“….and that’s – that’s all I remember. Uhm. Ma’am”

She stares across the table at him, the sniveling excuse that the Initiative had been able to send over for as a secretary on a semi-short notice and on a semi-regular basis. It was beyond her how this clerical work could be so daunting a task that merely finding management for a guild like this one would be enough to send even the most seasoned of business savvy bureaucrats running from the hills. Even still, for all her training and patience, she finds herself waning in the small hours of the day, begging for any kind of thread that would begin to sew these disparate pieces together.

Now, Rusalka is not one for clerical work either. Nor is she an investigator, but in lieu of having authorities to report this too, much less hire to head an investigation, this seemed like enough like her jurisdiction to take command of the subject. Her claws rake against the tabletop at the Initiative headquarters, she waves off the human before her with a sigh. “You’re excused, Pall. Don’t send anyone else, okay? We have enough eyewitness accounts to sort through for now, so….”

She waves her claws again, motioning for him to scoot out of the temporary office. And he does, at least eventually. It is a wonder how some people can get through life with their heads still attached. “Do what you will. But at least be useful if you come crawling back with more of your anxieties to lay out? Like… my coffee pot’s running low on water, think you can manage that?”

The day begs for more activity, but these proceedings are dragging on in much the same way as a bull will bray and limp along with a stone in its claw – no, no. It’s going slower than that. These kind of slow days have an attitude, and no amount of pleading or placating or pissing will make it change its mind, once again the bull, but this kind of day is one that thinks the world owes it something. Rue has no patience for these kinds of days. These kind of days usually end with a steak.

“Ooh, I should plan for that” she mutters, pushing herself out of the desk chair with ease and stretching long and loud, her teeth bared and her fur bristling with that wracking shiver that one gets after the kind of exertion that one desperately needs after sitting in a chair for more than three hours. A thought crosses her mind as she stands up, and takes her coffee tankard towards the back offices for more juice. “Maybe that new charr would like that too? Nervous sort, sure, but nothing a bit of meat can’t handle…”

Not that she should be reading new personnel files in her spare time, but knowing your comrades was as important as knowing your enemy, the difference being that she could fathom a brute dame like Caelryn.

The thought sours in her mind, her muzzle scrunches and sneers as her thoughts come back to the matter at hand, despite her best efforts. Right. The threat of more work.

Not just any work, the kind of work that eludes her. Where the physical will leave trails and clues, scents and marks and at least motives, something as metaphysical as this, where all she’s left with is a name and a vision? Yeah, you can argue this is where the greatest of minds work, but that’s certainly not her, some Ash trash meant for guild work but not much else. The connections boggle and escape her. Persons of Interest are nowhere to be found. The worst of all is the reasons why. Why now? Why, after all is said and done, when the Void corruption has mostly been contained, when nothing is left to dispute the facts that do remain except ghosts and graves, would this thing choose to strike now? She brings the cup to her lips and finds it empty, and certainly not hot. She changes out the dregs for a fresh pint, and decides that mulling it over might require a bit more string and pictures than she’d anticipated.

When she steps back into the office.

 

Something has changed.

 

The papers all remain in place, the chairs are as they were, but something is wrong, and deeply so. Deeply wrong and deeper still. The charr sets her drink down with the utmost care, peridot eyes flicking from one corner to the next, one shelf to another. The long shadows of a late dawn pull at her senses, and something

 

lurches.

 

From the edge of the centurion’s vision, something creeps. Like worms upon fresh earth, like the undulated static of bird wings across the watering holes of Ascalon. Worms in flesh. Butterflies and moths.

She peers into the darkness and allows it to take her, to swallow her into its maw.

—–

 

The door creaks open, and from behind it, a mop of poorly kept fringe and a nervous disposition peer in some hope to preserve his dignity. In one hand, more papers, and in the other, another hot pot of water. “So, uh, apologies again, a thousand of them, but I have another few pages of incident reports, I know you don’t want them but I also have…. Ma’am? Miss Rue?”

The faint scent of singed hair. Something floral.

And a cup of coffee, inert upon the table.

Author quorgi
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