“Tell Me Why.”
It is only when my quarry pauses, blood on her hands, matting her dark hair, that I step forward from the doorway where I have been. The bodies of Irenicus' foolish assassins little the ground around her, and I do not doubt for a moment that I am as much a fool as they. Her blue eyes widen when they see me, eyes that were once always alight with life now seem as lifeless and blank as Irenicus' own. She does not deserve the fate that will come. The past few months have taught me that. Regret at what I must do causes me to bow my head; but only for a moment. Regret is not allowed by the Geas.
At the first sharp pain, I jerk my head back up. There is no choice.
She begins to sound my name. “Yoshimo?”
“Traitor!” Jaheira snarls, bringing her scimitar up for a strike. Anomen raises the Flail of Ages, stepping in front of Elshana with Minsc, who looks angrier then I have seen him, and yet, there is confusion on his face. Kelsey grips tighter on his staff, and straightens, though there is a trace of fear on his young features. I can understand this. I deserve this. I can only hope she will give me the death I seek, a far less painful death then to linger under the curse of the Geas.
“Stop!” Elshana yells, stepping between Anomen and Minsc.
“But – my lady --”
She whirls back to face them, her black hair flying as she turns. “Stop it!” She shrieked, and the sudden volume starts them both into silence. It is as I expected. She could not believe it of me that I worked wilfully with Irenicus. If such a thing could be said of my cursed indenture. That fool bard had been right about the weight of my fetters. Even if they could never be seen.
“There you are, I see.” I begin, fingering the hilt of my katana. I take no pleasure in this. I am unwilling.
I thought I knew what would come. Perhaps she would question my motives, perhaps she would simply denounce me traitor. Her first question surprises me.
“Tell me . . .why?” she says softly, stepping closer. Both hands are away from the hilts of the two swords belted at her waist, but that means nothing; she is a mage. I want to explain. I need to explain. Our friendship, such as it had been, deserved that, at least.
“I . . . I can't,” I strangle out through a tight throat. The Geas, the curse, would not allow me that. “I --” Finally, I force out a single sentence. “A Geas. All those who – who serve him – must accept a Geas.” Despite the pain, I feel regret that I was unable to bury. “I was willing at the time . . .” And how foolish I had been. It had been vain hope that this strange man could lead me to my sister, Tamoko. I had needed help, and he had been there. He had sworn on his honour to help me find Tamoko in exchange for my services. One of the requirements had been a Geas. It seemed like a simple thing, my tasks were acceptable, and the pay was good; but he never searched for Tamoko. It was only much later that I realized: he had no honour, his oath meant nothing. But I could not turn away. “Do you know – Elshana – do you know what happens when you defy a Geas?”
I see those blue eyes close for a moment. She does know.
“I called you friend.” I manage out. The pain is worsening, and the hand that grips my katana is trembling. “I still do. As a friend, I ask you: grant me death!”
Elshana gasps, eyes flying open. “No! Yoshimo, it – it doesn't have to – we can do something --” She is pleading. I had miscalculated. She is too kind to strike me down. Her compassion would kill her. I can not stop myself. Yet in a way it heartens me; I had seen the other few survivors of this particular 'experiment' turn vicious and feral, she seems to maintain her compassion, at least for now. The pain bit harder at that thought, but it is a thought I can not quash, I am proud of my friend for her strength.
“It does have to be this way, Elshana.” I had no choice. I will have to attack her, or collapse before her. I will have to try my best to kill one I called friend. With that realization, the pain fades, and I pull my blade. “I can either wither and die, or die here in battle. Which would you choose?”
At last, I see understanding on her features. “Death by the sword.” she whispers, drawing her two blades. With a jerk of her head, she motions the others to stand back.
“Child --” Jaheira begins, but a shake of Elshana's head and a glance stops the druid mid-speech.
“No redemption, or second chances, Yoshimo,” she says, and she brings her sword up in a salute.
“I stride into the Hell Irenicus promised me.” I want her to understand, and one last desperate plea bursts forth. “Ilmater take my heart, Elshana, I have no choice!”
"Tell Me Why": Quiz 137
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