8 pages ◆ CCXXIX
In which Ulu comes for Márime the Executioner.
Image description: A digitally drawn comic in shades of dull green, and bright orange and yellow. In a darkened swamp, Márime kneels by some tree roots and extends his hand into the water.
He then looks up, mildly surprised. He has a long, thin face, with a small pencil moustache and grey hairs at his temples. Strapped to his back is a huge glowing cleaver of a sword. He wears a round, flat-topped hat with no brim, and two strings coming off of its end, with one tuft on each. His other arm ends at the tricep.
Márime's surprise turns into resigned sadness.
Márime: Ah, Ulu. Is it my time, then?
Image description: The aformentioned Ulu stands tall in their canoe on the waters. They're a tall, calm slightly inhuman presence, and the vivid lantern light from the end of their oar slices through the mist.
Ulu holds out their hand.
Ulu: Indeed it is, Executioner. Come now.
Ulu holds out their hand and Márime takes it, though he tears up as he stands.
Image description: The swamp waters splash as the boat moves through it. Márime is now sitting cross-legged opposite Ulu, with his sword between the two of them. He looks solemn.
Márime: I did not expect that I would depart so soon.
Ulu: Do not worry, Executioner. No one does.
Márime: Perhaps that is for the best. I have more than my own fair share of regret.
Image description: Ulu smiles a fanged smile.
Ulu: I am sure you do. In fact, I believe I picked up your own child quite recently. Yes... not more than two months ago, if my memory serves.
Márime balks, eyes wide, then squeezes them tightly shut.
Márime: Did they... mention me?
Ulu: Yes. "It was my own parent, Márime," they said. "He is a laconic person... who hates spice and is quite knowledgeful on foreign table games."
The scene then turns misty as it shows past memories. Márime is sitting at a table, with three cards in front of him and a drinking gourd in hand. He listens with wide eyes as someone tells him of something urgent.
Image description: Márime is shown walking on wooden boardwalks through the swamp, eyes wide. He is then shown at a shadowed village, its houses perched on stilts, while he reaches back for his sword.
Ulu: "He learned how to cook khayi, because I told him I liked them, and for that reason alone." They seemed kind. You raised them well.
Márime: I hope I did... Perhaps...
Image description: Tears drip from Márime's eyes as he grips his sword handle tighter.
Márime: Perhaps it is selfish of me, but... I do hope they still love me, even after I did what I did.
Márime's shadow is cast over the floor of a house. The room is clearly trashed, with the wall cracked and broken furniture laying on the floor. Blood seeps from the curled up and hunched figure cast in the darkness of Márime's shadow. But their once-human eyes shine brightly as they hug their decaying arms over their head.
Image description: The scene returns to the present.
Ulu: It was gruesome, yes, but if it were not for your intervention, they would be doomed to painful undeath.
Márime: I KNOW!! But-
Márime's outburst turns into tears, and he grips his face tightly.
Ulu: ...Are you alright?
Image description: The water's mists turn their most vivid oranges, overwhelming the boat. Márime's face is cast in both light and shadow.
Márime: I am trying to remember a day that I ever wanted to be executioner.
The boat passes and fades into the light.