Nestor stood at Kobo’s entrance gate with his protectors, Teffani, Oberlyn and Grant. He knew from his latest vision that Rayden, Lottie and Hettie would be returning to Kobo soon.
Nestor turned towards Grant. “It’s late. There is no use for us all to be here when they return. Grant, go home and rest. I owe the leader of Ash village some gold. In the morning, I’ll need you to count it.”
Grant responded, “Count it all? That’ll take me all day. I need to be here to help you. I’m worried about Agnes.”
“You will help me and Agnes by counting the gold. That is one of your duties. We don’t want to disappointment an ally. ”
“Don’t make me feel not of use,”Grant asserted himself.
Nestor grabbed Grant’s face lovingly with both of his hands. “Grant, you are the man that I wish I was. You could never be useless. Now go and get some rest. I need your mathematics to be precise, my man.”
Teffani approached Nestor after Grant walked away. “I thought you were going to kiss him for a second there.”
Nestor grinned. “I’m sure that would be pleasing to you. ”
“You were adamant about sending him off. How much do you owe Ash?”
“It doesn’t concern you. It’s just that Grant is so perfect. I don’t want him to be tainted by tonight.”
“But you don’t mind tainting us?” Teffani questioned him.
“No. You are not as special as he is. You know I was given control of Kobo, I wasn’t older than thirteen. Bushear died right in front of me. He thought for some reason that I should lead. Why, I don’t know. I led during the day and lived it up in the Crescent at night. Until it got as old as I did. With the help of the leader of Ash, my past flame, I was able to convince the Abayolla tribe that the berry fields were actually on Koboian land, which was untrue. They were a peaceful tribe so they gave up the land in exchange for gold.”
Oberlyn chimed in. “Why would they give up the berry fields for gold?”
“The berries were cheap until I started the tale about the beasts. The beasts that never existed. I said that it had gotten to dangerous for us to fetch the berries because of the beasts so that made them expensive and caused a decrease in the supply for the rest of the villages except for Ash. Now Kobo is almost as rich as the village of Ondello. I promptly brought Agnes here since she didn’t want to live in Bristol.”
“Because of the Punishere?”
“No, because the villagers would never accept her werewolf brother.”
Oberlyn threw up his hands. “Now wait a second, Nestor. You are saying that Agnes has a werewolf brother?”
Nestor patted Oberlyn’s shoulder. “Should I speak slower for you?”
Teffani was surprised but not too surprised at the same time. Nestor after all was a freak. Just about everyone that you met could give you a story about Nestor’s past. “Alright Nestor, your honesty blows my mind. Why are you telling us all of this?”
“I want you to know who you serve. Everything I have done has been for Kobo, everything. Grant would never do the dirty work, what it takes to hold this place together.”
“Grant is not a threat to you Nestor. I appreciate all that you have done for us, though you used some trickery.”
Oberlyn laughed. “Some, most of the gold that we have gotten was based on lies. He even once said that berries could stop the spread of the plague. I still can’t believe that her brother is a werewolf though.”
“When they return, Rayden will be suspended of his duties. Lottie, I will deal with later.”
Teffani stared intently at Nestor. “What about Hettie? She caused all of this.”
“She is bringing back a child named Malta. Someone will have to care for her.”
“Right. Well, when you exile Hettie the child can go with her,” Teffani proposed.
“No, tonight Hettie is going to drown in the Black Rip Sea.” Nestor looked to Oberlyn for his response.
“One of your visions? I thought you can’t see the future only the past.”
“So you have been paying attention.” Nestor grinned. “You two are keeping my secrets. Hettie has lost our beloved Agnes to a hideous troll, will bring outsiders straight to our gates and has broken too many codes to count. This is treasonous behavior. Not done to help Kobo. There’s only one course of action. ”
“You are right, Nestor. She’s only thinking about what she wants.” Teffani shared in his resentment.
“Of course, I’m right. Tonight, you two, Kobo’s protectors will help me kill Hettie. ”
Oberlyn took two steps backwards. “Wait! What?”
Sam, the builder, heard the raucous and stormed out of his residence. He hated living near the front gate. Sam was a young fellow with an old soul. He spent a lot of his time with Agnes. He listened to her stories about life in the olden days.
Nestor greeted him. “Sam, how are you?”
“Tired. You people are making noise.”
“Yes, we were. Do me a favor, since you are up. The twins have placed a massive piece of wood in their door. I want it taken out.”
“Nestor, it can wait until morning. It’ll make noise and I’d need help. My back is already sore.”
“Do whatever it takes to get it out or take the door off altogether. If the twins fuss tell them that I said they have lost their right to privacy. ”
Sam rubbed his tired eyes and yawned. “That’s pretty harsh. How long do you plan to be out here by the gate?”
“Not much longer Sam. Thank you for your help. I really appreciate it.”
Hettie used to love dancing in the sand near the Black Rip Sea. Missa used to catch fish for their midday meal. They would sit around the fire making up stories about witches, vamps, trolls, dragons, werewolves, the Punishere and anything else that they could imagine. However, once they stepped outside of Kobo, they realized that the freaks were truly real. She didn’t get to say farewell to the twins. They would surely believe that she had been exiled.
Her hands and legs were tied together tightly. She gazed upon Nestor’s beautiful face for the last time. One strand of his gray hair had gotten loose from his braid. It stood out against the black sky. She tried to talk but her mouth was covered by a thick piece of cloth.
Teffani spoke, “Hettie, direct descendant of Kobo, you have been found guilty of multiple counts of treason. Your punishment will be death. We hope your soul finds peace.” Teffani threw Hettie over the side of the boat and into the Black Rip Sea. Hettie noted that those bow and arrow lessons that she took during her youth turned out to be terribly pointless. You live and you learn. What mattered most to her in her final moments was that she had given little orphan Malta and the others a chance at a better life; a life in Kobo.