After the morning fun is over and all the bruised bits are healed we gather for morning breakfast and share some of our views regarding our new… guests.
“Personally, I don’t care for that Elven engineer,” I say around a mouthful of dried venison. “Bad enough that Elves think their crap doesn’t stink all the time… but her demand for her own room is a bit suspicious to say the least.”
“Are you suggesting that you follow her, then?” Lenata asks as she pours a glass of mead. “You seem the most capable of the lot of us to find out what she’s doing.”
“I was getting to that bit… but yes,” I say with a lopsided grin as I lean an elbow on the table. “My gut tells me I don’t like her… so now my brain wants to find out why.”
“That Shu seer is a bit off too,” Ef Utan adds as he grabs a biscuit. “I think I’ll ask Takero to keep an eye on him, since he knows the language and all.”
“What about the Elf with all of the bugs?” Vedis asks as she leans back in her chair. “Who knows what all of those things are for.”
“I agree…” I say as I nod towards Vedis. “Besides, when’s the last time you ever saw a short chubby Elf? There’s definitely something odd going on there.”
“And what about your furry friend?” Ef Utan says with a cough. “He DID join us right around the same time, you know.”
I fight to keep the nonchalant grin on my face as my claws dig into my leg under the table. While I would love to tell him what he can do with his suspicions about Dassam… my brain just manages to remind me that Ef Utan is just being cautious… as he always is. “Don’t worry… I’ll be sure to question him extensively,” I say with a wink.
Ef Utan snorts in derision before he looks to the rest of the group. “Well then,” he says as he stands from the table. “I guess we all know what we’re doing while we wait for the go ahead for take-off. We’ll meet up tomorrow morning and share what we’ve discovered. Agreed?”
The day passes rather uneventfully… but during the evening I notice Kora acting rather suspicious as she suddenly drops her tools she was using for repairs and walks off. Hmmn… mind control, maybe? You never know these days… I silently follow the Elven woman to the top deck and watch as she crawls into a large coil of rope and disappears.
Well, I can’t exactly join her in there… so I do the next best thing and climb into the rigging to see if I can get a bird’s eye view. As I look down I am surprised to see that she isn’t doing anything criminal… she’s curled into a ball and crying while she holds her head. Crap… I was hoping to be justified in my irritation with her… not suddenly feeling compassion, dang it! I throw down the toothpick I had been chewing on in silent disgust and head back to my quarters. I guess I’ll try to talk to her away from the others tomorrow and see if she’ll share what’s up. I wonder if she’s like Vedis and Word with those weird mental powers? Or maybe she’s going through addiction withdrawl? Either way, I think Vedis or Lenata might better equipped to help her out.
Early the next morning I corner Kora and gesture her into another room for some privacy as she looks at me warily with tired eyes. Ok… how do I go about this? I scratch my head as I turn towards her and sigh. “I’ll just put this bluntly. Your constant disappearances were getting questionable, so I followed you last night and saw the pain you were in. Is there anything… would you like to…”
Kora looks even more worried and I can just see those walls going up in her head. “Sorry, I’m not very good at this,” I sigh. “We’re all freaks here… so if there’s something weird going on that you need help with and are afraid to tell people…we’d like to help… if we can.” I tap my temple. “Is it a…what did she call it… a Psionic thing? Are you hearing voices and need to get away from people, maybe?”
Kora’s eyes widen but she remains silent as she looks at me nervously. “Look… just go talk to Captain Vedis about this, ok? I think she can help you out… whatever your problem is.”
“If those are my orders,” Kora finally replies, albeit reluctantly.
“If that’s what it will take for you to do something about this, then yes. Dismissed…or whatever,” I say as I wave her out of the room and back to work. Geesh… hopefully she’ll talk to Vedis, anyway.
Later that morning we all meet again for breakfast to share what we’ve learned (if anything).
“Well, according to Takero, there’s definitely something fishy going on with our Seer… but nothing that screams ’I’m a spy for the Scro.’” Ef Utan begins as he pours a drink. “He’s doing a lot of praying for forgiveness and asking to ‘be made whole’… which probably has something to do with the fact that for a Seer, he’s not radiating a lot of magic. Still worth looking into, though.”
“So Vedis, did Kora come see you?” I ask as I grab a piece of fruit.
“Yeah… took some prying, but eventually she confessed that she’s got chronic migrane problems. Nothing so devious as you thought… but still something pretty debilitating that could effect her position with the EIN if they found out.”
“I’ve started a regime of medicinal treatments for her that should help…” Lenata spoke up, “but it’s only a temporary balm until we can find a more powerful healer who could help. Unfortunately, the magics are beyond my ken right now.”
“What about the bug man, Tolvin?” Vedis asked as she looked to Ef Utan.
“Meh… he’s been skulking about, but nothing yet.”
Indeed… it wasn’t until we were a few days into the sphere of the Spawn of Zyros (fanatic lizardmen) that Tolvin showed his true colors. I was not there for the initial confrontation between Ef Utan, Word and him… but once their ‘talk’ got heated enough to be heard below decks, I knew I had to go check things out.
“…enough with the lies, Tolvin… my bulls**t meter is going off the scale. Tell us what you’re really doing with those dragonflies, or you’re going to be cleaning bug stains off the deck for a week!”
Hmmn… curious… I wonder what he was up to?
I make my way down to his makeshift lab and find that there are now three fewer Hummer Flies than he had when he boarded. I turn to rejoin them but find that they’ve decided to come to the lab as well.
“Come on, Tolvin… I’m sure I’ve got a flyswatter big enough for these things…” I threaten as I shake the cage.
Lenata gestures behind the sweating Elf. “Tolvin, why and how you are spying for the Scro?” she asks softly.
“They… they captured my family… offered me money…” the Elf stutters under the power of Lenata’s spell. “The Hummer Flies capture sound. If you speak into their rear ends it acts like a recorder… and then I release them go to where they were trained.”
That bastard! I snear in disgust at the snivelling Elf. The fact that he mentioned his family being kidnapped is the only thing keeping me from tossing this traitor overboard.
“So… what do we do with him?” Ef Utan asks the rest of us.
“Squish the bugs and toss him overboard?” Lenata suggests.
Ooo… so the priestess has a blood-thirsty streak after all… I have to admit, I’m surprised enough by this that it makes me think twice.
“Hmmn… if you think about it, we’ve got an opportunity here,” I mutter as I scratch my chin. “The Scro don’t know we know about him, and there’s two flies left… so why not send some of our OWN messages to lead them off of our trail?”
“That could work,” Ef Utan agrees after a moment. “What do we do with him, though?”
I look to Tolvin and smile evily at him. “We need someone to clean out Elliwinkle’s stable on this trip, don’t we?”
Ef Utan chuckles. “You just don’t want to clean up after your hamster yourself, Kenari.”
“Can you blame me? Have you seen the size of those things?”
“It’s late… for now, I suggest that we record the messages and then lock him up away from the bugs.” Ef Utan decides as he rubs the sleep from his eyes.
“As I do not require rest such as yourselves, I will offer my services to guard the prisoner,” Word offers.
“Excellent. Thank you, Word. The rest of you, I suggest we try to get some more rest while we can… things are bound to get busy from here on in.”
And with that I return to my hammock, but Dassam’s warm embrace can’t stop the thoughts of what else might be waiting for us in the shadows…