Cleric + Thief | Episodes | Journal | About

00002. Meadowgloom

Fucking Blackguard

“You really don’t know where Blackguard is,” asks Maddox.

The four of them are sitting around a table in the safe house. Maddox, the bone doctor, Iofi, and Meadowgloom.

The bone doctor, summoned by Other Maddox, is extraordinarily pale. They have just finished stitching Maddox up, and are now wrapping them up in a bandage. They also set out some salve for Iofi, who is rubbing it into her boney forearms. They ache deeply from when she took the brunt of the blow from the axeman.

“I really don’t,” confesses Meadowgloom in his high, soft voice.

Meadowgloom is Blackguard’s majordomo, head of his household staff. Up until recently he was quite happy and content with his job.

That was before, of course, he was detained and threatened with bodily dismemberment by three thugs who broke into the Blackguard house. Before being rescused by the tall dark haired woman and the short fair haired man, both of whom command strange magicks and are also quite handy with a hammer and a knife, respectively. Which makes them in some ways even scarier than the burglars were. And ultimately they also eventually threatened him with violence.

All because of Blackguard.

Blackguard, whose investments, speculations, and ventures have made him one of the most conspicuously wealthy merchants in Kriteach. Possibly on the entire island.

Blackguard, who over the last month started becoming increasingly anxious and secretive. Holding meetings at odd hours behind closed doors. Spending more and more time alone with his books. As though he knew the net was tightening, drawing closed around him.

Blackguard, who disappeared three days ago and left Meadowgloom holding the proverbial bag. After years of service and loyalty.

Fucking Blackguard.

“I don’t,” continues Meadowgloom. “But I can recreate his final days in the house for you. I can give you access to his books. His correspondence. Everything.”

Meadowgloom’s confidence starts to waiver as the three of them walk back to the Blackguard house. It was his sanctuary mere days ago. But now the illusion of safety has been shattered, and when he thinks of returning he feels a knot of dread in the pit of his stomach. He doesn’t think he’ll ever feel at peace there again.

He doesn’t know how right he is about that.

The street is blocked off. The house, in the middle of the block, is collapsed in on itself and continues to smoke and smolder slightly. It is blackened by soot, gutted by fire, and utterly soaked from the efforts of putting out the blaze.

The fire brigade is now focused on putting out a neighboring apartment.

Meadowgloom moans helplessly and wordlessly. He was already mourning the psychological loss of his home. But he wasn’t prepared for its physical loss.

“Shit,” curses Maddox.

Iofi looks at them and frowns.

“It’s a setback,” she offers.

“It was our best and only lead,” they counter.

Meadowgloom moans again and rushes past the barricade toward the house. He is stopped by the brigade, who won’t let him advance. Maddox gives him a moment, and then steps forward and gently pulls him away. They walk back in the direction from which they came. Meadowgloom, silent and dejected, flanked on either side by Maddox and Iofi. Nothing else to be done here.

“You’ll stay with us,” Iofi pats Meadowgloom on the arm.

Maddox mumbles something under their breath and nods.

“It’s the least we can do given the circumstances.”