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One Last Song for the Road

  “Do not compare me to that one.”  Murgam looked offended as she turned away and walked past Beryl, towards the rooms with the decapitated felines. Beryl’s ears wilted even more as he realized she wanted him to follow her.

  “I am sorry for the comparison.  Must we go back up there, Ma’am?”  There was no question that he would if she demanded it.  He owed her his life and was in her debt.

  She didn’t reply and he followed after her slowly on his four legs.  It felt good to move in the way that came naturally to him, rather than having to carry Arnold everywhere.  When he reached the top Beryl noticed that she was standing before a mirror he had not noticed before.  Directly across from it were the heads that had taken his full attention when he had passed before.

  “Weapons can’t help how they are used anymore than tools or buildings, and horrible things have always been done in the name of Progress.” Murgam said as she studied herself in the mirror and put her hand over her chest. “It was not my choice to be given that creatures heart, nor that I am used to imprison others.” 

  Beryl looked into the mirror for a moment and was shocked to find that Murgams reflection was not that of a short dwarven woman, but a sad and unhealthy looking bird with red plumage. 

  “The heart that beats within me is not one that desired to be a monster in life, but that is what both of us would be used for if all who would prevent it abandoned us.” Beryl got the impression that Murgam was referring to herself and the heart, though he wasn’t sure. “You know what I am going to ask of you?”

  “I do,” Beryl replied softly. “And I will do it.  You must know that?”

  “Progress was going to spread its cables into me as well, and use me as it saw fit.” Murgam said and then took Beryl by his shoulders. “You owe no debt to me, Beryl Strifeclaw.  Without you I would have never lived, and you have already saved my life more than once before now.”  

  The words were true and they made him feel free again.  He breathed a small sigh of relief and then examined her for a short time curiously.  “I would have done whatever you asked.”

  “But then you’d have been a tool without a choice just like me,” Murgam replied, her tone bitter and harsh. “If you would be my ally again, I would want you to come to it willingly.  Because I want you to come back and help set me right.  I want you to help ensure that I never become another Dunsany.”

  Beryl considered the intense short woman closely for a time.  “That is asking a lot from me.  You have almost killed me more than once, and Arnold was shot in your walls.”  

  “Admittedly,” Murgam hedged slightly, “I am a little high maintenance sometimes, but aren’t you used to that by now?”

  Beryl almost giggled at her, but he managed to remain somber, “I was trying to make my life simpler.  I’ll only have so many years before what I am becomes…obvious.”  Beryl looked into the mirror at his own reflection.  Next to the avian Murgam, Beryl saw a large panther with multi-colored eyes looking back at him.  “I can not stay in New Babbage forever.”

  “That doesn’t mean you have to be in a hurry either,” Murgam said as she wiped her hand on her jacket, there had been blood on it from when she had been clutching her heart. “Take your time.  You’re only young once.”

  “I will work for a time to ensure that your legacy turns around, but that will be difficult.  I don’t know how I’d even get my job back.”

  Murgam smiled wickedly as she whispered an idea into Beryl’s ear.  He purred in delight at her plan and nodded.  “I’ll do it shortly after I return, which I should do as soon as possible.”

  Murgam nodded and pointed towards the doorway with the cat heads.  “The cats will show you the way.”

  Beryl was no longer eager to depart.  He hesitated at the door as Murgam stood and watched him.  He could hear the cabbits coming forward, they had likely been listening the whole time.

  “They’re your people, Beryl.” Kea said softly as she encouraged him towards the door.  Zaros added her own encouragement, ”They only live on through you.”

  Beryl knew the cabbits were right, and that this was the last thing he had to do before he could go home. He turned to his friends and asked them for one last favor, that they sing a song to help him on his journey home.  Zaros and Kea nodded, and they began to sing. It was a song that said farewell, but that they would be back one day.  

  Beryl did not know as he listened to their song if they were right. If he would ever see this strange Babbage again. A part of him wanted to stay now and enjoy the strange and wonderful people here now that he could roam freely, but he had been gone for too long already. He opened the doors and went to confront his family and then to finally return to his home.


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  1. Garnet Psaltery Garnet Psaltery June 9, 2014

    What an extraordinary journey; thank you.

  2. Loki Gearhead Loki Gearhead June 10, 2014

    * snifs* That was amazing, thank you Beryl

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