The remaining townspeople had gathered in the remnants of the dilapidated town hall. Like all crowds that are demanding something they had assembled a speaker on their behalf. A half-cocked, dishevelled merchant found himself ushered to the front row. Shaking, he walked forward towards the mayor who was waiting in anticipation to hear the cries of his electorate. Galen (The Mayor) was known for fumbling words, being irritatingly blunt and quite often a tactless fuck-bag in delicate situations. How he was in power was a mystery to many. The merchant knew this and half expected either a stupid comment or boneheaded arrogant statement in reply. It was for this reason that his shaking could not be determined as general anxiety or actually pre-emptive anger.
Speaker, please tell me why you have gathered here. It is the middle of the night and our town is in need of rest and healing.
From the crowd came a flying rotten tomato. It had been hurled by an old woman who began to shout and curse the mayor.
You cockflap! We should have voted for the other man. He may have been a flaming racist but he had two working ears and enough sense to make a decision. You’re such a windy sack of shit, Galen.
The mayor didn't even need to signal to his heavies at the door. The woman was quietly hushed and dragged out by the last of the town guards that hadn't been maimed, injured or killed by the monsters attack. Once again the Mayor addressed the crowd, this time attempting to be more sensitive to his voters needs.
Please, refrain from violence and slurs. We do not want this behaviour in our town. It may encourage other creatures to attack us if they see us weak. We must stand strong.
The merchant speaker interrupted.
We are strong. We are united Mayor. We challenge your authority and how you have handled this situation. A third of our people have been murdered by this malevolent menace. We beg of you to do something. What if it returns?
The Mayor frowned.
But, what else is there left to destroy?
The crowd dropped to a deathly silence. Each of them murmured about the mayor's stupidity. The crowd erupted into shouting and banter as the words 'fool' and 'dolt' were hurled at the public figure, much like the tomato grenade that had been launched moments before.
Mayor, we demand to know what you or The Holy King will do. He is our spiritual leader. You are our political leader! Something must be done!
The Holy King has sent us one of his heroes! She has brought food and supplies for us to get back on our feet! She even cleaned the water! I mean… that’s pretty good really, what more do you expect?
We demand justice! How will this town become the great society it once was if all YOU do is sit on your chair?
The crowd erupted into a roar of chanting. “Build a bonfire, build a bonfire and put Galen on the top, put the creature in the middle and burn the fucking lot.” Galen began to panic and fluster. He became quite anxious over the situation and could feel his palms getting sweaty. He wiped them profusely on his dirty coat and quickly looked around the room for an escape route.
The crowd began to etch forward, chanting more of the same, again and again. Several of the younger chanters had grabbed a few wooden posts from the rubble of the building and had begun to beat the sticks along the wall. The drumming heightened the mood of those present, stirring within them a tribal power they had not felt before. It was the blood that flowed through their veins that had reacted so quickly. Within each of them (at least the native born) was the memory of their ancestors slavery. The raging beast of the people’s voice could not be soothed, they demanded satisfaction. The Mayor hurried to the far side of the stage where his assistant was timidly hiding behind an old statue.
Don't just hide over there Felps! You mute speck! What am I going to do about these morons?
Felps muttered and stuttered as he tried to pass out some excuse. He was of no help, but at the same time Mayor Galen noticed something that gave him a striking idea. There, wedged in the cracks of the rubble, lay a statuette. He headed to it and pulled it out of the dust and shrapnel. As he did so — an arm came with it — a withered pale arm, meshed with black cloth that had been burnt onto the skin. The arm was no longer attached to its original body but it did have a strong deathly grasp upon the statue. Mayor Galen shook the severed claw off and held the hand crafted wooden statue up into the air. The crowd hushed and stopped in its tracks. They stared on at the cross-dressing icon of Jet that their mayor was thrusting into the air. Most of them recognised it but none of them could place a reason as to why the mayor had taken to holding it up high.
Jet was a founder of the Knights of Sanator and through his deeds he was elevated to godhood by the southern deity, The Power!
The crowd remained silent so to listen, although they were unsure as to why they were bothering. Some even used this opportunity to pick up broken glass with which they could hurl at their useless leader.
The Knights of Sanator sent forth Thannoth who saved our ancestors from slavery and destruction. As it happened before so shall we do it… once again! We will call upon the heroes of our time to find the creature that murdered our brothers and sisters... and they will bring us it back… bring back its head!
The silence was broken by a wave of cheering and applause.
It seemed that the Mayor had saved his hide once again and had brought an idea to the people that they could support. His only obstacle now was finding a group of heroes that would take the quest and hunt the immense force that had caused so many deaths and acts of destruction.
The crowds dispersed and the many became a minority, eventually the town hall was empty. Galen turned to his mute assistant and informed him he was retiring for the night. There was much to plan and do if he was to secure a hero for a quest.
Once the mayor had left, the only being remaining within the hall was Felps. A mute and an uncomfortable sort of fellow, Felps was known for his attention to detail and his ability to tolerate the sometimes viewed 'mentally deranged' mayor. He had checked that everyone had left and secured the building as much as he could (after all a giant hole was taking up the majority of the west wall). He slithered back to the centre and over to the statue of Jet. Picking it up with his sticky fingers, he examined it closely, sniffing along the edges and tracing his skeletal thin index finger along its ridges. Checking he was alone, Felps slid the statue into his robes and began to make his way out.
He paused. He shook his head and returned back to the area where the mayor had found the statue. Felps looked around the ground. He studied and examined closely until he discovered what he had been looking for — the old mockerlite's hand. Picking it up, he carefully smelt the charred skin and licked the middle finger and thumb. Checking he was alone once again, Felps slid the dismembered limb into his robes and began to make his way out towards his local Mockerlite meeting.
This time, as he shook his head, he couldn't help but smile.
The Eldritch Chronicles
Explore the continent of Ulderheim, its ancient daemon infested history and the crazed gods that rule the mortal and near-immortal races.