A Crimson Shore 17.7 Father Knows Best

“When in the course of Celn events it becomes clear that one must choose the guiding Light of Righteousness over the dark calls of the natural world from which we sprang in the Fore Time, we must always choose Light over Darkness. For in that mighty light springs hope, and outside of it, hope fades into a sea of endless misery.”                                                          

                                                                               Alexis De’lanaville, explorer and gourmet

 

Lord Humbolt was no longer recognizable, and the term Lord certainly no longer applied. He was gaunt, riddled with sores of an unknown island insult and sat in the darkest corner of the cell.  The only one here.  What looked like gray water puddled around the round stones that made up the floor. By the smell, it wasn’t water. He stared outwards through his hair, which was matted and glazed with filth of some unknown origin.  He sat on a three legged stool, the only item besides himself present in the cell.

“One for three, and three for me!!!” he breathed.  Then, he said so again, and again.  It came out like a breath, an exhalation each time. “One for three and three for me, one for three and three for me!”

Frank walked into the chamber and sat on a chair placed there beyond the cell, and beyond the magical enchantments, as well as the prisoner’s reach.  He hadn’t been arrested by Humbolt the night their lives changed, the night the shore became crimson in Far Realm. But Humbolt had none the less left a malleable impression on him.  As the others knew, Frank was found by Canton just days before he opened his palatial doors to them. What they didn’t know, was that Frank was to be Inquisitioned on behalf of the arrest by Lord Humbolt himself. And now here sat the man, across from the animal that once was a man.

It didn’t take much for Frank to see the irony in the situation.

“Oh they’ve come, more heroes! But there’s too many! Oh, far too many! Always in three. Always in me!” Humbolt stayed sitting, but his body began to pulse like it was alive without his intention. His back arched and his hands gripped the stool.

Zy’an asked, “Lord Humbolt, we found your daughter tonight.”

Humbolt’s body went instantly limp and his hands pulled the stool out from under him in such a flash, that when he threw it against the bars, it shattered before them. Frank moved to protect his face afterwards, but didn’t need to. Zy’an stood unmoved.  The old man lunged to the bars and gripped them, his stench was terrible. His teeth all missing as his gums opened. “I see them every night you great heroes! They come to me, while I sleep.  You great bafoons!!!! They come to me!!! They come to the father!!!!!”

“Where are the others, m’Lord?” asked Frank from behind Zy’an.  He was much more armored but didn’t trust the man’s crazed speed. “We can save them.

“SAVE THEM!!!???!!!!” roared the man once known for honor, for Cillandrial nobility.  He pranced around the cell.  “They are going to save them. They are going to save them!” He sang.  In mid step, he stopped as if he suddenly got an idea. He even put a hand to his forehead.  Either real or feigned, he spiritedly called out. “Oh yes do save them!!!! In fact, save me!!! Save yourselves!!!! Save all of us you blithering bastardous heroes!!!! You’ll need nothing more won’t you?  Just your souls!!!! Just your fucking souls!!!!!!!!”

“Well, he’s a lunatic. That was helpful,” sighed Iricah.  She turned to go, but he was at the bars again.  This time, he was crying.

“Always in three. Always in me!” He called through the tears. “She took them!!! She took my daughters!!!!”

Frank moved to the front of the bars. He stepped directly in front of Humbolt. “Tell me, Master Humbolt.  Tell me, and I will on my honor save your girls. Tell me what I need to know to stop this fiend.”

Humbolt cried and looked deeply into Frank’s serene face, his serious eyes.  Frank waited patiently for the answer.  But Humbolt burst out laughing, maniacly.  He clapped his hands, and pranced backwards, then forwards, in circles.

“They are going to save them!” He sang. “They are going to save me!” They didn’t know what to say, what to ask, and he went on for some time, about the three, “The three in me.” Presently, he sat down again on the stool, breathing hard. His hands returned to their gripping places on the well worn edges of his stool.

“Tell us, father,” said Frank trying desparately one last time. “Tell us what you know about the murderers so we can save your girls. Save this town.”

Humbolt wouldn’t look up, and wouldn’t answer. They tried various other questions but he wouldn’t answer. He kept repeating the same thing about the three.  Defeated, they left, one at a time.  Only Frank and Iricah stayed to look on the sad fate of the man one last time.  Frank tried to consider what spells he might be able to cast to give the man some peace. Iricah tried one of her own, and although there was little result, for a brief moment, Humbolt looked up and she could have sworn it was as if the souls in his eyes had returned for just the briefest of moments.

“The others came to me as well.  Those whom I arrested with your friends. She will take you.  Take you to the dark place. Where I now live, and where my daughters feed.”

Eyes welling with tears, he spoke one the last thought before falling over unconscious. Nothing Iricah or Frank could do would rouse him. But neither needed to.  They had heard the story from the others.  And they now knew who their enemy was.

And the darkness she would bring to them soon, if they didn’t stop her.

 

 

 

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