74 – Shame

Back at Rory’s hiding spot behind the bushes, you tell him what you found.   “The Watcher is asleep.   I think we can sneak the children past him.   If he wakes up, distract him while I get the children safely away.”   When more likely.  You are starting to sense of this strange Wyld place and its people.   If Rory wishes to indulge in stupid overly dramatic actions, let him.   You have more important things to worry about.

“Asleep?”  Rory ponders this news.  “The Watcher must be horribly bored if he is sleeping his time away.”

A horrible thought occurs to you.  “You aren’t going to wake him up, are you?”

“No!  The Watcher is a fierce creature.”  Rory grips the handle of his sword.  “Not that I fear facing the Watcher, but he would quickly put an end to our quest if we have to face him in battle.   “

“Let’s not face him in battle then.”  You lead Rory towards the entrance of the cavern, pausing before the Watcher.   His tail rhythmically sweeps across the ground before the broken down cavern door.   You leap over the tail and land just inside the cavern.   Rory, unimpressed by your leap, summersaults over the tail.   He bows at you after his performance.   You shake your head, unamused and continue down the cavern.

The children are still there, all huddled together in the darkness corner of the cavern.   Even the broken children are included in the group.

“What happened?” you ask.   The children cringe away from you, a few breaking out in sobs.  “It’s okay.  I’m here to save you.  I need to know what happened.”

“They took one of us again.”  Your heart skips a beat when one of the girls tells you this.   “After the Anathema was here.”  She shrinks back, suspicious.  “You aren’t the Anathema, are you?”

“No,”  You don your Cnead Svante Resplendent Destiny, relying on the darkness to cover the change.   “I’m Dragonblooded.”   The girl relaxes when you say this.

“Were is the rest of your circle?” A boy asks.

“They are coming,”  You hope.  You still haven’t heard from the Valiant Hummingbird.  “How long has the other child been gone?”

“They brought him back.”  The girl points at the other end of the cavern.   Alongside the first corpse, there was now a second.   You walk over and kneel beside the dead girl.   Suddenly all those boring and unimportant rites and rituals Akachi and Sasha tried to teach you seemed not so unimportant anymore.   You couldn’t risk taking the corpses with you when you have live children to save, yet you did not remember enough of Saturn’s Rituals to give their spirits rest.  You brush back the girl’s hair.  Her skin is cold and her face frozen in a chilling smile.

Rory kneels besides you, his long ears drooped in sadness.  “She was a very lucky girl.  My Oath Mother took her in Joy.  Our Lady is often not very gentle when she feeds.”

You look up at Rory and his sadness and rage fills you.   “What do you have to be so sad about?  You probably ate the other child.”

Rory’s sadness turns to confusion.  “How should I react in this situation, Envoy?”

You hold back from punching the Fair Folk.  You still need him to get the children out.  “Shame.” You declare.  “You should be ashamed of what you did to cause this.”

“Shame…”  The Fair Folk tastes the unfamiliar word.  “And what is shame?”

You are taken back by this question.   How could anyone not know what shame was?  “Shame… Shame hurts.  It hurts because it’s your fault.  You caused someone harm because of your actions.”   Anger drains out of you because you are ashamed of what happened here.  If you were faster or cleverer, you could have saved all the children.   You feel a tear trail down your cheek and wipe it away before turning back to Rory.   “We need to hurry. I don’t want to anyone else to get hurt.  “

Rory nods, his ears still drooped.   “Come along, children.”  The broken children look up at Rory’s voice.  “We must sneak past a fierce beast, so you must be very quiet.”   The broken children get up and start to walk towards the entrance of the cavern.

“Why do they follow your directions?” you ask.  The other children whisper about the fierce beast guarding the door.

Rory hesitates.  “It…shames… me to explain.”

He fed upon them.  “Don’t.  I don’t want to know.”  You didn’t really want any more details.  You hold out your hand to one of the whole children and say “Let’s go.”  The sooner you get the children off the barge, the better.

Rory carries the children one by one over the swaying tail as you wait with the rescued children.    You didn’t like leaving Rory alone with the children in the cavern, but you really didn’t have a choice.   There was more danger outside of the cavern than inside it.

As Rory leaps over with the second to last child, danger prickles your senses.  You see the last child stand by the entrance wiggling impatiently.  You hold your hand out to tell the child to wait, but the boy ignores you and attempts to leap across the tail.  He misses and lands right on the Watcher’s tail.

All of the Watcher’s eyes open at once and he rears up with a deafening roar.  The other children begin to scream and run away in terror.   The Watcher turns around and snatches the errant child with his mouth.

What do you do?

  • Attack the Watcher and try to free the child.
  • Let Rory handle it as previously discussed and collect the other children
  • Engage Watcher in Conversation.
  • Other