Leigh Gilholm Fisher
Age Rating: 10 +
"Zero," I hear Lucidge say as she shook me awake. "Something has happened." She added. I guessed it must of been bad if she was shaking me awake and not poking me with the scabbard of her sword for a change. Not that I'm complaining though.
"Wazzamatter?" I mumbled remembering where I was.
"The chief of this village, Don Van Say, was murdered last night in cold blood. It was overkill."
"What?" I snapped, shocked. I went from sleeping peacefully, well as peacefully as you can sleep after being in Shadow the day before, to wide awake. Or at least my body was awake, my brain has decided to hit the snooze button.
"You heard me, c'mon, get your sword so we can go."
A few moments later, I hurried down the stairs after Lucidge who was leaning against the railing post. It was strange to see everything made of wood, The walls, the stairs, the doors, metal wasn't used much for building back now. Does that even make any sense? It wouldn't be back then, so would it be back now? I'm only confusing myself...
"Where's Kikeru?" I asked looking around the reception area. "Shouldn't she be here too?"
"She already left for the scene of the crime, she'll be waiting for us." Lucidge responded calmly. She never seemed to louse her cool.
We walked out of the wooden open double doors to the inn. It was summer, so the fire place in the corner of the room wasn't burning. The management desk was empty, and so were the chairs that were in the room. It was rather plain, no decorations, not even a painting. Well, they did have some make shift poorly knitted curtains and a rug, I'll give them that. The fireplace was simple too, not anything special. I suppose they try not to make any too fantasy, because there's the chance they'll all die tomorrow, and it'll all be destroyed. Do these people really live like that? Forever in fear of the Shadows?
We walked through the sleepy little town slowly. The streets were empty, aside from a few abandoned horse and wagons. No carriages, I guessed they were used for lugging around farmed goods and that sort. All the houses were wooden, and I guessed crime wasn't something that was worried about, since on nearly all of them the door was a cloth. It was multicolored though, and looked like the person who sewed it took some time at it too. That was only the thing that looked like a lot of time was put into it though. All the huts were made of wood, and all looked to be a single room. I think it was like that in feudal past in Japan, if I remember correctly. If there's a feudal thing going on here, than I suppose it'd be the feudal present. Another confusing thought. I looked around some more, and I noticed that nobody was around at all. That is, till we entered a thick path of trees, only divided by a small path. Or should I saw, what was after this beaten grass-lined little road.
One word came to mind: Feudal Japan. Wait, that's two words... Either way, that's what it looked like. Morriteen had a touch of Japanese culture to it. Then again, does Camirit even have something like Japanese? Either way, that's how it looked.
There were tall stone walls around the place. They were plain, even though that all changed when we passed the stone walls. They were crowded with people at the metal gate, and I couldn't see past the at all. Lucidge grabbed me by the forearm, and pulled me through the crowd saying things like, "Outa the way!" "Coming though!" "Make some room, lard ass." She only used that last one once. By the way she said it, I could get the feeling she'd rather call them lard asses, than again, why aren't I surprised?
When we reached the front of the gathering, I'd guess around fifty adults, ten children, and a few crying babies, I was able to see through the neatly carved metal gate. It was a double door deal too, if I didn't mention that. I looked through, and I saw Kikeru talking to a guy about my age. Maybe a bit older, he had blond hair, and from what I could tell icy blue eyes. He was on the short side, and I could tell from where I was, about ten feet away, that his nose was very off center. He nodded solemnly to what Kikeru had to say, and looked all-business. One thing I noticed was that there were servants standing in frond of the...castle. They all wore Japanese attire. The women wore kimonos, and they man wore their versions of the attire. The only difference, was that the man Kikeru was talking to, was wearing normal pants and a no sleeves shirt. Something I noticed was that he didn't really have much bulk on his upper arms. I guessed he was the lord's son or something. Well, that is if this would be called a manor and the chief would be called a lord. Complex, no?
The castle itself was very Japanese. The style of a large dojo really. You know how they have those wooden decks that run across to those white doors that slid open? That's how it was set up. The roof was also a sloping up-jobie and it was traditional Japanese red with little decorations and that sort of the corners. One thing I don't think I mentioned...it was huge. One floor, but the building alone was an easy fifty yards long. Yeah, big.
"Damn..." Lucidge cursed. "Doniwin..."
"Doniwin?" I asked raising an eyebrow.
"They guy Kikeru is talking to, he's the chief's son. As in the son of the man who was just killed in cold blood, got that?"
"Yeah, but why don't you like him? Or is it your little talk-to-humans-complex?"
She gave me a quick glare saying, "I was betrothed to him at birth, thanks to my ever so loving father." She said "father" very coldly. I was a bit thrown to this bit of info till she said, "See how his nose is all off center?"
"Yeah..." I replied a bit attentive.
"That's the work of yours truly after a few years of knowing." She said with a devilish smile. Before I could reply to that she called out, "Hey! Kikeru! I got the slug out of bed."
My brain took a second to compute till I shot back, "I'm not a slug!"
