Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Dead Man Stew 6

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"Necromancer, know thyself," Jesha retorted.  She chuckled at her own remark.  "Why are you here?  Curious about all the local monsters then?"

"Well-" Noir stopped when Jesha pulled out a dark knife.  She also took a rag to it, cleaning it while watching him.  He tried to suppress a shudder.  He got the hint.

"I do not make monsters." Noir began.  She thought he had been responsible for the trouble and the knife was a warning.  What she'd do to him if she thought he was lying to her.

Jesha cocked an eyebrow.  "You just consort with the living dead then?"

"What do you mean by consort?"

Jesha leveled a look at him.

"You mean Vickie?"  Noir asked.

Jesha shrugged.  She didn't say a word, looking at him.  Like she expected something from him.

"Vickie- er-, I mean, I helped her and she helped me."  Noir tried to size up Jesha.  He was pretty sure he couldn't handle her in a fight.  Between the knife and her athletic superiority, the only thing he could hope for was surprise.  He wasn't sure surprise would help him either.  He decided it was better for him to figure out what she knew about Vickie, and what exactly Jesha's aims were.

"You like 'em dead then, Necromancer?"

"What?"

"Undead girls.  You like 'em nice and dead then?"  Jesha fluttered her eyes at him, smirking.  She seemed to enjoy this line of questioning.

"Never- Vickie is a friend."

"Never?  And she's your friend because you turned her into a walking corpse, eh?  A little pretty Revenant Innkeep you just felt eager to make?"

Noir blinked.

"Well, Necromancer, you know about all the ghosts now, too.  Whaddya say, ok with seeing how much damage your meddling charity has caused?"

"I- er-"  Noir couldn't think straight.  He put it together.  "I helped her.  I found her killer, and I gave her more time to get her affairs in order."

Jesha thrust the knife into the table.  "Helped?  Is that how you'll explain it to all the people who've lost daughters and sisters to her?  How about the ghosts you see, you'll just tell them you were 'helping'?  Why don't you start with me, explain to me, how all of this isn't your fault?"

Noir noted scars around Jesha's eyes.  Scars he couldn't have seen before- her sunglasses had covered them up.  Jagged marks.  Like claws, but more humanoid in their shape.

"I help the dead.  You don't understand."  Noir tried to back away, not certain what to do.

"I understand perfectly.  You meddle.  You think you are helping, so you bring corpses back to life.  You think gee, this is a great idea.  Who keeps your charity from deciding to go drinking blood and turn into abominations, Necromancer?"  It was the way she said Necromancer.  The emphasis on it.  It carried bile with it.

"I don't like your suspicions, I don't know you, and I don't understand your point.  I help the dead.  They suffer, and I can help them.  I'm not their master.  I don't control anyone.  And those I help aren't abominations, Hunter."

Jesha didn't answer him.  Not that Noir have her the chance to.

"I ask them to help me find their killers.  I help bring those people to justice.  I give them a chance to mend things before the Angel of Death comes and takes them.

"I let ghosts point out the wrongs.  I work with spirits.  I do all I can to quiet their pains, to quell the scars of their sins.  I do what I had been taught to do, I help the dead.

"What would you do, hmm?  Let them live in pain screaming in torment?  Curse them for disturbing your fun?  You hunt them, you take some sort of sick joy from it.  I saw that when you drove off those ghosts.  This is some sort of high to you."

Jesha shook her head.  "You don't get it do you?  What do you do when your unsupervised walking dead go wander into trouble?"

"I'm not their master, Hunter."

"You're not responsible if they decide to go killing people?  Is that what you mean, Necromancer?"  Jesha's voice got louder, her face growing flush.  "You're helping to protect an abomination.  Your girlfriend Vickie here is a blood drinker.  You get that?"

"First off, she and I aren't... aren't anything."  Noir tried to resist the warm temptation that Vickie had in his thoughts.  He couldn't let himself betray Elle, not for Jesha and not for Vickie.

Not now.  Not ever.

"Second off, where does a transient raublerouser like you get off thinking I should believe a word you say?  Vickie's a saint.  A vegetarian.  She abhors violence."  Noir jabbed a finger at Jesha.  "You on the other hand, threaten me.  You accuse me of having created monsters.  You question everything I stand for, and you think I will just stand here and take from you?"

"Watch your words Necromancer!  Don't think you get to talk down to me.  I'm trying to help."  Jesha stood up from the table, muscles flexing.

Noir's face went bright red with anger.  He tried to resist the urge to start cursing at her in Basque.  He wanted to hit something, she had pushed him too far.  "What?  Trying to help murder a innocent woman?  Because all the dead can smell the taint on you.  You stink of murder and sin, Hunter."

Jesha slapped him.

Noir felt the harsh sting of the slap against his cheek.  He looked up into her face.  A tear went down one of Jesha's cheeks.  She shook her head at him.  "I save people.  I don't murder them.  You're lucky.  Good think I saved you from those ghosts huh?  I could've just let them devour you, but no, I have the stupidity to think you'd appreciate someone saving your life from being eaten by some ghosts."

Jesha moved past him, leaving the knife on the table.  Noir sat back down, unsure what to think of next.  The shot glass remained, still half full of whatever Jesha had poured out.

"Noir Bedarte, this isn't a foreign land, and there are wolves trying to save you, you can bother to listen."  Then Jesha left him alone in the lobby to his thoughts.