Tuesday, November 16, 2004


Day 55

Cuirass just stood there for a moment, looking at the lifeless body in the water in front of her - and then she turned towards Memree and Cleve, and gave an awful smile. "The bitch is dead - and I could kill you, too, I can kill you any time I choose, just remember that!"

And then the sea and land blurred, and Cleve and Memree were back in the dungeons of Castle Grishelm once again... but Cuirass was there, too, her sword still dripping blood, and she seemed, well, different...

Memree was sobbing onto Cleve's shoulder, restraining Cleve from attacking Cuirass. "She's dead", she managed.

"Uh... we're back in the catacombs now", Cleve said. "It's all my fault, I'm so very sorry..."

"What happened?" Cuirass sounded puzzled. "I feel as if I've got the most awful hangover, but..." Her voice trailed off.

"Murderer!" It was Cleve's turn to restrain Memree now. "You killed Charol!"

Cuirass looked at her sword, and seemed shocked to see the blood there. "I... I did? I don't remember, it's all so blurry, I remember fighting her and wounding her in the shoulder, and then flying that bird back to Rosella Atzmon, the healer who...what did she say? Charol had been hired to kill her, and only I could protect her...?"

Memree stopped struggling, but she was still angry. "Atzmon's no healer, she's some sort of demon-powered mage, a warlock, an evil, amoral bitch - and she bent your mind, you idiot!"

"The magicks in this place must have broken her hold over you", Cleve put in. "Are you truly the lady Verdandi? I read about you in old books, when I was young..."

"So these ruins are of the Grishelm I knew, centuries ago?" Cuirass sheathed her sword, and groaned. "That warlock hooked me out of my time, played me for a fool, warped my mind, made me a murderer..."

There was silence for a while. "Well, Charol made me promise to go on, she knew what would happen - and she also said we should go back to where we were camped, where our supplies and our packhorse Hengist are. Let's do that, shall we?" Memree was trying hard to be brave, but her voice nearly cracked a couple of times.

And so it was that Cleve and Memree went back up the stairs, accompanied by Cuirass... and saw the flickering campfire still burning, a pot of water steaming over it, and Hengist nibbling at the weeds that had grown up between the stones... and also saw me, Charol, asleep, where they'd left me.

Well I had to be slightly misleading, and I apologise, to tell the story properly - but you knew I wasn't really dead, Ser Librarian, I hope, or else I couldn't have been writing this. The next day's worth should attempt a slight explanation, as we get back to proper honest narration!

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