Scales of War
In which the Fist of Sehanine comes face to face with the wife of a man he unjustly slew years ago, in his previous life as a highwayman.
Scene: A tailor’s shop in Brindol
You step across the threshold and into a chaos of fabrics of all shapes, sizes, and colours. Clothing is thrown over every chair and table. From the back a clear voice floats out to you, “Half a moment, friend, while I finish up this dress.”
A few minutes later, a big woman makes her way through the disorder, a half-finished tunic thrown over one shoulder. Her quick step forms an odd contrast with her white hair and lined face.
“Now then,” she says with a heaving sigh as she turns to you, “what will you be wanting? New set of trousers to impress your lady-fair? Or,” she quickly adds as she notices your travel-stained appearance, “perhaps a nice thick cloak to keep out the rain and cold? But let me warn you: if it’s a cloak you’re after, I’ll need a few days to make the alterations. All Heroes’ Day may be a time of celebration for the rest of the town, but in a tailor’s shop, it means more work than a body can get to in a day, or even three.”
You state your purpose. Never have you felt more halting in speech, more agonized in soul, as you inform this kindly old woman that you were her husband’s murderer.
The smile fades from Zerriksa’s face, and slowly, she puts down the tunic. In the sudden silence, you hear two drovers staggering by the tailor shop, drunkenly shouting at the moon.
“Ghosts never sleep,” she whispers, using an expression you recognize as common to Brindol and other settlements further west in the Vale. She says nothing for a few seconds, but stares at you so intensely that you are soon quite uncomfortable.
“My husband was a follower of Sehanine,” she says finally. “Yes, that’s right. He was a very religious man, was David. Oh, he went to the Erathis services like a good citizen, and he gave to the church when we had coin enough to do so, but in his heart, he believed in the power of the moon. He relished it whenever a caravan left Brindol at night; he believed it gave him luck to keep to the shadows. He used to bring me back little trinkets from other towns and joke that it was his way of seeking new experiences. Even when he went to Talar on a grain run, he’d bring something back, like he really had been somewhere exciting and exotic and new.” She wipes her eyes.
“So you, too, follow the light of the moon,” she says, with some difficulty. “Well, the temple may have sent you here for forgiveness, but I can’t give it. I am sorry. I do not wish you ill. But no one has the right to ask this. David is dead and gone, and you can’t bring him back. There’s an old Brindol saying. Maybe you have already heard it. ‘Fair words and the price of a sack will get you the sack.’ If you want penance, let your deeds speak, not your words. Let them ring out.”
As she finishes talking, you both become aware of shouts, crashes, and running feet outside.