- Necrotic Shadows
- Recognized Donor
- Posts: 228
- Joined: Tue May 01, 2012 1:29 pm
This is your path, you were meant to walk it. If no one else has a spark of faith left in you, still do not concede. Her life depends upon you being true to your word. She has no one else to turn to, no one else she trusts. If the whole world mistook your honor for something else, let them misjudge. Believe in her and stand for that belief. Even if you come out looking like a fool, you never failed your oath to her.
He let a broken sigh past his lips when he realized, this was -everything- he wanted someone to be willing to do for him. To love him enough to put their every effort in standing behind him. He closed his eyes briefly to drown out the stinging that overwhelmed them. Walking down cobble he'd known for the better part of the last eight years. Past shop windows, past the auctioneer. Past every street name he knew, and every face he found familiar. Were the whole town never to understand, it could not change his determination. He'd never felt more a stranger in his own home that he did now. He stopped as a heavy gust kicked up the dust, a chilling wind blowing his hat from his head as he closed his eyes once more.
A voice from a time some fifteen years before falling like gentle footsteps in his mind, "remember, my heart, from the book we read. Always stand for something you believe in. Let your roots of conviction grow deep so that no wind may steal your resolve" He had leaned in and held her, watching the weak remnants of a woman who'd kissed him to sleep nearly a thousand times, while he attempted to be brave. The last echoed existence of a boy age twelve, thrust into adulthood by the strength leaving his mother's frail body. Her hand against his cheek, those doe brown eyes taking in her son one last time, "so handsome... James" He presses his face against her cheek and ear "I love you, mom". She kissed his forehead, "I love you, my sweet knight. fear no tears, for even brave men cry" Her hand slip from his face, her head lulled to the side and she ceased to be. He remained there long after her lungs failed to take air, face buried against her hair, shoulders shaking as he cried inaudibly.
He raked his arm across his eyes and picked up his hat from the cobble before it drifted to far. He would ride out this storm or drown trying, this was bigger than him, bigger than the temple. This was the very testament of who Aidan Thatcher was. If he lost everyone, everything around him for his beliefs, for his oaths, for choosing this path.... then perhaps no one really knew him as he'd hoped. Shandril had sworn to stand behind him, come what may, and there was warmth in that knowledge. He imagined others would as well... Urth, Betha, he'd hope of all people, Juniper. She was the one who said it best in her own worlds, "Aidan is the type of man who leaves the world a better place than he found it". He wished others had seen that was all he ever wanted. However for the first time in years, he found himself truly afraid. He'd felt so few things after Emma's death, besides bitterness and anger. He had come to love again, to trust again, to belief in happiness and a place, a purpose... once more.
But the chips were down, and the hand was play or fold and somewhere inside his trust, his happiness, even his place in this world started to flicker in uncertainty like a candle guttering out. He didn't know who to trust, where to turn. This storm he'd not ride out whole, something deep within him spoke of a change that would come at the end of this storm. The real test was who'd still want him in their life when it was over. Who'd still see his reasoning as insanity or carelessness, and who would see the better man in him trying to shine through on what he deemed, good intentions. He did not go home, had not seen his girl, had not seen anyone else. He walked to the well, picked up three stones and dropped one after the other in. Then lay down beside it, curled up with his cloak to wait the night and a response.
Some people assumed he was in love with Samara. Nothing he could do would convince them of it otherwise. Were Juniper to question his affections as well, he'd want to roll over and die, she'd been unsure of it once with the way he'd defended the Dragon girl. He didn't think he could handle that look in her eyes a second time and if her words confessed that thought, he'd admit defeat and lie, tell some fabricated story about how she was everything Aidan James Thatcher wanted in a woman. If even the love of his life couldn't tell otherwise, he'd have no reason left to fight the rumor. "Juniper Thatcher", he murmured through a hoarse strain of emotions, his fingers brushed against the stone of the well next to him, he closed his eyes and before long was sleeping soundly.
