Echoes of Invasion: There’ll Be Heledd to Pay | Scene 28

The archers begin carefully rappelling down the face of the building. Henrick, despite his own bruised and bloodied body, drags Efa’s limp one out of the house. Meanwhile, Heppa has slowly risen to her feet and moved closer to the front door. Her attention is divided between the people around her and the runic energies she is continuing to guide into the roof. 

The sergeant is a bit of a mess, but he is in great spirits as he reaches Heppa’s location. “What an excellent operation!” he says happily. “We didn’t lose a single guard in this action. You civilians look like you had the rough end of it, but that’s why you leave it to the professionals.”

“So it went well?” Heppa asks, wondering what their arrests normally look like. “Can I provide medical assistance?” She offers the aid partly out of concern for the injured humans, but also in an effort to self-soothe. This experience, while educational, has also been very stressful, and healing people always makes her feel better herself. Henrick hems and haws, inclined to delay any medical treatment until they are somewhere drier. 

Heppa is not sure what his position on magic is, but she knows she cannot keep up what she is doing indefinitely. “I believe the roof is going to fall in,” she states obliquely. She has good rapport with this man right now and does not want to jeopardize it by bringing magic into the picture.

“Oh! So we should clear out of here,” Henrick concludes. “You can patch me up later, then.” He leans down and grabs Efa under the arms and resumes dragging her toward the center of the courtyard, calling for the archers to help him.

The archers have not brought any prisoners down with them. “Are there still people up there?” Heppa asks.

“Nobody alive!” one of them replies cheerfully. “Especially not that guy that some hawk ripped the eyes out of!”

Heppa asks Henrick, “Then it will be all right if the roof comes down?” She speaks loudly, so everyone can hear her. The other guards might have information on where people are that Henrick does not.

“Well,” Henrick says with a sigh, “there’s nothing we can do about it if the thing collapses at this stage, but we’re all clear, and our sole prisoner is as well. Guess we’ll just see what happens.”

Hepalonia continues to hold the roof in place while the others all move toward the center of the courtyard. “I’m pretty sure this roof is going to collapse,” she states quite loudly, “pretty soon.” If there is still someone up on the roof, criminal or not, she does not want to be responsible for their death. “You’re sure there’s nobody else in the building that needs to clear out?” she reiterates, not quite sure that she believes the archers. She does not want to kill an unconscious person.

“No, there’s nobody else in the building,” Henrick tells her, puzzled at her insistence. 

The cry of a falcon sounds, and looking up, Heppa sees the bird wheel through the sky and then fly away from the manor. Hepalonia takes this wild behavior as a good omen for letting go of the roof. Rather than just withdraw all the energy she has fed into it, though, she decides to try for a controlled collapse. This is not something one gets to see every day, and who knows when she will have another such opportunity for experimentation. She has already bolstered the stone that makes up the roof and its supports. Now she attempts to fracture it all simultaneously, hoping that will cause everything to fall straight down.

The plan, which seemed so brilliant when she thought of it, does not execute smoothly. Either she did not swap out the augmentation with the fracturing swiftly enough or else the fracturing itself got out of hand. The house collapses in an uncontrolled mess, and Heppa dashes back out of the way as chunks from the front wall buckle forward. This is so interesting, she reflects, considering the opportunity to be a good learning experience. These real-world distractions, like darkness and rain, they really do make casting harder. She told Fenowin that she would be doing field research this season, and that is exactly what this is. And not only has she learned valuable things, but she did it in a way that did not hurt anybody, even saving people in the process. If she had not held up that roof, the mess she sees before her now would have happened when everyone except her and Tric was still in or on the house.

After she watches the building fall, Hepalonia rejoins the others and asks again about providing medical treatment, but Henrick is focused on completing his mission. He pulls a small knife out of Efa, one that does not match the gear of any of his guards. He holds it out towards the two elves. “Which one of you two does this belong to?”

Heppa looks at the knife in confusion, but Tric speaks up quickly. “This fellow here was kind enough to lend me his knife—straight through a lung,” he says, pointing at the bloody mess of his own shoulder while nudging Sleidr’s body with his boot. “Thought it would be good to turn something evil to something good.” Tric holds his hand out for it though. “Mind if I…?”

“A keepsake?” Henrick asks.

“Yes,” Tric says with a grateful smile as he accepts it. He hefts the knife, testing its weight, an unconscious gesture that usually proceeds juggling. He catches himself just before he launches it up in the air though. Getting cut by this blade would likely floor him. There is no way Heppa has an antidote to Alric’s poison on hand. Instead, Tric carefully slides the knife into his pouch, hoping that is the last of the ones Alric threw.

“I didn’t think this one should be left where I found him,” Tric says, indicating Sleidr again. “Corpse at the bottom of a well… a lot of bad stories start that way.”

Henrick nods. “Well, I think we have this all taken care of. I suppose you two are free to go.” He thanks them for their assistance and asks for their place of lodging so that if there are any rewards for Efa or Sleidr he can have an underling deliver them. Tric tells him to have it sent to the Parting Glass. Even if the elves have left town by the time that is sorted out, he imagines the Bank of Alric can hold it for them.