Taxmen: High Risk Unit #11

As the day begins, there's two revelations: Stickman has disappeared and Panna's confesses a strage truth. The group decides to not follow after Stickman, assuming that he knows what he's doing.

Panna gave up her memory of her parents not because they were cherished memories but because they were her most hated. She has always nurtured an irrational but burning hatred for those who abandoned her and has always secretly thirsted for some form of brutal revenge. A thirst that was as genuine as powerful as the thirst for love. But having given up the memory of her parents, she now had a burning desire for vengeance with no target. So she decided to give that up. All those years of cultivating this careful, secret anger. But when she gave up that revenge and it's emotional as well as narrative memories, something took its place. What she can recall of it keeps changing but she remembers a deep and cold resentment, bred like a horse, or a forest. But not her parents, but against a sibling, a brother. Also, with the loss of this revenge she finds herself more ambivalent about asavansi, her faith dying as a part of her need for it goes away.

They continue down the tunnel till it starts going down and then up. Finally, it gets vertical. But it's craggy and looks climbable. Once they reach the top, they are in a cavern where thirty feet above them they see three thin lines of the blur they've come to associate with the scars. This cavern has stalactites all over the ceiling and the walls are craggy like the tunnel that they climbed through. There is a weird feedback that seems to fade in and out of the room and there is the faint smell of burning salt and oil.

Trying to toss glowing rocks at the scars reveals a strange pressure field around the three scars. The plan formed is to climb to the top of the cavern and jump down on the scars below. The pressure emanating from the scars is almost solid and the group have to push through, brute-forcing their way to the scars. First Tuck, who mutters the incantation and gives up his sense of smell. Then Marlowe who mutters the incantation and gives up his musicality. Then Ea who mutters the incantation and gives up her memory of a lost child.

What can be given is given, what can be healed is healed, I ask in the name frm whom everything was taken.

These are complex losses. Their ramifications are huge but for now all there is confusion and doubt. The group wanders on. They choose a path that narrows and narrows till only Tuck can proceed with Marlowe scrunching behind him. Soon, they come up to the scar, it's in the rock itself. From it, come flying sparks of fire that buzz like bees. The sparks swarm towards Tuck who uses lightning fast punches to dispatch them with a little help from Marlowe's magic. Marlowe's dagger strikes the last one but with such force and verve that the spark explodes and from that explosion, a sigil flies out, marking Marlowe on the tongue. Marlowe tries to speak but no words come out, the voiceless breath that escapes from her rivets the rocks with vines.

Photo credit: Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash