Helping a Friend

by Christian O'Kane

Misha was having a bad day. He had many things to do but when George asked to see him the fox came listened. Aside from the fact that George was the Scoutmaster and Misha’s commander George usually had a very good reason for asking Misha there.

“We have a problem. A big white and black striped one,” George said. The jackal was seated behind the big desk that rested in one corner of his office.

“You mean Oberon?” the fox asked.

George nodded in answer. “He’s been going on patrols alone for at least the last two months.”

Misha’s one ear perked up in interest. “Alone?”

“And worse he’s been mutilating the dead. One of my patrols came across a pile of lutin heads at the scene of one of his ambushes.”

“A bit gruesome but so? I’ve seen the Lutins do a lot worse.”

The jackal leaned forward. “His patrols have been getting longer and longer and he’s been spending less and less time at the keep between patrols. All he seems to be doing lately is killing Lutins. Last time I saw him I noticed that he has also started wearing a necklace of lutin thumbs. Taken from all his kills. Remind you of someone?" George asked calmly.

Misha nods his head slowly. "Yes. Me during my wild days,” he said somberly. “If this is really happening we need to do something before this cat kills himself."

"He's also been killing a lot of the Lutins,” George commented. “I think he would be good in the Long Scouts.”

“The Longs have no place for a mindless killer but he has a lot of skills I can use. He needs help.”

"Weren't you a mindless killer at one point Misha?"

"Yes and I was lucky to survive long enough to grow beyond it," Misha explained. “He doesn't have the power of the axe to protect him like I did."

"What about that sword of his?"

“I barely survived with a lot of help from the axe. Do you think the sword is as strong as SHE is?" Misha asked bearing his teeth.

"I really couldn't tell you Misha, he doesn't talk a lot about his sword, or about any of the dozen weapons that he carries,” George countered.

"That scares me. A person shouldn't carry that many weapons. Sword, axe and bow - I've carried only those 3 for years."

The jackal nodded in agreement. "Well from what I can tell he carries that longsword, a broadsword, a dagger, throwing knives, two stilettos, a longbow with lots of arrows, a atlatl with five spear-darts, and probably a few more concealed in his armor. That’s more then most whole patrols carries."

Misha just shook his head. "He's a walking armory. We need to loosen him up and give him a life outside of killing."

George took a drink from his mug full of red wine. "What about his forge? And the work that he does there, does that count?"

"Caroline did mention to me that she noticed his forge hasn't been fired up in a month or more. So he hasn't been forging anything.” The fox said with a shake of the head.

George sighed. “Not good.”

"So what has that Cat been doing with his time off?" Misha asked intently.

"What has he been doing?” George growled. “He's been killing things Misha. That's what he has been doing. In the past month and a half he's been at the Keep less then a dozen days."

"That is bad George. There is more to life then just killing."

"We both know that, as so should he, after all he's been at it longer than both of us."

"I know but that doesn't make it any better. He needs to relax a little."

“I know that Misha but what can we do to help him?” George countered. “We need to do this fast before he gets himself killed. He won’t live more then a half a year at the most.”

"What do we do?" Misha asked.

"Well last time we wanted him to relax Donnie gave him a good dose of catnip at the Deaf Mule but once that wore off he went back to his cold, lonely self," the jackal commented.

“We can’t keep him drunk on catnip for the rest of his life. It would be worse them if he became an alcoholic.”

“You could ask Father Hough.” George suggested. “He would know what to do.”

Hough was very quiet after Misha finished speaking. George also remained silent as well. He had spoken only a few times before that, letting Misha do all the explaining.

“You had good reason to worry. He needs help,” Hough said softly.

George laughed. “We already knew that father. We were hoping for your help on what to do.”

“We need to do something now,” Misha said in a worried tone. “Before he does something foolish and gets himself killed.”

“Have you talked to him, confronted him openly about this?” Hough asked.

“He hardly talks to anyone,” Misha explained.

“Oberon is not one to take advice from anyone,” George added. “He’s been alone for so long he refuses to listen to anyone else.”

Hough pondered for a moment before answering. “What we need to do is gather all of his friends together in one place and confront him with your fears. He might not hear one voice but he can’t ignore a chorus.”

George nodded his head. “I like that idea. Blunt and to the point. I can order him to my office and we can confront him there.”

“Besides you and me we’ll need, Caroline, Finbar, Danielle,” Misha said. “Will you help us Father?” he asked Hough.

“Of course. I’m in the business of saving souls.”