Category: Casual Villainry

Casual Villainry Excerpt – Funeral

Cyrilla’s is a shared room, it’s been that way since she joined. There isn’t enough space to give everyone personal quarters and it’s safer to be close together anyways. It always reminded her of her old room whenever she was undergoing maid training, though somehow far more run down. Yet, the rotten wood and patchwork bedding never felt depressing thanks to the brightness of the people around her.  

One of Cyrilla’s roommates is currently present, nose-deep in a thick tome. This middle-aged woman is Castel, a lookout who takes the night shift. Clothes and tomes are scattered at her bedside, a messy quirk she has been scolded for many times. Cyrilla has never seen it quite so bad as it currently is, though. Castel is the quiet sort who usually keeps to herself and Cyrilla has historically given her space. She’s still too agitated to just sit and say nothing, though.  

“Is Nova out pushing herself again?” Cyrilla asks, trying to settle into a calmer mood. 

Without even looking, Castel responds “She found a new recruit to fawn over. We’ve managed to fill the absent space in the room since…” She pauses and briefly tilts the tome in her hands down. “Well, you know.” 

Cyrilla did know. It happened shortly before her most recent trip around the settlements. Draego’s death isn’t the first that the Echor base has had to go through, far from it in fact. When Cyrilla joined, there were twelve other R.U.N.N. members in the Echor base. Half of them were lookouts and, of those six, only three are still alive; Clover, Nova and Castel. The void left by the three dead has since been filled but those deaths speak volumes to the danger of the role. The lookouts stare in the face of the wilderness for the sake of everyone else. They must maintain a constant state of alertness for the wilderness makes prey of the complacent. Even though Cyrilla’s research helped them to be more prepared, it takes only a moment of distraction for a killing blow to be dealt. For Bel, Cyrilla and Castel’s old roommate, it was the swooping talons of a wakudya that viciously tore her head from her neck.  

Cyrilla sits on her bed and coddles Adrium, who is trying very hard to turn in Cyrilla’s arms to get a good look at Castel. “So, what’s their name?” Cyrilla asks, wanting to quickly move on from any topic of death. 

“Regina. Hard worker, not as young as you were when you came here but she’s doing her best to not be dead weight. Well, not like she can afford to be out there,” Castel describes as she flips through pages of the tome.  “Draego brought her in during the big recruitment effort. How’d that mission with him go, by the way?” 

Cyrilla takes a deep sigh and gives the news straight, “He’s dead.” 

Castel’s eyes widen as she finally turns to Cyrilla, finally spotting Adrium in this moment of sudden awareness. “I really wish you would have told me about the baby first so I wouldn’t have to process all of this at once. Draego’s…. He’s the last person I’d expect to actually die. What did you two find out there? Apart from- who is this baby?” 

“We went to an area of the wilderness where everything was shades of turquoise. The environment, the creatures… and it was the deadliest place I’ve ever seen. Draego died protecting me from a creature there. After that, I found an egg and she’s what came out of it,” Cyrilla summarises.  

“Cyrilla, you just told me that this baby came out of an egg.” 

“It’s… I’m sorry, I’ll tell the whole story once Anna gathers everyone up. I think a need a little bit to process everything myself,” Cyrilla says as she gives a soft smile.  

“I understand. It must have been hard, especially if not even Draego could… Well, I may not be the best at it but I’m here if you want to talk. You’re absolutely going to tell me everything about that child, though,” Castel demands.  

Cyrilla nods and lays down, letting Adrium rest on her belly. The baby is still hyper-focused on the dumfounded expression that Castel is trying vehemently to mask. Cyrilla watches her and begins to fully comprehend just how ridiculous the whole situation is. Draego died in the jaws of a titanic alligator-snake and she found a mythical baby who hatched from a giant egg. Even with the clouding sadness pushed back, it is difficult to process the fact that this is real. It’s almost like she could wake up at any second in this very bed and everything would be back to normal. 

About an hour passes, all the while Adrium is more than happy to keep her gaze locked on Castel. What finally splits her attention is Anna entering the room to announce that the preparations had been made. Cyrilla and Castel follow their leader outside where all the current members of the Echor base have gathered around a funeral pyre. Thirty members strong, more than double what the base had when Cyrilla first joined. She hadn’t gotten the chance to appreciate this after being away for so long but there is so much hope for the future before her. Talented tome users under the tutelage of Garv, fresh-faced medics that the base previously lacked and even an apprentice chef capable of counterbalancing Guill. Draego was the one who brought a majority of these people here, his legacy exists in everyone seeing him off now. He carved the path to the uprising’s future and now it’s time for everyone else to play their part.  

R.U.N.N. members are burned in the pyre to avoid their bodies being eaten by the inhabitants of the wilderness. It is the final respect paid to them, yet in this case it almost feels like the opposite. The pyre is the torch that is now handed to the new generation, the ones who will dismantle the hierarchies of Fabula. Anna casts the last piece of Draego into the flames as Cyrilla steps forward to tell the tale of his death. The last story of a hero who battled a beast of legend to save the life of another. Not a tear comes to her eye nor does regret enter her mind, for Cyrilla has chosen not to regret the future. There is still much to do, beginning with the introduction of the uprising’s newest member.