A Tale of Two Mayors
Mayor Leo Fattore hadn’t slept well. Every time he nodded off he was back in the town hall. The inquisitor had locked eyes with Jessica, but instead of freezing into obedience, this time she threw off the gaze and sent the robed questors screaming into nothingness. Rising into the air from her seat, she pointed at him. And Leo woke up trembling with fear and guilt.
“Wake up!” snapped Carol. “It’s obvious what’s happening. There’s no way that in only three days of traveling, people should already be asking whether I’m going to stay on the council or just take care of the supply wagon.”
“You can’t know for sure,” Kelly said, trying to soothe her cousin. “Maybe it’s just jitters from people who haven’t been outside the walls in years.”
“No. It’s that damned Indian. I just know it. That smug bastard is always trying to undermine me. But he’s pushed me too far this time. He’s not throwing me off the council.”
“They threw him off the roof!” James said, nearly out of breath. “I was going to relieve the guards on the north side for the day shift, and I saw the man in leathers on the roof of the Embassy toss him off.”
“It’s not our problem, is it? You said he came in with one of the Seekers. It’s their problem. If the Emissary was corrupt, then they’ll just send a new one,” said Leo. Privately, Leo hoped that he’d finally proven his trustworthiness and the town wouldn’t need a new Emissary. Maybe that was why the fat toad had been killed. The gluttonous lecher had to have been an embarrassment, and now Leo could fold the role into his normal duties.
“Maybe, but the man in the robe wasn’t there. He was still by the south road. And they’ve taken down one of the,” James paused. “Cultists. And in the sunlight, you can tell the robes are different. He doesn’t have a giant cross like the last bunch did.
“Did they say there were sending another team?” continued James. “You know what happens if the Emissary wasn’t supposed to be killed and it gets pinned on us.”
“The radio is in the Embassy so they couldn’t have done that. But it is odd they didn’t stop to inform me what was happening. And it’s odd they cut down the cultist,” said Leo with no hesitation at the word. “But who would have the balls to impersonate a Seeker?”
Hopeful imaginings of life without an Emissary usurping his authority warred with the suspicion that something was going wrong. Then James answered the rhetorical question and tipped the scales:
“Maybe more witches?”
“Witches? That’s too much. I won’t go along with it,” said Kelly.
“Think about it. Youngblood’s the best healer either of us have ever seen. Spooky good. There’s people alive today that old Jacobsen would have swore he couldn’t do anything for. And he’s friends with that Teri woman. You can’t tell me she isn’t a weird one,” said Carol.
“He’s a great doctor and better than Jacobsen ever was. And yes, Teri’s weird. But that doesn’t mean they’re witches!” said Kelly.
“Then how come none of his apprentices learn to heal like he does?” argued Carol. “How come when someone else does the little dance and chants his little chants that nothing happens?”
“I don’t know,” said Kelly, “Maybe they aren’t doing it right. Look, you aren’t going to get rid of him until you find another healer. He’s saved too many people. And I’m not going to participate in saying he did it by witchcraft. He’s got strange traditions, but even Father Contrerras says it’s just another way of approaching God’s Unity. I’ll stand up with you against the whispers, but you shouldn’t go starting trouble on your own.”
“Are you sure you should go on your own?,” asked James. “It could be trouble.”
“If it’s a real Seeker, we’re safe. If it’s a man, it’s only one man. And if it’s a witch, you couldn’t help me anyway. Anyway, I’m the mayor, it’s my job.” said Leo. “Just remember, watch me for the sign. If you don’t see me give it in the first minute I’m talking to him, you ride for the United Cities with the message. With any luck, that will convince them it’s not our fault.”
Leo tucked his knife and pistol under his coat and opened the door, “Let’s just hope everything turns out ok.”