Chapter 8 pt A
I remember thinking about the journal that I had just so happened upon. It seemed like a gift from a higher above. After reading the first entry, I had learned more about my parents in those 20 pages than I had in nearly 10 years. It explained things that I hadn’t even thought of. In my father’s many pages of writings, I found comfort in remembering our relationship hadn’t always been like this. It also made me bitter. He blamed me for something I couldn’t control. The journal opened many doors for me. Many doors that perhaps shouldn’t have been opened. The newly opened doors made my already bitter soul enraged. I had always wanted to know what happened to make my father so resentful of me. I now have my answer. It made me begin to wonder whether or not I regretted knowing. Would it have been better for me to go on in ignorant bliss or to be knowledgeable of my father’s misdeeds and omissions towards me? This new information plagued me as I went about my days. Days that now seemed to be like ticking on a clock. My mother had died of this disease. I didn’t need to finish the journal to know that. Anyone with half a brain would have made that conclusion. As the days passed by, it slipped my mind that Ronin was getting married. The day of his marriage crept up behind me and was now upon us.
I woke up in the early morning. The sun had yet to rise and I was unaware of the time. As it was winter, the sun was an unreliable source of the hour from day-to-day. It always seemed to be fluctuating. Brinley was still sleeping beside me. I knew it had to have been early because Brinley is usually up before me.
I was exhausted but I knew I wasn’t going to be able to fall back to sleep. I had a sort of unease around me. It was going to be impossible to sleep well again. If I tried I would probably wake up more tired than before. I brought my knees up to my chest. Our room was freezing. It was strange. The windows were closed, I had made sure of that last night before dozing off. The embers in the fireplace were still warm and providing heat for us in the sitting room. Brinley and I had bed warmers under our covers. It shouldn’t be this cold. Still, I couldn’t find heat so I stepped out of the bed.
Brinley shifted in the covers and it made me pause. There would be too many questions if she caught me leaving this early in the morning. Her breathing stilled and became even once more as she fell asleep once again. I walked over to our wardrobe to put on some more layers. It was too cold not to be wearing five layers.
“Lucian?” Brinley yawned.
Apparently, I was wrong, she hadn’t fallen back to sleep.
“What?” My voice sounded sharp and it surprised me.
I didn’t think I was in a mood this morning but as soon as she spoke I became aware of how angry I was at the world.
From the corner of my eye I could see her sit up, “Where are you going?”
I slid on another shirt before answering her question.
“Just” I tried to come up with an answer. In all reality, I had no idea where I was going. I just knew that I couldn’t be here, “out.” I finished.
Brinley didn’t respond right away and I knew I had said something wrong. I regretted my words almost instantly. I really couldn’t think of an answer better than “out”? Then again I was very tired, and perhaps it would go over Brinley’s mind as well.
“This early? You are never up this early!” Brinley laughed.
I cursed my flimsy lie. This was exactly what I wanted to avoid. I slipped on a vest as I dug around some more in my closet.
“Seriously,” she started, “this is a new thing. What’s so important that you need to do it right now.”
I needed to come up with something. Anything really. Just something to explain my odd behavior this morning.
“I just-” I started. What an odd thing. I can lie with such ease that it was such a strange thing when I couldn’t think of anything to explain. It wasn’t a new sense of morality. I can tell you that. My head just felt cloudy. It was like I couldn’t think straight. Every time I tried to think I had to really focus or it would just flit away.
“What’s wrong, Lucian. You can tell me. I’m your wife. We can tell each other everything.” Brinley assured me.
I knew it was wrong. We couldn’t tell each other everything, no matter how much we wanted to. I may know all of Brinley’s sordid secrets but it was only because I found them out myself. It was clear that Brinley didn’t want to tell me about her vile affair. I don’t want to tell her about this. Call it what you will but I see it as a form of simple revenge.
“I just need time alone,” I grumbled as I pulled two coats out of the closet.
Brinley blinked in surprise at my outburst.
