The Adventures of Tinglet Dangersmile

From: Frank & Stacie Giles (fsgiles@pixi.com)
Date: Fri 16 Feb 1996 - 21:25:15 EET


Since things have gotten slow on the digest (My, the forth age sounds
dreary!) I thought I'd subject you to more third age angst and dark rune
epicureanism. Continued from Digest #256 (Sorry for the long delay)

Chapter 2

Tinglet lay half awake, and a little sore. Somewhere the sun
blazed, but the cell, probably an abandoned cistern, was pitch
black. Drip. Drip. Drip. Water oozed from the dank walls to pool a
few feet away. Where the water fell the stones were trecherously
slimy. It was only safe to stand on the drier part of the floor
and then the arched ceiling too low to stand upright. The sleeping
nest was coarse, but at least it was dry.

Was the chain still there?. His fingers groped at his neck. Yes. A
fine silver chain. The jewel-inlaid human teeth strung on it made
a great trophy. Tinglet's stomach growled, but the pool and walls
didn t hide anything else big enough to be worth getting up for.
HIs thoughts started to explore, to make sure it was safe to
sleep: "It had been very thoughtful of Gommorah to find such
comfortable and homey quarters. Surprising that a human could be
such a good hostess. Her own rooms were creepy. How could anyone
rest with openings in the walls? Or behind such a flimsy door?
Obviously she didn t care much. Maybe loss of kin had started the
deathwish in her. Strange though, for all that she sleeps in the
open, she seems so angry when I report in. More strange, she s
human, but the priestess says to follow her orders. In my guts
that makes her Boss Lady. She s Boss Lady, but she often doesn't
notice when I'm disrespectful and when she does, her anger dosen t
matter; in fact my gut wants to defy her. In everyone gut fights
with brain everyday. But now gut disagrees with gut. Strange."

The crying of an urchin in the street below impinged on her
consciousness. Then in her left cheek the tic began again. Her
concentration collapsed. She sighed, repostioned herself slightly
and began the meditations over for the third time.

Moon
Red Moon
Round Red Moon;
     Like the gate to the Garden of Peace
Round Red Moon
     Like...The empty eyesocket of a damp, pinkish, fresh-picked,
     tusk scarred and caved-in skull staring at her across her
     pillow.

Gommorah lept to her feet and savagely kicked cushions across her
small room. Her grotesque new trophy clattered to the floor. With
an effort she caught herself in the act of throwing her meditation
beads after it. The Round Red Moon, the Seven Mantras of
Composure, nothing worked. Her cheek twitched again. It was
because of the Dart Contest. She had participated in more contests
than she could count, but always as the detatched observer, the
hired dart, the assasin. How different it was to direct the path
of death....and to be a target yourself. She would not have
believed the tension it brought.

Why did it have to be her? Why all of a sudden had the family
dreams and nighmares of her childhood returned. What was the point
of status and wealth, of heritage, if there wasn t really anyone
alive to share it with? Her old life had seemed fine. Locate the
victim. Get within striking distance. Finish the job by the
appointed deadline. The guild offered comraderie, but no real
support or closeness. How could you trust someone whose next
employer might want you dead, who you might have to kill to finish
your next job? They could never be like family. Shelter was the
best the guild could offer. The ones who had acted friendly had
always turned out to be "mouthies" out recruiting. They made her
soul shiver. So blind in obediance. So deceitful. There were three
drools running when she left. None would acknowledge the other.

She had rather stayed with her first aweful choice. Gorgorma had
been a fierce mistress, but gave strength for the task. The rage,
the strength of the killing earth let her fight back the pain, the
shame, the suffering. She had only been a child. Had her attacker
in his lust, not overlooked her wounded but still armed nurse, she
would've been dead as well as violated. Gorgorma had kept her
secret, had made her pain into power. The cult leaders were grim,
but would not betray her. They were dedicated, but they didn't
hinder. Now, that old life didn t fit. Taking up the war
directly robbed her of the inner violence that Gorgorma needed.
The cult that could accept a cold stilleto rejected warm memories
of a distant hearth. Its members had torn out that part of
themselves. She chose instead to give up her rage. Now she prayed
to the family spirits. Those ghosts, those memories, and an
doddering old servant named Eicobon called her back to the life
before her old life, to a home that stood no more, to lead the
deadly game, to finish the family work.

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