123 Dance of Pain and Death
Once Zoey pulled her consciousness out from her cube space, Viridi greeted her with a large amount of licking and demands for attention. Zoey obliged, and soon the neglected feline was happily purring once again while Zoey scratched her behind the ears.
Now that she was back, Zoey had to plan her next move. The long range drones had not returned any evidence of the corrupted creature she was hunting, and their search area was steadily expanding. Meanwhile, her surveillance network in the town had been hard at work collecting information and had uncovered some juicy information for her.
It seems like her arrival in Brumau was stirring the pot. Several high profile factions in the town had Seeker Vekt working for them, and all of them were now aware that there was a Harmonic Heritage carrier somewhere inside the town.
Zoey knew that the pine scented charm that Athena had gifted her back in Sand Pit was losing its efficacy, and due to that, she was becoming easier to detect by the Seekers.
This resulted in all of these organizations scrambling in secret to find this Harmonic Heritage carrier before the others did. Zoey had found that no less than four different organizations were hunting for her, each trying desperately to keep the information from leaking while simultaneously hunting for their target in the town.
Things sure were heating up in Brumau. She would not be able to stay here for long and remain hidden. If she drew more attention like she had this morning, things could get a little dicey.
Another point that Zoey found interesting was that the drones that she had tasked to keep an eye on the boy she had encountered yesterday had actually lost their target. Somehow, the boy had evaded the drones and disappeared, which stumped Zoey. Looking over the footage, the drones had recorded the boy walking through a crowd of people, and then vanish. Whoever he was, he could clearly take care of himself, but Zoey still found herself wondering about him.
Later on, when night had settled, Zoey was once again out by the Bulwark. The scouts had reported a larger than normal wave tonight, so the number of defenders had gone up considerably. Zoey herself was not planning in taking part in the defence. She was here to observe, and hopefully find the boy again. She was curious how he managed to evade her surveillance, and also how and why he was defending a part of the Gap on his own. Zoey was also curious how he fought. When she had found him before there had been hundreds of beast corpses around him, and he didn't have a scratch.
The mystery surrounding the boy was considerable, but Zoey was becoming more determined to uncover what that mystery was. So once the convoy of defenders reached the gap, Zoey sent out some of her tiny, spider drones to keep watch on the hidden entrance to the tunnel where she had found the boy before. If he showed up, she would know.
In the meantime she kept herself out of sight, staying in the shadows of the canyon away from the groups of defenders and adventurers here to seek glory and riches. Surprisingly, some of these groups were talking about the event that morning in the marketplace. Most found it hilarious that the now former Scion had gotten what he deserved, but the most discussed topic was the masked woman and who she was.
Zoey paid them no mind, and worked on keeping herself even further out of sight. luckily, she was able to find an outcropping high up on the canyon wall where she could sit and watch while staying out of sight. There was also room for Viridi, so Zoey brought out her big feline friend to watch the wave with her.
Before long, the first howls of the beasts came echoing through the canyon and the defenders prepared themselves for the defence. At the same time, her drones notified her that the boy had been sighted going through the hidden passage to the cave she had found him in before.
Zoey pulled up her interface and instructed her drones to follow the boy. She wanted to see what was about to take place. At least one of the mysteries surrounding this boy would be uncovered tonight.
He was tired.
But that was nothing new. He was always tired these days. Ever since his mother had... died.
Since then he had been unable to sleep without seeing her face.
Since then, the world had become colder, darker... and he had become tired of it.
Now, fatigue was always clawing at his mind, threatening to pull him down into the void and entomb him there in the darkness.
His mother's warm embrace, her soothing words, they had all been taken away. Only he was left behind in a crumbling reality, a world that without her support seemed to fall apart as if the mortar between the bricks had been taken away.
He had watched his whole life fall apart when she took her last breath, and that moment was etched into his mind for eternity.
His only purpose now was to fulfil her dying wish while dragging his tired bones through the crumbling ruins of the world around him.
Happiness, love, these things were long departed from him in the year since her death.
But soon, her final wish would be fulfilled. In one day, it would be the anniversary of her departure from this world, and that would be the last day he would defend the town that had caused her death.
It had been her final wish.
"Protect the town of Brumau for one year."
And so he did. For almost a year now, he had been defending the town just as she had asked, and today was the last day.
Once this night was over, her wish would be fulfilled.
He did not know what he would do after. Maybe he would go away, perhaps into the wasteland where the beasts lived.
They were like him these beasts, always in pain, driven mad by it, forced to throw themselves at the Bulwark in desperation, if only to seek the release of death.
He understood their pain, because pain was the only thing that he was still able to feel.
Theirs was a dance of pain and death.
The beasts brought pain to him, and he brought them death.
This connection between them had helped him understand the beasts, understand their pain.
Yes, the wasteland. That was where the beasts came from, and that was where he would go.
Out there, perhaps he could find what caused all this pain to the beasts and take it upon himself.
He would suffer in their stead, he take their pain away.
Perhaps that would allow him to finally find his redemption...