I tried not to look back as I walked away. I didn’t want to see the hurt in her eyes. I didn’t understand what was going on with me. I didn’t want to hurt anyone. I couldn’t seem to help myself. People would try so desperately for me to talk to them but I don’t want to. I don’t want to yell at them. It seems that I can’t control it, and the more they push me the bigger the explosion. I don’t understand what is wrong with me. My mother never seemed to have these symptoms.
She was always there for me, even when she was sick. She never blew up as I do constantly. She was calm and collected. As I can see, there are only two explanations for something like this. She had strict control over the emotions she allowed people to see or she simply didn’t get like this. Either way, I envy her.
I slipped on the second coat and began walking down the stairs. I had to realize the simple truth. I was poisonous. I was a dangerous person to be around. I had little to no control over any of my emotions. I was dangerous to myself and others. People couldn’t be close to me. That is why I had to push everyone away for as long as I could.
“Chi Lucian! I didn’t expect to see you awake. Are you going to be attending the wedding this afternoon?”
Someone called after me but I didn’t stop. I didn’t turn to discuss it with them. I didn’t answer their small question that would have little to no impact on their day. I continued forward. I needed to get out of here. The walls in the grand hallways were too close together. It felt like they were about to close in on me.
I needed to get out of here. The halls were so very empty. I could hear my footsteps echoing in the corridor. The space around the room was soon filled with noise that my head wouldn’t process because it was so out of it. Every step seemed to thunder against my skull. I could almost picture the vibrations in my head.
I turned corridor after corridor until I saw the gate being lowered for the day. From the tiny crack, I could see the sky above. It was grey and cold but it was still the sky. It was open-air and not a ceiling above my head
“Chi Lucian, where are you off to, highness?” The gatekeeper asked politely.
I recognized the concern in his comment so I nodded slightly and waited for the gate to lower. The wind blew briskly into the Fortress but I savored it. It made me feel something instead of the numbness I had grown accustomed to. As soon as the gate was down I bounded out of the claustrophobic building.
The wind nipped at my cheeks and my fingers felt cold but it was such a pleasant experience that I didn’t mind the cold. Outside it was snowing. The first snow of the season. It came really late this year, even though the temperatures dropped fast. I paused on the bridge connecting the Fortress to the other world. Such different lives it seems. In one world I had one path and one path only. In the other world, I could be literally anyone. I glanced back at the Fortress. It was large and looming as it always was. The building was never inviting but the broken parts of it made it seem less so. Just as scars made you more intimidating, the ruins around the building made it seem more powerful. I then began to wonder what it was like for the village right outside of this monstrosity. What was it like to live so close to luxury but so far away? What was it like to live in the shadow of the legends who ruled the land? I would never know because that couldn’t be my life.
I then had a small whispering thought in the back of my head. It was not a loud pressing thought but it did shake my world that day. What if they felt trapped? I felt trapped. I felt like I was trapped by this large building that was my home for years past. I could feel my life waning away and I wasn’t sure if this was where I wanted to live my life. I couldn’t leave of course. I was far too hated in the villages to ever make a life there. Besides, it wasn’t like I could be like Nola and run away. She was kidnapped. Right, I forgot about that.
Still, maybe the people felt like this was the only way to getaway. Rebel against the building that seems to loom larger each day. Maybe they were right.
No that wasn’t right. No matter what their issues were, it did not justify the death of nearly 50 people. That isn’t the way to go about it. People died and it wasn’t right. The monarchy isn’t perfect but anarchy killing people is not right.
So then I ran. I ran off that bridge and away from that eyesore of a building and everything it stood for. I needed a day without the weight of this world on my shoulders.
Just like magic, I felt a pressure lifting off my chest as I got further away. I hadn’t been off the grounds in weeks. Father has been very cautious with keeping everyone on the grounds since the rebellion. It didn’t matter that he considered it unsafe. I needed this. I would just have to make it safer for me. I stopped at the end of the bridge and took off my topcoat and tossed it off the side of the bridge and into the chasm. I didn’t care if I was a little cold. I needed to blend into the crowds. A Village-man wouldn’t own a coat like mine. I needed to do something about my face. This wasn’t Cadia where the people wouldn’t recognize me. Even if I wasn’t wearing the most expensive clothing, I would get recognized. I took the scarf wrapped around my neck and I deliberately wrapped it around my face so I wouldn’t get recognized.
