Nightswarm’s recently acquired mask lay on the table. In the flickering candlelight, the swarm of large wasps carved on its face gave the appearance of movement. Beside the mask lay a single sheet of paper, the freshly written ink slowly drying.
Three foolish ladybugs descended to a spider’s lair
It’s no surprise
That their demise
Was waiting for them there.
But perils come in many stripes, on that you may depend
And this warm night
They had a fright
Before they met their end.
I don’t like it.
Well, I admit I’m no Poison Pen, but it’s not that bad. After all, I only intend it to get out among the children of the city. It’s nothing but a bit of fun.
Narcissistic is what it is, but at least far more subtle than scrawling “Nightswarm was here” in blood on a wall somewhere. No, I actually don’t mind your rhyme, I’m thinking more of recent events in general.
Ah, you’re still upset at the attack on the Asmodeans.
It was foolish. We knew nothing about them, we could easily have been outclassed! And perhaps had we followed them we’d have learned something of more use.
Unfortunately your companions didn’t see it that way, else they’d not have called for me over you.
Perhaps next time I won’t allow you to respond.
Hah, as if you could stop me! Vengeance against those devil-worshippers is the truest cause to my heart. You can’t possibly think you could keep me from that.
Unfortunately that is probably true. But the Asmodeans bother me far less than Smiling Sen. That was poorly played.
That wasn’t my call.
You made no effort to stop it.
I didn’t care. He was a high risk. He was dealt with. Don’t get sentimental.
I will admit to some sentimentality. He was a simple man, and I do not believe he meant us any harm. But I really don’t see what we had to lose by letting him live; he’d already passed on what information he had, and perhaps we could have used him to find out something about whoever was controlling this rat, or who “B” is. If anyone had suspicions about our activity we’ve likely just confirmed them by removing him.
We can’t afford to take risks. It seems we’ve been far too sloppy already. As well as Sen there’s whoever caused the collapse below, plus the Rose of Kintargo. And while the Rose is likely to be an ally, I still find it disconcerting how easily it found us. No, it seems you’re on your own with this one. Even the Butcher, our usual moral compass, was keen to put an end to the cook.
I do admit some disappointment; I’d have thought Rufus at least would have been more forgiving.
And the others were even more keen. To be fair Happy Viper wasn’t there, but there was no word of argument from Candy. And Naga and Firefly seemed enthusiastic to a degree that even I find almost disturbing, though perhaps for different reasons to you.
So you’ve named them all now? Ah, I see what you’ve done. Funny. At least those names are somehow less ridiculous than the one you gave yourself. Anyway, the fact remains that I think you’re all pushing too hard, too quickly. We need to be more cautious.
Decisiveness is what we need. But I understand your leanings are toward a different aspect of our goddess than my own. If you wish to try to sway the others to more caution I’ll not try to stop you. But I doubt you’ll have much success.