Previous: Volume I
“… so on that day, I became orphaned.”
As he walked up the stairs, Iusepus could hear Iogairn telling someone one of his many life stories.
“Oh, you poor thing,” replied a young woman.
Iusepus rolled his eyes. Typical, he gets beaten so hard his toes were broken and he still manages to get lucky. He opened the door to the room Vultus said Iogairn was in. Iogairn was lying on a bed with an Imperial girl with an adoring expression on her face sitting in the chair next to him. Iusepus coughed loudly. They both turned and looked up at him.
“Ah Iusepus, I’ve just been telling… her about how my parents died.” Iusepus nodded sadly, going along with the farce.
“Yes, it was a terrible. You would never have thought the boat could sink so easily”. Too late he saw the alarm in Iogairn’s eyes.
“Boat? But you said they were killed by a pack of wolves.” The girl turned to Iogairn, confused.
“Well, yes.” Iogairn looked guilty. What, is he actually going to admit to it?
“But I had to lie to Iusepus, as it is too painful to remember that horrible night. I had to tell him something else so I would not have to remember. Can you forgive me, my old friend?” Iogairn stared, pleadingly at him, then winked. This was ridiculous
Iusepus sighed. “How could I ever hold a grudge against you? Now excuse us please while we talk.” The girl left and Iusepus shut the door behind her. They waited for a few seconds as they heard the girl walk down the stairs before Iogairn burst into laughter.
“How could I ever hold a grudge against you? Really? You watch too many plays.” Iogairn laughed.
Iusepus couldn’t help smiling too. “Forgive me my dear friend is hardly any better though is it?”
Iogairn shrugged it off. “I’ve just taken a beating. Anyway, you nearly blew my story.”
Iusepus grinned at him and walked over to the desk, where all kinds of different potions were gathered together. “If you didn’t keep changing it all the time it wouldn’t matter. I never understood your compulsion to lie all the time. You don't even want anything from them. Why don't you just tell them your actual story.” Iusepus picked up a bottle.
The laughter was silenced. As Iusepus looked around he saw genuine pain in Iogairn's eyes. “You know I can’t do that.” His voice had dropped from its normal joviality to an actual regret. "I don't even tell those at the acting troupe, who I've known for years. I'm certainly not going to let my emotions out to a lass I can't even remember the name of." Iusepus was the only who knew about his past, being there at the time. The others in the acting troupe were his friends but they hadn’t been there at the beginning, and Iogairn didn't think he could let his other side show.
He looked back up and saw Iusepus staring at a bottle, confused. With some heart coming back into his voice said, “I actually had to drink that.”
Iusepus was looking at the liquid with intrigue and, with some kind of perverse compulsion, opened the bottle sniffed it. The bottle landed on the floor a second later and Iusepus was bent double, gasping for clean air.
After hearing Iogairn laugh hysterically for longer than necessary, he managed to pull himself up. Iogairn choked back laughter as he stood up, indignant.
Iusepus pointed to the smashed bottle. “That was broken before wasn’t it?” he said in mock seriousness.
“Oh aye. Been there for many days,” Iogairn replied in equally mock seriousness.
“But we better leave now anyway. Misunderstandings can be awkward.”
“Definitely, for us and them. Should we do the right thing and save them the embarrassment by leaving now without being seen. I saw a cart of straw outside my window.”
Iusepus smiled. “Out the window?”
“Out the window,” Iogairn agreed.
They were walking down the street to the main gate, laughing and dusting straw off themselves when Iusepus sobered. “So, back to business. We found that Imperial who beat you up.”
“Hey, he didn’t beat me up. The two juggernauts did that.”
Iusepus rolled his eyes. “Yes anyway, he’s rich and only guarded by these two juggernauts. Next target planned then.” Iogairn thought his smile would reach his ears.
Next: Volume III