Okay, I have a stopwatch, and I’m not afraid to use it. I’m going to give myself 30 minutes, no more or less, and I will stop when the alarm goes off and post the result. Check out this post to get some background on the piece I shall be presenting to you.
Ok, time to grab a cup of tea, gather some stray thoughts, and be ready to write to the accompaniment of Catch the Rainbow and Mistreated by Rainbow, off the classic On Stage album. I have a ton of other live recordings by that band, but occasionally you just have to go back to the originals you loved first. And those two songs back-to-back clock in at just under 30 minutes so I’ll have an idea where I am as I write in terms of time. Yep, the 70s, when rock songs did not end easily!
So here we have it: the first apprentice’s report on the prisoner’s tale as described in my upcoming book The Killer and The Dead. Whatever form it takes, it won’t yet be canon!
“Damn it, the incantation didn’t… oh, it’s working! Excellent! How do I clear this off the page? Nevermind now, I’ll clean this up later. I bet I’m the first to make the speaking sprite work, haha!
“Master, you have commanded us to write an analysis of the story told by the wretch Stahl, a story he admits, and evidence strongly suggests that you forced from him, and influenced, even to his choice of words at times. I will not try to parse the web of lies, truth and intention in this report, I will leave that to the more gullible of my fellow apprentices, they can get tied in metaphysical knots over which words are his, which yours, and whether or not his supposed struggles against your will were real or feigned. Further I do not intend to interrogate your motive in presenting us this untutored clod clothed in darkness so we could not see him or even read his aura, had we the skill, which of course I possess. (Too boastful? Why not – I am proving my worth – cut this part later!)
“No, my intention is to look at what we know to be true, not why you present it to us through that medium. A wizard must cut to the truth of things, and to become a Power as you have, is to succeed in seeing past distractions. Ever our enemies seek to confound us, only the subtlest of minds can survive.
“So what is true? The Mire is real, a filth ridden shanty town on the edge of Aranvail, your rightful seat. The recent Blood Moon happened. I have it on good authority (for I have developed my own contacts in the city as you once advised us to do) that a red comet was seen streaking over the city streets the night before the Blood Moon, which corroborates, perhaps, one aspect of the killer’s tale. (Why choose a killer? What does a slayer of men, with knives, have to offer us? Cut this. Stop wandering!) The living dead in their dismal houses are real. The Doznaki and their mortal relatives in the councils of Aranvail are undoubtedly real, and rivals to your power in the city. There is certainly some sort of agreement between the living and the dead, an apportionment of rights and dominion. Is that what you seek to educate us about? The limits of this house of undead wizards, so that we may know best how to combat them in your name when the inevitable conflict comes? Is that time soon? Too many questions, be assertive, not a whining child. Ugh! Cut cut cut!
“What else? Mire denizens are the lowest the city has to offer, their lives forfeit as food for the dead residing in the crumbling Necropolis their slum lies around. But is their society as complex as the killer claims? Can so many spies and agents of alien powers all infest such a rathole? If so why? What thing of importance is hidden amidst all that decay? Does the story hint at it? More questions. I need to craft answers!
“What is true is that momentous events did happen, and somehow this man may be involved. He saw the dead in their power, perhaps, if he is to be believed, found ways to hurt some, ally with others. His crudeness does not allow me to think he lied there, he is not capable of such subterfuge. Pah! I do not want to waste my words on him, but on the real concerns of this tale – who in the Mire are the tools of your rivals and enemies, who can we find and eliminate, and what can we learn from the confused web of the mortuary worker’s words that can be of use against them and the dead? Are there allies we can use? This Radiant mentioned sounded a fearsome warrior, and what of her enemy, the Lion? His tomb could be verified I am sure, from the description given. Perhaps, if you would grant me the honour, I could lead a covert team into the Mire, to see how much of this tale is true, and how the powers are now positioned in the aftermath of that most bloody night.
“Oh enough of this, this sprite may be more trouble than it is worth! A quill and ink, and some deliberation is needed! What’s that? Who seeks to spy on me? I sense your crude attempt, begone!”