Kikeru nodded saying calmly, but sadly, "I am glad you are here." She walked forward and unlocked the gate. A few of the uniformed men came to push the townspeople back, and we walked into the courtyard. It was large, and spacious. I also noticed that there was a net stone path around the castle. Seemed to be the only place in Morriteen that really had some spark to it.
"Nice to see you again Lucidge," The guy who I took to be Doniwin said with a half oily smile, "If only I were to of seen your beauty for more cheerful circumstances."
"Shitty to see you too." She replied stoutly. "You know," She added and I got the feeling she just wanted to torment him, "most men just get flowers for the woman they're trying to get to like him. Not a summoning to investigate a dead body."
"Yes, but which would you prefer?" He asked with a oily look. He just seemed greasy. He smelled greasy too, I mean really, he smelled. Like bad BO might I add. Then again, is there such a thing as good BO?
"What do you think?" She asked walking past him and toward the entrance of the dojo.
"The dead body investigating..." He mumbled following her. Kikeru followed, with me, confused, in the back. I'd gotten a better look at this Doniwin, and he had cold, piercing, and icy blue eyes. He was also tall, and oily. Did I mention he was greasy?
As we walked into the castle, dojo style, we made our way through a few carpeted and wooden halls. All the walls were main of wood, so I should be used to it bu now. Pity I still wasn't used to the lack of metal. Or electric for that matter. They did go high up, about ten feet I'd guess. There were also landers evenly set on each side a foot apart. It was brightly lit, and I assumed some would be put out as they day progressed. It was hardly after dawn.
Doniwin ended up leading us to wherever we were going, and when we reached a Japanese-style door he mentioned for guards who had followed up there to stay outside of the door, and come no further. He glanced at me asking,
"Who is he? Why is he coming with us?"
"He is trustworthy." Kikeru answered, "He is the one who posses the Blade of Light and Darkness, don't be too worrisome." He glances at Lucidge for confirmation, and she just nodded as a reply. When we entered the room, on the floor on a mat, was the outline of a body under a white cloth. He looked fairly big, but not ripped nor fatty. Not too tall, rather short might I add. Very...normal looking.
"Can we see the body uncovered?" Lucidge asked calmly. The sheet was something I didn't want to see come off. I still wasn't used to the whole "dead body" thing yet. I hoped that I wouldn't get used to it either. Doniwin nodded, and removed the sheet. My skin crawled to say the least. The body hadn't been tended too. Aside from the knife being removed that is. Then again, there was a chance the the killer had kept his or her weapon.
Lucidge was right though. Cold blood didn't cover it, this was pure and simple overkill. He was stabbed in the chest three times, one on the right am, twice in each leg, once through his for head, and once through the back Doniwin had informed. The forehead wound was the one that wanted to make we sick though. When we entered the room, I instantly got a very foreboding feeling. There were only two lamps on, one of each side of the room. Right an left. It made it shadowy, and I got the feeling there was more that what meets the eye in here. Maybe I'm just being paranoid, but I felt it. Not sure how to define this felt but I didn't like how the air in here was in a turmoil.
"Can you tell the order, Symbolist?" Doniwin asked motioning at Kikeru. She nodded, evaluating the scene. She added,
"Yes, I can. It won't be too hard either, you want me to tell you the order each wound was inflicted, no?"
"That is correct. I want to know if my father was killed in cold blood, or just fear." That took me by surprise. He didn't even look sad! Yet, if he wasn't just lying, his father was just murdered! The room was dark, so I could hardly see his facial expression. Lucidge and Kikeru seemed calm, and I think I was the only one who was even a bit rattled about being in a dark and shadowy room with a dead bloody body. No let me reword that, a dead, bloody, killed in cold blood body. At least his eyes were closed, that would of been too much for me to keep my cool. The idea was still bothering me, but I tried to push it aside. If I wasn't so distracted...maybe I would of heard the sound of footsteps outside the door. Alone with eh soft thunk of a body slumping against a wall.
Kikeru stepped forward and knelt down over the body. She knelled there, silent for a few moments, and when I was about to as what she was doing, but I was long shhed by Lucidge. Big surprise. Slowly, I noticed that Kikeru seemed to emanate a slight glow. I remembered that Lucidge said she was a Symbolist, and Doniwin had just said it too...maybe this was part of it? After a few moments, in a trance like tone Kikeru said,
"Head first, then he was stabbed in the back, than in the arms, than four times in the legs...the killer was under the commands of another, and killed with joy, even though he should not of been happy... Just as he killed the wife of the chief...he is..." Kikeru paused a second and Doniwin cut in,
"That is enough!" He said it with a bit too much force, and Kikeru's eyes popped open suddenly and surprised. Lucidge looked remotely surprised too. And guess who was more confused than anything else? That would be me. I wondered if the reason Doniwin cut her off was because...nah, I doubt it. Why would he kill his own family? I wanted to forget about it, and I tried to dismiss the thought...but a dark cloud was hovering over my mind at that fact...