Torrent sword in hand, Gottschalk closed his eyes and concentrated.
To his surprise, nothing happened.
Gorm turned with a look of confusion too upon his barbarian face. Like the others, he had expected something terrible to happen to the man once he took the weapon from the dais. It was on a dais and had swirling lights around it after all!
Sir Jave, Tamara, and even the dog turned next. Gottschalk grimaced though: all their faces had either vomit, blood, or wizard on it. Disgusting!
“You don’t look so good yourself, Gottschalk.”
Gottschalk stared at Gorm, his mouth gaping open. He could understand the barbarian almost perfectly and even sense the spirit within him!
“It’s a fine looking blade, may I see it?”
Sir Jave sounded as if he had nearly no accent too. Gottschalk looked at Tamara next, but she only smiled. Being a woman, she was instinctively distrustful of the power the sword gave him.
“This weapon should work!” Gottschalk exclaimed finally. “We can use it to free them!”
“Good,” said Gorm. “Phantom in head would like to leave too.”
Gottschalk nodded. He knew this weapon was powerful, but his use of it would likely not come without cost.
* * *
The companions emerged from the mausoleum, passing the carvings of the Ancients along the way. Dawn was breaking over the Nuttens to the east. It was a strange light though: golden, yet unwarming. The sound of someone making speeches could be heard from the Monjaksen Town Hall in the distance.
They each looked at each other, realizing they hadn’t rested or even eaten in over a day. Still, Gorm, being a barbarian and also holding the presence of the Great Spence inside him, had plenty of energy. Gottschalk did too, for he held the enchanted sword and Tamara seemed strangely awake thanks to the company of the Face-eating Dog. Only Sir Jave was tired, since he had no possessing spirit, magic blade, nor wizard’s former familiar as a companion.
“I shall be returning to the mausoleum to rest.”
“Are you certain? It might be dangerous!” Gottschalk looked at Sir Jave with concern.
“Perhaps, but these lands above are likely even moreso.”
“Well then, catch up with us later.” Gottschalk patted him on the shoulder.
“One other thing,” said Sir Jave. “Remember: gentility is defended by fierceness. If you’re meek and not fierce, you’ll be replaced. If you’re fierce and not meek... then you’re a barbarian.”
Gorm looked at him suspiciously.
“... present company excluded, of course,” added Sir Jave nervously.
Gorm then gave a hearty laugh, strode up, and put Sir Jave in a great bear hug. Sir Jave laughed at first too until he started to lose his breath from the barbarian’s crushing comradery. Both Gottschalk and Tamara had to pull him off while the Face-eating Dog barked ferociously.
* * *
The remaining four soon approached the Town Hall again. Being Monjaksen, the place still seemed dark and fell, despite the morn, but there were many about.
A large crowd of both cowed citizens and celebrating cultists surrounded a few upon an outdoor stage. Two in particular shivered, though Gottschalk doubted that it was from the freezing air. Both Ramzeus and Laurissa Austral remained gagged and bound, demon-itized from the Ghul-Ghul spell the evening before (in Part XXIX). Otherwise, Demoncrats and Zombie Public Lords were also there with one man at the podium.
Gorm pointed very obviously at the evil ones on stage, as well as the many arrogant cultists around them, surrounded by the stench of their fell herbs. Still, Gottschalk felt it best to wait and see for now. He kept the Torrent Sword close by, hidden underneath the folds of his winter cloak. He nodded to Tamara and she and the Face-eating Dog moved around the other side of the crowd.
It was then that Gottschalk’s full attention focused on the man at the podium. His name was MacCalloff and he had apparently won an Election and was the new Governor.
“Citizens of Monjaksen, our Certified Vote Counters have made their Determination... and we are here to celebrate the Victory of Demoncracy! You, the People, have Spoken!”
At that point, one man made to call out a challenge, but was quickly beaten with urine-soaked clubs by a group of cultists nearby.
“And You have indeed Spoken. Spoken Out to grant us New Tithes and Taxes for Enlightened Projects.”
A wealthy Patron smiled at MacCalloff knowingly.
“Spoken Out to Invite as Many New, Permanent Visitors into Our Lands as We Possibly Can!”
A large crowd of goblins beat their drums and laughed, throwing their voting tickets at each other.
“Spoken Out against Hate and Oppression, so that All Who Do It Will Never Do So Again!”
The cultists cheered and hauled the man they had beaten away. The citizens who hadn’t been clapping before certainly did so now.
“Those who Hate: Call it Off, or else! It Can’t End Well for you!”
Gottschalk grasped the Torrent Sword tighter, though he doubted he needed it in order to sense the evil within the man...
...or the tyranny of his words.
Next week: The Hacks of Gorm, Part XXXVIII!