This is not really much of a short story, it is more of an emotional dump after a really intense Role Play session. There is not nearly enough background established, the characters aren’t fleshed out at ALL and it’s barely edited.
I don’t know if anyone other than myself will be interested in reading it, but I needed to write it to keep track in my own mind of what happened. So I figured I would share it here as well, just in case other folks are interested.
“Primus won’t remember you.”
The haunted look in Tommy Walker’s eyes as he finally turned them to me told me that he spoke the utter truth. He was battling his own demons and my poor attempt at comforting him forced the words from his lips. I don’t remember what I had been saying, his words drove everything else from my mind.
I had woken up only a few moments before to the Mayor of the town, Justice, drunk off his ass, plopping down in the chair at the end of my cot. As if that weren’t strange enough he told me to go back to sleep and that he was “just gonna watch over you for a while”.
Like that didn’t raise the red flags enough to get my ass out of bed.
The questions only intensified when my Brother in Faith, Kai came in spouting the same nonsense. Both men had a look of guilt and fear that only spurred me to get dressed. Neither one of them would answer any of my questions. These two men, the most blunt men I know besides my husband, couldn’t give me a straight answer. I was tamping down on my fear and frustration as I shoved my feet into my boots and grabbed my always present medical bag.
When Tommy came in, raging and near out of control I knew something horrible had happened.
“Primus won’t remember you.”
I only had a few seconds to process his words in shocked silence when Primus walked through the door. But those precious few seconds were still a gift, and so, with my priorities changing swiftly from consoling him to finding out what had happened to my husband, I thanked the poor anguished man and stepped over to Primus, trying so very hard to prepare myself for something I could not truly accept.
“Hello, I’m Primus, who are you?”
My world narrowed down to just the two of us in that room full of people. I knew they were there, and they were saying something, but I couldn’t tell you what it was. I was too busy trying to figure out what to say to that. I muttered something about how he had lost his memory, and how I was his wife.
“Wife? I don’t have a wife.”
I wasn’t prepared. Even with Tommy’s warning how could I have prepared to have my Primus, my husband of 15 years not know who I was? My voice caught in my throat, tears slipping past my defenses.
“Are you crying?” his voice was almost amused. The tone cut me like a knife. I didn’t know what to say, my lips moved, but words were beyond me.
After a few seconds I figured I should answer him.
Thea mentioned the plant she had hung from the porch roof outside. She said that it had some magical properties of some sort and that it might jog his memory.
I’ve seen stranger things work so we all filed out onto the porch and I explained to Primus that I wanted to try something. He was hesitant to take off his mask, he always was around strangers, and it took everything I had to swallow the tears and convince him I was going to try to make everything all right, that I was not, in fact, a stranger.
I have only ever kissed Primus. He was my first and only. Never before has his lips felt to distant, so cold against mine. His eyes held no recognition, no warmth of welcome for his wife. Love is a loaded gun I had never felt so heavy in my heart before. I felt wounded, I felt an emptiness I can’t fully explain.
All the pain that I had been working so hard to keep down into the very belly of my soul poured from me anew. I fled back into the Post, my mind trying to calm the agony in my heart. Pain whipped through me like a whirlwind on an irradiated trail, cold and hot at the same time. I am nothing if not a practical woman, however, and soon tears of loss turned to tears of anger. Krampus had done this to my husband I heard them say.
I didn’t know anything about this Krampus, nor about his brother the Kringle that supposedly walked with him. But I learned quickly that Kringle was the Priest from the Sainthood had said sent me a gift because I was such a good person. He said that because I had done good all year, that Kringle would do something really nice for me.
He had also made mention that my husband was bad, and that he should be careful of this goat headed fellow. I remember him mentioning the name Krampus, but at the time I thought little of it. The words of that priest replayed over and over in my head, “Why would Krampus punish me? This doesn’t hurt Primus, he doesn’t remember…” I heard Primus laughing behind me. “…Is it my punishment? For being good?”
Rage had begun to build inside me, how dare they do this to my family? How dare they punish me for being good? Primus had done nothing to warrant this type of attack against him. He was my leader, my Primus, and more importantly, he was my husband, my protector and the love of my life. How DARE they take him away from me?!
