Episode Three: A Dark Turn (Short Story Series)
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Episode Three: A Dark Turn
As light from a window shined in Irions’ eyes he awoke, a dull pain still in his stomach. Confused and disoriented, Irion peered around the room. It was midday and the sun was high in the sky, a tray of food sat beside him on a small side table and he was dressed in thin white clothing with a large bandage across his stomach and many small ones across the rest of his body. He was in an Infirmary. Irion tried to remember what happened, but only bits and fragments were coming to mind initially. He remembered an attack, a man named Lars, and an incredible pain but many of the details were missing. An investigator he recognized from brief passings at the stockades came into the room, a short older man with short white hair wearing a nice suit without the jacket. “Good to see you are awake Irion, I am Captain Jordan, an investigator with the guard.” He stated professionally. Irion paused for a moment. “Thanks, nice to meet you.” Irion replied exhaustedly. “Where exactly am I and what exactly happened? I remember being attacked.” Irion inquired. Captian Jordan grinned a little, “We are at an infirmary, and its been three days since you were attacked. Indeed, you were attacked and almost killed were it not for your comrades. They noticed your torch between those crates from afar and some men leaving the area and decided to investigate, it was then they noticed a man on top of you about to slit your throat apparently. A man known as Lars Stallheart, apparently an avid anarchist who has a bitter distaste of the local guards. You were immediately brought here to the nearest infirmary and treated. You lost a lot of blood but the medical staff here took great care of you. As for Lars, he talked pretty quickly and all of his accomplices have been detained and await trial.”
At this point another came into the room, a female night elf with long green hair and a strangely bright white robe, a priestess most likely. “You should be able to leave today.” The priestess said. “You gave us quite a scare.” Irion stood up stretching his back and legs, the pain in his stomach was dull but nothing that would stop him from moving. “I am thankful to you, you saved my life.” Irion said. Captain Jordan interrupted, “We are having a town hall meeting tonight to address your incident among other issues and would like to have you there. We believe it would be a bit more powerful for people to see you.” Irion wondered if it was a good idea as he didn’t like Town Halls, but found it hard to refuse. “Of course, I will be there.” Irion replied. “Great, we have a courtesy escort for you waiting. They will see you home and then to the Town Hall.” Replied Captain Jordan as he left the room. Irion went outside to stretch his legs and to do some thinking in the meantime.
Hours later at the Town Hall, Irion found himself sitting near the front of a very large room with a small podium and many government officials lining themselves up for presentation. “Today we are here to address concerns of the community, detail what has occurred recently with one of our guards being assaulted and nearly killed, as well as what we are doing to combat the threats our great city faces on a daily basis.” Bellowed a high ranking member of the guard leading the Town Hall, Irion couldn’t remember his name as he almost never would see him. Irion sat in a chair in the front row watching, listening to murmurs of an unsatisfied and ungrateful citizenry. Irion gritted his teeth. “We have threats both inside and outside of the city. Gnolls roaming our forests, cutpurses, and highwaymen as well, and even in our own city rumors of misguided rebels allegedly fighting for the common man. And most recently and disturbingly one of our own was nearly killed, and he is here with us tonight. Irion, stand up and make yourself known!” Commanded the high ranking speaker. Irion stood, turned, and waved but was not greeted with appreciation, sympathy, respect, or even so much as a nod. The high ranking speaker continued, “This heinous, hateful act of senselessness occurred just three days ago. An act born of ignorance and pure hate. Irion has served the populace faithfully and was rewarded with a dagger to his stomach and nearly his throat were it not for the acts of his fellow guards.”
“If we are….” The speech was then interrupted by a particularly outspoken individual. “While the attack on the officer was misguided, his anger towards the guards is justified!” Shouted the individual. This person was thin male, medium length brown hair, younger than Irion by the looks of it. “Every day we are harassed by the guards, every day we are beaten and killed by the guards. They fail to protect the roads of our lands, they fail to even uphold the laws against their own!” The young man yelled. Irion’s face turned red, his hands turned to clenched fists instinctively, anger the likes that he had never felt seared through him. He had been spit on and struck by violent criminals, fought vicious gnolls and bandits and even nearly been murdered, yet this mans words, no…the lies and disrespect…the eagerness to justify the actions of a mad man who stabbed him was by far the most disagreeable thing he had ever experienced. Irion had finally had enough. Irion stood up and briskly approached the young man as he spoke and punched him square in the face. A punch that held nothing back, a punch that immediately rendered the young man unconscious as he fell backward, head bouncing off the floor. Irion almost immediately realized he had made a mistake, as guards rushed him and threw him to the ground, quickly escorting him out of the building. Shouts could be heard for justice, one might even say for his blood, as he was being carried out and towards the stockades.
