... now they must watch their abundance of luxuries fall away, making room for the tools of survival, and witness this time of relative peace wither into the same fears that harper's ballads had warned them about for generations.
 
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 On the fourth day. [Stand alone]

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Eloaene

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Posts : 1703
Join date : 2012-09-20
Age : 33
Location : Texas

PostSubject: On the fourth day. [Stand alone]   Sun Apr 06, 2014 4:30 pm



The Fourth Day had come. It was the day on which Rihan had promised Toshiro would be able to make his escape. Of course, Toshiro knew nothing about just how Rihan was hoping to pull it off, but the Captain had years of experience to provide assistance in situations like these. He'd kept calm throughout the whole of the day, looking for signs of his rescue, but knew it was more likely to come in the evening. So, patiently biding his time, Toshiro prepared himself mentally.


Come nightfall, it wasn't until the deepest candlemarks of the night that Toshiro overheard a scuffle from the guard's main office down the corridor. He sat. And listened. Nothing came at first, but then he could hear the sounds of short-lived fighting. Moments after, a single man walked the hall with the jailer's keys.

The man grinned, holding them up to dangle from the tip of a finger in tease, "It's not often one asks for favours like these. No way I could have turned something like this down."

Chuckling under his breath, the man went to unlock the door to the cell. "You're on your own from here. My crew and I will be keeping the Guards tied up with some drunken squabble down the road a bit. You'll have to head north when you leave here to avoid it. ." Of course, the man was downplaying the amount of calamity his 'crew' was causing, but for them, it was all in good fun -and they were under orders of a sort. Anyway, none of them would get into too much trouble for the distraction they'd been causing, and there was no way to connect their little group with what went on here at the guardhouse and Toshiro's escape, so it was all well worth it.


There wasn't time to stand around and hope any of the other guards wouldn't come back to find them, so Toshiro and his saviour were on the move after that. Dropping the keys back on their hook near the jail door, both of them went from the building and parted ways.

Toshiro disappeared quickly into the shadows of nearby buildings, thinking that for the most part, he knew where he was going. He wasn't sure how long he would have before the rest of the guardsmen returned to the guardhouse to discover their unconscious comrades and missing prisoners, though everything had been locked back up so that it wouldn't be readily apparent that a prisoner had escaped... though that would likely only delay the discover of his absence by a couple of minutes. Still.. the more delay, the better. In situations like this, every minute -every second, even- would count.

Fortunately, as Toshiro slipped undetected through the streets of the hold, like a revenant of his former self in the days of the rebellion, he would run into no trouble. He made his way to the Dusty Crone, from the lack of lights and sounds, understanding that it was past closing time for the establishment. Or perhaps they'd only made ready for him to come and take refuge there. At least that was his hope.

Given his situation however, Toshiro felt the need to be more skeptical than that. Still,... given the situation, the Captain could only trust in the trust Rihan had put in this place, because tonight there was little other choice. If something did go wrong though, and Rihan's trust was betrayed by anyone here, Toshiro would quickly take steps to snip that betrayal in the bud. He just hoped it never came to that.


Toshiro's eyes casting a final look about him to be sure no patrol was on its way by, nor that any other eyes should notice him, he turned about to head up the few steps that would take him into the establishment. Hand on the door, it was unlocked and thereby, he assumed those inside were waiting. As he stepped through the door, Toshiro instinctively reached to put a hand on his sword, but there was none. The sensation of not having a weapon made him feel all the more vulnerable, but there was nothing he could do about it.

Upon entering however, the Captain would find that there was no need to be on such high guard. Closing the door behind him, as he looked ahead, there was only one lone figure still awake to greet him. A few lights lit by the bar where she sat over a drink were all that brought the room to life around him, but her smile became even more radiant to him than the light. A warm, friendly face was quite welcoming to him at a time like this.

And the woman who sat there was kind enough to speak up first, "I've been waiting for you to get here. I figured it would be late, but not this late. That's alright though. Just follow me. I'll take you to your room so we can both get some sleep soon."

Inclining his head, Toshiro followed the woman quietly up the stairs to his place of refuge.







The Dusty Crone herself, had left him, saying she'd give him a little time to get settled in. He'd spent that time sussing through the many things left behind for him by Rihan. Clothes, the falsified identification badges that had been promised, a pouch of marks, a neatly folded letter, and... most importantly perhaps, Toshiro's weapons.

Toshiro hadn't even had time to pull out a change of clothes yet when a knock came at the door for him.

