Mort Myre Swamp, Night:
The swamp waters bubbled and the ghasts drifted across the swamp. A man ran and ran, he had just made it out the reach of the ghasts who lashed out at him. He waded through the swampy waters and fell into the river surrounding Mort'ton. A shade ambushed him, but just missed as he swam onwards.
Burgh de Rott:
Dirth and Edward had heard the sounds of frantic splashing in the river and dashed out of their homes and halted at the gate. Emerging from the river, a stranger walked towards the gate. His skin was pale, and his eyes were brown; he was human.
"Burgh de Rott!" The man announced cheerfully as he walked up to the gate.
"Who in Saradomin's name are you?" Edward asked.
"James?" Dirth asked.
"Yes," the man replied.
"I saw you! I saw you die!" Dirth exclaimed.
"Then you were wrong, Dirth, for I lived!" James exclaimed.
"But how? Where have you been?" Dirth asked.
"For years, I have been in hiding in a hollow tree near the Haunted Woods. I lived under the shadows of vampyres, ghasts, leeches, the lot. I survived on snail meat, I taste that is strongly acquired," James said.
"Well come in!" Edward said, welcoming James inside the village. There was movement in the village square, as Tamron, Luna, Ernest, the Wanderer and various other villagers emerged from their homes.
"Impossible," the Wanderer remarked walking straight up to James.
"Wanderer!" James exclaimed.
"But you died-" the Wanderer was interrupted.
"I escaped, alive but injured," James said.
"But why did you not return to the village?" The Wanderer asked.
"I had been chased and chased and chased, I was lost in the swamps, but recently I discovered a way back," James said.
Burgh de Rott, One hour later:
Dirth entered the Wanderer's home with a solemn expression on his face. The Wanderer looked up from his books that he was reading.
"What is it Dirth?" The Wanderer asked.
"You know very well," Dirth said.
"I saw him die," the Wanderer said.
"So did I!" Dirth snapped.
"Well then, there's only one answer to it," the Wanderer said.
"He died, we made him die!" Dirth exclaimed.
"Then he knows this, and he's going to take his revenge," the Wanderer said.
"Our most foul murder must have failed, he must have been stronger than we thought," Dirth said.
"Now we are not to talk of this again Dirth, do you hear me?" The Wanderer asked.
"We need to know-" Dirth stopped mid-sentence. The Wanderer had risen to his feet with a sharp dagger clasped in his hand, pressed against Dirth's neck.
"Now I shall repeat myself one more time: you are never, and I mean never, to speak of this again," the Wanderer said. Dirth left the Wanderer's home, speechless with guilt and fright.
Edward, Tamron, and Luna sat around James in Dirth's home, with James lying on the piece of fabric Dirth used as a bed.
"Burgh de Rott, it hasn't changed," James said, his head faced upwards at the dirty ceiling.
"How long has it been since you were here?" Edward asked.
"Just about fifteen years, I was thirty at the time I went," James said.
"Why did you leave?" Tamron asked, slightly suspicious of James.
"Well once; me, Dirth and the Wanderer used to go on walks into the swamps, but not too far. One time we went, a shade attacked us. I was separated," James said.
"And Dirth did not try to save you?" Edward asked.
"He couldn't have, the shade would have killed him, he probably thought I was dead," James said.
"I could imagine the Wanderer leaving someone like that but not Dirth," Tamron said.
"People change," Edward said, "For all we know he could have been as ruthless and ignorant as the Wanderer."
"We should not speak of the Wanderer like this, he is the person who cured everyone of the Mort'ton virus," Luna said in a small voice.
"The Mort'ton virus?" James asked.
"A few weeks ago the Mort'ton virus mutated, infected a few of us, but we were cured," Tamron said.
"And don't forget the time he saved us from a murderer, Apoca Lypse," Luna added.
"Apoca Lypse?" James asked.
"Yes, he came back, but Dirth's brother became him," Tamron said.
"Hirtho?" James asked.
"Yes, Hirtho," Tamron said.
"I only knew him through Dirth, we never really spoke. I remember the day he died, Dirth didn't stop crying, and he never did for the next few months," James said.
"How did he die?" Edward asked.
"I'm not sure if it's for me to say," James said.
"Was it related in any way with the snapping beast we here from the swamp every night?" Edward asked.
"Snapping beast?" James asked.
"We've never seen it, but we know it's there; waiting," Tamron said.
"No, it was nothing like that," James said, "Dirth's brother was attacked by a swamp creature, it was a tentacled beast that used to live in the swamp, I'm not sure if it is still there, as I've never seen it since I've lived there."
