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Of Silence: Signed and Sealed:Part Three


by werelupecookies

--------

     (Simeon, 9:40am)

     I AM OKAY.

     I am so so SO sorry Kanrik please just give me some time to write out everything that’s just happened

          ~

     (Kanrik, 9:42am)

     Fyora’s might, Simeon, don’t you EVER do anything like that to me again...

     This immediate letter teleportation garbage is going to be the death of me. It really makes it obvious when the other person just up and disappears. Seriously, how could anyone live at this speed? Sorcerers, I swear...

     But fine, whatever, I’ll be more patient this time. But if it takes you another hour and a half to reply, I swear on the names of all the faeries in the world that I will swim my way back to Meridell just to find you, dead or alive, and smack you across the face. Capisce?

          ~

          (Simeon, 9:56am)

     Kanrik,

     I feel as though the only way to begin this is by reiterating once again just how truly sorry I am for whatever sorry excuse of a letter I had sent earlier. I can’t even recall what it was that I’d written, but judging by your reaction, I’m assuming it could have only been some sort of horribly cryptic-seeming scrawlings. Here’s my excuse: whenever I write letters that I intend to deliver via sorcery, I keep the spell for transportation charged in my free hand to ensure a quick sending off. Also, my instinct whenever startled is to cast whatever spell I’m holding. I’m assuming you can see where I’m headed with this.

     You said that you’re friends with the Ixi Raiders’ apothecary Meretseger, correct? Well, you can blame him entirely for the little letter mishap. He somehow managed to contact me via an incredibly powerful (and difficult to cast) communication spell, the jolt of which scared the life out of me and caused me to reflexively cast that premature teleportation spell... as well as leap about a foot and a half into the air like a pathetic, startled Kad. Yes, yes, I know I should have been able to handle something as trivial as a minor spellshock without getting flung into a panicked tizzy, but I’m not exactly in the soundest headspace at the moment, so you’ll just have to forgive me.

     In any case, if I recall correctly, my intention with that last letter was to explain to you that something incredibly significant had just transpired. Even if it wasn’t, well, that is definitely my sole intention now, because I am positive that I’ve just discovered at least part of what’s causing this.

     Allow me to backtrack...

     I was merely attempting to finish up an old and simple contract when foreign dark magic suddenly took hold of the both of us and whooshed us away to Meridell Castle. Two people. All the way from inner Brightvale City. The spell was that powerful. And — congratulations once more on your outstanding intuition, Kani — after the shock of it all had worn off, and I realised what had just happened, I turned around to discover that the spell had been cast by — you guessed it — a faerie. A terrifying, powerful faerie at that.

     I suppose the good news about this fact is that I can now safely say that it is, indeed, a faerie — that faerie — who is behind this mess. The bad news, however, is that I haven’t the slightest idea who she is. But she is definitely the one behind the clouds. They radiate the same calibre of energy. It was honestly terrifying being in her presence, even for just the few short minutes that I was. Her strength is overwhelming. I’ve never seen or felt anything like it before. I’m genuinely beyond astonished that I was somehow able to pull off my cocky assassin persona convincingly enough for her to not doubt my sincerity. I must be a better actor than I’d realised. Wouldn’t my father be proud.

     But it gets weirder than that. After a bit of banter and playing the part, it turns out that she had summoned me requesting a contract! A faerie of her strength, asking me for help. I was baffled, honestly, and perhaps even a bit flattered — she referred to me as “the best at what I do,” after all. Still, I wasn’t sure what to think, since the mere thought of working for someone like her was enough to make even my skin crawl, but... well, then she made me an offer that I’m ashamed to say I couldn’t refuse.

     You should see the obscene amount of money she’s paying me, Kanrik. You would be drooling. I’ve never seen so much gold in my life, and that’s coming from someone who grew up in Market Town Castle and whose best friend is now Master Thief. Her down payment alone could provide for an entire town for a year — I swear it. I think part of me understands why you love your job so much now. I was rendered completely blind.

     The point is, I accepted the offer without any questions asked — which was my first big mistake — completed my last contract, then went off to wait for her targets.

