At the cell of Hopping Jack, the two sons of Elderridge face each other a second time.
“I see you have done your hair like a true son of Elderridge. It is good that you show the world where you’re from one last time, before I send you before the gods to meet their judgment,” the voice of Michael speaks out as he approaches Hopping Jack’s cell. “But that is a matter for a later time and not what brings me here, tonight. I have heard an outlandish rumor amongst the Centaurians. They seem to be under the impression that you are under some kind of faerie curse and that is why you have become such a menace to every land you set foot on.” Michael chuckles as if he heard an absurd joke while Jack fixes his gaze to the ground.
“It’s true,” mumbles Jack with the sound of shame in his voice. “What you heard is true.”
Michael chuckles again in disbelief then says, “You expect me to believe that? You are trying to tell me that you are only doing this because the big bad faeries cursed you and that you really are a good innocent jackalope? Troll Dung! You’re a menace! Rotten to the core! You did those horrible things because you liked it and you know it! Faerie curse. Of all the absurdities one can muster, you convinced these good centaurs of that lie!”
“It’s true.” repeats Jack adding a bit more volume to his voice.
“Oh you are so full of troll dung I can smell it through the magickal barrier!” exclaims Michael.
“It’s true!” Jack says even louder with more conviction.
“Ha! If that’s the story you’re sticking to, prove it,” retorts Michael with the sound or judgmental disbelief in his tone.
Jack rips off his eyepatch and yells: “THEY TOOK MY EYE!”
Michael pauses when he looks at Jack’s face. Not because his right eye is missing, but the wound looks fresh as if the eye was just removed. This suddenly gives Michael cause to question what he believes because Jack’s wound is not healing, suggesting that there is some sort of magick at work. Michael stares in silence then turns and walks away without uttering a word.
Walking down the road while collecting his thoughts he comes across a big raven gathering shiny objects. He beckons to the bird who has an intelligence that only the Centaurian avians seem to possess.
“Know you the centauride with long curly black hair? She is a healer I do believe,” Michael says to the raven.
With keen intellect the bird gestures in understanding and caws.
“Can I trust you to deliver a message to her? I don’t have fresh meat on me, but I do have some corn in my pouch,” enquires Michael to the raven.
The raven nods his head in acknowledgement and awaits the letter and his payment.
Michael pulls out a quill, ink and parchment from his knapsack and writes a quick note then fixes it to the raven’s leg and gives him a pile of corn. The raven Poe finishes his corn and sets out to deliver the message to Cinn the healer.
To the dark haired healer of Centauria,
I am unsure if you remember me or not, but my name is Michael Briarthorne. I wonder if you could spare a moment with me. I have something that needs to be confirmed. I understand that you and the rest of Centauria are preparing for a massive interkingdom faire, so I promise to be brief and not detain you overlong.
Thank you for your time,