Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Twenty Nine

            I hadn’t realized how much I missed the bustle of Teminon Landing until I stood upon the gleaming marble once more.  My armor still faintly reeked from they dye I’d used on it, and though the design was the same it still startled me when I looked down and saw a light purple instead of blue.  The dye had been a gift from Toxemia; he had brought it to me along with a new set of orders for my beloved.  While Aal had gotten ready, strapping on his plate in the next room Tox had given me a run down of things to do for myself to make things harder for Switchkin should he try to find me again, which was likely given that he was insane and obviously obsessed.  I missed the familiar weight of my shield at my back and my mace at my hip.  I just didn’t feel well defended with out them, instead I carried my staff.  A plain looking thing, unassuming… which is why I liked it.

            I needed to replace my shield, the one that had borne the Legion crest for Destiny was irreparable and though it saddened me, my friend the assassin had been right, I should not wear the Legion crest, either on my shield or my cloak, it made me to easily recognizable and Switchkin would be looking for it.  I had a week of leave to myself, a very long week, of no duties to speak of, I was bored all ready, and I missed Aalairius, badly and so I had come to Teminon to hear how things fared in the abyss and because I preferred the trade broker here over the Hall of Prosperity in Sanctum.

            Really I had come because I needed a change of scenery, even if only for a little while, and the scenery did not get much different than the abyss.  I slipped out of the broker house and outside, veering to my left to lean against the fortress wall and soak in some of the sun.  I had been going through my designs for my handy crafting and I had found something unique that I wanted to try, though it was vastly out of my usual purview.  It was a design for a shield, an ostentatious thing that resembled a Mikaron’s momento sea shell.  I had two of the delicate things tucked safely in my cube, though I need only one to craft the shield along with a host of other items.  I felt a touch guilty at how expensive some of the materials required had been, though for Aalairius kinah was no extravagance, I still remained frugal with my spending.  The fifty-four worthy morph catalysts had been outrageous and had lightened my purse considerably.

            I rummaged in my cube and drew out the small scroll that would teleport me back to Sanctum… I knew that Toxemia and Aalairius would laugh at me for this, but the shield wasn’t half bad, from what the design stated.  In fact it seemed rather sturdy from the stats listed. I was pulled through the aether and when I opened my eyes I stood nearby Elyos Square and the Sanctum obelisk.  I set off on foot for the crafter’s hall and the small accessories studio to spend my afternoon working on my new piece of armor.

            When it was completed I stood for a very long time looking at it, a stupid smile gracing my lips.  It looked absurd, and I doubted that while I wore it, that anyone would take me seriously but I had made it and I had made it very well indeed, so despite its frilly absurdity I would wear it with pride.  I went home, and slipped my tired and not oft used staff into the corner; I took my mace and new shield with me and headed for the arena, more specifically for the training rooms just off the arena for some practice.  Breaking in new equipment was always a pain and beside that, it would be best to get used to such an item now rather than in the field when I returned…

            I spent my afternoon sweating and taking hits until my shield arm went numb from elbow to wrist and my shoulder joint creaked in protest with every movement.  Finally the Daeva that had been sparring with me stopped.  He would duel me no further and called me crazy for wanting to continue.  He was right and I felt a little sheepish, despite the shields over all ridiculous look it was good and I didn’t feel quite as ludicrous as I strapped it to my back.  I shook hands with the training master and thanked him for his time before slipping out from the stone chambers beneath Sanctum’s arena.

            Though my hair clung to my forehead and the back of my neck with sweat and the grit of the training rooms, I was ravenous and opted to eat before bathing.  I slipped up the street, shoulders lax with tiredness and went up the sky bridge toward the exalted path.  I went to one of the smaller city tap rooms, it was lovely and open and allowed for a view of the street through high archways, and always in the open air it was recessed far enough back under the eaves to remain dry during the most violent of torrents.

            I settled into a seat at a small table for two just out from the café out in the street and ordered from the Shugo proprietor, who had always liked Aalairius’ big appetite.  He bustled about and brought out a fine meal and I tucked into it with gusto.  I watched the people of sanctum go by as I ate, pausing to sip my Ormea juice between bites.  It was restful and the aches and tiredness in my shoulders eased.  I paid for my meal and sat basking in the light of Sanctum finishing my drink when I caught a glimpse of a small figure tearing through the crowd, running up the lane at full speed.  I recognized her immediately, partially because they looked so alike… Reilla, sister to Destiny’s Brigade General was in a hurry and I wanted to know why.

            When she was close enough, I stuck out my leg and as expected she tripped, neatly tucking and rolling in a way I always envied to come up onto the balls of her feet.  She whirled, her bow coming to hand, her face screwed up into a look of such fury which instantly smoothed when she saw who I was.  I sat up out of my lazy slouch and in a light tone of voice asked,

            “Where’s the fire Reilla?” she put up her bow and shifted from foot to foot.

            “You’re on leave, I don’t know if I should tell you.” She looked genuinely torn and it would be a lie if I didn’t say her answer vexed me so I solved her dilemma by squaring my shoulders and demanding in an authoritarian tone said,

            “Who, what, when, where and why Rei?  I may be on leave but I am still your Centurion.”  She smiled at me then, satisfied that Sin would find no fault with her now that she was under direct order and told me.

            “Who are the damned fur backs, what is they’re at it again at the Western Shard’s top layer, when is now and why… well do those filthy crows ever really need a reason?” she wrinkled her nose in disgust at the last bit but my thoughts were all ready whirling as she continued.   “The Elyos are getting hammered, Sin’s mobilized any in Destiny not all ready assigned.  Tox and Aal are all ready there…” and that was it.  I stood in one fluid motion, my glass tipping over as the little table rocked violently.  I grabbed Reilla’s arm and hauled her with me, she grinned impishly, a dark light in her brown eyes as we both made haste for a port to Verteron and the Abyss gate above it.

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