Tides rock the boat back and forth. Memories of being a child falling asleep on a rocking chair after crying for what felt like a very long time. Does the Earth care about us in the same way? This oscillating movement culls the hearts of these men living on the other end of goodbyes. I feel their pain inside, their bitter taste of anguish, and their longing to change what cannot be changed.
Each of us cries in the dark. Friends, family, lovers, and other people who lost their lives so that we could live will never be forgotten. The captain’s face floods with tears that reflect the moonlight. He takes a moment to get his thoughts together but his hand keeps shaking from fear or anticipation. Every member of the crew looks at their captain with respect and admiration.
“These tears seem magical tonight. If only they could bring those brave men back to life. Only myself and another man survived that night. The monstrous tide sent most of the boats to the bottom of the ocean. Myself and the leading commander of those soldiers drifted on the wreckage for a little while. I wanted to fall asleep but the commander made sure I didn’t. A part of me knew living through that experience would forever change me. Did I really want to see the man I’d become someday?
The commander knew what I was feeling. He called it the truth of the heart. We tell ourselves we are strong but that’s not true. A heart is a city of glass. It can shatter as fast as it’s created. At the time I didn’t know what to believe. I wasn’t willing to listen to his philosophical outbreak but nowadays I understand. I understand that I’m alive trying to make something beautiful in this world but that beauty wouldn’t exist if there wasn’t something ugly. Loss. We all lose things that mean the world to us. Is it enough to break our hearts?
I know you wanted to hear more about the storm. My mind either blocked it out or I blacked out because all I remember is those words. It’s not like I need to remember their screams ‘cuz if I did I wouldn’t be able to walk away. Oh I still didn’t walk away because their names are tattooed on my chest. I carry the small memory of them with me. They’re living on in the memories we have of them. All of us here have similar stories of loss but it’s the lessons and memories that stay with us until the end of time. Yes, we live in their light now. Shine on and make them know we aren’t falling to our knees in sorrow.” the captain’s words echo in the cold air.
My hands shiver with the realization that I can’t have what I once had. Every day beneath a warm Sun will be cloudy to me. I don’t see myself caught in a rut or sad for what has happened. The captain said the truth. I must be the source of light for those lost in the dark. It’s funny that we help others with nothing of our own but it’s the fact that we can cope with the dark. I grab my drink off the side of the boat and gulp down the sweet liquor.
“Damn, sure enjoy the mead?” Captain Ariex scoffs at my demeanor. “What makes it so good? The sweet flavor or the warmth in your gut? It matters a lot how a man sees his pleasures. Much more than what he’d do to achieve his fix.”
“The flavor. The flavor encompasses everything. Every drop of saliva mixes with it. It’s the contamination of order with chaos. A simple reminder to never get so obsessed in your success. We all need to let go. The reason the world is bad isn’t at all because people are bad. Some of us don’t get our heads out of the game and get lost in self-imposed sorrow. We’re too unaware of the beauty. Sometimes we need to just sit down and look at it. Get away from reality because it is fiction. A cruel fiction where dreams go to die.” my heart wins over my mind once again.
“Interesting. Who taught you?” Ariex gives me an unsettling stare.
“My mother. We were poor and unable to pay for schooling but she did the best she could. Is there something wrong with my belief?”
“Chaos, it’s the power of nature not man. The townspeople in the port town of Eyzianfell don’t take kindly to those that talk about chaos. They believe all the magic folk who gave their souls to nature are chaotic beasts. I can’t stomach to walk into the forest where the townspeople strewn up the corpses those they don’t like. Kid, get a strong stomach if you ever venture that way. All the sweetness in the world doesn’t protect anyone from that sight. Murder makes no sense except when you put possessions over people.”
“How can they,” I take a heavy gulp, “do something like that?”
“By coveting false deities. Atheists still have a deities but it is them and everyone else is supposed to praise them. I’ve met some nice people in my life who believe in gods and those who don’t. Some people simply lie for their own benefit. One can seek salvation out of greed. Those are the people we want to avoid. Can we deny their transgressions? This is the place where we fucked up as a species. We can’t let these type of people run free because they are demons in human skin. It’s nothing about religion. They just want to destroy everything no matter the cost. All walks of life have these monsters. We need a way to get rid of them or help them see life anew! I’m just a captain on fishing crew. I still know we have a long way to go before it can happen. If I ever am in town when those people go on their hunts I may never see daylight again.”