I walked past the pair of Savs stationed at this end of the bridge. They didn’t look at me twice. Neither of them stared as I passed. They only said one quick sentence.
“Have a nice day, sir.” As they gave me a nod of approval.
Have a nice day, sir. Not Chi but sir. I beamed as I walked past. I could really do this. I could have this day to myself. No one would know me. No one would give me special treatment. I could just be another face in the crowd. The satisfaction this brought me was unrivaled. I didn’t even know why. Why did I have the desire to be no one important? People would kill for the place I am.
It didn’t make sense but I pushed the thought aside as I breathed in the cold air that stung my throat.
It felt like I had stepped into another world as soon as I got off that bridge. I probably should have already heard the hustle and bustle of the market from there, but perhaps I was too wrapped up in my own head to notice. Past the Sav’s post is the market. It is perhaps the gem of Fyn. It wraps all the way around the moat of the Fortress. This market is probably the biggest in the land. It has nearly 10 kilometers worth of booths, stands, shops, you name it. You can find anyone and everyone there. It is a good place to escape, which is why I am going.
I’ve been here before. After all, it is right outside the Fortress, but I’m seeing it in a new light today. Before I had always seen the market as a vile place. Scroungy people lived here. Greedy merchants sold here. The desperate bought here. This was not a place of beauty or something to be presented. In fact, I barely acknowledged it. As I began walking down the streets of the market I began wondering about the lives of the people here.
What if the merchant selling soap was trying to provide for a sick husband? What if the beggar down the street was swindled out of their money. Or perhaps the browser had just recently come into money and was looking for a way to celebrate it. What if these people here were like me? What if they were unfortunate souls like I am? Maybe they are trying to live their life because they know that their death is coming quickly, ready to kill. There are so many people here that it is almost dizzying to think that they all have their own lives, their own struggles, their own joys, and sorrows. They are all the main characters in their lives and I am but a side character. That one character who walks by as they come up with a way to save their family. Or that character that bumped into them and made their day go from bad to worse. Just as I am to them, they are to me. It’s quite extraordinary to think about. All these people. All these problems. Mine feels insignificant and small in comparison.
I began weaving in and out of groups of people. They were all just talking. They were sharing intimate details of their lives like it was nothing. Like their secrets weren’t worth protecting. They trusted these people around them not to use the information against them. What luck they had. They could trust people. I could not. I have two people close to me. Firstly I have Ronin. He is paid to protect my secrets from the world. Soon he won’t be. He is getting married into the royal family today. As soon as he is sealed, he will not work for me anymore. He was technically allowed to share my secrets with whomever he pleases. I know with logical thinking that he wouldn’t do that to me. We had been friends for over a decade. He couldn’t just betray me like that. Still, my anxieties festered and grew. It wasn’t logical that he would expose me as such but it was still possible.
All the time we spent with each other could have been a lie. Just a ruse to get closer to me and take me down from the inside. I tried to stray away from those thoughts. They weren’t logical. I needed to have logical thinking right now. If I believed every crazy fantasy that popped into my head I would be driven mad with paranoia.
I have one other person near me and her case is even worse. Brinley was probably as close to me as someone could get. She was my wife. Still, she was the person I trusted the least. I guess I understand the phrase “keep your friends close but your enemies closer”. It applies well to the situation I’m in.
I was humiliated the night of my wedding. I found out that Brinley had an affair with another man. No one was present during the confrontation, so at least no one knew about my wife’s indiscretion. Still, the whole event spawned another group of worries and anxieties. I now believe that she could be trying to kill me. As it goes to show, Brinley didn’t love me as much as I was led to believe. In fact, it makes me question whether she even loved me at all. If she truly loved me as much as I had thought then there was no way she could kill me to steal the Shire. Her affair planted doubt in my head. The doubt grew quickly like a weed and it made me begin to question. Brinley was capable of lying convincingly to me, so what else has she been lying about?
Perhaps she had been hiding her plans to take over Fyn.