A little on edge still, Toshiro gripped the handle of a weapon when the door cracked open then; but seeing that it was only the tavern owner, he let himself relax again. His eyes however, were still intently upon her.

The aging matron of the bar had brought him up a tray of food and drink, kindly making it enough to fill a stomach that had been running on almost empty for several days. He suspected he'd probably even lost a little weight. Maybe Rihan had warned her.

Toshiro thanked her, but thereafter fell quiet, sitting himself at the small table against the wall where his plate was set.

Instead of leaving him to eat by himself, the woman started, "My name is Tristney. I won't ask questions, but your friend warned me beforehand of what is going on, so you'll have to pardon me if I'm assuming too much, but you can see where assumptions about you and this whole situation lead."

Of course, it was only natural that she was a little suspicious, but still... there'd been assurances from Rihan that Toshiro was no one to be feared by her. That should have been enough. That is, enough if she believed everything she heard; but the old harper knew how the world was, and strange things had been happening recently.

The woman's eyes, sunken back and shadowed with age, were still quite sharp and like reflective glass, spoke clearly their honest intent. "I promised that man I wouldn't speak anything of it -your being here- so you've no need to worry on that account." With that, she smiled a crooked smile and laughed. "It does make me wonder though, just what kind of wanted suspect is protected by one of the Sons of Telgar? But who am I to question it? You must be someone important to Telgar, if it's that person who is looking out for you."

The woman went on smiling with a certain measure of warmth that meant she only had good intentions of her words, not having much else to talk about with him yet. But so far, none of it elicited any reaction from him as Toshiro hovered over his plate, eating with greed.

It was only with the deepest appreciation though, that the Guard Captain accepted the food. He wasn't trying to be rude.

When finally the woman sat, she poured him a drink, thinking it inhospitable for a man to have to pour his own. So, whether or not he decided to carry on any two-way conversation with her, she remained, hoping that he'd feel a little more at home. Of course, she had no idea how far Home really was for him.


Having soon finished the meal, Toshiro thanked her for bringing it up to him and went on to ask where he might bathe.

"There's only one toilet and bath on this floor, but it's separate from the other rooms, so you'll be able to access it whenever you need. No one else should be going up and down these stairs but me. And after about the eleventh candlemark of the evening my doors are usually closed -or getting to be. At my age, I can't stay up any later. They wear me out, customers do. Anyway, they known my routine."

With that, Tristney was standing from the table, figuring he'd like to get himself a nice bath and then some proper rest. "It's up to you how you come and go, but until instructed otherwise, I'll continue bringing food and drink up whenever I have my own meals -that way it won't seem suspicious. Usually I eat early in the day and then late at night. Sorry if that doesn't seem to suit you. I suppose we could find another way."

Toshiro was shaking his head though, "No, that's alright. Thank you for your help."

The woman's eye sparkling after that, she took the tray and dishware from him, returning to the door. "Alright. Well, the bathing room is here to the right. Water's already hot. Just let me know if you need anything else."

Nodding his understanding, Toshiro watched her depart and then closed the door behind her. Soon, he was digging back through the large travel pack of things RIhan had left for him. Pulling out some clean clothes, he made his way to the bathing room to wash up.









A few days later, Toshiro had been able to leave the room, having had his hair trimmed shorter than usual so it was more difficult to tell the colour of it, given it was darker at the roots. He'd dressed casually, and with a smithcrafter's knot on his shoulder as part of his disguise, keeping a knife hidden on him, and of course the falsified badge of identification.

Venturing out to scope out the old lines of communication that the ranking chains of command had used during the rebellion; ones that he, as an immediate subordinate of the command, had also known about. Rihan had been correct in his assertion that the lines were still open, though probably rusty, so to speak, as it had theoretically been several turns since anyone had put them to use.

Still, glad to utilize them, it was probably how Rihan had secured his escape, and found those ruffians to create enough of a ruckus to distract all the guards. They were people who were used to playing covert roles in times of dire need. Even if such a time had been thought long past, and the need of such actions long gone.

Toshiro sent his message to Rihan, knowing it would arrive to him within a few short days -if not sooner, depending on the luck. To tell the truth, Toshiro didn't know exactly how many hands such information passed through, but they were all anonymous, and all had their own way of transferring such information without detection. Thus, Toshiro would never know just how many people were able to help him, but he was grateful to them.