Irion had a cell to himself, though it was no more luxurious. The walls were damp and molding, and rats scampered by more at home here than anywhere. While Irion waited patiently for the bad news, he pondered on his actions, on the populace he had sworn to serve and protect, on their fickle nature, their hypocrisy, their lack of morals or even the slightest sense of duty to anyone but themselves, their lack of respect they show yet demand in abundance, their….unworthiness. Unworthy of the risks he signed up for, unworthy of the stress he endures on their behalf, unworthy of the blood he had shed, unworthy of his protection. Irion knew he was about to lose everything he had worked for, years of hard work and loyalty were going to disappear all because of one rash action. With each passing moment Irions’ rage grew, he began to sweat as his heart raced. Then Corin entered the cell, his shift supervisor.
Irion expected to be scolded, but instead, Corin looked at him concernedly as he got straight to business. “You are going to be discharged Irion, I fought for you but…at a Town Hall of all places? That's where you had to snap?” Corin said disappointedly. Irion replied contently, “You know what the worst part is? I don’t even feel like I was wrong. I was almost killed and not one of them seemed to care, they were more concerned with stirring controversy.” “Well you gave them plenty to be outraged about Irion, that Town Hall was a disaster and only served to worsen things already teetering on a knifes edge. Either way, I am here to tell you your discharge is effective immediately. The best I could get for you is an other than honorable. You served honorably for a while, you did much to make this place better and I can only hope that gives you some sense of satisfaction and motivation to find yourself a new path. Good Luck.” Corin stated with a pained look on his face before shaking Irions’ hand and leaving. Irion felt lost for a moment, shocked at just how quickly his punishment was enacted, no time to defend himself, no Court Marshall, hardly an explanation…nothing, just a discharge. A consequence of committing assault at a Town Hall no doubt, a gesture to quell the mob. But he quickly resolved himself. “I will find success my own way, live my own life by my own rules, free of the stupidity of our society.” Irion said determinedly.
As Irion was released and left the stockades he was met by a small but angry crowd hurling insults and threats at him as he was escorted out. Once again Irion felt his anger rising to a boiling point as the man he struck was among the crowd smiling at him mockingly, albeit with a black eye. As Irion began to succumb to anger once again he all the sudden felt a sense of calm and a smile ran across his own face. Upon obtaining a new change of clothes from a nearby merchant, Irion found himself back in the area of the stockades where he had been released. The mob still present and making their thoughts known. “How fake.” Irion said to himself. Covering his head, he waited and then followed the young man who caused all of this. It was getting dark, and the young man decided to stop at a tavern. Irion quietly watched as he got himself liquored up, careful not to draw attention. Irion got up and went outside and waited calmly for his opportunity to come. It was not long before the young man came stumbling out looking to take a leak on the side of the building. It was here where Irion was waiting for him. “I lost everything because of you, I am here to repay the favor.” Irion growled as he approached the man from behind. Before the man could react, Irion shoved his dagger into the mans back several times, working himself into a frenzy, stabbing many more times than was necessary. The yells and merrymaking from the tavern served well to cover the sounds of murder. When the deed was done and Irion had control of himself, he knew there was no going back now as he had just crossed a line he never thought himself capable of. Irion dumped the body in the canals knowing one of the nasty creatures that patrolled it would get rid of the body for him as they seemed to have a taste for human flesh. Without a victim, he couldn’t be charged with assault from the Town Hall, and without a body, he couldn’t be charged with murder either. Irion rented a room at a tavern across the district, burned his clothes, washed, and found he could sleep rather well despite the days fast pace of occurrences.
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