It has happened in our past before. Cadia is the biggest Shire in our land. It didn’t begin that way. In fact, it used to be one of the smallest Shires. It used to be a part of the group called the Pious Lands. The Pious Lands were a small group of cities on the oceanfront. They claimed that they lived where the sky was closest to the sea. They claimed it was this way because this is where the Sky’s Deity and the Sea’s Deity would meet. Cadia soon overthrew their neighbors in an attempt to be considered a respected land and not just a territory. The Shire next to Cadia was extremely religious and they felt that if their heir married into Cadia’s bloodline then they would be blessed. Soon the alliance between Cadia and their neighbors was set. Cadia’s heir got a little pressed for power so he killed his wife and inherited the rest of the other Shire.
Throughout the centuries Cadia has slowly taken down their neighbors through many gruesome methods. I fear we may be next.
Without watching where I was going I ran into a woman. She dropped her sacks of food and immediately dropped to the floor to pick them up. Unconsciously I dropped to her side and helped her with the items. I picked up the frozen meat that had fallen out of the satchel. I put them back in her bag and she cocked her head to the side.
“Who are you?” She asked quietly.
Her voice was soft and seemed to have been heavily accented. She wasn’t from around here. It was obvious about that. Her demeanor was different. She didn’t seem guarded or jaded in any way. She definitely wasn’t from around here. You learn from a young age to guard your possessions with your life. Here she was, allowing me to handle her food. She should have pushed me away with a deep-set frown. She, like I, was wearing a scarf wrapped around her head. It was obvious it wasn’t to keep out the cold.
Wow, she really was from a long way away. The scarves were a tradition in the mountainous regions. It was usually used to keep ashes out of the skin and hair. I had never been there but I’ve heard stories about the beautiful societies there. It made me wonder why she would ever come to a place such as this.
I didn’t know how to respond to her question. I had an urge to tell her my true identity but I had to suppress it. I didn’t want her to ruin this day by acting like I was royalty. I just continued to stare at her. She had vibrant blue eyes that nearly seemed to glow in the low light cast by lanterns. I hadn’t ever seen eyes like hers.
“I-” I tried to respond to her question but I didn’t know what she’d do. “I think the real question is, who are you?”
“Cersei.” She responded.
Her voice was so different than mine. Her syllables were so fast and sharp I thought she was saying “Cece” at first.
She needed to slow down her words. They were too close together. It sounded like she was saying “et ooh?” What made it even more difficult was that she was wearing a scarf over her mouth so I couldn’t see what she was saying.
“Lucian,” I responded.
“Lucian?” She asked but she pronounced it “Lu seen”.
“Lucian.” I corrected her, over-enunciating the “ia”.
Cersei responded more quietly and it sounded more correct this time so I let it go.
I grabbed a piece of meat that had slid away from her and handed it back. Cersei bowed her head in thanks and put the wrapped up piece of steak, maybe, away in her long burlap sack. I grabbed her gloved hand and guided her up.
“You are a lucky woman, Cersei.” I started when we were both on our feet.
“How so, Lucian?” Now she was over-enunciating the “ia” but it didn’t seem to matter too much to me.
I looked away, suddenly regretting I had started talking, “Well. Most people would have stolen the food that you dropped.”
Cersei’s eyes seemed amused, “And what? You aren’t like most people?”
It seemed like she was nearly teasing me. I didn’t understand what she was doing. Perhaps it was a joke where she is from. I certainly wouldn’t know. I have only been to Fyn and Cadia. I wasn’t from far away like she was.
“Well, no, I guess not,” I responded.
Cersei snorted and looked away, “What an ego it takes to admit that you see yourself differently than all the others.”
I didn’t catch most of it but I could tell that she was laughing at me. I decided I needed to change the subject. I don’t think I’ve ever had a stranger laugh at me. It wasn’t a very pleasant experience, and I wanted it to stop.
“So, you obviously aren’t from around here,” I responded.
Cersei considered this, “Am I that obvious?”
“The headdress does stick out in a crowd, Cersei.”
“What?! We are wearing the same thing!” She protested,
“I am wearing mine because I am cold. Your’s is more decorative.”
