Shadow's Ascendance

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Chapter Twenty-four

“Miss Ivana, surely you aren’t threatening a Detective in the police station in front of another Detective, are you? Because technically, that is an arrest worthy offense,” Dorf held up his hands as he tried to placate the fiery half-Orc, hoping to appeal to her common sense and giving her the chance to take back what she had just said. On most normal people, they would have picked up on that and (more than likely) reversed their statement.

However, I could recognize when the infamous half-Orc temper had the bit in their mouth, as the Centaur expression goes, and would sooner go over the cliff than back up and avoid the fall. I’m sure I’ve had that look before (never having gazed into a mirror when I did), and Ivana had that look right now. She stared at my partner with that wild-eyed gaze and simply said, “I would love to see you try.”

That set Dorf aback. He just looked shocked for a second, and then he started squinting at Ivana, and I could see he was about to start barking at her. Most criminals (or suspects) who talked to him that way found themselves quickly face down on the ground with one of their arms wrenched behind their back. Before anyone could say anything else that they couldn’t take back, I stepped in. “Hey, partner, it’s OK. I can take it from here.”

“What in the hells do you mean, Jonas?” Dorf exclaimed.

At the same time, Ivana practically shouted, “I will NOT be silenced by your inept…”

There’s something you have to know about my people. We are a very physical race, and our disciplines/punishments reflect that. So, hoping that Ivana had been brought up the same way as me, I did what my mother did when I got out of hand: I slapped her, hard, across the face.

Silence filled the hallway. Dorf stared openmouthed at me before barking out, “Jonas! What the fuck did you do that for?” He kept switching his stare between me and Ivana, waiting with baited breath to see how she reacted. If she filed a complaint, he knew that he would have to admit that I accosted a civilian, and that could mean either suspension or the station paying her a remittance that would come directly out of my pay for the next few months or years. Myself, I tried not to let on how nervous I was that I had judged incorrectly, just standing there with my arms crossed and staring at the feisty half-Orc, waiting to see what she said.

Rubbing her cheek where my handprint still showed up in bright scarlet, Ivana glared at me before lowering her gaze just for a second before looking back up at me, no longer quite as defiant. To Dorf, that might not have meant anything, but to me, it meant that she accepted my point of view as being her temporary superior. “I may have been a bit hasty, Detectives, and I withdraw my previous statement,” she said softly, and you could have knocked my partner over with a feather. “Happy?” she almost snarled at him, and I grinned to see that she was still as ornery as ever. Not trusting himself to speak, Dorf just nodded his consent. Before she stopped talking, Ivana had to get in one final insult. “By the way, you hit like an old woman.” My grin just got wider, while my partner looked even more confused than before, if that’s possible.

Let me explain. Our culture is one that’s based on strength and dominance. We get that from our Orc heritage, in which the one who is strongest rules and leads the tribe. It’s always been that way, and even though Ivana and I are only half an Orc, we still follow that same mindset instilled by our parents. Unless of course, we had never even met an Orc, but that’s beside the point. That’s also not to say that half-Orc women are weaker than half-Orc men; far from it. In fact, I dare anyone to go up to somebody like Ivana and tell her that she’s not as strong as a male. Just let me know where to send the next-of-kin notification.

No, what I mean is that by slapping her, not only did I show Ivana that I was worthy of being listened to, but that I was right and didn’t fear any repercussions from my actions. All about picking a course and sticking to it, that’s my people. If I had slapped her quickly, it would have shown that I was ruled by my emotions, which is not a good way to be, even for people who are renowned for their temper. If I had apologized afterwards, it would have shown that I regretted my action, and she would have lost all respect for me. But, by doing it and then standing there afterwards waiting for her to respond, I showed her that I was in control of the situation. Yeah, I know, it’s kind of messed up, but we are who we are.

“We will discuss everything with you, Miss Ivana, I promise; but, I think it’s more important right now to help speed Madam Darya on her journey, don’t you?” She nodded quickly, tears forming in the corners of her eyes, and I let her go ahead so she could gather up the other Ronan and so we could escort them back outside the city. We didn’t want or need any small-minded citizens giving them grief, not at a time like this. And, I’m slightly ashamed to say this, but I wanted to watch her walk by me, to stare at her…well, you know. What’s the expression, I hate to see you go but I love to watch you leave? Yup, that applied.

After she had left, Dorf spun to face me. “Seriously, Jonas, what the flying fuck was that? Are you trying to get yourself suspended? Or do you just hate me, and don’t think how it would mess with me having to testify that my partner beat up a woman?” He was very angry, and I couldn’t blame him. From his point of view, I had acted recklessly and with abandon.

I patted him on the shoulder. “Relax, partner, I knew what I was doing. Well, I mostly knew what I was doing. Well, I counted on her being brought up the same way I was. And hey, I was right, so don’t worry, OK? Let’s get going.” I started to follow where Ivana had gone.

