The Anniversary of Mary Windfiddle’s story is quickly approaching. I’m reminding you that if you have any questions about the story or the characters, you should post them in the comments :)
Anyway. Last time, after foiling an assassination attempt on the ruler of Pamagos, Mary and her friends tried to interrogate the criminals who’d done it, only to find out that they’d been victims to a 'Feeblemind' spell and were completely out of their minds. However, they were carrying a dangerous piece of weaponry – a graphite dagger that could be used to destroy a person’s soul – and it was important to find out more about their goals.
There were a few suggestions on how to revert the assassins back to their responsive state in order to be questioned. Bruno wasn't strong enough as a cleric to do it by himself, so someone offered that they could find a healer in Pamagos or, even better, in Zerakas tol. Dynatos Perres agreed to try and contact Francesca Findabair and ask her for assistance. She wasn't adept in healing magic herself but was sure to know someone who was.
While the others were discussing the matter, Mary had a curious thought. What if that was the assassins’ normal state? What if someone had taken two feeble-minded people from the street and had conditioned--or magically affected--them to shoot Mr. Perres?
She went on to try out her theory. She asked Aurum to break the point of one of the arrows, and had the charmed person untied under their sharp gaze. She gave the feeble-minded assassin the broken arrow and the bow it had been shot from. If he had any sort of enchantment that made him uncontrollably shoot the ruler of Pamagos, this could be the test to prove it.
The man took the bow by its strings and dangled it around like a toy. He didn’t even look at the broken arrow.
So, it wasnt this sort of enchantment. Those people were really assassins who'd wanted to kill Mr. Perres. But even then, they didn't deserve this fate!
"I have an idea," Aurum said.
He went out of the tavern and came back a few minutes later, followed by a tall old lady with a cane. She seemed somehow familiar.
Mr. Perres looked at the bard with a questioning expression.
"This is Granny Gretel,” he introduced her. “I think she can help?”
“I certainly can, children!” the woman said with her deceptively nice old-lady voice. “What do you need?”
Oh! Of course it was Granny Gretel! Mary didn’t recognize her because she seemed too normal to be herself. Her fingers weren’t as freakishly long as they usually were, and her face didn’t have most of its creepy features. The only weird thing left in her visage was the height. Even hunched over her cane, she was over seven feet tall.
They explained the situation. The old lady examined the feeble-minded men with twinkle in her eyes.
“Hmmmmm,” she croaked. “I see, I see. I can cure… hmmmm… one of them.” She raised her head and looked at Mr. Perres. “But I want the other.”
Silence fell in the tavern. Everyone seemed uncomfortable with the offer but nobody said anything.
“What would you suggest?” Dynatos Perres said after a while, turning to Mary and her friends.
Mary looked at the two men – one staring at her with adoration and trust because of the Charming spell, and the other still trembling, afraid of what they could do to him. They seemed almost as innocent as children! She felt her throat tighten.
“You can’t seriously be considering this!” she said, appalled at the thought of complying with Granny Gretel’s request. “We can’t give any of them away! They are human beings! We don’t even know what she'd do to them!”
“Yeah,” Aurum said. “What are you going to do if we gave you one of them?”
Granny Gretel looked almost offended.
“I'm not asking what you’re going to do with the other one!” she said, her voice suddenly harsh and cutting like a knife.
“I’ll let you know immediately!” Mary said. “If that’d make you tell us…”
“No, I don’t want to know,” the old lady croaked. “I just want one of the two. You get to have the other. It’s a good offer. Decide now – are you going to give him to me, or not?”
Mary turned to Mr. Perres. “Please! There are other ways! You said you could ask Francesca Findabair for help!”
The ruler of Pamagos thought for a long time. Then, after what felt like ages, he nodded and agreed to wait for Zerakas tol’s help. Mary sighed in relief.
“All right, suit yourselves,” Granny Gretel shrugged with a pout.
She leaned on her cane and started hobbling away. Aurum followed her to the front door of the tavern.
"Sorry we wasted your time, Granny," he said.
"It's fine, dear,” she said and patted his cheek. “It’s always nice to see what my grandkids are up to. Thank you for calling me."
Ughhh! This old hag is creepier with every next time we see her! I don’t trust her and I’m happy that Mary doesn’t either.
Anyway, after the next part, it’ll be time for the Q&A I promised you. If there are enough questions, that is. So post them in the comments. Anything you’re wondering about!
See you then!
Take care and be well!
(Also, here's a link to the Chapter Guide and the Glossary for the series. You're welcome!)