A Tall Tale

So… he’s my answer to the genre challenge for last month.  The challenge was to write a tall tale.  So, here’s Ezra’s somewhat exaggerated version of how things went down between them and the person behind all of the mess they’ve faced so far.  There’s a spoiler, since this is the second to last chapter of the story.

**

The chief looked from one man to the other and scowled.  “So,” he said, crossing his arms across his back, “I want you to tell me exactly what happened.”

Lachlan and Ezra exchanged a look.  Lachlan shrugged his shoulders and shook his head.  “I’m no good at telling stories,” he said, smirking.  “I’ll leave such things to yourself, partner.”

A broad smile spread across Ezra’s face and he leaned back in the chair.  “Well, let me tell you what happened, sir,” he said.

Lachlan couldn’t help but smile at his partner.  He looked like a storyteller preparing to spin the most fantastic yarn for a group of eager onlookers.  The chief must have gotten the same impression, for he sighed and rested his chin on a balled fist, frowning darkly.

“We arrived at the crime scene,” Ezra said, his voice soft.  “The moon was high in the sky and the air was eerily still when we arrived.  Two lone figures stood on the shore, staring out at the water.

“As we approached, they turned and asked us what it was we were doing.  Indeed, they mentioned that others were looking for us.  I tell you, sir, we were surprised!  We were shocked!  I mean, we certainly weren’t hiding ourselves away, so that you couldn’t find us.  So, how was it that no one knew where we had gone?”

Lachlan bit his lip to keep from chuckling softly.  Ezra’s eyes were wide as he spoke and his tone was one of complete innocence.  There was no way that the chief could fault them at this point.

The corner of Ezra’s mouth tilted upward in a half-smile.  “When we explained to the guards at the scene what our business was, they were doubtful,” he continued.  “How could it be that my shields could fail so completely so as to cover all trace of another wizard’s spellcasting?  Well, I’ll tell you, sir!  Miss Eileen took barely a moment to explain it.

“Her spell-work was a thing of beauty, sir,” he said, his eyes twinkling.  He mimed the actions as he described them.  “With a mere wave of her wand, she could see straight to the truth: a dark wizard – indeed, the very same dark wizard that had already killed two men – had woven an anti-shielding spell while I did my work further down the slope.”

“Is that so?” the chief said, arching an eyebrow.

Ezra nodded resolutely.  “Indeed, yes,” he said, his tone firm.  “He did the very same at the previous crime scene, both times resulting in my magic signature being the one found at the scene of a murder.

A faint smile touched Ezra’s lips.  “Now, though, sir, he had made a miscalculation that would be his undoing!  For now, Miss Eileen had his magic signature and using that, we were able to trace him back to his hiding place.

His brows furrowed deeply.  “Across the city we trekked, sir.  We followed the trail of the dark miscreant’s magic through back alleys covered in the more horrendous filth and through shadowy passages fraught with danger.  Finally, we came upon his lair: an abandoned warehouse near the docks.

“Almost immediately, Officer McClelland had his scent,” Ezra said, waving to his partner.  “His eyes shone with excitement as he plunged forward, heedless of any possible danger to himself.  His sole thought was in finally seeing justice served.”

The chief arched his brows and looked at Lachlan.  Flushing, Lachlan shrugged blithely.  He stifled another laugh when the chief turned back to Ezra.  He was leaning forward in his chair now, clearly enjoying Ezra’s recounting of the events.

“As Officer McClelland launched himself into the warehouse, breaking down the door in his eagerness to face our foe,” Ezra continued, “suddenly, blinding light filled the room.  The clouds parted and it was as though angels themselves descended from on high to assist us in our righteous cause, sir!  The dark wizard we found there, as if it were evidence of his fell nature, shrank back from that ethereal glow and Officer McClelland was able to bring him down.”

At another shocked look from the chief, Lachlan nodded in agreement.  It wasn’t exactly how Ezra said, but there had been a blinding flash of light that had surprised their quarry.

Ezra’s eyes widened, once more giving his face an expression of shocked innocence.  “It was only after Officer McClelland had the vile miscreant pinned on the ground that we could see his true identity, sir,” Ezra said, his voice soft.  “You can, I’m sure, imagine our shock and dismay to see that it was none other than your associate, the deputy chief of investigations.”

Even as the chief nodded, Ezra set a hand on his chest.  “That the magic signature had led us to this place – to this person that all of us had come to trust, sir,” Ezra breathed.  He shook his head.  “We could hardly believe it ourselves, but the evidence was staring us in the face.”

Brows furrowing more deeply, Ezra continued.  “Then, as if to confirm for us what we were beginning to doubt, the man began to speak.  He railed against Officer McClelland’s presence, sir.  He complained not of being pinned to the floor, which would have been perfectly understandable, given the circumstances.  No, he complained that Officer McClelland had been allowed to become a peacekeeper at all.”

Shaking his head, Ezra murmured, “The obscenities he spoke do not bear repeating, chief.  However, I can assure you that I have never heard the like spoken in gentle company and… Miss Eileen having accompanied us, there was a lady present.”

Shrugging, Ezra said, “So, I hope you can understand why Officer McClelland, in his desire to quell the tirade of foul language, might strike the man until he had ceased in his verbal abuse.  Indeed, I feel that you would have done the very same thing, as a gentleman yourself.”

The chief nodded slowly and looked at Lachlan.  “So,” he said, “that’s it then?”

Lachlan straightened and took a deep breath.  “It is, sir,” he said, his voice soft and lilting.  “The only other thing is this: Deputy Chief Strong mentioned others, sir.  Who those others might be, I cannot say, but… I very much doubt this is the end of the matter.”

“We’ll face the others when they come,” the chief said, nodding.  He looked from Lachlan to Ezra and then nodded.  “I think you’ve both earned some time off.  It’ll give you both a chance to recover from this terrible situation.  You’ll come back refreshed and ready to face the next challenge.”

“Thank you, sir,” Lachlan said, moving to his feet.  Ezra echoed his words and they headed into the corridor.  Lachlan glanced at his partner and grinned.  “Sounds so much better when you tell it.”

“I couldn’t very well let you tell him that you realized he was the one that nearly killed your wife and went wolfish, could I?” Ezra said, grinning wryly.  He heaved a sigh and shook his head.  “I’m just glad that the sunlight spell worked.  I’m not sure what I would have done if you’d have managed to actually transform.”

“Weep, belike.”

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