Author Topic: Many Waters  (Read 1572 times)

Offline Ajnos

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Many Waters
« on: June 15, 2004, 12:13:26 AM »

Many Waters

"Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it." Song of Solomon

The sky is cerulean blue, the color so deep and clear that it seems to pull the eye helplessly into a kind of upward vertigo. It is autumn, the breeze is cool but the sun is still warm. A fine evening in Trademeet, though the weather doesn't really matter. Trademeet thrives under rain or sun and today is no different.

There is a man and he stands looking at the statues around the fountain. He gazes up with a contemplative eye at a particular one with a look that is unreadable. A woman, who has known this man since before those particular stone figures stood 'round that fountain, watches him. There are six figures there, three women and three men. The man she has come to see is represented there too, he is one of those whose image was captured in stone nearly fifteen years ago.

She keeps her eyes fastened on his face as she approaches hoping to read his mood from his expression. Half-hoping that she will catch him unawares and glimpse some emotion on his face that will tell her his mood.

"Hey there tradesman, you're a long way from the markets," she aims her tone for cheery and she mostly hits it. She smiles at him and slips her hand in the crook of his arm. He turns to her, his usual fond smile on his lips even as she sees the veil slip down into his hazel eyes. She tilts her face for a kiss and he pecks her cheek with cool dry lips.

"I didn't think to find you here, Kelsey," she says, she is careful to sound unconcerned. Why did she let him come here?

"Reliving your glory days?" She says and feels his arm tense under her hand. That was the wrong thing to say, stupid really, and she knew it, as soon as the words left her mouth. "Not that you don't cut a fine figure now, darling." She curses to herself, mentally scrambling for a safer topic.

He hesitates for a moment and then twitches his eyebrows comically, "Why thank you, my dear. That's kind of you to say." He says this wryly, but he smiles as well, to show her that he isn't upset. His face is marked with a twisting scar that just touches the corner of his right eye before disappearing up into his hairline. And if he were to turn his head slightly more she would be able to see the bright white streak that some wild magic had burned into his red hair.

There are other scars that he bears too; ones she can't see just now but that she knows are there. She doesn't know if she's reminded him or if he minds and she frowns at the thought, she is a woman unused to not knowing what to say.

"Ah, I meant..."

"I know," he gestures to the statues, with a casual flick of his wrist, "we should all be so young again," his smile is more strained now and he sighs.

"I have news, Busya," he says and runs long fingers through his hair. He is agitated and she captures his free hand with her own squeezing it gently.

"Is everything okay? Is Kelvim..." she begins, but he waves her off.

"They're fine. No, it's Tethry, or in Tethry rather. A Bhaalspawn cult, called something or other of the Five. Cult of the Bloody Idiots... or the Terribly Stupid People Who Have No Idea What The Hell Happened," His face is growing flushed, as it does when he's upset. "...of the Five." He adds the last lamely, an offering, a bad joke. He meets her eyes, trying to smile and failing.

"I get it," she says, "You know these things come up from time to time, old followers of Bhaal or some young fools with too much time on their hands and not enough sense in their heads."

"I know and you're right, every few years or so it seems something comes up..." he exhales, "They have no idea what kind of...of the things that they're stirring up. There are still a lot of bad feelings about the Bhaalspawn. What happened there.... He stops abruptly, there are things they do not speak of often or even at all...old gods, lost cities, new Powers.

"It will work itself out," Busya speaks mildly and it pleases her that she sounds so calm. But she can feel her heart speeding up in her chest and with it a feeling as if a cold hand had settled on the back of her neck.

"And they're saying horrible things about Her. Lies." His eyes darken with anger as he looks at her and she sees a sort of naked desperation on his face. He does not say her name, he doesn't have to...he isn't talking about anyone else. The Bhaalspawn woman. Busya will not name her even in her mind; she knows what Kelsey has told her. She knows about the Throne, about mortals who would be gods, and she will not invoke Her by naming Her. Busya does not want to draw Her attention here; Busya wants nothing more than for Her to leave them alone.

"No one will believe them," she says fervently, as if she cared. "Bards sing her praises, everyone who knew her will know the truth and when this cult dies out like all the others have...well, then..."

"But some might believe, and to say that about Her after all She did...all She tried to do. And where She is belief or faith might... I don't know exactly how it works, but..." he falters, looks away.

"Well, if you hear anything you'll have to set it right," she says and she reaches out to hug him fiercely. "This little cult will likely never be more than what it is now...a rumor and bad news. And even if by some remote chance..."

"Imoen was concerned," Kelsey says stiffly and Busya releases him and closes her eyes. When she opens them again he is looking down at her with what is nearly reproach, they stare at each other for a moment before he relents and takes her into his arms.

"The sister," Busya thinks, "he didn't tell me that they had kept in touch." She had really only met the sister once, of course Busya had seen her almost everyday since. A stone Imoen stands next to her sibling at this very fountain.

"I really should just look into it, just to know what's really going on. But I'm certainly not going anywhere today, and probably not even tomorrow." He kisses her temple and slides a hand along her spine. She allows herself to be soothed, nodding as if she could possibly agree with him, biting back words she knows better than to say.

"Do what you think is best," she says in her best supportive no-nonsense voice, "just let me know and I'll help get your gear rounded up. I might even feel generous and buy you a shiny new saddlehorse," she rolls her eyes toward the statues beside them, "you're not so young anymore, dear."

"Ooh, that is generous," he smiles at her, relieved.

"I love you, Kelsey," she says before she can stop herself and then she hears it.

He pauses. Just for a moment, it is quicker than the space between heartbeats, a silence so very small that she didn't hear it for years.

"I love you too," he says. He kisses her softly, his fingers on her chin and she smiles at him as if she believes that he really does love her.

"Can belief make things real?" she wonders, and not for the first time. "If I pretend he loves me will he eventually believe it too?" She wants to believe and she wants him to love her. She wants him to forget, she wants to see his eyes smile when he looks at her, she wants...

"I hate you," she thinks and her eyes finally rest on the statue silhouetted against the perfect blue of the darkening sky. "You stonehearted bitch, look what you did to me," her eyes sting and she blinks back angry tears. Busya takes his hand in hers, and leads him away; she cannot bear to stand under the sightless gaze of that thing any longer.

The statue of a young woman, the Hero of Trademeet, stares with a resolute face towards the setting sun. The fading light gilds it, and indeed all of those figures, gold as they stand. They are frozen in time, untouchable and beyond reproach. Busya does not look back.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2004, 04:01:55 PM by Ajnos »
There's no earthly way of knowing
Which direction we are going
There's no knowing where we're rowing
Or which way the river's flowing


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