Cersei self consciously adjusted the wrap on her head. Even in the low light of the morning, I could tell it was a brilliant red color with a design I had never seen before. It was a lovely thing. It made me wonder if Cersei was a royal as well. I didn’t know many of the royal families in the mountainous regions. It was definitely a possibility.
After I had that thought I immediately started checking for signs she had been properly taught. She wasn’t slouched when she walked, but she wasn’t taking slow and deliberate steps as most royals do. Her face was clean and scrubbed. If she turned her head in a certain light her skin glittered like stars. She seemed too elegant to be a commoner. Besides, what villager could afford the trip from the Mountains to Fyn. It was much too expensive for anyone of them to make in their lifetimes. It wasn’t too expensive for a royal, however.
“Where are you from?” I asked her.
“Ture Mountain.” She responded quietly.
Ture. I had heard of it before. I can remember vaguely when I was in school learning about it. They manufactured something. I can’t recall what it was. Still, I was right. She was from the mountains.
“And you, Lucian?”
“Not too far from here.”
Cersei clicked her tongue against the roof of her mouth, “Then why are you hiding?”
My eyes hardened on Cersei. I didn’t understand how she knew. Was she stalking me? Was this meeting planned? I was about to accuse her before she spoke again.
“Do you think you have the only observation skills here, Lucian? You are fidgety. You cannot look at one place for a certain amount of time. You are looking for something. You are hiding from something.”
I have to admit. Cersei had me down. It was very impressive. I didn’t even realize I was having these ticks until she pointed them out. And then I was ultra-aware of them. Every time I moved my eyes from one face in the crowd to another I wondered how many people could see through me as Cersei could.
I switched the conversation off me. I didn’t need any more anxiety from her today. That wasn’t what I was here for. I just needed a day off.
“The Ture Mountain? That is quite far? What inspired this trip across our world?”
Cersei looked off into the distance of the market. From the horizon, the sun had started to rise. The clouds had gone away but somehow it seemed to make the world colder. I pulled my coat tighter around me.
“Pressures of society.” She responded monotone.
I reflected on what I had thought earlier. Back to when I was wondering about the people in the marketplace. I was questioning how many people were like me. Escaping the pressures of a life that they never wanted to live. Here was one right in front of me. How interesting our world was, wasn’t it?
“Royal?” I asked her.
Cersei shook her head and that perplexed me. How was it possible she wasn’t royal. Where had she gotten all this money? It didn’t make sense.
“If not royal, then what?” I asked her.
Cersei shrugged before answering, “I was a-, how do you say?” She paused for a minute as she was trying to search for the answer, “Ess, I believe you call them.”
Her words made me look at her in a whole new light. Esses are dangerous. We had them outlawed along with the witches. My father claimed that sacrifices were a form of magic seeing as they were trying to commune with a higher being. I had never seen one before. Cersei seemed way too normal to be one.
I don’t know what I expected, but it wasn’t her. Definitely not.
“You do not have Esses in your Shire?” Cersei asked.
I shook my head violently.
“Good, I hated that job. Too messy.” Cersei sighed.
I guess that eased some of my discomforts. At least she wasn’t here to sacrifice some people. That would really put a damper on my day.
“Right, so you are from around here, right? By that do you mean the neighboring Shire or from around here?”
“I live in Fyn.” I blurted it out before I had a chance to examine the words carefully.
Like I said before, it just felt like I could tell her things like this. I wonder if it was just me feeling awful about bottling things up or if it was her. Perhaps everyone feels the urge to tell her personal details. I hope it’s the second theory. I need to be able to keep my head while bottling things up. If I can’t do that, then where will that land me?
“Right, have you ever been here before?” Cersei’s eyes sparkled.
I had never seen Blue eyes like hers. I knew they existed but I hadn’t seen them. Everyone in these parts has Brown eyes. It used to not bother me as much as it was now. Her eyes were like gems and it made me feel bland.
Bland. What a terrible feeling. I have never felt bland before. Whenever I walk into a room, I am always the best dressed. I have the most expensive clothes in the land. I can be quite flamboyant if I so wished. Next to her, I felt bland.