She was there in his dreams. There in that beautiful gown once more like at the gala when they danced. But something else, something new. It was white, and her face radiated with the glow of a bright dawn. She smiled from ear to ear and tears streamed her cheeks. His bride, his beautiful Gond girl. Even in all his imaginings she could not be more perfect. He walked towards her, and she backed away. He stepped again and she increased the distance once more. His heart skipped, and as she turn to run it sank. He gave chase, "I love you, Juniper... no.. please wait!!!!" His pace ever slower than hers, like he was running in place and the world was crashing down around him, literally. Buildings were crumbling, people were turning to ash on the streets as they passed. He cried out for her, reached out for her, "please Dove! Love me... It's me.... I love you with all that I am... don't abandon me!" He caught her arm under an archway and oddly her cloths changed almost instantly, the wedding gown was no more. She looked up into his eyes questioningly, like she had no clue who he was. He'd show her! He lifted her to her tip tops, hand against her cheek, fingers along her jawline, thumb tugging at the corner of her mouth and his lips explored hers with a renewed hope. Hand slide down to cup her hips in his hands as he deepened the kiss.
It was then he felt her push against his stomach, prying him off. "let me go you creep!!!" she'd screamed, and the world of his dream slipped into whirling darkness.
"fear no tears, for even brave men cry", the words hit him, and cry he did, a deep guttural sob of misery. Even shattered from his dream he could not escape the feeling of loss. his shoulders shuttered, curled up he let go of hope. When daylight came, the world would know a different Aidan Thatcher.... a guarded, Lonewolf.
- Necrotic Shadows
- Recognized Donor
- Posts: 228
- Joined: Tue May 01, 2012 1:29 pm
It's humbling, as we measure time in candle marks we rarely consider the flame can be snuffed out betwixt two marks, or at any moment really. Age teaches those of us whose lives are shortened by the design of nature. I've written in my journal time and again about this love, or that. What I'm planning, what I'll be doing. My plans were large, and my mind set upon greatness and wealth. I've supped at both tables given positions that warranted favor and title and held more coin than most men outside of our adventuring sort have dreamed of. This is not a confession of boasting because neither brings us happiness after we've had them. Rather a moment of knowledge or lesson to the young and brash.
No matter how sure of ourselves we are, no matter how ready we believe ourselves to be, we are not immortal. Errors, misconceptions, arguments, and even trusting the wrong person are just as likely to add your name to a cold stone as it is to leave you scarred. Ask a dwarf if he's got scars and I promise nearly everyone can show you one they're proud of, another experience lived. You're going to choose this lifestyle, nothing will change that as we all seek a destiny befitting of our dreams. I ask only that you consider the advice of a middle-aged man to trust your gut, know your heart, and make sure your mind is as sharp as your blade.
I truly hope this will be read in decades down the road when I'm long forgotten, where people can laugh at the follies of my past and attachment to some women who saw me for wealthy and felt that was what they desired, and others who were the right kind of woman, just not right for me. I've married, I've lost, I carry her in my memories but her passing does not haunt me like it once had years back. I'm at peace with who I am, I don't expect love will come to my door again but should it I will be mindful to step into things slowly.
I'm not the man I was, but that's not a bad thing. Everything comes with time and experience. I find myself more prudential, slower to decisions, and incredulous in many ways. A great example of my incredulous behavior, I was warned by a dear friend that she believed I had stuck a ferret to my face. This from a woman who I used to allow to shave my stubble when it'd grow out. I thanked her for her thoughts but felt it rather silly, she wasn't going to remove this ferret. I'm a gentleman in the end and I found the ferret on the mountain, it would have frozen to death so I've taken it in.
My beard and mustache aside, the most important lesson I can teach to any is this. Learn to know your friend from your enemy, because your enemy sometimes disguises themselves as a friend. I have the scars to prove that story. But above all, whether you know for sure they are friend or enemy, show them the same kindness so they're unaware that you're onto them. A decision I failed to make with a Zhent who played herself off as a friend, I had my doubts and called her out upon them that I knew she was a Zhent. She waited till the guards of the city had passed on before kicking me down steps against a sewer door and pummeling me with her hilt. I made it out simply because of a spell.
Lastly, I leave you with this, If your search is for wealth, then realize you are wealthier than your dreams. Because no amount of coin in hand will compare to the memories you remember of time spent with those who someday won't be there. Knowing that the most important and valuable resource we find upon our journey is physical only in that very moment. The wealth lost to youthful eyes. Captured moments turned to memories most of us would visit again if we had it to do over.