The angled rain fell in razor-like sheets over the small, disheveled graveyard in Turen. Many of the population were simply too disinterested to be bothered with attending the services for Madeline Lorvin, milkmaid and newlywed wife of Victor Lorvin, the town’s only mason.
“And as Galladell opens his arms, let us remember Madeline for all that she was…”
The words from the local tribune burned into Victor’s head, singed line by line, and caused red flashes of hatred to swell in his furrowed brow and fill his tears with lukewarm acid.
“…the town of Travance has brought another monster to its’ knees this passed moon! However, in a shocking turn of events, the Demon known as Xualla escaped after killing not a single member of Travance. Sadly, many victims of the surrounding towns were not so lucky…”
“her beauty and commitment to her husband Victor…”
“The knights of Travance vanquished the Lich Lord Fallow after the monster had taken the lives and souls of many of the surrounding populace…”
He remembered her smile, the crooked way her lip would upturn at the corners when she was pleased with her day’s work and his fist balled into white hot bone and stretched skin.
“We remember her youth and passion for love, and we remember also the child she carried that was taken in this violently atrocious attack…”
“VICTORY! The King bestows medals of valor in the town of Travance for their victory against the dreaded werewolf! Werewolf still at large outside of the proper and extremely dangerous. Citizens urged to keep safely inside or move…”
His head throbbed from the many conversations during nights warmed only by a small fire and love. Conversations that were inundated with panic about their closeness to the proper and how lack of funds has kept them so close to a place that is consistently plagued with horror.
“My love, we are small pieces of a larger mission!”? she would remind him, “the heroes need our support and our courage!”
“…as we lay this daughter of Gaia and her child to rest, let us remember her forever and ever…”
Tears scorched his cheeks, made heavy by the weight of anger and sadness. They chewed through his rugged skin, slipped through his beard and dropped, one by one, onto the tiny wooden box that held his beautiful and innocent and loving wife many years too early.
“Travance victorious! Huzzah! Population expected to rebuild…”
“Livestock killed by plague released by Goblin camps. Travancian Heroes couldn’t contain outbreak…”
“Former Lord of Dregamire and his horrid minions turn on town and her surrounding citizens! Hundreds dead! Who is to blame?”
“…and ever. Blessed be.”
Victor Lorvin’s knees buckled ruthlessly and sent him into a heap next to the casket. With fingernails and heavy heart he attempted to pry the spikes off the edges of the coffin. The rain fell in slow motion, his cries became an awful sirens call of agony and his tears a scalding reminder of protection of people he never knew, who lived in riches, draped in fine clothes, and legendary weapons he would never be able to tear apart with his own hands. The local missionaries attempted to pull him back, tearing his clothes, begging him to let the dead lay in peace. They stumbled in the mud, as Victor’s anger gave way and his simple muscles and simple problems gave way, collapsing into unconsciousness.
The rain fell harder later that night as he had yet to move.
“…Who is to blame?..”
He caressed the fresh dirt and ran tiny granules of clay in between his fingers, spreading them as if they were the long auburn hair of his beloved.
“…Who is to blame.?”
In his other hand, a 5 gold bill from the local church and grave diggers for the job that they have done, for a death he did not cause, that must be paid for in blood by those responsible.
Victor stumbled to the closet sized tavern that normally held 4 to 5 of the local carpenters and farmers. He fell into a stool and tapped on the bar table. Slid casually against his hand was a small vial of blue powder with a note attached.
“A revolution, Victor Lorvin.
Be it better that a man avenge his loved, than mourn them without end. Inhale deeply, and become the angel of revenge”
When he looked up, the party responsible for the delivery could not be found and the dull drag of the patrons feet against the worn floor were all that could be heard. Without thinking, a man drunk with remorse and anger, he popped the cork and took a deep, consuming breath. His brain whirred, and made wishes for power to bring vengeance upon the citizens of Travance. Seconds later, he was racked with pain and flailed his limbs aimlessly, kicking himself away from the bar. His vision was clouded, his eardrums were assailed by the sound of an explosion and crashing bottles all around him. The muffled, concerned cries of his fellow commoners echoed in his ringing ears. As his mind cleared he was being helped to his feet. The pain subsided and was replaced with a feeling of complete normalcy. The vial lay empty and cracked against the floorboards, the note missing from its’ neck.
Betrand, the aging barman stepped quickly from behind the bar pulled his coarse red beard angrily and pointed at Victor.
“Now ‘ho is gon’ pay fer that damage, yung Victor!?”
Victor stepped forward slowly in complete disbelief. The four men, aghast, pressed their heads together to assess the devastating damage caused by a mere flick of Victor’s leg. The area of the bar which he had kicked was caved in, mostly turned to dust. The barflat was decimated, as were the liquor bottles behind it, as was the wall behind that and the outside barrel had been sent through the wooden fence and rolled in a semi-circle in the field across the town almost a half mile away.
“B-b-by tha gods o’ l-l-ligh and dark,” Betrand stammered, his hand placed trembling upon Victor’s shoulder”..w-w-what ‘ar’ yoo on about?”
Then Victor remembered his wife…
“Travance victorious, but who is to blame?..”
And her hair…
“Travance victorious, but who is to blame?..”
And her eyes…
“who is to blame?..”
And her casket…
…and Victor Lorvin smiled, stepping on the glass vial on his way to the egress.