He stood, epic, his limber frame tense, trembling, aghast. Dark eyes swerved over to the heavily armed mercenary, uncertain, voluntarily descending to the nature of a beast in his fear, he remained wordless. Again his gaze was cast out to sea, to the wilderness of masts, and he bowed his head, elaborate plans forming through the haze of guilt. Finally, he turned from the departing ship, his heart heavy with loss, adopting in the presence of his companions a position of cold neutrality.
“If it is by his will, I can do nothing for him”, he whispered brokenly, heart pounding, judgment nebulous. Forcing himself to become distanced from the situation, he limped heavily over to Evani and placed his hand on her soldier. He shook his head at her defiance, and, his abrasive tongue forgotten, carefully allotted her space.
He paused, a historic misanthrope caught in a battle of civility.
“Our leader Shaben is no longer able to guide us”, he muttered, addressing his fellows, “and although it is a disadvantage, we can not allow it to cripple us. There is a much greater occurrence that prohibits petty feelings of guilt, and it our duty to warn the Council of it”. He smiled grimly. “The war in Lantan will soon spread throughout its provinces. We have all suffered losses, and cannot allow others to do the same. “ He glanced towards the mercenary, and a glint of humour sparked in his eye. “We, my friends, are about to undertake something that no one will ever thank us for. If I have lived as a dog, I would die as a man”.
He fell into silence, and left Evani’s side, keeping to the rail, to solitude. Privately, the taciturn individual expressed his grief, and to his nature kept a noiseless lament of the friend that had been lost, perhaps forever. Endless cycles of debt had only culminated in such a bitter loss, about which he had been able to do nothing but stand powerless, watching the well-loved face of his friend disappear from view. His stomach twisted at the thought of the possible fates that awaited his old ally beyond the mellifluous warning of his captor. Death or destruction, he brooded over the sacred fire, banishing the phantom screams of the old scars that traced the pathways of his mind.
For the first time since boyhood, he dipped his head and closed his eyes, his palms pressed together in prayer, the archaic chants rising again through the blockage of his adult years like dragons from the deep. He brushed away the dust from the bright pleasures of childhood, his thoughts focused only on the one that he was loathe to forget as he would not be forgotten. A slave to the debt that bound him and his comrade, he cried out for mercy, knowing full well that the god of his heart could only be merciless, and that no amount of heartache delayed the ineluctable weight of death.
His eyes snapped open, baleful and reptilian, as he managed to make his way over to the captain, darkened by his repose. The rogue shifted his weight impatiently. “We seek the Council, I believe”, he stated, calmly inspecting his nails.
“Judging by our situation, we have no other course of action”.
Posted on 2008-05-16 at 20:53:53.
Edited on 2008-05-16 at 21:02:15 by Septimus Sandalwood
The pit of rage within her boiled and burned; watching Shaben leave them, waching him go, and she felt it nearly overflow when Septimus put his hand upon her shoulder. She grit her teeth to hold back the torrent of words that threatened to lash him.
She strode across the deck to the opposite rail, considering this new territory. This was the reason she had resisted the fall, the bitter jealousies, the irrational outbursts. She had watched love make fools of scholars, and drag the hopfeul into hopeless madness. His behaviour, she felt, was childish.
When he spoke, she did not turn, and let the winds carry the words to her instead. He was right, of course, but she would not admit it to him. Rather, as the last of his instruction died away, she imply turned and ascended the crows nest, choosing to seclude herself from any more of Septimus' verbal attacks.
Rex was not too surprised by this sudden turn of events. He had lived the life of a mercenary long enough to experience the joys and sorrows of receiving his payments ... and of sometimes being denied his payments due to unforeseen circumstances.
However, this was an intriguing new chapter in the ways of how promised payments for his services would find a way to stall, delay or disappear altogether.
At least Shaben had boarded the ship willingly and Rex the Reckless chose to respect that decision, even if it meant the promised gold would never be seen as a result.
What bolstered the Mercenary's confidence was the experience of how things always seemed to work themselves out over a period of time. Payments denied or delayed always seemed to give way to circumstances and opportunities that multiplied the lost gold back to Rex the Reckless over the long term.
No matter how bizzare this situation, the Mercenary was confident that the outcome of receiving even more gold for his services elsewhere was the inevitable conclusion to this day's unforeseen events.