     I knew where these mystery targets were — Brightvale City — but not quite how long it would take for them to pass by my little hiding spot in the pathway’s lining trees. I did know that I had time to spare, though, so that is when I had begun attempting to write to you once more. It is then that Meretseger somehow managed to tap into my communication channel and scare me half to death — and when things, believe it or not, somehow got even stranger. Of course, if it were any other day, I would have told that ditzy Ixi to buzz right off so I could finish writing to you, but I’ve never seen the poor kid looking so terrified in my life. I’m sure you’re well aware of just how obnoxiously effervescent that boy is, but during this particular conversation, he could hardly complete a sentence without his voice hushing to a whisper and the rest of him growing visibly nervous. I didn’t even know it was possible for him to look so hopeless. No offense to you, Kani, but I made a very conscious decision to ignore your frantic letters until I was finished speaking to Mer. And I’m glad that I did. He told me something rather terrifying regarding his chieftain that also happened to shed some light on how these clouds may be maintaining their hold on this land. You remember when I mentioned my suspicions about the faerie possibly using pawns to keep the clouds in place? Well, if what Mer’s told me is true, then it seems as though that very much is the case, and that the chief of the Cogham Raiders is one of those pawns.

     Now, that old grump has always been a bit of a nuisance, but I’m worried sick about him and the rest of the Raiders. From what Meretseger had described to me — or what I could gather from his blabbering in nervous circles, at least — it sounds as though the faerie or some sort of familiar of hers is attempting to use the chieftain not only to tie the clouds to the land, but also as a puppet to conduct some of her evil bidding. Through a bit of brainstorming — though, I will admit, it was rather one-sided since I was still focused on my targets and blinded by my frustration — Mer and I came to the conclusion that she is most likely using pawns and puppets to annihilate threats to whatever terrible plans she may have for this realm. And I hate that I’m pretty sure I’m one of those pawns. I suppose I should be happy that she decided to actually hire me to do her work rather than marionette me, at least — ugh. Regardless, I told Meretseger I would look into the matter once I’d taken care of her contract; and, right on cue, there the targets they came.

     Now let me reiterate: all I’d been told by her was that the targets were some goody-goody knight and sorceress duo. No names, no ages, no affiliations, no questions asked on my part. She handed me enough supplies to perform a proper dowsing spell to find their whereabouts through life energies, and that was it. I was off.

     But you’re not going to believe this:

     They were children! She sent me up against CHILDREN! Of all the backwards things in the world, she thinks that I or anyone else would be immoral enough to take out children. I couldn’t believe it. In fact, I still can’t believe it! But I suppose I accidentally let that disbelief manifest itself in the form of words, since the next thing that I knew, I had just said something aloud, and the knight was calling out for me to show myself.

     I’ll admit, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t wildly curious to know why in the world she wanted a couple of kids taken out, so I was happy to oblige the knight’s request.

     It was just simple theatrics — a few melodramatic sword swings, some false threats in that disgusting raspy voice you’re so enamoured with, some fancy spells and flashy magic, you get the idea. Unfortunately, that particular skirmish wasn’t enough to provide any real enlightenment as to what those two’s exact purpose is, but it looked as though they were somehow immune to her magic’s hold, and for that, I was both intrigued and sceptical to continue. Thankfully, a stroke of luck came to us in the form of two guards overhearing our little scuffle and valiantly charging to the children’s rescue — props to them for their bravery. (Oh, and that reminds me of yet another bizarre detail to all this: if what those guards so brashly shouted down the road is true, then the sorceress is also the niece to King Hagan of Brightvale. Yeah. It just keeps getting stranger and stranger.)

     Regardless, I left with a bow and decided to follow them in secret for a bit longer — and, yes, put off reading your frantic letters. Again, no offence, but I felt as though this was a tad more important.

     Allow me to take this moment to backtrack to one of your previous letters and say that I absolutely do not think the real-life faerietale theory is stupid, and that, in fact, it may very well be the case. Those children are incredibly chatty, and it very quickly became evident that they are the key to solving this mess — our heroes in this tall tale. It’s always the young ones... But I digress. The point is, it turns out that they are immune to the clouds, and therefore practically untouchable by the faerie’s tainted minions, as well as her blanket magic. I can only assume that that is why she wanted me to take them out for her. They are immune, they know who she is, they are fearless in their endeavour, and they are ready to fight.

     Needless to say, I decided then and there — or, should I say, here and now — that I was not going to complete her contract.

