“Why? Why did you do that?”
The focus of the question, sat on a stone bench on the south side of town. A middle aged woman, her hair was faded, her armor worn, her eyes turned down. A simple bastard sword in a sheath leaned against the bench, its worn hilt a testament to faithfulness. From an armored wrist draped over the back of the bench hung the holy relics of her faith, three silver orbs ringed in red and centered on a diagonal slash of crimson. The paint was chipped, the wood smoothed by a thousand hasty prayers.
T’kk’tck stood before her hands clasped at his waist; waiting for an answer he doubted would truly come. D’ng hung back a couple of dozen yards behind him, leaning on a cottonwood tree and staring out into the park.
When the woman’s voice finally cracked the silence, it rolled out like a whispered shout, a raspy reverb like she’d been crying and screaming for hours.
“I knew a man once, who showed me life. A man like you I suppose. Someone seeking answers, answering the deep questions of life with his own sacrifice.”
She paused and grasped the bench tightly, her eyes still focused on something near his feet.
“Who will stand for them? Who will defend them? Who will pay for them? Who will comfort? Who will demand justice? Who will deliver answers unto all the dirty little questions?”
Her head came up slowly as she spoke, a frown creasing her mouth, her eyes a brilliant brown, so dark, so fierce. She was more than just a pilgrim that was certain.
“He found me, dirty, bloody, three dead fools around me. I was hungry see? And they were fools. At the time I thought he was too.”
A dark look covered her eyes and she stared at the ground again. Her hand clenched the holy symbol until her knuckles turn white.
“I had no sense. Just a passionate hate. The world had screwed me over and I was going to make it bleed. Vicious beyond all reasoning. The dead haunts in my eyes killing me for all that I had killed them in life.”
T’kk’tck felt D’ng turn her angelic gaze on them as his distress registered on their bond. He shook his head mentally at her and she went back to her watch of the park’s foliage.
“He asked me why. He asked me what I was afraid of.”
She threw her head back and stared at the sky. A deep weary sigh shook her. She idly kicked at the dirt and seemed to be gathering her composure.
“What I was afraid of. I was afraid of everything. That’s why I tried to kill everything. And this man, he knew everything I’d ever done.”
Those bright eyes came back down to pierce T’kk’tck and pin him.
“Even bleeding there, he knew me. He saw my pain and answered it. A fearful deafening and final answer.”
T’kk’tck shifted back and forth.
“He reached out and grabbed my hand and blessed me. ‘Promise me.’ He said. To me. With his blood on my hands and still dripping. ‘Promise me’ this man demanded. ‘Find life, and give answer. Reject these empty things. You must be the answer.’ Then he coughed a bunch and died.”
“I was going to blow him off. Add him to the dead behind my eyes. I searched his pockets and started to walk way.”
Her eyes got all distant and stared at nothing and everything.
“The Answer called me. A voice beyond anything I’d ever heard. It stripped away everything, banished my dead and burnt away the pain. And everything changed. And the questions led me here.”
T’kk’tck narrowed his eyes and stared at the woman.
“That might be an answer to my question but it doesn’t answer why I asked and it doesn’t give me an answer to what we’re supposed to do with you. Or with the bodies.”
He gestured at the two corpses bleeding all over the city sidewalk.
She glanced their way dismissively.
“They broke their oaths to their fellow man. They shattered the covenant that lays between one stranger and another. And I was called upon to give answer. And I did.”
She glanced at him and then past him at D’ng. A sad look crossed her face and she turned back to him.
“If you feel obliged to raise the question I will answer you. But I really do not believe you are capable of giving answer in return if I question your abilities. I’m willing to but only with reluctance. Not all answers are fulfilling or desired.”
Ask she spoke the sword lost its balance and fell against her legs, hilt falling a hairs breath from her hand. T’kk’tck breathed carefully, meeting her gaze and evaluating the task in front of him. D’ng caught his thoughts and clicked quietly over to where he stood.
“I think she is right. We have grown but we are not balance to her zeal, not at this stage of our lives and I’m not sure she wasn’t wrong. From what I’ve seen of the bystanders they do not regret these deaths much and I suspect that we could verify the duplicity of the victims with a few simple questions.”
The woman had not moved, still and waiting. T’kk’tck let out a frustrated grunt.
“Well, then, who is going to explain this to the city guard?”
As he blinked she disappeared.
The giggling echo of a voice was all that occupied the bench where she’d been sitting a second before.
“That my short little friend, is a question that you must answer.”