Friday, May 18, 2007

vignette: the giant's shadow

The three people on the streets below who witnessed the shocking death of Picaro Marviloso that night would all agree that a higante had come to Ciudad, plucked the poet from his balcony, twisted his head between its massive fingers then hurled the man thirty feet to the ground below – after all, what else but a giant could cast so tremendous a shadow that all three swore to seeing?

“I know it sounds absurd but that is what we saw,” the flustered man repeated. “I know you don’t believe us,” he muttered miserably.

Veronica Bunsong-Bu’an, the detective-in-charge, shook her head and finished taking the last of the witnesses’ statements. She had been summoned only minutes after the murder and had lost no time in finding her way to the site of the crime. She had looked carefully at the remains of Picaro Marviloso and ascertained that he was dead before he struck the ground, his head cruelly twisted from back to front.

The Tiq’Barang stretched to her full height and fought off her fatigue. Like most of her race she could endure more than men, but when Tiq’Barang tire, they needed to rest longer than anyone, and Veronica had just returned from an especially long investigation in the Ispancialo garrisons in the dark north. She absentmindedly rubbed the end of her equine snout and took some time to review what she had already noted.

To the eyes of any man, Veronica Bunsong-Bu’an was a creature of contrasts. She was indisputably beautiful (her cropped fur was the hue of light kapé that darkened to the purest tsokolate towards her hands and hooves), but her intimidating size and scale dwarfed the tallest of men. She stood almost ten feet tall and the cloak of the guardia civil did little to hide her massive shoulders, yet her eyes, a pale liquid grey, betrayed an air of kindness, and her voice was rarely raised above the barest of whispers.

She was raised in the faith of the Ispancialo and rose quietly up the ranks of the clergy. Her inquisitive mind and natural powers of observation and deduction earned her the position of ecclesiastical investigadór, responsibly handling sensitive internal matters that the Church preferred to remain secret, earning a reputation for solving the impossible, until that particular night when she had to make a painful choice between loyalty and truth.

The guardia civil were more than happy to catch her at the terminus of her fall from grace, and added her to their ranks with understated pride, for already she was known to possess one of the finest minds in all of Hinirang.

A mind that was perplexed by current situation that her notes did nothing to illuminate.

Ser Miguel Lucas Jaena, a junior guardia assigned to learn from her, asked her if she agreed that it was a giant.

“There are no higantes in Ciudad, Ser Jaena,” she whispered while scribbling down her thoughts. “If there was a giant here, where would this higante hide? Why is it that no one saw her anywhere else? And just how,” Veronica Bunsong-Bu’an said, pointing to the narrow streets lined with towers and residences similar to those of Picaro Marviloso, “How did this higante fit into these streets without damaging any other balcony, wall or feature?”

“I don’t know,” the young guardia smiled. “Which is why I can’t wait for you to solve this mystery.”

“Before we talk of giants, we must first establish who this man is, and the why anyone would want to kill him. There are steps to these things, you know,” Veronica smiled as Ser Jaena blushed. “Shall we continue our investigation?”

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