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The Myth of Kyrrell Swamp – Chapter II Part 3 September 12, 2009

Posted by Yarnspnr in The Myth of Kyrrell Swamp - Chapter II.
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If men recognize no law superior to their desires,
Then they must fight when their desires collide.

– R. H. Tawney

Chapter II.3:  OutSider

© D. Erick Emert


The massive door to the council chamber swung open interrupting his thoughts. Briggs stood to attention as Marshall Jobe entered the room.

“Sit down, sit down, Briggs.”

Jobe motioned Briggs to be seated as he squeezed his own bulk into a plush chair across the table from his officer. Briggs sat down wondering what brought the politician back, a thought Jobe read in Briggs’ eyes.

“I returned to find out your real concerns, Briggs. The kind you wouldn’t mention in a room full of royal Proctors. We need to trust each other, you and I, for this thing to work.

“Briggs remained quiet for a moment, taking stock of the man seated across from him. Jobe had a reputation for being the most cunning politician in all Erde. That he held the position of Proctor of the Rejoinder of Uppsala could be no accident. He understood a man’s thoughts as if he heard them spoken aloud. Did he, in fact, expect Briggs to trust him?

“I will fulfill this mission, Marshall Jobe.”

“Yes, yes, I’m sure you will. What’s more, I’m sure you have no idea why you are being assigned to this task, do you?”

Briggs answered the question with a blank stare.

“How long have you been in Erde, Briggs? A hundred years, a hundred-fifty?”

“A little over a hundred sir.”

“Yes, as I thought. And still not used to the idea of living this long, are you?”
Briggs shook his head to the left.
“The orders for this campaign came from him, Captain.” Jobe pointed to the jeweled Empty Chair under the State Seal. Briggs’ eyes widened.

“That’s impossible. No one’s seen the man in over six hundred years!”

“Watch your tongue, Briggs.” Jobe spoke without losing his smile. “I’m allowing you into a confidence here and you’d best appreciate that. You came from a place called America, did you not?”

“Yes, sir. I called Massachusetts my home.”

“You had a book called the Bible there, didn’t you? If I remember right it tells of the Nephilim who walked the earth in the days of Noah. Did you know that Nephilim is an ancient word for the peoples who populated the Weald?”

“No Sir.”

”It’s obvious that  a time arose when our lands shared a more accessible link than they do now. But I digress. You may remember that the ancient peoples of the Bible lived remarkably long lives, some up to 900 years. Why, then, do you find long life so unnatural?”

Briggs’ mind left the conversation. For an instant he stood aboard the Mary Celeste with his wife, Sarah, and daughter, Sophia. Just as quick he sensed himself staring into the eyes of Marshall Jobe again.

“Sorry sir. It will not impact on my ability to carry out my orders.”

Jobe’s eyes pierced into his soul. “There is something else, isn’t there? Speak, man! Tell me now!”

The long thin fingers started beating their rhythm on the table again. He acknowledged this unexpected line of questioning. He must tell this man the truth.

“My wife and daughter, sir. I believe they may be among the tall peoples of the Weald. It is still my desire to locate them if they are alive.”

“Interesting, Briggs.  How old was your daughter when you came to Erde?”

“Two, Sir, and my wife was thirty-one.”

“And how old would they be now?”

Briggs’ face screwed up like a knot.  His features eased as he began to answer Jobe.  “The wife would be a hundred forty-two and the daughter, one-twenty.  I would not recognize either of them if I saw them, I suppose.”  It still hurt to think of speaking their names out loud.

“This assignment will give you an opportunity to find them will it not? I knew you would be the correct officer for this project. Remember he wants these native villages annihilated. They are the last known threat to Uppsala left in Erde. These people must be killed or removed.”

“Threat, sir?”

“Yes, threat. I’ll not speak of it here, Briggs. Meet me in my private chambers and I’ll explain it to you in depth. I could use some chilled wine.”

Marshall Jobe pushed away from the table and rose from his chair but his eyes remained on Briggs.

“Captain Briggs, there is no man in the service of Uppsala that I trust more with this mission. You know that in battle men will be killed and yet you have no qualms concerning leading your men into the fray. You have a combat prowess unequaled by any other commander in this army. You may have been a seamen in the other place, but war suites you, Briggs. The men you command testify to your bravery, aggressiveness, calm demeanor and instinctiveness in the fluid conditions of a fight. They both fear you and admire you. They know when you set out to destroy an enemy, you lay hand on him as soon as possible, and never remove it. You accept a battle’s terribleness because, for you, it is a clarion call. Now you must merge a soldier’s duty with your personal quest and answer this summons with the ambition, fearlessness, placidity, and nerve with which you face life.”

Briggs could not meet Jobe’s eyes. Expressionless, he rose and followed the Marshall to his chambers. He could hear himself saying, “We will spill blood for Uppsala our victory will be just.”



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