Nocturna League (Episode 2: The Mist Hour), p.7Kell Inkston
Colette shot herself in the hand. With a smooth, perfectly composed look on her face, she raises her brows. “Of course. No one could be that crazy.” Every guard drops their weapon, and the red-handed Colette meets the action with a smile. “Excellent. I’m proud of you all. Now take me to the prisoners,” she says as she takes out The Captain’s bandages and spools it about her wounded hand.
Everyone draws back and exchanges looks of uncertainty. There’s an awkward, palpable feeling of worry flowing through the crowd. The guard captain sighs. “We actually can’t do that for you, Miss.”
“Eh? And why’s that?”
“There’s a force field, and we can’t really get in.”
Colette looks up after finishing her bandaging. “Explain.”
The guard captain clears his throat. “There’s a Kalamest field that prevents entry.”
Colette squints. “Wait, but how could a Kalamest get through the mansion’s Ganastere field?”
He sighs again, looking aside in embarrassment. “Well, that’s just it. One couldn’t have. It had to be a person who was not a Kalamest, given the magic by a Kalamest. It’s probably someone who works here.”
Colette stares blankly. “So, you’re telling me that the Kalamests did the kidnapping, and had someone who worked for the Ganasteres plant all the prisoners in a room that he set the force field on?”
The guard captain nods.
“So, just find the people who aren’t Ganasteres, right?”
“Not quite that simple, Miss. So many generations have passed, no one really knows how much Kalamest or Ganastere blood they have in them.”
“Then let’s find out now! Gather everyone who works at the mansion, and have them try to enter the field!”
There are winces and cringes of discomfort displayed clearly in the crowd. The guard captain shakes his head. “You need to understand, Miss. A force field won’t just bar entry, but it will kill someone if they’re not allowed in. It’s vicious magic, and frankly everyone’s afraid that they have a little in them, most people know for sure that they do.”
Colette sighs. “Then why didn’t you get a person on the outside to do it for you?”
“As I said, Miss, almost everyone on this island probably has at least a little bit of each. The only people that could travel through our Ganastere field, and the Kalamest field containing the prisoners, would have to be someone who has neither Kalamest nor Ganastere blood, and my employer requested we keep the information that we were holding prisoners a secret. The public would go nuts.”
Colette laxes and puts away the pistol. “Well, I’m neither. I’m not from this island.”
The guard captain smirks. “Yeah, I could tell that one, Miss. So, will you help us deactivate the field?”
The crowd is dispersed, and Colette goes down with the guard captain and a few others. In the basement level, there’s a room with a glowing, script-bound sphere breathing out of it. Colette takes a deep breath, and sticks her hand in. Nothing. There’s a smiles and patting exchanged in the group as they watch Colette open the door. Inside the room are several weeks worth of preserved foods, rows of tied up captives, and an unconscious man with a crossbow and a note on his face. Her good friend, Grancis, is nowhere to be seen. She takes up the note, and reads:
My Dearest Cornmuffin, “Captain” Colette,
I took the liberty of acquiring Grancis for you, so that you might have the proper motivation to continue. The man you took this note from is a criminal the Kalamests paid incredibly well to pose as a Ganastere and ferry the captured people in. To release the prisoners, simply tear the spell-slip asunder. It should be located on the criminal’s person. Once you’ve saved them all and are dubbed the hero, come follow the main road to the highest point of the island. It is there where you and I will have our match.
Love, The Captain
(P.S. Please bring some crackers and cheese. I’m feeling a tad peckish. It’s the least you can do for putting me through all the bother of manipulating you.)
Colette looks up from the letter with a bland, disappointed expression. “Dammit, Salt.” She proceeds now to undo the spell and untie the prisoners, who are incredibly thankful for being released. There is wide-spread celebration as the people march out of their holdings, some there for days upon days. Once they burst out onto the street, people watching question why they were in the Ganastere estate, rather than the expected Kalamest. The guard captain is kept busy explaining to everyone the situation, but they only believe him once he brings out the criminal, the perpetrator of the crime. Casks are burst open, the fine foods are brought out, and the town ascends in celebration- Colette is the only one left uncertain. She taps the guard captain. “Hey.”
“Ahh, hello, Miss.”
“Something’s confusing me.”
The guard captain, sipping at some wine, raises an aged, grandfatherly brow. “Yes?”
“So… You guys had nothing to do with stealing the Kalamest’s gauntlet?”
He looks at her strangely. “Gauntlet? Miss, we did nothing of the sort, and you’re mistaken also, that we only have one. You see, both families have two gauntlets- four in all.”
Her heart skips a beat and her eyes slowly widen. “…What?”
He nods casually as he takes a few seconds to appreciate the music playing nearby. “Yes. You see, there was this warlock, and a captain from across the waves killed him and forged his soul into two pairs of gauntlets to keep the power balance in check. Kalam, who was the first of the warlock’s two sons, loved him and aided him in his evil plans. The second, Ganas, helped the captain in finding him, because he knew he was evil. So once the warlock was dead, the captain split the two pairs between the sons, certain that if one had all the power, he would oppress the children of the other. It’s good, then, that no one’s ever gotten their hands on both pairs.”
Colette’s stomach clenches as she breaks into a sweat. “W-wait, so if someone were to get both pairs of gauntlets, what would happen?”
The guard captain shrugs. “Can’t say for sure, Miss. But I would guess that, because both pairs have a part of the warlock’s soul, they could be re-merged and he could be resurrected. That would be terrible! I could only imagine how bad that would be. But of course, that’ll never happen.”
She takes a sharp, painful breath hearing this. “So you mean to say… you mean to say that you have two gauntlets.”
“Yes, Miss. That’s what I said. Were you listening?”
“… Where are they?”
“Oh, in a password-protected room in the manor. Totally impenetrable to all but a Ganastere, considering only the head of the family knows it. He checks on the gauntlets every evening.”
Colette nods blankly, coming to terms with what she’s done. “Okay then… Thanks for your time,” she says, turning away from the music and celebration.
The guard captain furrows his brow. “Aren’t you going to enjoy the party? You saved the day!”
“No, I only saved the warlock,” she says, stepping off somewhere.
The guard captain shrugs and goes to dance in the square with the others.
Nocturna League (Episode 2: The Mist Hour) by Kell Inkston / Fantasy / Actions & Adventure have rating 3 out of 5 / Based on18 votes