The Yoma – by QQQQQ


SCENE 1 - Clare

Her hardened boots clatter on the dirt path. Clare walks the pathway to the village of Norslof – a medium village with the backdrop of a lush forest by its side. She slowly breathes in the chill air of the muted morning, when the sun has risen from the horizons.

The large, inhuman sword tucked beneath her cloak on her back is a burden that adds a quivering quality on each of her footsteps. When Clare hefts the cold sword with its tip extending out, the weapon seems so out of place on her slightly hands; it is seemingly built for the hands of a marble god. She wonders if she could ever get used to this weight.

Clare adjusts the sheath on her back.

Through and through, every fibre of her person feels nervous anticipation, and the rush of energy this brings. Her gut tightens, queasy. The air chills her cheeks and hands. The trees of pine cast looming shadows on the path, with their gnarly roots alongst the soil.

Her steps clatter on, bringing her closer to Norslof. From what Rubel had said, it is a mundane village, inhabited by commoners and tradesmen, except one. This one sees the commoners and tradesmen as mere living flesh, no more food alive or slaughtered. This one finds his fellow man the warmest place to hide.

This is why the Organization sends for her there, for without her and her kind, the Yoma thrives on its lifestyle of destruction.

Clare lays her eyes on the village for the first time. Foreboding fills her mind. Amongst the green trees the group of grey and brown housing are clustered together. The spindly tall points of one building overshadows the rest in grandiosity. There it is. Surveying what she first sees, the welcoming area is made sour of knowing a monster thrives there.

She stops. She breathes the cold air in.. and

out..

in..

and

out..

The air is soothing ice in her lungs.

Clare starts on her way towards the village.

/...

Now at the village, she feels the stares of each and every person's eyes. They look on her, cold and alienating stares. The hushed whispers spread amongst them – whispers of accounts terrifying on her kind.

Clare glances back too, on each and every one of them. Each one she gazes to freeze up in superstitious fear. One is the Yoma.

"..is a Claymore.."

"Careful now.. don't.. don't make her mad.."

"..silver-eyed witch.."

She grimaces.

Along the way, Clare notices a bunch of children, made to hide behind the grown-ups for their safety. They gaze on her, not in fear - but in bewilderment, curiosity, and wonderment of her figure. She holds back the urge to give a reassuring smile to them.

Two of them scuttle off, a boy and a girl. They weave their way through the focused crowd and come to get a better view of her alongside a towering black statue. It is an angel, lifting up a dying one to peace.

Her fingers stretch out, ready to draw should it strike now.

Ahead, a rackety, bearded man amongst the crowd comes to her in a rush. "You must be the one they sent us?"

"Yes."

"C'om- come along now- come along now with me," he goes. He notions for her to follow, as nervous as the others in his demeanour.

/...

In the midst of the open square where vendors have set, is a cathedral. Its largeness hails it as a landmark of the village, with its spires pointed up high to the grey sky.

There the man leads her.

Clare hears the scuttling of little feet behind her as the man opens the doors for her. Inside leads to an grand open space of worship and imparting.

They both enter.

/

Her footsteps clack on the stone floor, making a ghast echo through the place. Frescos of mythology and history decorate the spaces between the glazed windows high up beyond reach. Wooden seats are spread upon the open floor between Clare and the other end of the place.

On the other end of place, in a solid seat, lies a man, elderly and a near invalid, limp on the throne in a conceited costume. He is struggling to breathe. Beside him is another man with a curled beard and imposing eyebrows, who whispers in the elderly man's ear.

Upon hearing what the vizier has to say, the elderly man takes in a shocking gasp, looking forward with limited vision to the oncoming Clare.

The vizier takes the liberty to do the acquaintances on behalf.

"Greetings to you, miss," he goes.

"Hello."

"You are a fine miss indeed for the Organization to have sent you here," the vizier goes. "What would be your name, if you have any?"

Clare recalls the detached curtness so conditioned on her, but finally allows herself to be open.

"My name is Clare."

"Ahh," he goes. "My name is Ser Rodrik, of the humbled village Norslof you see here before you. As you can well imagine, we have been plagued by this beastly Yoma. It has mauled and killed fifteen of our people over the past week, and breathes amongst us even now, now, very now. But I presume you already know this."

Rodrik notions to the man who leads Clare. From coming over, Rodrik pulls a leather sack from the man, and walks slowly over to her, arm extended. The payment.

But Clare does not accept the pay. Rubel does.

"Here inside, is your payment," Rodrik goes. "I hope it is-"

"The money," Clare goes, "is for the man in black who shall come in my stead when I have finished."

A beat.

"But should I fail and die," Clare goes, "you do not have to pay."

The leather bag shakes around in Rodrik's quivering hand, before he lowers it. The warmth drains out of his thinly face. "Oh."