“The world has made you into a powder keg. Let’s hope I’m not the fire to light the fuse.”
“Yeah. Do you want to join the crew? We stop at the port for two days. Day one to sell, day two to get provisions. We’ll be on the seas by Thursday.”
“Damn,” I scratch my head, “I haven’t given it much thought. I know nobody from outside of Dragacia. What else could I do?”
“Dance. Yeah no, only way to be someone in Eyzianfell is to know someone. You know me right?” the captain generously smiles at me.
“Yes,” I smile back, “I do know you Captain. What should I do when we reach the port?”
“I’ll figure something out. The seas be a-blowing ill will t’night from the red morn. Worry more about now or we’ll never see the port.”
A whipping sound echoes around the ship. Ariex starts coughing and the ship shimmers in and out of existence. Screeching screams pierce through the night. Green mist rolls in covering everything. One of the crew screams out in agony. A need to go into the ship’s cabin enters my every thought. My feet refuse to move. The sound of a lock turning compliments the dropping of my heart.
All of the mist collapses inward upon itself creating a shadowy figure. It grabs me by my throat. The intent to kill trembles in its hands but they don’t squeeze. Time stands still as the screams subside. A feeling that I know this creature haunts me now. How would I know it? He has no face. Wait, how do I know it’s a he? Can he just. . .
“Rayne, we haven’t truly met before. We will. Something we both will regret. I do want to kill you to keep that from happening. I can’t. Your body has too much light for me to touch. How can such an evil man have so much light? We can only collide with our destiny. A pity. Please, my dear friend, don’t go to Eyzianfell. It will break you, you will abandon your promise to Olivia, and we’ll get our revenge but the cost isn’t worth it. I’m begging you to just walk away from your revelation. The simple genocide of a race isn’t worth the world! For the love of all things run away from everything.” the specter whispers to me in a calm voice.
“Who. . .who are you?” I utter quickly with a gasp for air.
“A memory. The Green Hand, Poison, a monster, and I was once a man. A man. If I could give you an answer I would. My Lord will soon send in his servants to destroy this visage. I hoped I could end this. . .this fall from grace. Power doesn’t mean anything if you lose yourself in the process. Our sins won’t stand up to people just like who you are now. They’ll preserve the beauty in Olivia’s name as you destroy her for your selfish aspiration. Be quiet, live in a small town, don’t question the world, live by your religion, and don’t let this world change you. The stupid wisps thought they were helping an unlucky kid. They gave birth to a monster who will destroy this world.”
“What the hell are you talking about?” I cough from the lack of air. “If I know you someday why didn’t you stop me? We can’t change the past. You want to? You’re the one messing with the world. If I do change I know other people won’t let me burn this world down.”
“Yeah, I do know you someday. We both have a thorn in our hearts. We’ll get overzealous and lost in the game. Sssen and me will wait for you in our palace of good intentions.”
“A monster that was never a man. Rayne, do good and follow your gut. In Heaven’s gardens or Hell’s ruins I’ll still call you a friend. Good bye.” he disappears into the darkness once more.r
“Is it over?” someone in the cabin utters. “I can’t tell. Ariex get your head out of the way. Woah, woah, I should fling you out there with the Fyrealigayn. Shush he can hear us. No shit! Hold me! What? I’m scared. Let’s sacrifice him. Any objections? Nay. Nay. Nay. Nay. Nay. The horses have spoken.”
A huge amount of noise rumbles in the cabin. One of the crew mates breaks through the door with his back. I sit there staring at them all. Ariex slowly inches out with a puzzled look. No one says anything. The crew mates set sail for Eyzianfell.
Ariex sits next to me. We stare at the night sky. Fish leap in the wake of the ship. The cool night air soothes my lungs. Drink after drink I find myself further lost in the dark. Words pile up in my head but my mouth feels dry. I need to move on and ignore that visage.
“Son. What happened? The Frealigayn had a few minutes with you. They usually kill without reason. A ghost trying to be made whole once more through murder. What happened?”
“I don’t want to talk about it. He knew my name. Are you sure that’s what they want? To be reborn?”
“That or a legend could tell you more. Want to hear it?”
“Sure.” the waters calm down and the moon shines a little brighter.