Burgh de Rott, One hour later:
James and Dirth sat quietly in the latter's home, there was a strong uncomfortable feeling in the air.
"You seem to be doing well," James noted.
"Yes, I guess I am," Dirth replied.
"I remember when I was here years ago, how different things were. I remember you, you thought yourself as a warrior, that you were strong," James said.
"Yes, I like to think I am a strong person," Dirth said.
"The Wanderer hasn't changed, has he?" James asked.
"No," Dirth said.
"I saw him hanging about in the darkness among the shadows, trying to hide himself away," James said.
"He's always been secretive," Dirth stated.
"Do you remember those walks we used to go on, through the swamps?" James asked. Dirth felt an alarming chill come over him.
"Yes," Dirth stammered.
"Me, you and the Wanderer, we used to go and get snail meat from the winding path in the swamp, we did it once a week. That was when the shade came," James said in a small voice.
"I couldn't stop it-" Dirth was interrupted.
"I don't blame you," James said quickly.
"Oh for Saradomin's sake! I cannot live with myself! There is something you must know," Dirth exclaimed.
"That you and the Wanderer tried to get me killed?" James asked.
"You know?" Dirth exclaimed.
"Yes of course I knew, ever since we embarked on our walk I knew," James said.
"So why did you come?" Dirth asked.
"I believed you would kill me at a later point, so I planned on dying quickly and in a way that both of you would not get caught for," James said.
"But you escaped from that shade, why didn't you let it kill you then?" Dirth asked.
"I realized how precious life is, I looked at the rambling ghouls of Mort'ton and decided I would escape," James said, "And I did."
"So why come back to here, how do you know me and the Wanderer do not plan on killing you again?" Dirth asked.
"That's a risk I'm willing to take, besides, it is my home as well," James said.
Burgh de Rott, One hour later:
Dirth walked into the Wanderer's home in a foul mood.
"What do you want?" The Wanderer asked.
"He knows. He knows!" Dirth shouted.
"How on Gielinor does he know?" The Wanderer asked.
"I have no idea, but he knew ever since we embarked on our walk into the swamps that day!" Dirth exclaimed thumping his fist on the table.
"Why did you actually want him dead anyway? If I remember correctly, I only assisted you due to a promise of rare herbs that your father had been growing," the Wanderer said.
"And you got your reward, didn't you? I wanted him dead, I was going to murder someone, I was going to become a cold blooded killer! And why? Why did I want him dead? Do you know why Wanderer? It's because he was next in line to be head of the village! I was younger than him by a mere year, so my father was going to pass it on to him! My own father! Giving away my life-long dream to that smug-faced idiot!" Dirth shouted, having never felt so angry in all his life.
"Well if I was you Dirth, I'd be thankful. Everything has worked out fine if you ask me, we'd better hope he doesn't blurt it all out or we might find ourselves homeless," the Wanderer said, hardly concerned over what were of no interest to him. Dirth slammed the door and exited, and the Wanderer did not care at all.
Burgh de Rott, Morning:
Dirth sat back in his chair, looking out his window towards the sea. The waters were a dark blue, and the waves crashed against the rocky waterfront. Edward entered the hut carrying his dagger and a dead swamp snail.
"Thought you might be hungry," Edward said in a small voice, slightly weary of Dirth after his foul mood the night prior. Fortunately, no one had picked up on the source of his anger, but they did very well know he was angry.
"Thanks," Dirth grunted, not even turning to face Edward.
"Dirth, what troubles you?" Edward asked.
"I could not say, it is a matter I cannot discuss," Dirth said.
"Well then, I shall leave you to sort your matters out alone," Edward said exiting. Moments later James entered.
"What do you want?" Dirth asked.
"I have come to make peace with you Dirth," James said.
"Well then, I accept your peace offering," Dirth said, turning to face him.
"All I want to know is why you tried to kill me all those years ago," James said.
"Why do you have to complicate matters. I was a different person back then anyway," Dirth muttered.
"Tell me, I must know. All those years alone it has plagued me, at why you wanted me dead," James insisted.
"Fine then; I'll tell you. Do you remember my father? He ran the village at the time when you left," Dirth said.
"Yes, I remember your father. A nice gentlemen he was," James said.
"He was growing old; dying, in fact. Someone needed to succeed him as head of the village, and do you remember who he chose?" Dirth asked.
"Me," James answered.
