patient, a burning, black face emerged from the wall.
	With a swift but certain motion, Misha reached for two bladders hanging on
his belt and squirted their contents onto the darkfire.  The creature
screamed in agony as its flame was extinguished by a rapidly forming foam,
then fell to earth as a pile of black bones.
	"Thank you, Ye!" whispered the fox.  "All right, now, troops.  That black
shell is down here, somewhere, and it has Danielle.  I want it captured.
Bring anything that will burn down here.  I want fires going in every
corridor.  I want this place so well lit that nothing which thrives on
darkness will be able to even think of escaping."
	The longs acknowledged the order and set about the task.
	* * *

	Jemma, one of the village girls, had set up a number of stones in order to
give the Keepers an idea of the layout of Devil's Strand.  "This is the
village square, over here." she pointed out.  "This is where they'll most
likely be casting the spell, since it's going to take..."
	Rupert was fishing something out of his pocket, but he twirled his hand to
instruct Jemma to continue talking.
	"Uh... going to take almost everyone they have.  There will most likely be
a special... sacrifice beforehand.  That means a public... ceremony...
with... cannibal..."
	Rupert was twirling a bit of rope with weights on both ends.  With a
sudden twirl, he let the rope fly.  It wrapped itself around an ugly
looking creature hanging from a tree, knocking it to the ground most
	Several young Hipocci were on the creature instantly.
	"Cripes!" declared Leo, who pinned down it's wings.  "That's the biggest
bat I've ever seen!"
	"That's no bat." argued Xan.  "Have you ever seen a bat with green lips?"
	"It's a lutin." said Oren, simply.  "Let me guess.  You would be of the
Bloodborne tribe, wouldn't you?  You might even be Vitra's cousin."
	"Evil Keeper!" Sytet screamed from his chiropteran throat.  "Sytet kill!"
	Jesse rushed over to help contain the creature.  "All right, guys, what do
we know about this creature so far?  Lets see if you've been paying attention.
	"His name is Sytet of the Bloodborne tribe." said Leo.  "He's a lutin
who's somehow turned into a bat."
	"He's got more passion than self control." said Xan.  "And he's working
wounded.  Those bolos didn't do this damage to  his wing."
	"Why you talk about Sytet?" asked the bat.  "No talk about me!"
	"He's had some contact with humans." said Leo.  "His grammar is off for a
lutin.  It's like a mix of lutin and human."
	Sytet lay still, now, his eyes and ears wide in a fearful expression.
	"He understands that our being able to draw information about him gives us
power over him." Jesse noted.  "Somehow, he's learned the importance of
applied knowledge.  That's something they don't usually teach in goblin
	"Let Sytet go!  Let I go!"
	"He's putting on a show." said Phil, popping only his head above the side
of one of the wagons where he had gone to hide from the bat.
	"What do you mean?" asked Jesse.
	"He said 'Let I go'.  A moment earlier, he used the word 'me'.  He's
playing stupid for some reason."
	Rupert grunted as he put his massive arm protectively around his prince.
	Oren strode forward and put the butt of his staff to Sytet's throat.  "All
right, Bloodborne.  What's your game?  Plain English, now.  And if I sense
any lies, your windpipe is history.
	Sytet seemed to relax.  "The deception was not my idea." he said, plainly.
 "I am a werebeast, and I am strong.  I have no need for telling lies."
	"Get on with it, then."
	"I was sent here to let myself be captured in order to give you a piece of
information.  Your father is alive, Hipoccian.  He is held hostage in the
hold of Mist Ocean.  If you prize his life, you will abandon your struggle
against Devil's Strand."
	Oren backed away.  His dream came flooding back to him.  He remembered
watching the slain Hipocci warriors departing to the afterlife, and being
told that his father was not among them.  So he truly was alive!
	"Go back to your master." said the otter.  "Tell him that he wins.  I'm
calling off the fight."  With an angry hum, he threw his staff to the ground.
	Sytet discarded the bolos and flapped away.
	"Oren?" said Felice.  "You can't be serious about giving up the fight."
	The otter shook his head as he picked up his staff.  "Not a chance in
Hades.  We're going to rescue Dad, and then we'll destroy the Strand."

-Oren the Otter
tlhaQ biQ Ha'DIbaH
The Changing Workplace: http://www.geocities.com/duster_skunk/strips.htm

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