She was so different. She had blue eyes that sparkled like gems. From under her scarf, I could see light curls falling on her face. How she ever thought she could blend into a crowd like this was beyond me. Everyone here looks the same. We have lived here for generations and no one has the money to move away to a different land. No one has the money to move here. We are stuck with the same features until some rich person from another land moves here.
Every citizen in our Shire has the same dark hair, dark eyes, dark complexion. I suppose maybe we are as alien to her as she is to us. Maybe far away in the mountains, they have a fair complexion. They had a fair complexion where my mother was from.
“What?” I responded as I realized she had asked something.
“I asked if you’ve been to the market before?” Cersei laughed.
“Right. Of course, I have. You can’t live in Fyn without going to the market. It is the biggest trading spot in our known world.” I shrugged.
It’s also right outside my house but I wasn’t going to tell her that.
“Our known world?” She raised an eyebrow.
“Well, there’s the dark lands.” I offered.
“What Darklands?” Cersei asked.
She seemed genuinely confused. It confused me. The Darklands were a lot closer to the Mountains than they were to Fyn but she didn’t seem to understand what I was talking about. Maybe she didn’t know the lore surrounding them.
“Seriously? You live near them. You don’t know about them?”
Cersei bit her lip, “We don’t travel much. The outside world is very treacherous. It is safer on the Mountain.”
“But you left.”
“I have a sense of danger.” Cersei gave me a crooked smile that seemed to ignite a rebellious spirit in me.
Then Cersei took off. She began walking forward. I didn’t really understand for a while. I couldn’t figure out what she wanted to do. Was she trying to ditch me or was this incentive to walk with her? I was intrigued by this strange girl so I walked forward. I caught up with her just in time. She had reached a part of the overly crowded Market. I was afraid that if she walked into the crowd I would have lost her forever.
“I was waiting for you. You still have to show me around the Market.” She rolled her eyes.
She made me excited. I don’t know how else to explain it. She had such an urge for life and it seemed to rub off on me. My troubles were so far from my mind, I didn’t once think about them. It felt so good to be carefree like this. I wasn’t ready for it to end. I decided I would make this last for as long as I could.
“And when did I agree to this?” I asked, matching her smile.
“Well, as you so graciously pointed out. There are awful people in these markets. Maybe I need an escort to keep me away from the bad ones.”
“I believe I can help you with that. You just need to stay close to me Cersei.”
Cersei smiled. I had another flicker of a thought. It was from my wife. She was getting out of bed and getting ready for the day. She had a slack expression on her face. She tidied my side of the bed. She looked so sad. A pit formed in my stomach. I abandoned my wife this morning. I’ve been trying too hard to keep her safe because no matter her mistakes, I love her still. However, my protection is hurting her. I hadn’t realized it in the past few weeks. Even when she has been near me, we are worlds away. I’m walking my own path and so is she. We both have struggles and worries involving one another. I’m walking through the Market laughing with another woman. How is this any different than what Brinley did to me? This is innocent.
This is innocent? I know for a fact it isn’t innocent. I just spent most of my morning talking and laughing with a stranger with such ease. I can’t even look my wife straight in the eyes anymore. Nothing about this incident was innocent.
“Lucian?” Cersei asked. “What’s wrong. You went pale!”
I stared off into the distance while I thought. The coldness seeped into my jacket and I shivered. The temperature seemed to have dropped nearly ten degrees. I was now aware of the cold snow falling on my exposed hands. This was wrong. Whatever was happening here was wrong. I was wrong before, this is nothing like Brinley. At least Brinley and I weren’t really together then. Now we are married and look at where I am. Flirting with another woman. My stomach churned at my thoughts. This was so wrong.
“I need to go,” I mumbled and I quickly turned away.
I walked away into the crowd. I needed to get as far away from Cersei as possible. I couldn’t hurt Brinley like this. We have issues. Raging unsolved issues, but I won’t go this low because, at the end of the day, I still love her.
“Lucian! Where are you going?!” Cersei yelled after me.