His contemplative reverie was broken by the solemn words of Septimus who was obviously subdued and broken by this event:
“Our leader Shaben is no longer able to guide us and although it is a disadvantage, we can not allow it to cripple us. There is a much greater occurrence that prohibits petty feelings of guilt, and it our duty to warn the Council of it.
“The war in Lantan will soon spread throughout its provinces. We have all suffered losses, and cannot allow others to do the same.
“We, my friends, are about to undertake something that no one will ever thank us for. If I have lived as a dog, I would die as a man."
Rex noted that Septimus had deliberately conveyed his sentence to the Mercenary and nodded his agreement, choosing to remain aloof from the broken warrior and the seething lady who had taken her silent grief to the crows nest with the obvious indication she wished to be undisturbed as she dealt with her emotions alone and away.
Rex withdrew his Whip and fondled the handle thoughtfully as he looked out to the open sea and back again as Septimus approached the ship's captain and exchanged his sullen sorrow to that of a man of action:
“We seek the Council, I believe. Judging by our situation, we have no other course of action."
Rex played out the full length of the coil of his Whip and with a masterful flick of his wrist cracked the Whip with a series of repetitive motions as his way of adding the needed emphasis that prudent haste was the wisest course of action for the captain to take in response to Septimus' declaration to the ship's captain.
Rex continues to crack the Whip in no particular rhythm as he paces about the deck seemingly lost in thought as he begins to formulate a plan of action for himself based upon his past experiences; always mindful of the fact that somewhere down the road he will seek to locate the whereabouts of Shaben, if for no other reason than to establish closure before the Mercenary takes his final nap!
As Sep demands to see the council of six the captain responds.
"I've been payed to take you to Athkatla and that is what I'll do, as with the council of six you can find them yourself, I have no idea where they are and like most of the world have no idea who they are. But Shaben did leave me a name, he told me to tell it to you if he couldn't make it, the name is Corfsand. I don't know what it means but that's what he said."
All of his life, he had dwelt upon it, the crushing sensation of unwarranted solitude that swallowed all reason, and with it, the dreariest chances of hope. It touched upon dreams, it poisoned his words, it ate into his heart. With obvious reluctance, he tore his eyes away from her after he watched her climb the rat-lines, a single swaying figure against the outstretched parchment of the sky.
Love led to loss.
The sudden, all-consuming rage that had consumed him at her thoughtlessness slowly faded, and finally disappeared all together, like a drenched flame. A deep and throbbing emptiness filled him, banishing all but the comfort of nothing, the nagging of bearable pain.He reflected silently on the words he had spat at her in the midst of his passionate fury, and winced at the abrasive cruelty that they harbored. No wonder she had left him. The loathing reflected in her eyes at his slight touch brought back a torrent of bitterness, and he recoiled, cursing his arrogance.
Of course, he was not supposed to touch humans.
He had forgotten the differences that separated him from all others of his species. Alone in a way no one could fathom, he stood and gazed at the sea, lost in the musing grey. A strong, morbid urge threatened to overwhelm his resolve, and he sighed. He was meant for greater things then the cry of the forgotten. Tormented, his searched the deck for anyone to distract him from his current state of mind, and, quite against his will, his eyes drifted towards the mercenary.
The man paced the deck, flicking his whip; oblivious to anyone else’s presence. The thin, darkly clad pirate crept forward with a healthy respect, eyeing the enormous amount of weapons that were displayed in prominence. Standing beside him, although Septimus was a tall man, Rex was at least a head taller, and more powerfully muscled. He seemed a good man to have on your side, and he regarded him rather nervously. It was very much like being in acquaintance with a tame grizzly bear.
“The captain has declined to take us to the Council”, he muttered quietly, his eyes carefully lowered. He was restless it seemed, terrible trapped energy rushing through his body, as if invisible serpents were embedded beneath his skin. “We are being taken to Athkatla as planned, and the silly twit has obviously refused to negotiate with me”.
To his credit, despite the fierce blows the rogue had taken, he was being inerrably good-natured, even going so far as to inject a sense of humour into the grim situation. He shrugged lightly and glanced away. “I was given a name apparently left by Shaben himself, although I no idea what it means, one Mr Corfsand.” He cocked his head up to look at him.
“I doubt it has any meaning to you?”
