In the previous episode, Gremlaw received news that his wife and daughter had been kidnapped. In response to this news, he decided to visit Marshi to see what she thought of the situation and readers voted that they find out their abduction is down to the Lost Ancestors.
Fear had painted the strange man’s face white as the small group filed into the dimly lit room. Although he sported a beard which curled around the lower portion of his face, it was obvious he was not comfortable in the presence of so many people. He was disheveled and dirty, painfully thin with sunken cheeks and wore all the hallmarks of one who barely survived on the streets.
“Please try and relax,” Mar-Tshi-Srin spoke in a low, calming voice, “I just need to touch your forehead for a second or two and then we will all leave.” The thin, dirty man nodded, his eyes still wide.
Gremlaw had some trepidation of his own, recalling the violent invasion this woman had visited upon his own mind while he was in captivity in Lavash. He moved beside her, however, willing to endure anything if it meant he could find out what had happened to Huleta and Neevis.
Her cool fingertips made contact with the skin of his head as gently as a moth’s wings fluttering across his flesh. Mar-Tshi-Srin’s consciousness seemed to enter Gremlaw’s skull, attaching itself to the portion of his mind which was aware, before pulling it out of his head and into her finger. Gremlaw could actually feel his thoughts being dragged up the Lavashian woman’s arm, across her neck and down her opposite arm until they reached the barrier which was the transient’s skull.
His consciousness intertwined with hers and drove forward, burrowing, worm-like, through the thin bone, immersing themselves inside the scattered memories of the frightened man. Almost immediately Gremlaw saw Huleta and Neevis, his wife holding the reins of the pony that dutifully trotted along the cobbled street. Although it was apparent from the hazy, indistinct recollections the man had been drinking, the pair of intruders into his mind could plainly see the pair of women, and it broke Gremlaw’s heart to see them happily seated close to each other knowing what was about to happen.
Along the street, which had been almost completely cleared of other people by the cold, the old vagrant had watched as the two women remained oblivious to the three dark clad figures that leaped gently aboard the bed of their cart. Waves of fear had washed through the old man as he lay, concealed in his hiding spot, concern over the pair of women vying against fear for his own life. Gremlaw watched, transfixed as his wife and daughter were jerked savagely backwards by thin cords slipped around their soft throats. Huleta rolled backwards in a tumble of arms and legs to lie beneath her assailant.
Pride swelled in Gremlaw’s consciousness as he saw Neevis throw herself backwards, slamming her head into the stomach of the man behind and throwing him off-balance. Rolling into the move, his daughter kicked out with her foot towards the man’s jaw with such force it would have certainly broken the hinged bone, if not his neck. Her assailant had been well tutored, however and turned his head at the last moment before her foot connected, sliding up the side of his hooded face instead. Neevis managed to get to her feet and swung both arms around in a wide arc, smashing her forearms into his wrists hard enough to break his hold on the tourniquet which she whipped from around her neck and towards the man’s face.
The old man who’s memories they watched had struggled to his feet as the scene began to move out of his visual range with the pony continuing on along the street. He watched, awestruck, as Neevis shoved the first man off the back of the cart. Unfortunately the young woman had not realized there were three attackers, and as she turned to try and free her mother, the third man viciously bludgeoned her across the back of the head.
Something snapped inside Gremlaw as he actually heard the wooden club hit the base of his daughter’s skull with a resounding ‘ponk’ sound and she fell to the floorboards of the cart. Her attacker stepped into the driving seat and reined in the pony. Gremlaw could hear his wife’s plaintive cries as she was roughly bound,
Both Gremlaw and Mar-Tshi-Srin’s nearly recoiled from the old man in shock as the man who Neevis had kicked from the cart rose and stepped into a patch of light. He had stripped off the dark cloak formerly covering his torso to reveal his arms and shoulders, framed by a sleeveless, leather waistcoat. Black tattoos crawled up and down his arms, curled up his neck and even over his face. The homeless vagrant recalled the tattooed man stepping towards Neevis’ unconscious form, dark intent on his face as he cradled his damaged ear,
“I ought to gut the wench!” he growled to the man looking down at him. He had spoken in Lavashian which both Mar-Tshi-Srin and Gremlaw understood.
“Zhul-Quin would have you hacked into small pieces,” another voice spoke in a shockingly female voice. The third assailant had been a woman.
Gremlaw felt his awareness pulling away from the two others and, almost instantly, he found himself returned to his own mind space. He turned and faced the corner of the room, shaking in silent rage and pain while Mar-Tshi-Srin murmured comforting words to the old tramp.
“Marshi?” Her husband asked quietly after they had all filed from the room. A brief shake of her head was the only answer she gave.
“Grem,” Mar-Tshi-Srin’s voice was shaking, “Those were…”
“Lost Ancestors.” Gremlaw spat the name as if it tasted like poison, “And did you hear the name Zhul-Quin?” Mar-Tshi-Srin nodded, wondering if the name was linked to Zha Quin, who had been responsible for bringing narcotics into Trathlain and almost torturing Gremlaw to death.
“What will you do?” the Lavashian woman asked gently. Gremlaw’s face became a mask of calm placidity as he replied. Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.