Carpathia III: Epilogue 14 - Dr. Traverse
Jaze's house, Rune Lake, New Carpathia
Still flustered from the events of the previous evening, Jaze nibbled on his morning breakfast in silence while activity swirled all around him. He appeared to take no notice of people going in and out the back door, watching television, or darting over to the table to take helpings of bacon, goetta, and fruit and he did his best to ignore the cacaphony of noise, though it was starting to get under his skin. Besides Jaze's malaise, the morning was proceeding as normally as one might expect in such an unusual household until the doorbell rang.
Tier, who was on duty that particular morning, answered it, swinging the door wide to reveal Lord Lynx.
Tier: Lord Lynx! I didn't know you'd be stopping by today! Do come in!
Lord Lynx ducked under the doorframe and stepped inside while Jaze kept a wary eye on him.
Lord Lynx: My apologies, Mr. Tier, but this is an unscheduled stop. I was wondering if I might speak with Jaze.
Any hope that Lynx's visit didn't have anything to do with last night were now rapidly dissipating as Tier gestured toward the kitchen before closing the door. Lynx took a seat opposite Jaze at the table.
Lord Lynx: Hello, Jaze.
Jaze said nothing, worried that any words that came out of his mouth might incriminate him, and simply glanced around, avoiding looking Lynx in the eye.
Lord Lynx: I see you're not much for conversation today. That's alright. I can do the talking.
Lynx leaned back in his chair and crossed his legs.
Lord Lynx: I have some of my staff scouring the news for odd things here and there that may need addressing but don't get big headlines. They found something very interesting this morning. It was a report of two guys who went to the hospital last night, one with minor burns on his face and the other with lacerations on his neck and they were spouting some crazy story about a guy who turns into a monster.
Lynx paused while Jaze's ears flattened on his head while he sank even further in his chair.
Jaze: Am I under arrest or something?
Lynx snapped to attention and smiled in his own grisly way, as though he'd been waiting for this all along.
Lord Lynx: Arrest? No, no. In fact, I believe you have done Carpathia a service. One of the nurses recognized the guys from a wanted sketch. The police have been looking for them for years, but they varied the timing and locations of their attacks so much, they were quite difficult to capture. Now, they are in custody, all thanks to you!
Lynx relaxed again, and this time, so did Jaze.
Lord Lynx: Regardless, I wanted to check up on you. How are you doing?
Jaze: Not good, to be honest. I could have killed those two guys easily.
Lord Lynx: I suspected as much. I know someone who can help you and if you don't mind spending a few days away from here, I'll gladly take you there.
Jaze became silent again, lost in thought, while Lynx patiently waited for an answer. Eventually, Jaze looked up and noticed his father standing to the side, evidently having been there all along. Tier quietly nodded as soon as their eyes met, giving Jaze the confidence to give Lynx his answer.
Jaze: I do need some help. I'll do it.
Lord Lynx: Good! Pack yourself a bag and do whatever else you need to do. I'll be back in a few hours. I'll let you know the exact time as soon as I can.
The drive was long, taking Jaze from one side of the city to the other. The ride passed mostly in relative silence with Lynx attending to some business on his computer while Jaze stared out the window, clutching the doll he found in a refrigerator back on Yseri. Finally, Lynx put away his computer and had a good look at the doll he was holding.
Lord Lynx: That's an unusual doll you have. Where did you get it?
Jaze glanced at the doll before returning his attention to Lynx.
Jaze: I found it in a refrigerator on Yseri.
Lynx's eyes widened.
Lord Lynx: Come to think of it, I seem to remember something about that from Ryuu. That's quite an artifact you have. I imagine there are many more. I just hope we find the place.
Jaze: Toma and I also brought back the bones of a dead tokki. With everything that's been going on, we forgot about it.
Lord Lynx: Well, I'm sure those aren't going anywhere. We'll arrange for the tokki to collect them soon.
