Echoes of Invasion: Westward Bound | Scene 2

“Well, this gets me out of border patrol, at least,” Tric says brightly, once he and Heppa are strolling through the village again. “That’s just so… Well, you don’t go anywhere.” His whine then turns dramatic. “But now I can tell Baeowin I’ve been given a mission by High Lord Volas!”

“I hope this doesn’t get back to Mother,” Heppa mutters. She is torn about this situation. On the one hand, it moves her a step closer to an undesirable seat on the council. On the other, it specifically requires her to leave the village. Mother would probably jump for joy if she heard this. I’m not sure I want her to be proud of me. It is one thing for Daddy to be proud of her; he and Heppa share a similar worldview. If Mother is, though, that means Heppa has caught her attention, which could increase how much she pushes Heppa into things that will suit her for the council. Heppa feels there is a bit of safety in being a disappointment; her mother might just give up on her then.

“Just tell her that he gave you a secret mission you can’t tell her about,” Tric says. “That’s if it wasn’t her idea to begin with. Anyway, I’m going to check in with Dad, and then we probably should talk to your dad. Hopefully he’ll have something productive for us to do.”

“Daddy’s also concerned about undead and studying them. Do you think there’s a broader project going on or just that different people are noticing things?” Heppa asks.

“I think Volas is just now aware that this is an active threat. But your dad, that’s been his interest for a while, right?”

“Maybe I should just ask Daddy about it. I assumed he was working on his own, but maybe he’s part of a group of people who are concerned, rather than just researching for his own interest.”

“For someone of his standing, working on his own and working for the community, those are hard to disentangle, aren’t they?” Tric points out. “But I think it’s just a hobby for him. He clearly shows a lot of actual, personal interest in it. I don’t know if you saw how his eyes would light up when he was talking with Kachen about things.”

“But Kachen knows so many things!” Heppa says excitedly.

“Yes,” Tric observes, “just the way your eyes light up. Exactly the same way, in fact.”

“And he will just tell you!” Heppa continues enthusiastically. 

“Actually… not a hundred percent,” Tric disagrees. He definitely got the feeling that Kachen was talking around a few topics. “He says certain things,” Tric allows, “but there are definitely other things he doesn’t want to talk about.”

“Hunh. I hadn’t really noticed. Like what?” Kachen shared so much over the last few days that Heppa did not realize when the answers he provided did not align with the questions he was asked.

Tric looks around to make sure no one is nearby. “Like the Book of Rhys. We know that he went and read it a whole bunch. But I asked him about it, and he claimed to have not really heard of it. Which I get, if it contains the kind of stuff it supposedly contains.” Maybe Uncle Thran would be interested in that too, Tric thinks, resolving to bring it up later.

“And he was breaking into a place to look at it,” Heppa adds. Kachen might have not wanted to advertise his criminal activity. With that thought, Heppa remembers her own crime-adjacent experience. The ruby ring she currently possesses was stolen from Lady Sabine. Perhaps Daddy will have an idea on how to properly return that.

“Yes, there’s that, too. I’m just saying, he guards information. Up to a certain degree, I can respect that. He’s clearly gotten burned before.” As an afterthought, Tric adds, “Also, his journal is written in an unreadable scrawl.”

“That’s true. I suppose that is hidden information. Hunh.” This is something Heppa needs to think further on.