After everyone retired to their rooms for the night, Cali left the Inn. A gentle breeze was blowing, and Cali decided to enjoy the quiet moonlit sky for a while longer. He took flight, and pumped his wings to gain altitude. After circling Montfort once, Cali found that the streets were rather deserted, with the exception of a few celebrations that can be expected at the end of Market Day. After some time passed, Cali decided on one last low pass over the roofs of the buildings before retiring himself.
It was late and the streets of Montfort were completely deserted now. He spotted a lone figure hiding behind some bushes. 'This is odd,' he thought, 'I wonder whom this guy is hiding from if there is nobody around.' Cali quietly landed on a nearby rooftop, and watched the figure as it peeked out from behind the bushes watching something at the back of the Dragon's Inn. Cali took flight again in order to investigate; he pumped his wings to get some height so that he would stay inconspicuous, but tried to stay low enough so as to be able to make out features. As he got closer to the Inn, he noticed a barely visible, sparkling beam of light shining from the moon into the back yard of the Inn. Cali immediately realized the gravity of the situation.
The Lady was having her sacred moon dance tonight, and this guy was invading her privacy. Cali could see Tizzy going nuts; pixie crystals were whirling all over the place as Tizzy was jumping around watching the guy and trying to inform Her Lady without interrupting the sacred dance. The Lady was completely enveloped in her ritual, unaware of her surroundings, and Tizzy was probably not allowed to interrupt her. 'Poor little thing,' Cali thought. Tizzy was contemplating how to best protect Her Lady, when she saw a large black shape swoop down and crash right into the guy. Cali hit him with full force, knocking both of them several feet back and out of Tizzy's sight.
"What do you think you were doing?" Cali stood up to his full height in front of the man, who was still picking himself up off the group and recovering from the blow.
"I was just gonna have a me a little fun with the lady there." The guy answered between coughs, even attempting a sarcastic grin.
"The rats in the gutter are not good enough company for the likes of yourself?"
"Oh they are, but there are some things that only a fine lady can take care of ... if you know what I mean." By this time the guy managed to stand up, and had a grin on his face; he did not seem at all surprised by the much taller gargoyle. He was not very tall, an unkempt tangle of hair was covering his ears, and he had a small dog-like face. "If she is yours, do you mind sharing?" he asked with that mocking grin.
"She is nobody's to share!" the gargoyle roared, perhaps too loudly.
"Well that is fine then," the chap answered, turned around and started to walk away.
The kick to the center of his face came so abruptly, it took Cali completely by surprise. Had he been made of flesh and bone, he surely would have had his nose completely destroyed and would be reeling from the pain. As it was, he only fell backwards with a resounding thud!
Cali got up, brushed some twigs off himself, and spoke with a calm low tone: "I think you should have walked away when you had the chance, pal!"
The smaller man pulled out a sword which was strapped to his back, hidden under his shirt, and chortled a short hyena-like laugh.
Cali charged him, both clawed hands prepared to rip into flesh. His opponent was much faster; he ducked and rolled to the side. Cali had to consciously calm himself: 'Don't give yourself to him, let him come to you. This guy is obviously a trained fighter; need to keep a level head.' The hyena man switched his stance and advanced with his weapon at a ready. Cali was able to deflect a few hits easily, but one blow landed square on his shoulder and a good chunk of stone shattered, spraying pebbles everywhere. 'The sword is enchanted!' Cali immediately realized, 'although not strongly. He is going to be counting on his sword to do his work for him ... must watch his eyes.'
The hyena guy laughed again, licked his lips, and nodded in the direction where The Lady was dancing. "Is she worth it? I mean, she must be real good if you are willing to die for her, har har ha," he laughed mockingly.
'Good, he is more confident now,' Cali thought.
The next advance was a little more crude. Sword pointed straight into Cali's chest, he charged. Cali jumped and slightly pumped his wings; this landed him immediately behind his opponent. There he stretched his wings to their full length and slammed them together catching his enemy right between them.
Shaking his head to try and clear it, the swordsman turned and took up a stance. This time the smirk was gone from his face. "You're going to Hell, funny-face!"
Cali just gave a lighthearted smirk, still concentrating on his opponent's eyes. The guy decided on the same desperate charge again, but this time he jumped up in front of the gargoyle anticipating his move. Gambling on exactly that, Cali ducked down and caught his opponent by the leg in mid-air returning him to the ground face first. When they stood up, Cali could see a little bit of blood trickling from dog-face's nose.
"So you and I are even now, funny boy. Now you must pay for invading The Lady's privacy!" Cali said calmly. He reached for the talisman The Lady had given him earlier in the evening, tore it from his neck and casually discarded it aside.
With a yell and sword at the ready, the guy attacked the gargoyle much more fiercely. Cali caught the sword by the blade on the first strike, and swiped at the hand holding it with a sickle shaped claw. A small jerk and a crunch freed the hand from the arm. The war scream frozen in the back of his throat, the hyena man stared blankly ahead. Cali hit the man, with his own hand, across the face, and sent him stumbling back several feet.
The challenger took this as an opportunity for retreat, and took off down the street cradling his bloodied stump. Cali spread his wings, and easily overtook him. "You forgot your weapon!" and with a swift swing embedded the sword in the bone in his leg. The screaming adversary completely collapsed to the ground in pain.
Cali grabbed him by his still good leg, spread his wings and took flight.
"Let me go," the guy demanded, although not very forcefully seeing that the ground was slowly retreating from under him. Cali was still climbing in height. "Please, where are you carrying me?" When Cali was satisfied that he was sufficiently high, he decided to switch hands and grabbed the guy just above his knee with his free arm. In this position Cali's victim was hanging upside down and Cali could stretch out his arm and look directly into the guy's eyes.
"Do you know what a pretty color human blood is, when you look at it in the moonlight?"
Perhaps realizing his fate, the man's last desperate response was to spit into Cali's face. Cali simply released his grip.
The plummeting scream was abruptly cut off somewhere in the darkness below.
Strangely unsatisfied, Cali pumped his wings and flew toward a solitary cloud way up in the sky.
Cali passed through a shadow under the cloud, and circled around to the top side. There he found a small landing and a door. He landed, went through, and closed the door behind him.
"Hello Cali," the familiar echoing voice greeted him.
The black capped man joined him, and they walked together through a featureless landscape, with hazy fog licking at their feet. As usual, the Dream Lord's white face showed no emotion, and his tangled hair was arranged on his head as if he just woke up from a restless sleep.
"Why do people hurt each other?", Cali asked a childish question.
"Struggle is an inevitable part of life," came the equally childish answer.
"Humans fight each other all the time. They could accomplish so much more if they would only set aside their differences."
"Every race has their own unique struggles. Accepting each other is the greatest challenge that humans are burdened with."
"Predators fight because, well, they are predators. But humans fight each other! It seems so pointless. Even animals don't do that to their own. They try to disguise it and dress it up, so they don't have to look at the true gruesome nature of it right in the face. Like Major Cooper, he is so cowardly, hiding behind that uniform of his all the time."
"You should not judge a book by it's cover, especially you Cali. I would have expected much more from you." There was a long uncomfortable pause, before the Dream Master spoke again. "Why did you kill that man?", another rhetorical question.
"He was going to violate her, and probably worse," Cali tried to defend himself, "he was going to kill her!"
"So you killed him instead ... soft of hypocritical don't you think?" This last sentence echo a little longer than any of the others.
A moment ago, Cali knew undoubtedly that he was correct. Now he was just left all alone with a whole bunch of new questions. When he looked up again, it was early morning and he was standing outside of Montfort where his talisman still lay from the night before.