     This is where the story thus far concludes. I’m currently writing to you near the shores of Brightvale’s coast — out from underneath the clouds, you understand, just in case she can use them to see me — and trying to get the nerve to go speak with her and call off her bloody contract. I’m not very thrilled about losing out on the pay, nor about having my reputation be tarnished by a couple of children, but, unfortunately, it’s for the sake of the greater — possibly even the greatest — good. How obnoxious. Self-sacrificial heroism is so overrated...

     I think that’s everything.

     Once more, I’m truly sorry for my last premature letter, as well as for keeping you waiting so long, but I hope you understand now that all of this other nonsense had me rather distracted. All that’s really left to do now is set my nerves and pride aside and go confront her. I’m just writing to put it off at this point, so I think the best thing for me to do is to just end this letter here.

          Wish me luck,

     —S.J.R.

          ~

          (Kanrik, 10:05am)

     Simeon,

     I genuinely don’t believe you.

     You must understand how absolutely ridiculous all this sounds, right? Faerietales aside, this is just... silly! It’s beyond silly. I swear, if I didn’t know you any better (...and if I hadn’t just dealt with curses and demigods and faeries and equally fanciful-sounding nonsense on my end recently as well) I would call you dirty liar, but...

     Well, that’s the thing. I feel like there shouldn’t be a “but,” but there is. And I hate that. I hate that I believe you. Why in Fyora’s name do I trust you...

     I’m gonna reiterate one last time: if this is all some sort of elaborate prank, you’re dead meat.

     Anyway, listen, my reading comprehension skills have never been the best, and you’ve always had this stupid habit of writing like you’ve constantly got a pen in one hand and a thesaurus in the other, so let me try to get this all straight: you’re saying that there is some mysterious dark faerie behind the clouds who is using “pawns” to carry out her evildoings, and you are now one of said pawns, and the only hope the world has is a couple of children who you are supposed to kill.

     And... you expect me to believe this?

     I mean, it isn’t the most outrageous thing I’ve ever heard, especially if we’re still sticking true to the faerietale analogy, but... well, it’s still absolutely ridiculous. Though... I guess I’m just writing my thoughts now instead of trying to think of something to say that may actually help (or contribute to a proper conversation at all.) Whoops. Let me start over...

     So, say these kids really are the only hope the world’s got. You promise me you’re not going to actually kill them, right? The fate of the world is kind of a big deal, you know, and though I’m painfully aware of how much of a pathetic importance you place on your oh-so-shining reputation, I think that this might be just a liiittle more important, and you’re an idiot if you disagree (sorry, not sorry.) The point is, if the next letter I receive says anything other than “I called the contract off, fingers crossed for the heroes,” you’re still getting smacked. Because I care about the fate of the world. I live there, after all, so you know it’s important.

     I guess I’ll turn my focus away from books on curses and instead towards books on faeries, just to give myself the illusion of lending a helping hand, if nothing else. Maybe you should check the Brightvale library if you get the chance? Meddling with fates and destinies and whatever may not be the best idea, so you should probably still leave the kids alone regardless, but now I’m stupidly curious as to what’s going on and am just dying to know what’s up (no pun for you intended.)

     Aside from all that, I really don’t have much else to say except that, despite how ridiculous all this sounds, I’m still incredibly worried, and curious, and I ask that you do keep me updated. Write whenever you can, okay? And no more being startled or any nonsense like that, got it? My heart may be famously cold, but that just makes it more prone to shattering, and I’m not afraid to stab you with its shards.

          Let me know what happens,

     —Kanrik

          ~

          (Simeon, 10:41am)

     I’m sorry. I couldn’t call it off.

     Literally couldn’t.

     She has my family under her control.

     I’m such an idiot. Even though you yourself had told me I should check on them, it somehow still completely slipped my mind. I don’t know what I was thinking. I don’t know how I could have forgotten something so severe. But it’s too late. The entirety of Market Town has just been completely swallowed, and with it, my parents, my aunt, my cousin...

     She used him specifically against me. You know my younger cousin, the one I’ve told you about so much — the one who I grew up with, raised like a brother... She has him. She has him under her control, trapped in Meri Acres, and she knows that we are related, and how much I care about him. She said that if I don’t complete her contract, she’ll “make sure he’s first.”

