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Fate ticks on

Archivist note: This post is from an older recovered archive.

==Fate Ticks On==

((Posted by Sky Netizen on July 8, 2010))

Following a stern knock at the door to my flat I opened it to find none other than Mr. W—— standing there, looking rather intent on speaking with me. Though slightly surprised by the visit, I had been expecting him to find me as he had forewarned. He hesitated as I welcomed him inside, most likely considering the social rules surrounding paying a visit to an unattended woman. Knowing others lived by those standards I understood, yet I rarely took heed to them myself.

Entering the main room, he looked around and asked, “Is this your home now, Sky?” Yes, he used my first name as he addressed me, recognizing the fact that we had indeed met many years prior. I was immediately put at ease that my suspicions were at least partly true.

“Indeed, it is,” I answered his question with a nod, leading him around the room.

Gently, he said, “I must say…you’ve done well…all considering…”

Knowing his meaning I gave a slightly sad smile before saying, “I believe so, anyway.” Changing the topic, I indicated the posters of fencing teams decorating the walls of the sparse room and spoke of my plans to teach self defense classes. After a short discussion on my mastery of the blade, he began quietly pacing. In the silence I considered the myriad questions I had for him, being unsure which would be most appropriate to ask first. My eyes darted to the adjoining room and I realized that out of all the people on earth he would most understand what I had in there.

Walking into the other room, I said, “You may appreciate this….planning room, to find my parents again someday.” The emotions that began bubbling to the surface surprised me, I had shown this room to many other friends. This time, though, it was different.

“Indeed,” said Mr. W—— as he looked about the room, his gaze eventually moving to me. With something of pride in his eyes, he added, “A noble purpose, Sky.”

For the first time in many years my emotions choked me, tears burning my eyes and threatening to fall. I wanted nothing more than to fall in a heap on my floor pillow and sob as he, the only person from a dark part of my past, would tell me I’ve done well and there may still be hope of finding my beloved parents. Yet, instead of doing any of those things, I only cleared my throat and looked away from him for a moment to collect myself.

He coughed and turned to the map hanging on the wall, saying, “It was Marrakesh, wasn’t it?” He arched his brow and gave me a sideways glance.

Uncharacteristically, I stumbled a bit for words before I responded, “I can’t believe you remember… For that matter, I can’t believe you stand before me.”

He smiled briefly and said, “Yes…I suppose not.”

I couldn’t help but gaze at him with open amazement for a moment as he turned back to look at the map. Then one of my many questions came out suddenly, “How?”

He began by nonchalantly saying, “Oh…I get by okay….” His cruel lips then parted into a sly grin as he continued, “The old man’s legends weren’t far off from the truth, Little One…” He watched as my eyes widened, looking at him in an entirely different manner. “I am one…one of the last of my cursed kind,” he said, confirming what I somewhat feared to be true.

I quickly asked, “Does anyone else know here?” His “kind” had long been hated and hunted throughout the lands. If anyone did know he was one of them it could prove dangerous not only for him, but for New Babbage as well.

His eyes narrowed as he scanned over me, like a surgeon looking for a lump, before slowly nodding. “There are precious few who have some small idea,” he replied.

Sincerely, I said, “Your secret, sir, is quite safe with me. I assure you.”

“Yes…I believe it is…you owe me that much, don’t you?” he said, looking at me, something unexplainable in his gaze.

Opening my mouth to speak, there were no words there. Slowly finding my speech, I said, “Y-yes, I owe you my life, probably more.”

He smiled to himself and said, “Your silence is repayment enough…and perhaps your blade, from time to time.”

I could barely believe what he was asking of me; it was an opportunity that I thought would never be given. Of course I would stand and fight by his side if need be, how could I not? After expressing my loyalty to him, I questioned, “What other enemies have you? I imagine the list a long one…”

His face grew grave as he locked his cold gaze on me, “Sky…it is longer than I’d like.” A small grin danced across his lips for a fleeting moment before he continued on, “You must know that there is mortal danger in simply having the knowledge you do…you know they are hunting for me.”

Unshaken, I said boldly, “Danger I’m familiar with, and as I’ve said, you have my protection should you need it.” With a smirk I added, “The tables are turned now, Mr. W——. Let us forget the debts between us, shall we?” My hand extended out towards him, awaiting his to shake and seal our pledge.

Taking my hand in his, his touch felt cold and harsh, yet full of silent longing. The sensation shocked me, and I wondered if I had only imagined it. He shook and said, “You have my word.” I gently squeezed his hand, shook it and responded, “And you, mine.”

With that, we both turned to stare once again at the map on the wall, and with a grin Mr. W—— asked the question, “So, where has life taken you since we last met?” For both of us, that was a weighty question to answer. We recollected our different journeys to the corners of the known world and a few places still unknown. Many of the same ports of call, yet years apart from one another. As we unraveled our tales it was evident the Fates intended that we should both end up in New Babbage at this time, though neither of us expressed it. Removing his pocket watch, he closed his eyes for a fleeting moment before returning the timepiece to his pocket, stating he needed to leave for business. I showed him to the door and said what we both knew to be true, “I’m sure our paths will cross again soon enough.”

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