To the Grave

Voba

Voba

Inspired by the Daily Prompt: What’s the most significant secret you’ve ever kept? Did the truth ever come out?,  a segment from “Escorting in Twilight.”

Voba watched the older trio from the corner of the bar. It was a relief to have the ‘boy’ home after all this time. While he shared the same concerns as the others about the increasing limp Atkinson showed. Despite Wellone or Jalem’s remedies, the walk of the child returned, bringing an uncomfortable silence from the once lively dancer and singer.

The younglings to his left had no idea about the one they sought; knew as little as the ones chaperoning them. Voba considered that part of Quinton’s blessed curse – worse than the sightless leading the soundless. If Desmon, Jalem, Wellone, or Quinton forbid – Atkinson, found Sorpha, it would mean Voba’s death if the truth were learned, only because Quinton the Great would probably sacrifice Atkinson’s life to Sorpha.

The innkeeper smiled as he watched the banter between the friends, seeing younger faces from another time, before the terrors began, and wondered f he stood a chance of forgiveness for what really happened that night of the raids. It was a three-fold horror that he never spoke of, cursing the failed attempts of keeping everyone safe.

The scar Atkinson had was Voba’s doing, the jagged knife plunging into the lower back of the boy as Voba turned to conceal him from the bandits. However, the pain caused by a ‘misguided blow’ was the better choice, a small pain to distract the child from the truth of what Voba saw that cold evening in the moons’ absence, with the many orange flames lapping at the spilt blood by Sorpha’s hand, a telltale twitch of the eye.

Voba swore to Quinton, the Guardian of all, that he would never tell the man before him, the returning son orphaned so long ago how his sister had vanished or who had plunged the knife into their parents’ hearts. What Voba had shared with the rest of the elders and fighters was the truth, in a fractioned fashion, was that Michael Sorpha was evil increasing, that the massacres would worsen.

Half of Before, and More than Ever

Desmon, too(Inspired by the Daily Prompt: Is the glass half-full, or half-empty? and a continuation of “The Near-Ageless Ones” segment)

Desmon stared at the miel-colored ale, swirling the contents as his mind spun about the earlier conversation. The revelation his father shared with him had shattered him, like the crackled exterior of the glass in his hand.

How could he be part ‘near-ageless one,’ when his father looked as old as Professor Miga or the others Desmon assumed to be the older man’s age? How could his father remain so calm while his wife, Desmon’s mother, spoke her truths of undesirables? How could he begin with such a strong truth and then make a confession like that?

“There are many times I’ve tired of the separation, the silence, the solitude. Between you and me, I thought about the Unforgivable Decision. Couldn’t do it, though. I remember the illness that came – well before you were born, when…when a Near-Ageless One did that. I couldn’t bear to let you suffer that, son.”

Desmon stared at the emptiness of the glass, a space representing his mother’s absence. To imagine that doubled would…what? Allow for an opportunity for more anger and hatred to pour in, increasing Desmon’s chances of following in Michael Sorpha’s steps? How many barrels of ale could Desmon drown his soul in before that unforgivable detour?

That was the beauty of the miel­-ale, its sweetness numbing the bitterness of whatever ailed the soul. He understood why Jalem liked the mild drink, why Allen prepared some meals with it. Miel-ale never went bitter, never grew sweeter. The grains it had been based from remained true to their form, only the additives tainting it.

Was that what he had become? One able to wander from region to region, taking and giving before anyone suspected, then moving on because time dictated it, or maybe Quinton’s direction? With this knowledge of being part of a people who seldom aged, who decided when to die…

Desmon emptied the contents before ordering a refill. If he had the potential to decide when he died, then he could deem himself the first and final fighter before seeing his friends fall. Maybe he could accomplish the impossible, of rebuilding with his own hands parts of the regions that had been destroyed, by their actions or inactions.

Reflecting on the chats over the years with the Yomins, Desmon saw a double-meaning to most of them now. They had known, known that their friend’s son could outlive theirs, had known that they, too, would probably outlive their son, or Jalem or…

 He took his time with the drink, allowing the ale to sooth the insecurities of his identity. No, he wasn’t half the man that he thought he was reduced to, nor was he anywhere near whom he thought he should be as his parents’ only son. Staring at the reflection in the glass half-filled with the ale once more, he took to heart what his friends had told him for years –

He was Desmon Noble, a man gifted with setting his own destiny.

Little Things

Shell of Shadows' SoulsInspired by today’s Daily Prompt, “Describe a little thing — one of the things you love that defines your world but is often overlooked,” here is a snippet from “Escorting in Twilight.”

Alle Yomin took something out of his inner-shirt pocket, it’s ‘twin’ secured wherever his wife kept hers – most likely in the wooden box tucked behind the loose stone of the fireplace. Inside was a collage of tchotchke that symbolized the many lost souls found, some lost again. There was the bit of mud Alle scrapped from a child’s knee when she first arrived; a blade of grass that surrounded a struggling seedling in the small hands of a healer as well. There were intertwining swirls made of the many strands of hairs of children. And then there were tiny crystals from the sands by the shores he and Ella walked along. Many of those coastal paths were gone, along with the civilizations that built them, only to be buried by them.

Alle ran his long, bony fingers over it, yearning for the current conflicts to end, if only to give hope of life to the living.

Some nights, as the winds howled and his heart ached, the near-ageless one placed the shell against his ear and listen to the stories, songs, soft prayers or whatever soothed his soul. When the winds died down, along with the setting moons, and his eyes watered up, Alle remained strong in keeping the dam from breaking. “May the spirits be with you,” he whispered before returning the unbreakable shell to its proper place.