Vera ran her hands through her hair, for what seemed like the hundredth time, futilely trying to get it free of at least the absolute worst of the horrible swamp ‘water’ she had been forced to submerge herself in. The evidence of that whole swim was visible on the outside of each of her thighs; both legs of her waterproofed leather trousers had almost matching rings of tiny indentations or cuts where the monstrously huge leeches had tried to attach to her legs.
“The bugs would have been worse,” Vera whispered to herself. Slime would wash off her skin, and Kiana had some of the best ointments and salves – which had healing properties Vera actually believed in, to boot. Vera looked ahead at Felix and grimaced. He insisted he was fine after his time in the swarm, and that the deadly insects hadn’t hurt him. But where his skin was visible, it looked like a solid mass of monstrous bug bites. Vera had no idea how he wasn’t twitching like an epileptic in the mud at her feet; that must itch beyond the ability for words to describe it. The normal bugs were bad enough, but those things had been horrifying. The sound alone was beyond description.
Vera picked her way down the slope of the crag the party had been descending, carefully choosing each step. Her earlier synergy with the horribleness of the marsh was close to being replaced by raw fatigue; she felt like she should be in better shape, and blamed the intensity of the recent climb for it.
Vera was trying not to dwell on Leela’s death; ultimately, she hadn’t really meant much to Vera. She barely knew the girl… but Vera was worried that no one else would mourn for her. The Guild should care; another pointless death, another member, another sister dead. Or at the very least, an asset lost. But would they even notice? Or would they just move on, to another expendable piece of flesh? That needs to change – I need to change it. Plans, woman. Make plans. Plans… the only plan she was having much luck with at the moment however, was imagining the reckoning coming when she found out who was responsible for Lela’s death. She tried to tell herself she wasn’t going to enjoy delivering that helping of vengeance.
Think of better things, Vera thought to herself.
Her association with Guy was going quite well; he had practically fallen over himself to protect her when she had encountered those leeches in the water, and had been a perfect gentleman besides. Vera rather hoped that his wife was indeed ‘missing’ and not dead, regardless of what she thought of the odds.
Felix, ahead of her, was still somewhat of a concern to her. While he had made several overtures of what she could only assume were kindness or compassion, Vera still couldn’t decide if he was mad or not. Felix himself couldn’t seem to decide who he was; which Vera didn’t consider a metaphor. The man swapped faces like she swapped dresses. Which may, she considered, be a factor in his apparent instability. There was also the matter of whether or not he had unleashed an angry ghost that might even now be hunting down and murdering people with tenuous connections to her; it seemed more likely that Fustan and his mask were more related to the burned out eyes, but one could never tell when it came to magic or the supernatural.
Their guide, she rather appreciated at the moment. Vera had taken no time to prepare, and their guides supplies and expertise was looking to be a literal lifesaver. And, she thought, quite profitable on the personal level as well. The pelt of the beast she had killed was completely unmarred by blade or bow, beyond his expert skinning of the cat. While it would fetch a fair price, she rather liked the idea of a fur cloak; she wondered if the barbarian would think it appropriate for her to adorn herself with something she had killed herself. Probably? In any case, the dark fur would be both beautiful, and likely hard to spot in the shadows of Lankhmar.
Vera looked ahead at the apparently endless marsh ahead. As she carefully placed each heeled boot on the most solid looking piece of ground she could during their march, Vera couldn’t bring herself to feel bad about it; nor particularly good. Just generally tired. Somewhere ahead was an answer, however; one way or another, they’d find out what happened to Liam or they would not, and that line of pursuit would be closed, done with, and she could move on. Move on to justice, to political power, and to change.