He sighed, perhaps realising that he had picked an unwilling conversationalist. “Forgive me”, he intoned softly, “if I have interrupted your thoughts, or have angered you in any way. I seem to have that effect on people”. He started to depart from him, but paused as an idea occurred to him. “It seems that we have never met under more…felicitous circumstances. If and when you wish, I would like speak of the time our paths once crossed, for it is a time that may affect you as well as I”.
He gestured out to the expanse of sea, and smiled.
“We have the time”, he said softly.
Posted on 2008-05-18 at 00:58:52.
Edited on 2008-05-18 at 01:04:45 by Septimus Sandalwood
Rex eyed Septimus suspiciously as he cautiously approached the Mercenary, yet he paused long enough to allow him to speak concerning whatever matter was obviously weighing heavily upon him after Shaben's bizarre exit and his hasty conversation with the ship's captain.
“The captain has declined to take us to the Council. We are being taken to Athkatla as planned, and the silly twit has obviously refused to negotiate with me ... I was given a name apparently left by Shaben himself, although I no idea what it means, one Mr Corfsand ... I doubt it has any meaning to you?”
Rex calmly drew his whip back with a fluid motion [like a fly fisherman would cast his bait] and let loose with a lightning quick crack of the whip that would have sent a lesser man running for his life.
“Forgive me ... if I have interrupted your thoughts, or have angered you in any way. I seem to have that effect on people ... It seems that we have never met under more ... felicitous circumstances. If and when you wish, I would like speak of the time our paths once crossed, for it is a time that may affect you as well as I ... We have the time.”
Rex slowly coiled his whip and placed it back in its familiar place among the rest of his weapons. Perhaps it was time for a heart to heart talk. His family was resting comfortably, enjoying the fresh sea air, while a troubled man stood before the Mercenary, trying his best to be friendly to someone ... anyone ... after losing his friend Shaben ... so unexpectedly!
"What is a Name? mused Rex as he motioned for Septimus to accompany him to the back of the ship, beyond the catapult where the two could have a better view of the beautiful water as the ship made its way towards Athkatla.
"Take this Mr Corfsand for instance ... his name could even be CorkSand ... a bottle stopper in the sand ... a dirty man ... but most likely this name is but a disguise ... for I have found in my business ... that certain types of men ... and women ... are known to others by a name they wish ... those others to forget ... so this Corfsand ... if that is truly his name ... may very well be someone else from your past ... or mine ... who wishes to conceal his true identity from those he may have betrayed ... Do You Agree?"
Posted on 2008-05-18 at 08:40:18.
Edited on 2008-05-18 at 10:42:28 by Hammer
Septimus hooked his arms over the rail, his eyes stoically fixed on the ebbing waves before him. The light tinge of afternoon light had touched them a peculiar shade of green, like drowning forests in the deep. He listened half-heartedly to the words of the mercenary as his assumptions were confirmed. He gave no sign that he had heard and remained quite still, the ominous words echoing in the vast caverns of his mind, his eyes slitted against the sun. A low chuckle formed in his throat and he shook his head, an expression of amusement flickering across his features.
“You are wise, Rex the Reckless”, he mused, “although your name would have many think otherwise”. He glanced to him swiftly, and then away, finding refuge in the familiar sight of the meaningless expanse. Though he would have died before admitting it, the great mercenary often frightened him.
“I expect you have an expansive knowledge on the subject of betrayal”, he added carelessly, “As we all do. For we are the same, yes? The only difference between us is the subject of your payment, and even that now has been shown to be insubstantial.“
He grimaced suddenly, forcing an unbidden thought deep into the recesses where such things are kept. “ Your employer is currently unavailable, and of course, so is his pocketbook. “He cast a thinly veiled look of suspicion towards him. “Why do you stay with us”, he inquired softly. “If Shaben never returns, neither shall your payment. “ He sighed.
“The chances are incredibly slim, that you, or any of us, will return”.
“And so I make amends”, he murmured, face ashen. “If it were not for me, your family would still be alive, as would mine. My pride, and my blindness created a monster, and it is my responsibility alone for the damage that he has wrecked on both our lives and countless others. “His hands curled into fists and he hung his head. “I wish more then anything that I had had the sense to stay my hand, but I was a weak child, you must understand that. I was a fool. And now your wife, and your children, my wife and my son.” He gritted his teeth sharply.