“One of these days you are gonna have to tell me about your childhood, because there are times it seems seriously fucked up from my perspective,” Dorf grumbled behind me as he tailed our little procession. I could understand his concern, because even my dad sometimes reacted badly to my mother’s discipline, and he had married her! Of course, I also remember the time that my mother had been browbeating my father about something trivial, and how he had decided he’d had enough and he had let her finish talking before he took her over his knee and spanked her. Far from being upset or angry, my mother had hummed to herself and kissed him passionately afterwards, which was the part that grossed me out. No matter what race you are, nobody likes to see their parents being affectionate with each other.

From the Human view point it was abuse, plain and simple. From the Orc view point it was discipline, and I kind of agree with it. It was never done to excess or to permanently damage me, only when I had messed up or disrespected my mother or father. Trust me, I’ve seen cases of abuse, working in the city; nothing my mother did ever even came close to some of the shit I’ve witnessed. Broken bones, cracked skulls, even death. No child deserves to be treated that way, and those that we catch doing so usually end up suffering some kind of fatal ‘accident’ while incarcerated. Hey, prison can be a dangerous place, what can I say?

However, my dad was always big on how I behaved reflecting on him, and that was something very Human. My mom always said that my actions only reflected my own honor, not hers; he insisted that I always be mindful that the way I acted would indicate what kind of job they did raising me. As always, it was a compromise between them. He stayed out of it when my mom was disciplining me (even though he didn’t do it to that level himself when it came to me), and my mom let him teach me about personal honor and how one should behave when out and about amongst others. They did the best they could, and I have no complaints about it.

When Dorf and I entered the main room where just a short while ago the Ronan were giving their statements, we were ‘treated’ to the stereotypical way of grieving, as it was portrayed in plays or in coppertales. Most of the Ronan were wailing at the top of their lungs, heads thrown back while they either tore at their hair or pounded their chests. As I looked around, I could see that most of my fellow officers had no clue what was going on, and almost all of them looked really nervous or uncomfortable.

From what research I had done, I knew they would be a few minutes in doing this, so Dorf and I had enough time to go give our report to the Chief while we were waiting on them to get themselves together before heading out. So, we went to his office and knocked before he acknowledged us and we entered. As we closed the door behind us, it helped mute the sound of their grief, but was unable to mask it entirely. “Can ye tell me what da fuck that’s all about? Sounds like someone just died,” he growled out as we saluted him and stood at attention. He returned the salute, but didn’t give us leave to be at ease, so we both stood there like we were.

Dorf was the first one to speak. “Sir, their matriarch, Madam Darya, was murdered just a few minutes ago.”

The Chief just stood there, staring at us for a bit. “Well, shit, that doesn’t bode well for our reputation. How in the Hells did that happen? Jonas, weren’t you in there with them?”

Since Dorf hadn’t been in the room with me, he had nothing to add, so I reported everything to the Chief, only withholding the part about where I had some blood of the ‘bright man’ in my pocket. Having thought about it for a little while, I wasn’t sure if I was going to go through that spell or not, and didn’t want to bring it up until I knew what I myself would do. After all, sometimes it’s better to beg forgiveness than to ask for permission.

When I ran down, including my suspicions about how the ‘bright man’ may have been in the station before or may have followed Dorf and me, the Chief just gazed off into space. This was the first that Dorf had heard of it, and he looked as queasy as I had when the thought occurred to me. I didn’t blame him on that at all. Thinking that I may have cost somebody their life wasn’t something that I took for granted. “Chief, what do you think?”

Sighing long and loudly, Copperbeard ran his hand over his face and stroked his beard a couple of times. Finally, he spoke up. “Yeah…I think that I long fer da days when all I had da worry about was good old fashioned crooks and criminals, not this magic shit and the Steamtech whatchamacallits.” He waved his hand around.

Not quite sure how to phrase it, I settled on, “Well, Chief, magic has been around…”

“I know that, I’m not a fucking idiot!” he barked out before sighing again. “Listen, go to this funeral thing with the Ronan. It will help make us not look like such a colossal cock-up after allowing their matriarch ta be killed. I know,” he held up his hand, forestalling my protest. “There wasn’t nothing ye could have done, but still…after this funeral, get back here and talk to the eggheads in R&D, see if they can’t figure out something that will help us in seeing this son of a whore. Dismissed.”

Giving him one more salute, both Dorf and I turned and left the Chief’s office, making sure to shut the door behind us. As luck would have it, the Ronan were done with their outbursts and were getting their things together to head out of the city. Bracing ourselves, my partner and I joined them. Like I had said earlier, it was the least we could do. And, on the bright and morbid side, it wouldn’t take as long as it had when we had to bury the other Ronan just a couple of days ago, so there was that. Nodding to Ivana, we all proceeded to leave the station and city.


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