Jaze looked out the window of the car, watching a line of trees go by.
Jaze: How much longer?
Lord Lynx: Not much longer. Dr. Traverse lives on this mountain. In fact, he owns the whole thing. Bought it for next to nothing when there nobody lived out here. He's the one we're going to see.
Just then, the car made a turn from the avenue onto a gravel road.
Lord Lynx: Dr. Traverse was the Lord's official physician when Veritas was in charge.
After a bumpy ride on a gravel, and then dirt, road, they arrived at their destination, a pair of A-frame houses next a pond and surrounded by tall trees. Exiting the car, Lynx lead Jaze up to the front porch of the larger house.
Lord Lynx: For the record, Dr. Traverse is a bit eccentric.
Before Jaze could respond, Lynx knocked on the door. Right away, from inside, Jaze could hear the sounds of scooting furniture, toppling knickknacks, and clomping feet on a wooden floor.
Dr. Traverse: What in tarnation is it this time!
Suddenly, the door flew open and banged on the wall, sending Jaze cowering behind Lord Lynx. In the opening stood an old man holding his cane high in the air. For a moment, it looked as though he were about to whallop someone, but as soon as he saw Lord Lynx, his shoulders sank and he rolled his eyes, his moustache shifting from side to side in consternation.
Dr. Traverse: Bah. Lord Fuzzbutt. It's just you. I thought you were one of them social workers come to check up on me again.
Entirely nonplussed, Lynx grinned.
Lord Lynx: It's good to see you again, Dr. Traverse. You're looking well.
Suddenly, Dr. Traverse flung his arms up into the air and began gesticulating wildly.
Dr. Traverse: I am well! That's what I keep telling 'em! Darned social workers. Keep sayin' they're here to help. I don't need help! I'm only 106!
Jaze, still using Lynx as a shield, whispered to himself.
Jaze: Only 106?
To Jaze's surprise, Dr. Traverse appeared to hear him.
Dr. Traverse: That's what I said! Then I whacked 'em with my stick! That'll teach 'em a lesson!
To Jaze's relief, Dr. Traverse seemed to finally calm down.
Dr. Traverse: Anyway, that's neither here nor there. Why'd you just show up at my door instead of callin' first, ya big fuzzy git?
Lynx continued to keep his relaxed composure, as though he were observing something that seemed aggressive but was ultimately non-threatening, like an overly curious bumblebee.
Lord Lynx: If I'd called, you would have told me to piss off.
Dr. Traverse's eyes widened as he thumped his cane on the floor.
Dr. Traverse: Bah. Quite right. Well, whatcha got for me this time? From the looks of things, a scrawny sad-sack to look after, right?
Lord Lynx held up his paws as though pretending like he only just accidentally ended up here.
Lord Lynx: Something like that. We were in the neighborhood and it seemed like a good idea.
Dr. Traverse squinted and Jaze thought just for a moment that he detected a hint of a smile.
Dr. Traverse: You're full of shit as always, Lord Fuzzbutt. Well, what are you waitin' for? Get the pointy-eared twerp in here.
Lord Lynx took a step to the side and gently placed his hand on Jaze's back, nudging him forward.
Lord Lynx: Go on. He's a nice guy. I promise.
Still unsure, Jaze hesitantly shuffled foward, helped along by Lord Lynx. As Jaze approached the front door, he backed up against the frame keeping a close watch on Dr. Traverse, who was eyeballing him carefully. Doing his best to keep his distance, with ears flat and tail tucked between his legs, Jaze sidled comically around the door frame and into the house, leaving Dr. Traverse to unceremoniously shut the door in Lynx's face without even so much as a goodbye. Instead of turning around himself, Dr. Traverse stood facing the door with his hands on his hips as though he could still see Lord Lynx.
Dr. Traverse: Bah. Kids. Soon as they hit 60 years old, they think they know everything.
All city pictures from SimCity 4