“The man that killed them was once my brother, and the subject of my adoration. And yet I provoked him. I slaughtered my eldest brother as he slept without understanding the finality of death. And now he hunts me, as a lord hunts a dogfox, and despite my hatred towards him, I belong to him, body and soul. He’ll never let me go.”
He closed his eyes, refusing to allow the mercenary to sense that tears had sprung to them and shook his head, silent and grim.
Rex leaned forward and gazed at the beauty of the sea as he listened to the melancholy tale spun by Septimus, both hands gripping the railing as the mesmerizing waves began to take his gaze inward along the many faceted corridors of his memories.
"Yes ... the pocketbook has vanished over the horizon ... but there are other pocketbooks willing to empty for the services of a Mercenary such as me ... and I have no where in particular to go ... and no where in particular to return ... and you dear Septimus ... are a troubled man ... seeking trouble ... even as more trouble seeks for you ... and where there is trouble ... there are pocketbooks willing to empty ...
"Not that I am seeking your harm ... nor that I am looking for a bounty on your head ... whether dead ... or alive ... for I hold you no malice ... for if I did ... you would have been left to bleed on the deck of the ship ... or to be swallowed up in the abyss of death ... lying upon your bed in your cabin these past days ...
"Had I borne you any ill will ... even a smidgen ... you would not have left my cabin alive ... for your arrogance of putting your sword to my throat ... was forgiven before you stood upright from your seat ...
"So I am not journeying with you ... and the lady ... to claim a price on either of your heads ... but I choose to right a wrong ... for where we shall go ... there are surely wrongs ... to be righted ... and the price ... of the pocketbooks ... will have no bearing on such deeds ...
"There once was a place known only as The Village ... where a young Paladin in training ... had a lovely family he was raising ... a beautiful ... and devoted ... wife ... a son ... and a daughter ... all young in their youthful prime ... who encouraged the young Paladin in training ... to do his part ... to relieve suffering ... to right wrongs ... for his young wife knew ... she must share her love ... her husband ... with those in need ... of his special talents ...
"So the young Paladin in training journeyed to a coastal town ... you should remember it well ... dear Septimus ... that had fallen under the rule of a ... shall we say ... harsh and intemperate rogue ... where the populace cried out for deliverance ... and adventurers roamed ... to answer their cries of despair ...
"Perhaps you remember the night it happened ... at the Tavern ... known as ... Der Gylde ... where you had come to ply your trade ... and invited a young Paladin in training ... to sit at the table with you ... and dine ...
"His name ... at that time ... was merely called ... Reginald DuRex ... who found in you a kindred spirit ... of sorts ... you and he ... laughed ... and cried ... and spoke of better things ... as you ate ... and drank ... into the night ...
"You went your separate ways ... found lodging for the night ... but early in the dawning ... there were sounds of a terrible fight ... this Reginald DuRex ... as he was known ... answered the cries of fright ... from a group of townspeople ... who had been beset upon ... by rogues in the morning light ...
"There was another ... who flashed his blade ... and leapt to their aid ... you dear Septimus ... you ...
"Though outnumbered ... you answered their call ... and your blade ... made many fall ...
"But there were others ... stalking and lurking ... who were about to spring upon you in surprise ... when there in the glory ... of that morning sunrise ... that young Paladin in training ... one Reginald DuRex ... sought to even the odds ...
"There was great celebration that day ... and far into the night ... as both you ... Septimus ... and the young Paladin in training ... one Reginald DuRex ... were toasted ... and heralded ... for delivering that coastal town ... from the clutches ... of the evil ... that had strangled the decency ... from those imprisoned within ...
"One day stretched to two ... then to three ... and on to four ... the townsfolk brought their riches ... piling them on the floor ...
"The young Paladin ... now had what he needed ... to build a castle ... for his family of four ... and you ... dear Septimus ... had more than enough ... to raise an army ... for your personal war ...
"Reginald DuRex ... and you ... dear Septimus ... parted as friends ... after another week ... the young Paladin in training ... was going back to his home ... and family ... while you ... dear Septimus ... were to travel another road ... dark ... and bleak ...
"So it was ... that Reginald DuRex ... declined to partake ... of your personal war ... but chose instead ... to build a castle ... for his lovely family ... of four ...
"So back to The Village he journeyed ... with great hope in his heart ... but what was there to greet him ... forever changed his heart ...
"From the smoldering ruins ... that he saw from afar ... lay the ashes of his loved ones ... that cut a deep ... and lasting ... scar ...