"Yes, you. How do you think that feels? Your own father shattering your dreams of running this village, I had wanted to run it ever since I discovered my father's position. It also made me feel unaccepted by my father, and growing up things had been the same, he'd always paid more attention to little Hirtho, and then he died. The darkest and saddest day for my family, all down to me they thought," Dirth said.
"I remember that day too well, you coming back from the swamps drenched in swamp water, that expression you had, as if the whole world had come crashing down around you," James said.
"And it had. Hirtho; dead. And I was a year younger than you, so he felt you'd had more experience in life and would do a better job, but a year! A year! And after Hirtho's death who couldn't trust me. He never said it to my face, but I knew it, every time I looked at him I could see the blame that he targeted at me; blaming me for Hirtho's death! It was an accident! I couldn't have done anything!" Dirth shouted, slamming his fists on his table.
"Being shunned by your own father is a terrible thing, how could he have blamed you?" James asked.
"I do not know, and I do not wish to know. Whenever I think of him now I always think of the guilt he pushed on me," Dirth said turning away from James to look out the window.
"I'm sorry," James said.
"But I should be apologizing to you, for I am in the wrong. I tried to kill you! Yet you are so accepting and forgiving! I only wish I had such skills as you, because ever since I thought you had been killed, at my hands, I have had a terrible memory of it waying down on my mind. I sometimes have nightmares about it; that shade floating towards you, the screaming, you disappearing beneath the water," Dirth said.
"You cannot find peace with yourself?" James asked.
"No, I can't, but it is something I wish dearly for," Dirth said.
"I think you need to find peace with yourself, and I know a way. This evening, me you and the Wanderer shall go for another walk in the swamp, just like we used to. We shall put all those bad memories to rest, and we shall then have made peace with ourselves," James said.
"I will come! Yes, I will come! Anything to remove this burden of guilt from me!" Dirth exclaimed, feeling a surge of delight.
"Good, so be ready by twilight," James said.
Burgh de Rott, Twilight:
The sky was darkening, and below it stood Dirth, James and the Wanderer.
"Let us make haste, for we should return before darkness," James insisted as they made their way out into the swamps...
The three of them stood on the Mort'ton bridge that stood between the swamp entrance and the town of Mort'ton.
"This is where it happened," James said.
"This place still haunts me," Dirth said as he felt guilt overwhelming him. "James, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry," Dirth said.
"I forgive you Dirth, but what do you have to say for yourself Wanderer?" James asked.
"I too must express my apologies to you James. That was my darkest hour," the Wanderer said.
"I forgive you too," James said. "Now let us abandon our memories of that terrible day, and make a fresh start." A cold feeling suddenly began to invade the senses of the three of them. They turned to see a green shade hovering towards them. They scattered as the shade approached, but the shade continued to pursue them, and suddenly its undead arm gripped onto James' shoulder, and he felt his energy being drained. He fell into the waters as the shade descended on him. "I didn't think it of you Dirth, I forgave you!" James exclaimed as he disappeared under the water as the shade reached out towards him.
"No! No! It wasn't me! I didn't do this!" Dirth yelled as he watched, rooted to the ground with fear.
"Stop watching and run!" The Wanderer yelled as he grabbed Dirth by the shoulders as another shade drifted towards them. They both fled for the safety of Burgh de Rott.
Burgh de Rott, One hour later:
Dirth sat alone in his hut as darkness fell. A tear formed in his eye and it ran down his cheek. The Wanderer entered, a solemn expression crossing his face for the first time in a long time.
"How are you?" The Wanderer asked.
"I can't believe it, he forgave me, but now he thinks I'm just an untrustworthy beast," Dirth said.
"You couldn't do anything to save him, and we both know it wasn't us who caused it," the Wanderer said.
"How will I explain to the others what happened? Young Edward looks up to me, yet doesn't know of these dark times I have had," Dirth said.
"There will be questions, but you must remember that you never killed him, not now and not all those years before. You didn't lure the shade this time, it was purely an accident," the Wanderer said, and then he left.
"Goodbye, James," Dirth said sadly as he looked out the window towards the swamp...
"Murder in the Masses"
|Episode navigation||Followed by:|
|"Welcome to Morytania" | "Swamp Spirit" | "Infection" | "The Drakan Effect" | "Murder in the Masses" | "Dead Man Walking" | "Operation Necrosis" | "The Last Shanty"|
|"The Village That Burnt" | "Descent Into Darkness" | "Dance of the Wisps" | "Wolf in Man's Clothing" | TBA | TBA | TBA | TBA | TBA | TBA|