     I don’t have a choice.

     I don’t want to do this. I can’t do this. You said it yourself: this is about the world now, and I know good and well that I shouldn’t be putting my personal worries above something as grave as that. But what else am I supposed to do? Just bet everything on the hope that it was an empty threat? Just let her kill my family?

     I don’t know what to do.

     Kanrik, I’m so sorry, this absolutely isn’t your problem and I know that my asking for your help is a huge and wildly unnecessary burden, but... well, you offered to be my voice of reason earlier, so...

     You’ve always been clever and creative. I’m panicking, and I’m doubting each and every idea I come up with, and I could really, really use your help right now.

     Is it alright if I tell you my thoughts and ask you for some input?

          ~

     (Kanrik, 10:45pm)

     ...Is it too late to take back my offer?

     I’ll be honest with you: I’m a little afraid to offer any suggestions, or even just opinions, since this is just a tad more serious than planning some simple heists here and there, but...

     Well, I’m just being a smart aleck. Of course you can. Shoot.

          ~

     (Simeon, 10:51am)

     Thank you, Kanrik. You have no idea how much just knowing I have someone to talk to helps.

     Let me just outline the entire situation from my end for my own sake first:

     I don’t believe that she can see me unless I’m within her clouds’ periphery — which, of course, I am not currently — so I should be safe wherever the land is free. Also, the parameters of her contract are incredibly open, to say the very least, so I should be able to exploit them to some degree. All she really said was “get it done.” No time frame, no deadline, no method, no nothing.

     From what I’ve seen, these children really are amazing at what they do. The faerie’s minion swarms are vast and innumerable, yet the children keep smiting each and every beast as if it were nothing. I really do have faith that they may be able to accomplish this task. I really, really do.

     So then, maybe I could simply pretend to do what she asks of me? Follow the children around and act the part until they’ve done what they need to do? I’m just worried that that may simply be the voice of my anxiety manifesting itself in the form of camouflaged cowardice... but, if not, does that sound reasonable?

          ~

     (Kanrik, 10:53am)

     Are you saying you’re going to try... killing time? ;)

          ~

     (Simeon, 10:54am)

     Very funny, Kanrik. Glad to know you’re taking this seriously.

          ~

     (Kanrik, 10:55pm)

     You laughed; don’t lie.

          ~

     (Simeon, 10:57am)

     That’s beside the point.

     Please answer the question. I’m full of nothing but self-doubt at the moment.

          ~

     (Kanrik, 11:04am)

     Bah, you’re no fun.

     Well, you did say earlier that your acting skills proved to be enough to convince her that you weren’t freaked out by her power, right? I’m assuming that you didn’t completely break down in front of her when she made her little threats, so she still has it in her head that you’re just some cocky jerkface assassin who toootally respects her and is on her side, right?

          ~

     (Simeon, 11:05am)

     As far as I know, yes. She seems to have full faith in me, for some strange reason.

          ~

     (Kanrik, 11:08am)

     Well, in that case, I think biding your time makes perfect sense.

     Put on a show. Set some traps. Make a few threats. Make it look like you’re just playing some Kad and Miamouse games with your targets before you kill them. If they really are great heroes of the realm, and it really is their destiny to save it, eventually they’ll get to your family, right? If you can keep up the charade long and convincingly enough, eventually everyone will come out unscathed.

          ~

     (Simeon, 11:19am)

     You sound ridiculously sure of this.

          ~

     (Kanrik, 11:20am)

     Hey man, you’re the one who asked for my input. I think you can pull it off.

          ~

     (Simeon, 11:23am)

     Well, personally I think your faith in me is foolish at best, but I thank you nonetheless.

     I suppose that settles it.

     The last that I saw, the children had just begun making their way towards Bogshot Swamp. I’ll figure out some sort of little trick to play while I make my way over there, see if they — and, more importantly, she — fall for it once it’s been executed, and then, if all goes well, we’ll see how long it takes for them to make it to Market Town — or, at the very least, Meri Acres.

     Thank you for your reassurance. It’s incredibly appreciated.

     I’ll let you know what happens.

          ~

          (Kanrik, 11:24am)

     Good luck, my friend.

     Break a leg.

     To be continued…

 
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