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April 16, 1985
Last Visit: 3 days ago
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"If we are to faitfully trust our neighbors, then how do they explain that the army of the Narls passed both of their cities by on their way down through the Greenvale and then throw themselves onto our defenses?" The Aggregator pointed north towards the southern pallisade that could be gleaned over the rooftops.
Lawman Herman Dauntless Voogansson, pushed his way through the crowd that had gathered to listen to the propaganda. Under ordinary circumstances, he rarely had to worry about congestion in his surroundings, it almost seemed like people flowed out of his way like water in front of a ship. Today, however was an exception, the audience could not have parted even if they wanted, and now their attention was firmly fixed on the small stage built from the remains of a razed house.
Herrman did his best to ignore the troublemaker and his speech. The hostilities between the various factions in the city had become increasingly belligerent in recent weeks, and now they had begun to adopt methods that were purely tasteless. Realistically the opinion of the mob out on Farisle didn't affect the big decisions being taken up in the city, but their dissatisfaction was nevertheless a currency that the Counts people now wanted to play in their favor. Just as they had spun Herrman's choice of closing the gates into a story of external threats and fearsome strangers among us.
The lockdown had not lasted more than a single day, even though they were no closer to finding the culprit. The city walls were never built with the intention of keeping someone locked in and by the afternoon. The guards had already found signs that people had managed to sneak out. After that, it was difficult to justify a continued isolation.
Two of the successful escapes were discovered in the direction of Farisle. One of them so obvious that there was even a ropeladder hanging down the outside of the palisade. Hense it did not come as a big surprise when now, two days later this was where his investigation carried him.
In the back lines of the crowd he could move more freely again and already he sensed the first stink from the crime scene. He rounded the corner of a slanting house and was met by Gusten who was standing guard with a handkerchief pressed over his mouth and nose. Further down the alley, Thomas stood bent double against a wall. He had lost a fight against his own stomach and his breakfast was now floating down a drainage ditch at his feet. The two adjutants shot a look at the stinking entrance and then turned expectantly toward their commander.
He lifted the cloth covering the entrance and stuck his head into the dark room. The scent inside was a lot worse and he could hear Thomas groan outside. Herman continued seemingly unfazed into the shed. Many assumed that it was the war that hardened him to the insensitive statue that his reputation described. That was undoubtedly a part of the truth, but few remembered that he as a child helped his uncle in the slaughterhouse. The only thing the war had contributed, was to erase the special treatment of a human body from the animals that he had already been indifferent to.
This victim however gave even him pause. Nailed up with arms stretched wide the older man hung from chisels that had been pierced through his hands and then stuck in the brittle planks of the walls. His knees rested on the packed ground, but were hidden by his intestines, that had spilled out from a tear in the abdomen.
Judging from the rag in his mouth and the tearing of his injured hands, it seemed terrible that the man was still alive when his other damage was added. It was difficult to see what could justify this sadism.
The cottage by the way was a chaos of vertyg and various other possessions spread freely on the bloody floor. What was in the way of furniture, they had been thrown away either in anger or in a careless search. It was impossible to see if it was the murderer who, or if later, successful successful seekers had taken action before Herrman's men had finished doing so.
Herrman turned around to leave the shelf but stopped before crossing the threshold. He took a deep breath into the terror of his subjects, behind the dominant scent of blood and contagion lay something stiff that stabbed him in his nose. He could not place it at the moment but showed that he knew it before.
Out in the sunlight, he waved his men to follow him as he went down to the water to wash his hands. "Thomas, get up to the wooden cemetery and see if they miss any of their members, it's doubtful that anyone in the federation would live in a mess here on Utö but it does not hurt to ask."
He then turned to Gusten. "It would be good if we could get some statements from the neighbors, but I think our presence here after that speech, will be perceived as offensive... Wait until people have a chance to settle down a bit.
He walked through alleys on the way back to Palissade, frustrated by having to sneak in his own city! He forced his hand, which unconsciously looked down to the ax in his belt.
When he came home from the war and picked up Mister Grim's cloak, many called him paranoid and overprotective, today they could call him whatever they wanted, as long as they did not stand in search of the monster that raided him's flock!