No. I couldn’t do this with her. I wasn’t going to look back. I wasn’t going to acknowledge her in the slightest. I didn’t know Cersei. I didn’t owe her anything. I did owe Brinley. I owed her enough so I would give her all the affection that I had left.
I walked back towards the entrance of the gates. I pulled the scarf off my face. I was done pretending I wasn’t myself. I needed to face the truth. I was Lucian Kreed. I was the Chi to the Shire in dire need of saving. I was powerless to stop it because I will most likely be dead before I receive the power to change anything. I need to accept this truth because the sooner I accept it, then I can stop moping.
All around me people stared.
The scarf was gone and people stared at me. I was suddenly visible. I regretted my decision for a brief moment but then continued forward bravely. People whispered. They turned to their friends and whispered about me but I wouldn’t let it bother me today. I couldn’t let them get to me. Then I heard what they were whispering.
“Is that Chi Lucian?”
“Why isn’t he at the wedding?”
The Wedding! I stopped quickly and looked around before I spotted something. A beautiful wooden guitar. I shoved past people in line and overpaid for the guitar. I needed something to show for where I was this morning. I hoped Ronin wouldn’t be mad. Who am I kidding? I missed Ronin’s wedding. He had every right to kill me.
At least if he kills me now he will get a guitar.
After I successfully purchased the guitar I took off sprinting. I ran all the way to the bridge before I was stopped by the Savs.
“Halt!” One of them called.
I stopped, panting. I was really out of shape. I have no idea how I got this way.
I looked up and they both got a good look at my face. The shock was plainly written in their stances.
“Chi Lucian! What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be at the wedding?”
Of course, I should be at the wedding. That’s why I need to go.
“Let me in?” I begged.
The Savs stepped aside and I took off running down the bridge again. I really regretted it. Running was not enjoyable to me, at all.
By the time I got back to the Fortress, it was way too late. The Wedding was over. I had missed it. I couldn’t face Ronin right now. His look of disappointment would be too much for me as of this moment. I was far too disappointed in myself. Instead, I took the guitar up to my room to sulk for a little while. It was better than facing all my family and friends who attended the wedding. Who was I for ditching Ronin’s wedding?
I guess it didn’t matter whether the discussion with Cersei was innocent or not. My whole being there wasn’t innocent. I was putting my own needs ahead of my best friend’s needs. That was awful enough. Now I was disappointing Brinley and Ronin.
I was an awful person, wasn’t I?
I hugged the guitar close to me as I trudged up the stairs. I was a failure of pretty much everything. My father didn’t trust me to be the next Ene. Why should he? I’m too paranoid. I’m too weak to actually enforce anything. My wife is facing the world alone because I’m not there to help her like I promised I would do.
And when your time runs out, I’ll be right there beside you. That is what I said. That is what I said in my vows. I might have thought I didn’t mean it. I do mean it now. I was so angry about the night of my wedding. I really considered that she was going to kill me. I’m not even worried about it anymore. How could she kill me when I’m dead sometime soon anyway. I’m not going to spend the last few days scared of my wife. Scared of Brinley.
I turned into our room. The fireplace didn’t have a fire. Brinley obviously hadn’t been here anytime earlier. Because she was at the wedding.
I sighed. I could already tell it was going to be one of those days. Everything I did, said, or heard was going to remind me of all the mistakes I made. I grabbed a candle that was left burning on the table and brought it to the kindling. I had been in the cold for way too long this morning, and I was chilled to the bone. When the fire caught I sat back and stared at it for a while. It was so warm and bright. Unlike your life.
Wow, it really is going to be one of those days. I needed to do something to keep my mind off of this. I looked around the sitting room and spotted the blue journal on the table behind me. I pulled it off and stared at it for a while. Maybe my father would understand what I was going through. Maybe he could help me. Or maybe he would throw me in the dungeon. He didn’t love me like he loved mom. He loved me because I was another part of her. When she left us, I served only to remind him of what he’s lost. If I told him I was dying as mom did, that would be even worse.
I flipped open the book. I was in the mood to laugh at my father’s hero complex. He sees himself in such a different light than everyone else sees him.