Karlyn…..A force of Nature; we’re stuck with her for better or for worse….
Karlyn slouched against an alley wall, wiping her nose on her sleeve, when there no real need to do so. The sight of the town collapsing and burning under frequent detonations was only mildly distracting, she was more inclined to muse upon Blondie’s fearsome outburst of temper, Didn’t those pale blue eyes threaten to spit out lighten bolts? All so sweetly gentle, or proper, then…..Warrrooomp!! Karlyn pondered on whether that was down to military training or was she naturally ferocious and the soldierly thing had made her more disciplined?
She peered around the corner, no sign of the rest of the LifeGuard or Custoady Meradat. Had they lost each other in the chase? Maybe they were fighting raiders? Satisfied her nose was quite dry she chewed idly on a carrot purloined from the warehouse’s multiplicity of stores. There folk running this way and that, and in the confusion of flames, drifting smoke and general chaos she couldn’t make out which side they were on. She wondered if this was something the town had coming to it and it just so happened while she’d turned up. Thoughts drifting, she glanced back over her shoulder, all seemed cosy and peaceful, no doubt Blondie was playing at big sister for the little whichie, who was the one everyone should be shouting at.
A steel pointed touched her neck.
“’Ullo then. Wot we got here?”
Blaggatinian style of accent; one just midways between Lucher and Elinid. Usual trash not loyal to neither city; she sniffed.
“’Bout blimpin’ time!” she snapped at the three men; the youngest, at the back of course promptly exchanging his grin for a slack jawed surprise. “Been sat ‘ere abouts freezing off me arse-part. Skritiz, they says, get in that wobbling tawn. Sniff out the treasury an’ wait for the boys! An’ what scraithin’well happens! Some sproggle starts shooting big ‘uns at me! Just what the scraithin’ slidin’ on a stick is goin’ on! An’ wot fribbin’ ship y’ from anyhows!!”
One lumpen shaven head rumbled the word ‘treasury’ in a loving way. The youngster overwhelmed by the rapid flood of complaint piped up ‘Weasel of the Sea’ . The other lumpen, also shaven headed, but with a beard squinted suspiciously at her.
“No one told us anything ‘bout a treasury. Nor a guide. We just here to tear up a town, snatch an’ grab what we can, have us some girls and cart off a few for the slavers,” Karlyn pulled a dismissive face.
Thrust out her left arm, the concealed blade slipping into the hand and thence into the man’s throat, ignoring blood spraying over her she ducked into him with her shoulder shoving his quivering body into his companion in shaven skullness; knocking both to the ground; the youngster made to lunge at her, she lashed out with the cutlass, satisfied with the drag of steel through cloth and skin and his scream. Thus believing he was currently not a threat, with a yelp of glee, she leapt upon the other, struggling from beneath his dead comrade, she,driving a blade through his skull.
Karlyn rose, aware there was blood in her hair, across her face, on her hands. She smiled making the whole impression ghastly to the lad currently gripping a cut cross his shoulder. With hands behind her back, she daintily skipped over to him.
“You’re gonna meet a friend of mine. She’s ever so friendly, and you’re going to tell her everything you know. Or I get to play with you, some more,” and she made scissor snipping motions with the fingers of her right hand.
Face cleaned, hair efficiently brushed and a chance to tell her side of the story to the soldier, Trelli felt a slight measure more comfortable and truth be known a little excited, although she wished the latter would go away as it was bound to mess about with her judgement and in this circumstance she was sure this was dangerous.
Confirmed as a bloodstained Karlyn swaggered in dragging a terrified and wounded fellow.
“Look what I caught when fishin’” she chortled “I gutted two, they were all too greasy and bulbous to make much conversation, but this one,” she tweaked his ear “Will tell us a goodsome tale….. Wontcha?”
The young raider’s eyes were set wide and wildly upon Trelli, and his jaw worked, but no sounds came out; he managed to point at her hands. Before Beritt could make a statement of what she considered common sense and calming effect, Karlyn had grabbed him by his shirt collar her mouth, mostly her teeth to his ear.
“Yesss little fish. We captured her too,” she waved her badge of office in his face “But if you don’t talk long and proper, we might feed you to Princess Black Cat here. ‘Cas she does love the taste of a man’s-“
Beritt was wincing before Karlyn came out with the next words.
However there was an interruption.
Up shot Trelli, glowing hands to hips.
“That’s enough from you! You ‘lidian-you!! Cat indeed! My skin may not be as milky smooth as yours, but I am not any hang-around tavern Cat!! Don’t you dare sully my maidenly status!!”
Karlyn felt rousing both women to reveal they had shouty snarly sides, was a task goodly done. It was nice to know you had folk about you with fire. Knew where you stood. None of the sneaky, tweaky, slithery sorts, who’d steal the cold sausage out of your back-pack when you weren’t looking. She shoved the captive at Blondie because Karlyn knew the little pixie was just itching to make his wound all better.
“Oh forgive me,” she oozed at Trelli “Where I come from a Cat is a smooth, swift, worker what gets what it wants anyway anywhere. Aren’t you up to that?”
Trelli’s eyes narrowed. Fear and anger can walk close together and breed rage.
As Beritt was all too aware…
“Ladies,” Beritt admonishments came parlour polite tones “We are in a very difficult situation…. Oh hold still you pest, it’s only a wincy scratch!…. Can you please bear in mind, this town in under attack, we need to…. Shush! it’s a mere cleansing salve, s’posed to sting!……be very calm, find out where my LifeGuard colleagues and Custodian Meradat…..Yep! You heard me right. You’re in a Fourth Hell of trouble….So dear ladies, can you please shut the scraith up! Calm down and go out and look for our colleagues!!”
“Oooh Lookat the big brave raider fill up his trousers!! C’mon little whichie-woo! Let’s do as Oldest Sister tight-pants says an’ go and stand in a doorway hoping the big strong men turn up and rescue us! We can hold-hands while we tell each other our girly-wishes!”
Naturally, since Trelli could not keep up with, much less make sense of Karlyn’s perspectives, she found herself dragged along, hoping whoever these men might be they might be authorities.
The Helmsman sudden stern call for all at their posts to prepare for evasion and possible extraction to the World Physical came as a shock, to do so would expose the Manse to many vigilant and hostile eyes. Just what would cause The Helmsman to take this risk?
There had been a sharp tear of Red and Blue not in the turbulent clouds above, but dashing just above the surface of the sea. Almost possessed of its panic and thus uncertain in which direction to go it sped back and forth with growing rapidity until it suddenly flared into a sapphire burst.
And was gone
“All concentrate upon the central fifth at the furthest quarter. Observe from your direction for another forthcoming turbulence!”
The Helmsman raised one warning finger, and his hands moved rapidly across his own display, he withdrew the Manse to the very shoreline which comprised marked the borderlines into The World Physical. His attention fixed upon the location where the sapphire eruption had taken place. The Helmsman bade his crew to keep strict observation and hold their composure such an event would not pass without ramifications.