Having considered sending a letter to Ariadne as well, Toshiro held onto that though, thinking that perhaps he should simply find some way of making it out of the city so that he could visit her in person instead. Going back home to see her was his greatest desire. Each time he thought of her, he felt himself nearly choking on every breath that came thereafter. He missed her so greatly.

There wasn't much time before she'd be ready to give birth to their child. He hadn't written down any of the names he'd thought of,... nor did he really want to have to send something like that through such covert methods. He didn't want to have to keep in contact with her that way.

None of this should have ever happened. He shouldn't be a fugitive in this place.




Having returned to his place of hiding after enjoying a day outside in the fresh air, Toshiro looked out the small window in his room, and into the distance. The sun's light would soon disappear behind the horrizon, its distant, fading light casting a grayness over the expanse of countryside he could see to the south of there, beyond the borders of the Hold walls. Beyond those walls were the ones he was chasing after; the ones who'd framed him for murder. But beyond those walls was also his lover and child; his only family.

With ample time alone to consider her then, and time also to consider his next move, Toshiro finally decided to sit down and write to Ariadne. Before going anywhere, he would have to hear back from Rihan to be sure there was no other directive going to be given of him so soon, so it would be at least another sevenday until he could set out. Hopefully in that time, the Guard would have expand their search elsewhere and take their eyes off the immediate vicinity of the more centralized areas of Southern Telgar Hold, giving him a little more freedom to move around. Perhaps they'd assume he'd left Southern Telgar altogether. Or perhaps they'd have found Ermon's real killer by then.

Either way, Toshiro had felt the weight of some dreadful feeling that gradually permeated his entire being. There was no way to put it out of his mind. Because of that sense of dread, Toshiro thought that perhaps he should write to his fiance after all; just in case something worse should happen.

The chance still existed that he could run out of opportunities to utilize the lines of communication to reach the outside world. It could happen that his place of hiding were discovered, and if the Guard assumed that his escape only 'proved' his guilt, they might just decide to kill him on sight. Toshiro didn't know what would happen next. And though the Dusty Crone seemed safe for now, in reality, he understood that no safe haven existed for him yet.

So, lighting another candle, Toshiro put his writing utensil to parchment, setting down his hand to begin:


"Ariadne,

Without you, each night grows darker. Any light of hope for my situation seems dimmed by an ever deepening shadow that has begun to engulf everything and everyone in these southern reaches of Telgar. It is on these dark nights I look ahead, knowing that grayness in the distance is now enemy lands. Yet all that my heart can see is you, as I strive to guard the legacy of this Hold. All that my heart can hear is the voice of the one I left behind, speaking to me still, ever so kindly. Though my intentions have only been to protect the people of this Hold, I realize ever more that my heart and my hands have been living opposing purposes. Through this haze, I have trouble seeing it now -that once definitive goal. I cannot help but worry... have I left you... for nothing more than the meaningless fortunes of war?


I am sure by now, that Rihan has told you everything, though I told him only to speak to you that I am doing well. If alive is 'well', then I am that. I am not injured, at least. But every day is more of the unknown, and it takes me back to the time of the rebellion. I can feel it sinking in, like a tingling under my skin. It is the memories coming alive. Like the fear of losing you, I fear this: losing myself to that past.

I want you to know I am going to try to come to you. If I must hide myself from this place, I would rather be at your side. If even for a moment, though, I don't imagine getting there will be easy, so please wait for me. Until then however, know that I love you. And should something happen that I am unable to be there with you for the birth of our child, I leave you with these names.

If the baby is a girl, name her Koizora. And like the vast, all encompassing sky that brings us together across the distances, let her forever reach out her arms and look out over the world with love and grace.

If the baby is a boy, name him Dyokardeas. And like our two hearts who became one, through the conception of a son, let him be the embodiment of and bear the significance of that love, even if I am unable to return to you."




Leaving the letter at that, it might seem unfinished; and perhaps Toshiro did have more to add. But with the note being sent through alternative routes and meant to remain anonymous for the sake of keeping his identity in secret in the case that it should be discovered before it reached her, he did not sign his name.

As he'd finished the writing, Toshiro's eyes watered. He'd left his heart with her in Telgar River Hold, and he wanted her to hold onto it and nurture that heart forever. Since his departure from there, thoughts of her had been his only sustenance, and he relied on her for that. So, he held onto those thoughts of her, and thoughts of seeing her again soon, becoming more desperate for that day.



[*Note: Koizora means "sky of love" in Japanese. Dyokardeas means "two hearts" in Greek*]


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