"Reginald DuRex read a note ... that was tacked to the oaken door ... held in place by a bloodied dagger ... written in the blood ... of his innocent family ... who were ... no more ...
"The note read ... 'Let this be a lesson to all who aid a marked man' ... and from that moment ... forward ... Reginald DuRex ... ran ... and ran ... and ran ...
"He became a Berserker Paladin ... avenging the blood of those he lost ... no matter what the obstacle ... no matter ... what the cost ...
"He chose the life of a Mercenary ... and for a price ... exacted vengeance ... upon those ... who dispensed fear ...
"Now he stands before you ... in all his battle gear ... now known as ... Rex the Reckless ... to join you ... in your battle ... whether it takes us ... far ... or near ...
Evani was moved, and tears blurred her vision. Her own unpleasant feeling faded and subsided in the aftermath of Reckless' speech. From her place in the nest, she paused and considered that perhaps her emotions did not signify the end or beginnings of worlds.
She climbed from her solitude and remained away, removed, but no longer unapproachable.
Perhaps, she considered, staring out at the brilliant sea, perhaps, perhaps... the fear of the unknown, the uncertainty of what was to come now that the one they had leaned on was no longer there to lean upon, these wore away at a soul until the hope and optimism was but a stain on a darker tapestry of hurt feelings and terse words.
Evani did not know what was to come, nor how to repair whatever fracture with Septimus, but she knew that she was not the only one whose past was painted in suffering. Reckless and Septimus suffered as well, and for them, for now, she would be the optimistic one, the bright eyed believer in hope and sunrises.
There was a dark man running across the wasteland.
Never stopping to catch his breath he ran, thin sides heaving like bellows, dark hair plastered by perspiration to his porcelain brow, his stride kicking up faint clouds of almond dust in his wake. The pale morning sun burned away the evening chill and the clinging damp mist, revealing a gigantic silent world of morose expanse. The wavering thin line of the horizon diffused the sallow light, emphasising the ephemeral qualities of the dunes, shifting, rising upon, rough-edged and smooth, forever warring.
A beach without need of a sea.
Even his footprints, heavier now with exhaustion remained but for moments until the particles drifted, parasites that fed upon existence in this harsh forbidden land, covering them, piling into new dunes, as if he had never been. A single blackened break in the smooth,uncompromised whiteness. Home of the rattlesnake and the gopher. Home of Legion. Home of Shade.
It is far from there, his wanderings, far from the fair-lands and the forgotten shore, the heady moorlands, measured in miles where the mere stands. There are still stars in this world, even here, but there is no song. They are impenetrable diamonds, rocks embedded in a spill of night as black as jewelers felt. But the stars do not sing, as they did in his memories. They whisper. They seem to stare at him with wide, unforgiving eyes, questioning. But there are no answers in the Void, no mercy in the wasteland.
The fire that made men go to war for them is gone.
An unforgiving memory conspicuously brought back to existence. The lachrymose words of the mercenary swallowed him into their caliginous depths and he struggled against them. Whispers of the past grew and spread like an unspeakable flower blossoming from a dark seed and he sighed out what might have been.
The beginning of the end had only begun.
He turned his head to look at him, an ancient basilisk presiding over the charred treasures of his homeland. His eyes, fixed intently on the mercenary were like endless pools with fish drowning in their depths. They held remorse. Like a sprawled oak he had grown until he had overshadowed the entire forest, but most of his branches were twisted.
When his words had ceased, he stepped forward to the mercenary and gave him a rough hug. When he drew back, his expression shifted, becoming fierce and savage.
“To the death, then”, he whispered, his tone musing and deadly and half-insane. Choking sadness threaded between each word.
“For the blood of the innocents, to the death. I know not how I shall find my brother, my Quintus, my dear...but when I do…”
His voice hung like a blade in the crisp afternoon air. There was no need to speak further on the subject. Instead, shockingly, he smiled. “We are caught in a war to protect some distant homeland of truth, born soldiers to deliver some place that was never our own. Born when the last light of morning dies, christened as a Shade. “ He shook his head. “ I am lord of nowhere. “
“Walk with me then, child of the west, and secure our future by the sword. For as you know the sea forgives, and only the sea. When we were young, we were merely men, but no longer, no longer. “
“We are the Marked”.
Posted on 2008-05-20 at 20:59:48.
