Two Weeks After Tam Linn’s Agitation
We bury Mr Dobbs in the forest that surrounds Fallowfell on a clear afternoon as the sun peaks behind the covers of clouds. Me, Gomagog, Greyscale and some of the other heavy-hitters spend an afternoon carrying boulders, arranging them according to Duchamps’ orders. Corazon draws Hauteclere and chops the stones into neat squares. Me and Greyscale sear them with fire, creating the patterns she wants.
While we do that, Merith sucks the magic out of Dobbs’ corpse. I know it sounds morbid, but a witch, sorcerer or something similar could use his bones for Magical Stuff, and we don’t want that. And the incident with Gravsten taught us that dead, is not always dead.
That done, we bring out our fine suits and the booze. Not for drinking, well not entirely, but for pouring. Libation. We pour the alcohol on the rocks that make up the improvised fairy-circle. And then we get up, one of us at a time, and we talk. Commemorate about what kind of man Dobbs was, his deeds and so we honour him.
Gomagog mentions the time Dobbs forced him to feed the pigeons that swim in the Hermannstadt.
Perenelle talks about a comb she lost during the the First World War, a comb which she mentioned to Dobbs in a offhand manner in the early 90’s. Ten years later, on her birthday, he presented it to her.
Corazon makes us laugh with the story of a sojourn to New York and a hunt for a pair of enchanted crossbow quarrels.
Merith places a casserole in front of the rocks, explaining how Dobbs taught her the difference between clams and real clams.
Hermann references a lonely winter without hope, when Dobbs would leave him small gifts right next to his door.
Hannah, her nose swollen and red spots blooming across her face, recounts the story of a man who would shut down his store to play peekaboo with a girl who had just left her mother, and who was afraid and lonely.
And so it goes on. All I can think of is how. How, and why Tam Linn killed him. Dobbs was a brownie. A kind of fae whose magics have to do with finding things. A home where one can be loved. A sword to kill your enemies. Your love lost. Things like that. And Dobbs, according to Hannah had less magic than most brownies of his age. So in terms of threat-potential, Dobbs was somewhere between an elderly human and a witch without magic. A nobody.
Maybe he comitted some kind of crime? But Dobbs was one of the most law-abiding people Fallowfell have ever known, according to everyone who knew him. He once got his hands on actual Chinese relics dating from a dynasty I can’t even pronounce, and rather than trying to sell them for buy-your-own-island-money, he told the police, immediately.
He said something then. Something incredibly offensive. Yet Dobbs rarely raised voice. So-/Enough, Rune! Tam Linn murdered John Dobbs in cold blood. There can be no denying of that. Helena Gravsten, in all of her fury, atleast had a grudge that she acted upon. And while that can never be an execuse, atleast it made her understandable. Who knows what phantasms drive Linn?/
I blanche at Verde’s tone. Sara, who stands next to my left elbow, gives me a questioning glance. I shake my head before tapping it lightly with a finger. If she wants to, she can read my thoughts to understand what it is that Verde is saying. His tone is bitter and filled with rue. /If we had just implemented the plan earlier.../ Don’t think like that. It’s not our fault. Besides, we don’t have enough support for it yet. It wouldn’t work./ I… I know. It is just that he cannot be allowed to get away with this./
I glance covertly at Hannah. And he won’t get away. I feel almost ashamed for what I say next to Verde, but I am who I am. What if we tried recruit Hannah to the plan? /What do you mean?
I swallow, experiencing a certain sensation in my stomach. Right now Hannah is vulnerable, I say, channeling Machiavelli. Open to suggestions. You know as well as I do that our plan is less than perfect. That you’d have to hate Tam Linn or be somewhat desperate to accept it. And right now… /Rune, I don’t know what to say./ Accompanying Verde’s voice is shock and a slim sense of digust.
Then say nothing, I snap back. Libation complete, and people start to break up. I shoulder my way through the crowd, until I am close to Hannah. “Duchamps”, I call. Hannah stops.
“What?” She asks in a tired a voice. “Could I have a moment of your time”? I pitch my voice low, mindful of the various people present with supernatural sense.
“Can’t it wait?” “Actually”, I say, leading around a snow-covered fir,”it can’t.” I pause, looking left, as right.”I have a plan to kill Tam Linn”, I state, opting for a clear delivery rather than dissembling.
Hannah stares at me. “I-” And”, I interject before she has time to complete a refusal,” want you in on it. You are the best strategist I know, the only strategist really, and we’re up against someone who can’t die, who heals in sunlight and who is insane.”
“I was going to say that I am your girl.” “And-“, I pause. “Really?”
Hannah turns around, hiding her face. “If you had asked me before he killed Dobbs, then I might have turned you down. But now…” “Now”, I say, thinking of how Gravsten reanimated my sister,” a line has been crossed.”
“We can never go back, can we?”
I analyze Hannah’s question for a second. She is, I don’t think, just refering to Tam Linn. She is talking about the time before Hannah Gravsten. Before, when things were… simpler, more innocent. “No”, I say, feeling the door closing so to speak,” we can never go back.”