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Transients: The Story of a Band

Interlude: The Cadaver-Hound of Karthage

By Daniel BradburyPublished 2 years ago 3 min read

The pacing of Hollie’s companion was rigid and meticulous enough to play metronome for the ancient Orchestra. Five minutes, Hollie had been at her locker. All that time, she watched Guardswoman Jace tear up and down the locker room, gnashing her teeth. If she'd noticed Hollie, she gave no acknowledgement. Did Hollie dare ask?

“You digging a moat?”

Jace swiveled suddenly. “What?” she snapped. Even given their history of partnership, Hollie had a healthy fear of Meredia's temper.

Hollie cleared her throat awkwardly. “You know… Because of, ah, pacing.”

Jace’s expression softened, to Hollie's relief. Meredia Jace was a beast of a woman: the physique of a refrigerator, matted hair like untended wheat, and voice and temperament of a hungry cadaver-hound. In fact, that was where the recent nickname came from--the cadaver-hound of Karthage. Though they were similar in rank, Hollie always kept clear footing around Jace.

Jace sighed and crossed her arms. There was this uncharacteristic cloud of defeat in her usually feral eyes. “D’Azus, tell me if I got this backwards. Isn't our job to protect this city?”

Teetering from foot to foot, Hollie nodded hesitantly. “I mean, of course.”

“Then how,” Jace snarled, punctuating her phrase with a pointed kick to the lockers, “are we supposed to do that if Transient scum get to cower behind shady Order goons?”

Another jab at the lockers and she stomped and pivoted to lean against her poor, dented victim. Again, Hollie found herself unsure of what to say, and just watched Jace scowl at the ground.

“Wait, shit,” Jace muttered. “Shit, I didn’t mean any offense. I know that your family is—”

“No, no, no,” Hollie said. “I know how the Order can be. They usually mean well, and know what they're… Well, but…” she cut herself off. “What happened, if you don't mind me asking?”

“Bunch of Transients were causing a scene at Marketside,” Jace said. “Tried assaulting my guards. Chased them, cornered them. I remember that smug one. Looked her dead in the eye and watched all that brass fade from her, and out of nowhere—” Jace turned to Hollie. It was uncanny seeing Jace so exasperated, so beaten. “D’Orpheus!” she whined. "This woman dressed like a banker shows up and flashes some order credentials and of course we have to stand down. I don't know what the Order is playing at, but I was closer to bagging three transients at once than a dying equivocator is to the lake of fire. That bonus was so close I could almost taste it! Fuck!"

“Wait, hold on for a second. Did you just say D’Orpheus?!” Hollie shouted. What would Order Minister D’Orpheus want with a band of Transients?

“Yeah!” Jace said. “Comes in there, bossing me around, telling me the Order needed them for who-knows-what.”

“So, you had to back down?” Hollie’s answer was an embarrassed silence. “It's okay. What else are you supposed to do if a Minister shows up? It's shady I know, but who are we to question their motives?”

Jace shook her head. “Nah, she was way too young to be the minister of anything. She could have been his heir, I think.”

“Ah,” she said dismissively. As she turned it over though, something felt off. Heir? Of House Orpheus? But wasn't that…?

Jace frowned at her. “What's the face, D’Azus?”

“Um.” Hollie reeled. Was she certain? No, she was. “Did you get her first name? This could be very important, Jace.”

Jace twitched her head a bit as she jogged her memory. “Ah, shit. Something with an 'M,’ I think. Melissa? Mary? Mordred?”

It couldn’t be. “Morgana?”

“Yeah, that was it.”

AdventureFantasySeriesSci Fi

About the Creator

Daniel Bradbury

Big fan of long walks in the woods, rye Manhattans, Spanish literature, jazz, and vinyl records.

Lover of all things creepy and crawly.

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    Daniel BradburyWritten by Daniel Bradbury

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