Edited on 2008-05-21 at 10:48:06 by Septimus Sandalwood
"So ... my friend ... Septimus ... my family ... was ripped ... from my life ... my heart ... but never from my mind ...
"They were so innocent ... so trusting ... so forgiving ... so ... helpless ... defenseless ...
"Left me ... empty inside ... but yearning for family ... but could not bring myself ... to loving ... and losing ... and jeapardizing another family ... defenseless ... innocent ...
"There were opportunities ... but I could not bring myself ... to putting someone I love ... in danger again ... defenseless ... innocent ... would not do it ...
"But I found a family ... who can defend themselves ... not so innocent ... not defenseless ... who can strike back ... or strike first ... if need be ...
"The truth is ... friend Septimus ... I have not found the right woman ... mayhap one day ... but for now ... this is my family ... thirsting for blood ... not defenseless ... not innocent ...
"But you ... friend Septimus ... are a tortured soul ... much like me ... but you have a chance ... to embrace life once again ... to remind you ... of the things most worth fighting for ...
"Go to her ... friend Septimus ... she is a rare lady ... willing to face the dangers ... but not alone ... neither you ... nor her ... should face the future trouble ... alone ...
"Enjoy your time together ... I have my family ... we will keep watch ... embrace life ... friend Septimus ... go to her ... and bare your soul ... for she will fight ... to the death ... but she needs something in life ... worth fighting for ..."
This was how her stories had begin, long ago, when she was younger and under the care of her family. It was always "Once upon a time," and "happily ever after," and these tales did nothing to prepare her for the truth, that life was unfair, unkind, and unwilling to make exceptions. THe world moved on, with or without the stories, and while something in her heart urged her to do the same, she could not.
This was the truth, that strangers come together and fall apart and come together again, that tides carry jope and destruction alike, that the world does not simply rearrange itself into order and reason. This was the truth, that the world was chaotic and unreasonable. What mad chaos into law and reason was people.
If she had not lost her own family, would she even bother with this task of saving others from losing theirs? If she were not damaged in some irrepairable way, would she have walked away?
Should she walk away now?
This was the truth: there was nowhere to go.
Evani sighed and fixed a polite smile to her lips. As of now, Septimus and Reckless discussed matters of the heart, and when the mercenary cast an offhand look in her direction, she smiled and gave him a small wave, a simple gesture designed to appeal to his silence. THough it seemed he was coming out of his shell a bit, and for that she was glad. Though every bit the opposite of Septimus, she could see in him kindness. She looked forward to spending more time with him.
When Septimus was silent, she approached, uneasy and feeling herself unkind. They could not fight so, if they were to survive this. And since he was too shy and petty, she had to be the one.
"You," she said quietly, her eyes fixed on his, "are an insufferable ass. And I love you. But you have to give me room to breath and time to feel without punishing me. So stop acting as if I've broken your heart when that was done far before me."
She paused, brushing hair form her face. Her smile returned, the true smile, the soft, glowing smile she reserved for only the special. "Yes, Septimus, I love you, and I would move the very heavens if the sun bothered you overmuch. So can we now tear down this wall of ice and fire between us? Please?"
Many of the words spoken by the mercenary touched his heart. He gazed at him with large, trusting eyes, an expression close to awe stamped clearly upon his features. In his mind mounted visions of Legion, that twisting asp, that worm immortal, seen through the bleary eye of a storm. He was speaking to a madman, in which lived the wild hours of midnight fancy, the seductive song of the blade. Arrogantly, always, he had considered insanity aloof from him, and now he wondered, exulting, if that insatiable pride had driven him farther into the swallowing black of the abyss.
But alas, it could not be.
No, he was not insane, that much he knew, for men who are affronted with madness have no concept of the bizarre, the obscene. But as he listened to him, each word invariably made sense.
It frightened him.
It had been years since he had trekked the desert’s shriveled scroll, which had transplanted in him a touch of the gregarious expanse. Emptiness, untouched by wind or the cleansing caress of rain, the wasteland, the west-lands, frequented by pariahs. He had learned the meaning of that word, pariah, outcast.
It was not a kind word, this word.
As the words of the mercenary brushed on the subject of Evani, he instinctively winced. Shame fettered his feet to the deck, he could make no motion. His mouth was dry, his hands, shaking. At the light steps that followed, he knew without raising his head to regard her that she was there. In a heroic attempt to salvage whatever dignity he had left he lifted his head and met her eyes.
