Thursday, November 5, 2015

Speechless: Hunting Party 5


I suppose it wasn’t the smartest thing to do but it seemed most honorable to tell Jack to his face that it was time to take his head. He didn’t seem surprised at all, either. He was just… thoughtful as we walked down the sewer tunnel. It had only been hours since dealing with Anne and Tobias but I’d been brooding about it ever since. Jack was the first to speak.

“You don’t want to wait until after the others are dealt with?”

“It doesn’t seem fair to each other. You, from what I gather, want to deal with the management on Pier 451. You wouldn’t mind pursuing the prisoners that were released but it isn’t what you’re really after. I want them captured above and beyond anything else. Should I still be breathing after confronting Daniel Corsair, I’ll be returning home to try and eliminate the corruption among The Consulate. Our paths are diverging in directions that will end us, likely as not. It seems rude to not allow each other to choose our manner of death.”

Jack touched my shoulder, meeting my two eyes with his single good one.

“I suppose you’re right Nagumo. I don’t have anyone to wish well or anything. Did you want to let your fish know what’s about to happen, on the off chance that I win? I mean, you’ve been carrying those letters in your waist sash for days now without opening them.”

I blinked. I had, hadn’t I? There was the letter to Sturm from Lord Kraken and the two from The Consulate. I nodded wordlessly in agreement and opened each letter; pulling out the paper inside and stacking them in order to read.

The first two from The Consulate only served to enrage me further. The first was asking for confirmation from Sturm that the prisoners had been released and that I had been placated in my hunt for Jack. The second was even worse. It sought to determine Sturm’s opinion on their plan to have me removed via a trap to be laid by Anne and Tobias. It seemed that they hadn’t even needed to follow through on their orders without me being captured anyway.

The letter from Lord Kraken, however, had me reconsidering my position. It began quietly and simply.

“Dear Magistrate Nagumo,

You are reading only just reading this letter after taking it from Arbiter Sturm’s floor. I always knew you were a lawful one; even when you leave the normal channels to deal with those needing to be judged. How do I know these things? I don’t. The ink has been instilled with a high enough percentage of water to adapt to the circumstances that you read this under.

I expect that at this point you are curious as to why this letter is to you. I wasn’t sure that you would be the one to receive it or if Sturm would. If you found it, it meant that you had stumbled across the monstrous release that The Consulate has planned, objected, and survived. This is highly important.

We’ve known for some time that you are a water speaker, young Nagumo. We allowed you to lead the life of a magistrate in order to deter the corruption at street level. However, at this time, we cannot allow this to continue any longer. We cannot allow you to kill “Rascal” Jack Lorenz. He may strike at our operations but his rebellion is not the greatest threat facing us. In fact, Arbiter Moon has intelligence that leads us to believe that our survival depends on Mr. Lorenz’ for now. While his rebellion will not be allowed forever, do not draw your blades today. Should you both survive the coming dangers, you will be granted your opportunity.

Return to us at the greatest rate of speed you can muster. Do not head for The Consulate. Come straight into the bay. Our agents will find you and bring you to see us personally. We must speak about how to handle The Consulate.

We recognize your vendetta and will honor such. However, the timing is simply incorrect. Our apologies for your lost, loyal son.

Return home quickly,
Lord Kraken (by way of) Scribe Felwyn”

I looked up from the last letter, frowning deeply. Jack extended his lead pipe to touch my arm.

“Not the conspiracy letter you expected?”

“The Divine are well aware of the corruption I seek to end. They instruct me to let you live.”

Jack raised an eyebrow curiously.

“How generous. Any length on this reprieve or is it a full pardon?”

“Just a reprieve. I am promised a chance for your head eventually. However, they seem to believe that you will help them survive.”

We both had a good laugh at that. It bubbled up from the bottoms of our stomachs and took hold. Laughing about the usefulness of a terrorist that I had been preparing to duel to the death. How odd.

“Whatever floats their boat, I suppose. You plan to listen to them and run along home, or are we going to finish this here.”

“As much as I want to Jack, I’m afraid it is against everything I believe in to disobey this order. I am a Judge in order to enact the will of The Divine.”

“Riiiight. So then, we’re off on our separate paths for now?”

“It would seem so.”

Jack reached down and pulled The Darkening from its sheath, wrapped his hand around its blade, and squeezed.

“A deal in blood then; that you won’t have the audacity to die early.”

I nodded and sliced my palm open as well, extending my hand to shake his.


He grinned and laughed a soft, sad laugh.

“You sure aren’t going to go dying on me now?”

“I can’t. I’ve given you my word.”

“It’s a date then. Catch you later, fishface.”

“I’ll be seeing you bait.”

And in that moment that we turned our backs, I felt better for the first time since I had taken Tobias’ head.

I didn’t have to fear having Jack behind me. It was a good feeling.

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