Thursday, September 3, 2015

Red As Any Blood--Part 17

Ryke dotted his head with his handkerchief.  Ys was humid today--awfully humid, the sort of wet day where the air clung to you.  And worse, the city stank, as if it were a swamp, or a midden heap.  Which, glancing at the people lying about the ruined  streets, might be a fairly accurate description.

A hand clutched at his sleeve.  "Sir, great sir, please, sir," muttered his interrogator.  "I've no house.  The fires.  Give... give... give..."  Ryke turned briefly, and saw a scrared face of indeterminate gender.  He swatted the hand away, and went on.

He turned down the path towards the headquarters of Governor Pelle, and then froze.  He stared at the pile of rubble that lay down the way, puzzled, and strangely angry.

"Ryke?" came a voice.  "That you?"

Ryke nodded as he turned.  "Blyss," he said quietly, staring at the bland, blonde head of his fellow Prince's Man.  "What happeed here?"

Blyss gave the sort of pleasant shrug that made him seem like a totally normal fellow--not that Ryke thought for a second.  After all, he knew precisely what charges the man had been facing before Amfortas had recruited him.  "It collapsed."  He yawned.  "So we moved to a new building."  Blyss frowned to himself.  "Lots of buildings collapsing.  It's irritating."  He sighed.  "So... you need to see Pell?" He turned and gestured for Ryke to follow him.

Ryke did so, keeping a hand on his sword hilt.  "So... it was the fires, I suppose?"

Blyss blinked, puzzled.  "Fires?  What fires?"

"The ones all those months ago," said Ryke reminding himself that Blyss was... slightly off.  Blyss gave an uncertain nod, one that indicated that while he didn't quite follow Ryke, he was willing to extend him the benefit of the doubt on this matter.  "They were what's causing all the building collapses."

"Ohh," said Blyss, with dawning comprehension.  "No.  No, it was sabotage."

"Indeed?" said Ryke, slightly puzzled.

"Oh, yes," said Blyss.  He gestured up ahead, to what Ryke realized was a gallows.  "See?  Sabotage.  That's why we hanged those people."  Blyss smiled vaguely.  "For sabotaging us."

"Indeed," said Ryke, doing his best to not sound puzzled at all, but quite impressed by Pell's work.

Blyss gave a vacant smile to his response.

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