And as he did, the first blow had been struck. He paused, resisting the temptation to turn sullenly from her, when a remarkable statement followed, spoken with such celerity that he scarcely believed he had heard it. Harsh words,expected, came after, but he barely took any notice of them, his mind whirling. Had he heard it? If he had, it had to have been in jest. It was impossible, he had expected no forgiveness, deserved no forgiveness for the way he had treated her.
Her smile returned, a vibrant sun rising from beyond the grey, erasing all doubt from his mind. She repeated, he knew. A soft glowing warmth came into his dark eyes, banishing the moodiness that was so often reflected in him. For the first time since the departure of their leader he smiled in return, a young boy again, years before the incident that had broken his heart and crippled his conscience.
Like a man in a dream; he reached forward and took her hand in his. “I am sorry for my words earlier”, he whispered. “I was jealous and possessive…I was a fool, my love.” A slight shimmering seemed to appear in his eyes for a moment, and then disappeared as he mastered himself to speak again. “My heart is broken…lacerated beyond repair…a worthless item if there ever was one, and yet, my dearest possession. Without another word, my love, I would give it to you without question”.
“All you need do is accept it”.
And thus comes into the question of trust. No man lives truthfully without the gift of his love to another and Septimus had given his completely. Strange follower of the vagrant Gypsy life, he does what no other can and finds his weakness in the grip of love.
Posted on 2008-05-24 at 18:10:24.
Edited on 2008-05-24 at 18:17:33 by Septimus Sandalwood
As you arrive in Athkatla, spectacular port city and renowned gate to the rest of Faerun by islanders, you are awestruck not only by the city itself but the population, such a diverse site you've never seen. Also the ships, trade ships from the far north and south and ships coming and going to the far east, yes another continent rich in gold and iron and spice, the stuff of pirate dreams are on the boats.
As you disembark the captain bids you farewell and reminds you of the name, you make your way through the docks district to the first inn you see to book yourself in, your next stop is the Sea Bounty's Tavern. A typical pirate pub if there ever was one, Shaben would not approve.
Evani had lightly kissed his cheek and laughed before disappearing to her cabin to ocllect her things. She felt the glide and lurch of the ship as she docked, felt the sudden ceasation of movement, and her legs turned to jello without the rocking sway of the ocean beneath her.
Not knowing where they might be, for this was farther than she'd travelled, she paused, staring down at her dress. Perhaps she had been given the dress as a message, a small clue to the type of man they were to meet. Perhaps he was a noble, and to observe foreign customs neded to leek like a lady, but it would be difficult with gunbelts on her hips. With a sigh, she removed them and tied a strip of rag around her thigh, against which she fit her pistol. Evani had no plans to go unarmed into unknown territory; to do so would be suicide.
Stashing her gunbelts into her bag, She collected her belongings and went topside, and immediately lost her breath.
Around them, reaching into the skies, she saw the tall spires and baskets of crows nests, and richly detailed sails fluttering in the breeze. Awestruck by the beauty, she walked slowly, her eyes on the many sails and flags, and pressed the flat of her palm against Septimus's shoulder to given her something to mark her bearings. Her instrument twanged occaisionally as she follwed Septimus and Reckless, but she paid little heed; while her mind was tracing the route from the ship, her eyes were dazzled by the silks and fabrics of the new and interesting people around her. Scents both familiar and unknown mingled together, enchanting her senses as she followed the men. At one point she lost physicla contact with Septimus and simply stood, staring, turning in a slow circle.
Passersby made berths around her, and the cool metal of her pistol against her outer thigh kept her focused enough that she did not let too much time pass in wide-eyed wonder. There would be time enough to shop and browse and lose herself in the newness of this unfamiliar territory later, once Shaben was returned to them. Hurrying, she ran after her companions, eager to stock up on supples and push forward with the quest.
Her thoughts turned to Shaben, how he was doing, where he was. As she caught up with the men, she forced herself to remain positive. He chose to go, she reasoned, chose, as in made the willing decision. Yet part of her wondered it that had not been merely to protect them all incase she herself had decided upon instinct instead of reason. Surely Shaben had to know she would have gladly put a bullet through the full blood wench's eye to save him...
She brushed aside a strand of hair from her face and smiled at Reckles and Septimus.
"It's going to be okay," she whispered to neither, to both, to herself.