Something snapped and there was suddenly no more Mr. Nice Guy. I could feel the songs of my King clearly now. An understanding that had eluded me before. The world is a dark place, and goodness doesn’t matter. I had been good all year, saved lives and worked hard to organize protection for those within Walker’s Post. It didn’t matter, you are damned if you do, damned if you don’t, damned if you will, damned if you won’t. My goodness, all my work wasn’t enough to save my family from the sinister schemes of Krampus.
I turned to head back outside. I couldn’t stand to be in the same room as Primus and see that emptiness in his eyes. The rage that was building up inside me demanded to be sated. Justice tried to stop me, but he was drunk and feeling guilty. He saw the rage in my eyes and followed as best he could, doing his best to try and convince me this was a bad idea. I found the yorker Bridgette out by the cabins and sent her to talk to Primus. He respected her and I was grasping at straws. If nothing else, he would be protected.
She was high as a kite on some Hedon’s Spirit Walk, but we convinced her to go. Seeing her make her way to the Post I fingered the hilt of my blade and left to make my way out into the forest. I had a plan. It was a plan that would no doubt get me killed, but without Primus to mourn me I didn’t care.
I was going to demand Krampus remove his curse or demand Kringle fix his brother’s mistake. If neither one of those ideas worked I would kill them both myself.
That’s the part that would have gotten me killed. I am a doctor, not a fighter, but for my family I would have burnt the forest to the ground and those two assholes with it.
I couldn’t find either of them. I screamed their names into the darkness, demanding an audience. But the cowards had fled. They had done their damage and didn’t feel it prudent to remain to see the results of their meddling.
By now I had a group of folks around me, trying to herd me back to Walker’s Post. It was dangerous out there… it was too cold… perhaps Primus was back to himself by now. I didn’t care. I was hurt and angry, I wanted to taste the blood of my enemies upon my blade. Vengeance would be MINE.
But there was nothing out there to sate my rage upon and while I was angry, I wasn’t stupid. If I was going to die, it would be by the hands of Krampus, not some random shambling zed. So I let them pull me back to Walker’s Post but I still couldn’t get myself to step inside, so I wandered over to Valentine’s caravan next door. They had a warm fire and had helped me earlier in the day so I knew they wouldn’t toss me out.
I needn’t have worried. The campfire was void of people at the moment. I didn’t question where they were, just warmed my hands upon the coals of the fire that remained.
I heard Justice asking Jessie to watch over me while he went to check on… something. I didn’t care what. Jessie is a good man, a tinker that has put his life on the line for this town more than once. I trusted him enough to let him try and talk me down. I knew he could see the emotions upon my face. I didn’t try to hide them. This was my nightmare and he was welcome to join me.
He told me what he knew about Krampus and Kringle. Apparently he is one of the Sainthood. He couldn’t shine any light on why these creatures had chosen to torture me though, and in the end, while his presence was a comfort, his words fell cold upon my ears.
Kai found me then, warning of raiders or some such, and while I thought briefly about taking my ire out upon their hides, I knew it would be folly, as I only had my trusty knife and a good knowledge of the human body. Against raiders that did very little.
The memory of the Poet’s old Shaman’s death flashed across my vision. A raider’s mask, dried blood in red hair. It would easily be me if I allowed it.
So I returned to Walker’s Post to find someone had taken Primus somewhere else. I sat next to our beds, Kringle’s ‘gift’ clasped in my hand as Kai and I tried desperately to figure out what to do. Armani joined us and we sat, building rage and sorrow between us.
I had just about given up and returned to my bed when Primus walked in once more, I saw the look on his face and frowned, uncertain weather he was here to kill someone or simply tear the place apart. At this point I knew I wouldn’t be able to stop him from doing either. Many people believe I am his leash. I know how fragile that leash is at the best of times. Now? Now Primus was unleashed, and that is a frightening beast indeed.
His wide strides brought him to my side quickly and he threw his axe upon his bed. Without time to react I found myself wrapped in his arms and his whispered words had me bursting into relieved tears.
“My wife.” he murmured into my hair, “I am so sorry…So Sorry… I love you… Oh gods… my wife.”
I threw myself fully into his arms and our tears washed away the hurt and pain that Krampus had visited upon us. The spill of emotion left us exhausted and as our friends left us to our reunion we found our way into our beds, sleeping with clasped hands, afraid to let each other go for fear of what the sun might bring.
It brought more pain, as it is want to do but that is a story for another time. Suffice it to say it left us with each other and for now, that is enough.