Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Around Again It Comes--Part 31

The shrieking image of a woman floated in the hallway, her screams echoing in Mansemat's ears. 

"Oh, now you go off!" shouted Morgaine, waving her fist.  She glanced at her brother.  "I tell you, these spirits!  You give them clear instructions, label it and everything, and they fail you!  They just fail you!"  She bit her lip and shook he head.  "I am surrounded by failure.  Surrounded by it!  Failure has beset me on all sides, tugging at my sleeves, and whispering... oh, whatever it is that failure whispers.  That I suck, or something like that.  I don't know.  Lost the thread there."

Mansemat gave an absent nod, eyes darting around the hall.  "What does Nerghal say?"

Morgaine frowned.  "Oh, just some gibberish.  He's... checking on something.  Or so he claims."  She shrugged.  "I'll be damned if I know what that all means.  Of course, I'm probably damned anyway, but... you know.  Doubly damned.  Or something."

"Indeed," said Mansemat, staring pensively.

His sister frowned.  "You're just tuning me out, aren't you?  I could start talking about purple ponies, and you'd just nod grimly, agree that it was very serious, and just go on."

"Most likely," agreed Mansemat, touching his ear to the wall.

Morgaine raised an eyebrow.  "Okay--was that a joke, or are you just not paying attention to me?  Because I'm not sure, and that makes me..." Mansemat raised his hand, and waved it once.  Morgaine stared at it.  "Is that 'come closer', or 'be quiet'?  I can never keep those things straight..."

"If it helps you, consider it both," replied Mansemat.

"Well, aren't you being Mister Cleverboots?" snapped Morgaine ambling to his side.  "Ha-ha-ha!"

Mansemat rolled his eyes at this.  "You know, Morgaine if you must choose one or the other, I would rather you be quiet.  It sounds like there's a fight going on, nearby, and I am trying to figure out just what is..."

A small form flew through a wooden door a short ways ahead.  The Cthonique siblings glanced briefly at each other, then rushed ahead to the prone body lying there.  Mansemat knelt by the weakly-breathing form.  "Eurydice," he said softly, and then began to chant softly under his breath.

"L--Lord Mansemat," muttered the young chambermaid, quietly.  "I... I have been doing my duty, faithful and..."

"Don't tell me what I can see," said Mansemat.  "Just... let me do what I can to help you..."

"And now I find the master serving the servants," came a somewhat familiar voice.  The slight form of Tisiphone made its way into the hall.  "Quite amusing."

"You're that blind girl," said Morgaine raising her fists, as she strode forward. "Which would normally make me feel guilty about your impending beat down, but as you did this to le Fidele here, well, I'm going to assume some magic shit is going on, and leave the guilt for some more appropriate occasion..."

Mansemat shut his eyes, and continued the chant, feeling Eurydice's wounds knit and heal.  There was the sound of a brief and violent struggle, and then something rolled forward and struck his side.  He glanced over to see Morgaine's head lying there.

"Yeah, on further examination, I'm leaving this one to you," she said. 

Mansemat stood up, his hand on Murgleys' hilt.  Tisiphone and he paced around each other, each preparing for their first strike.

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