Hearts and Pistons
What's In The Box
This is the most relaxed I’ve been in the last week. Besides the creeping fear that some lawman from Rana is going to come and kill me anytime now, I feel good. Even that horrifying fact gets easier everyday. At first, it stood at the front of my mind every second of everyday. Now It’s feeling more like the normal and sort of an inevitable doom. Just one of those things to deal with once it happens.
My breath is running out, my lungs are far too relaxed to be held any longer; I’m surfacing. The water is certainly helping my mood. Two baths and two days, it’s almost like life is back to normal. I’m just generally happier when I’m clean. If I never take step in a sewer again I could die happily. My moods have been so fickle of late, so much excitement for one week. This journey won’t be ending anytime soon and I already feel like nothing can ever be the same again.
Swimming to a corner of the bath, I rest my arms along the end and lean my head back closing my eyes. I was so nice to see Sir Forshen again; how many years has it been? I know it’s been over seven now since I’ve seen Arven, but I feel as if I’ve seen Atticas since. It was so warming to hear him speak so fondly of Arven, he makes us all so proud. Like father like son I suppose. I can’t imagine a military life, but I suppose some boys play soldier so long that they make a career out of it.
Poor Sir Forshen was in such poor health though. He’s incredibly tough for his age but I question how long he has left. I’m amazed how excited I was to see him. It was as if I feel like everyone from my past is gone – sight of him was reassurance that there is still hope. I’m sure mother and Larisa are doing everything in their power to find and protect me. Even if they didn’t get my letter, I’ve been gone long enough where they will suspect danger.
On the Nora Perdy, I was thinking I just needed to survive long enough until mother and Larisa could clear my name and extract me. It’s becoming overwhelming obvious to me now though that there is more going on here than a mistake at that rally. Father knew I would come to Marwan eventually. He gave Sir Forshen a package for me. As someone who never left Rana until a week ago, it seems more than unlikely that I’d ever visit him to receive this package.
What did father know? How did he know I’d wind up here? What did you discover back then? What killed you? Something that keeps bothering me is when Sir Forshen said, ‘They didn’t give your father a fair trial, do you think they’d give you one?’ Was there a trial or did he simply mean they mistreated him and acted without law? Daddy… what happened back there?
What is in this box? If Lorelei has any honor, it will be be mine in a few more hours. I upheld our bargain, Hanna couldn’t have been more thrilled with our aid earlier. This is killing me, time couldn’t move any slower. Could this box hold all the answers I’ve asked myself my entire life? My grip on the side of the bath is beyond tight in anticipation. I have never wanted something more in all my life. If we don’t get that box tonight, I’m staying behind.
I won’t be a victim any longer. The softness of my bed, home cooked meals, or even the lessons of Larisa would be enough to rip me from this adventure I’ve fallen into. Father has left me some sort of breadcrumb trail. Until I figure out what happened to him, what he learned, and possible how to remedy it, I can’t go back to my old lifestyle. My life has always revolved around learning magic, finding a suitor, and being a lady but I’ve always felt void of purpose. I have goals now. For the first time in my life I’m truly independent and don’t have anyone telling me what must be done.
The faces on those human slave children when we saved them… it was so rewarding. What sort of horrors did they have to survive through before we rescued them? Just because I am an ‘outlaw,’ I can still help folk. I am an aristocratic wizard. I am from house Alodia, I am the last Keeper of Home and Hearth – I have a responsibility to uphold towards the less fortunate. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have blinders on like Arvan. When it comes to learning the truth about my father, I will do anything. Whatever he discovered is bigger than everything else.
Lifting my head back up, I move my neck back and forth to crack it once. Opening my eyes again, I find it hard to believe I have the bath to myself. Never did I think I would adapt to my traveling companions so quickly. The majority of them have treated me very well and when they all agreed to help with the recovery of the box, I nearly broke down in tears. They didn’t have to put their lives in danger for me, I’ve done nothing for them to warrant this kindness. I am in their debt now. The mere fact that Mr. Vandenberg’s friend was with the slaves of all places, tells me again that something larger is definitely at play here.
As good as this water feels, I’m going to drive myself mad if I remain here by myself. I need something, conversation, anything to distract me from this anticipation eating away at me! I don’t even care that the Perdy is leaving tomorrow and that I may not see a bath for a while. Whatever is in that box is far more important than even my cleanliness. Getting out of the water I dry myself and wrap the towel around my body. My clothes better be cleaned by now, they did a good job yesterday.
Whatever it is you wanted to show me father, I’ll soon know. I miss you more than anything.