The blond poet lay reading in the small apartment in the Rosy Lion Inn. It was a curious day. He was asked by his employer to investigate a matter that was not really in his field of expertise. The job involved an alleged haunting of a certain piece of property. On the morrow he would meet with the landowner's representative and begin investigating.

Boston Grey, his employer and head of the Miracle Players, insisted he take some time to feed his spiritual side. Losses and poor choices had taken a toll on the bard before Boston's sudden intervention. That unsolicited imposition possibly saved the singer from becoming a self induced fatality. Thankfully the booze was now gone.

Loric's memory had been compromised by a head injury a few weeks back; but now was returning quite steadily. Some events were eye opening as well as shocking. He found that when he slept, his past would be returned in dreams; too many dreams lately. It was becoming uncomfortable to process it all. The bard was now actively trying to sleep less and get through what he had learned while awake.

Loric's eyes began to close as fatigue insisted on claiming him. The bard fought the urge instinctively as he was having difficulty separating what was real and what was created by his compromised unconscious mind. But, as always, it was a fight he would eventually lose; and soon another revelation began. This one involved his biggest loss yet...



The clomping sound of heavy boot-steps echoed from somewhere up on the fog-shrouded cobblestone lane. A wiry, blond-headed man waited dispassionately with arms folded for the source of the noise to appear. The moon had a way of playing tricks on a man's eyes when it reflected off the ground mist that covered the skinny, alley-like streets of Stros M’Kai. And sure enough, when the boot-wearer became visible, he burst wraithlike from the fog, looking ghostly and surreal. His huge overcoat was black and bulky; his ebony beard untrimmed. A red, tricornered hat couldn't cover all of the greasy hair that stuck out haphazardly around its sides. He stopped a few yards from the well-dressed man who calmly blocked his path.

"Well...If it ain't the pole monkey beggar!" grinned the larger man in a non-flattering way. "Who let you out of yer cage tonight!"

The blond haired figure narrowed his eyes coldly causing the big man's grin to slowly disappear.

"So Loric...I sees ye gots a murderous look about ye." The man slowly opened his overcoat as he spoke, revealing a nasty looking scimitar at his waist. "Ahh would love te tells ye it would pain me te kill ye....but I'd just beh lyin...I DO really enjoy that sort o' mischief." The man's grin returned but it was a bit more sinister. "This ain' aboot the bleedin' wench is it!?"

"Her name was Molly...But, too be sure, you haven't a brain big enough to be remembering even your OWN name, now do you?" Loric's voice had a bit of a musical tone when he spoke. He added an inflection to certain words, making them flow pleasantly off his tongue. This night however, there could be no mistaking the underlying malice in his words.

"I asked you Creedy to stay away from her. I did warn you; but as usual you don't listen to much besides your own basic needs."

The tall man looked a bit surprised that Loric was talking to him this way. After all…Loric was just a homeless beggar the Captain took in a few years back.

"Ohh...She was a tight one too! smirked Creedy callously, "I kin see why ye liked her soo ...real soft she was. An' she liked ye too! Aye she did! She didn't want te take ole' Creedy an' put up a real fight! But in the end...well...ye know 'ow it is. She lost!" Creedy taunted the other man like he enjoyed it.

Loric winced. "Did you have to kill her?" he asked slowly, "Wasn't humiliating her enough? You couldn't just 'ave had your pleasure and let her go?"

"Ahh...Noo," answered Creedy happily, " Ohh and she screamed yer name when I was cuttin her teh! Thought ye migh' wants te knoe thet! She really luved ye matey!" Creedy inhaled like he was remembering a fragrance. "Ohh an' she had thet perfume on. You knoe thet flowery stuff ye bought 'er on our last port o' call. She smelt reeaally good Loric."

The slim man’s eyes hardened as his hand went to the hilt of his rapier. Drawing it out, he pointed it at Creedy and swished it around a bit.

"I suggest you defend yourself, you poor excuse for a human being!"

Creedy's mouth formed a wide grin, revealing some well-rotted teeth. He pulled out his scimitar and started to walk forward. His pace increased steadily until he was in a full charge, complete with a bloodcurdling war cry.

Loric coolly awaited the onslaught; calmly positioning himself sideways in a fencing stance.

The scimitar came down hard but was deftly dodged. It crashed on the cobblestone, sparking a bit of light in the ground fog. Loric countered with a clean cut into the sleeve of the overcoat, slicing it and the flesh on Creedy's sword arm.

The big man yelped in anger and, recovering quickly, straightened up and switched hands. This time he did a quick left-handed lunge at Loric.

The rapier parried the blow and, in a circular motion, snaked up past the hilt-guard and injected itself into Creedy's exposed wrist. Drops of blood spurted onto Loric's impeccably tailored clothing as the weapon punctured a vein. The large man's scimitar rattled to the ground as he knelt down and tried to hold the wound closed with his other hand. Creedy looked up at Loric with an expression mixed with venomous hatred and surprise.

"Ye shark-bait now ye scurvy cabin boy!" barked the kneeling man. "I got lots o' friends here! Ye name be mud now in Stros M’Kai! Ye attacked ye superior!; over a woman!!!??" Creedy was yelling arrogantly now. "Ye all done boy! Ye hear me!! ALL DONE!"

Loric looked down at Creedy in a relaxed manner while he traced the point of his rapier softly up the chest of the kneeling first mate. This action succeeded to suddenly change the man's attitude from one of anger, to one of concern.

"Loric! Now don't ye beh doin' anythin stupid!" begged Creedy, "We kin work this out! Surely we can! Ye gots talent lad. I didn't knows it before! I'll put a good word in with the Captain! This be just between you an’ I, woon mention it again. Whaddaye says? We gots a deal?"

Creedy looked up into the eyes of Loric Syntal and realized too late that there would be no bargaining. It was too late because Loric had already lightly caressed the exposed neck of Creedy McShane with the sharp point of his rapier. It didn’t seem like much; a quick scratch is all. But it was quite deep enough to sever the artery that fed life to the underused brain of the pirate first mate. Creedy's hand went to his neck as the copious spurts of red became apparent. His eyes widened and he assumed a fetal position; barely visible in the mist.

Loric quietly sheathed his rapier and rummaged through his cloak. He uncorked a small bottle and poured its contents onto the dying man. He then hurled the empty bottle away and knelt down to whisper into Creedys ear.

"Don’t worry Creedy, when they find ye tomorrow, " Loric inhaled the pleasant lilac fragrance of the perfume, "You’re gonna smell nice!...Really nice..."