Lucius slowly slid down the “wall” of the once common room of the Fey, and let out a slow and tired breath. Axelrod and Appi were slowly moving through the newest of the corpses in the room, in an attempt to find the remaining items needed to keep the Chellish companions from going to prison. Lucius was just too tired to really help in that endeavor right now. To be honest, Lucius was too tired to do much more than sit against the rotting support beam that was the only thing propping him up right now. He was still in shock and having a hard time understanding and admitting to himself the truth.
He was more afraid than he had ever been in his life.
He had fallen a few times before under heavy blows of the gangs in the mines, but this time was different. In the heat of a battle, that he had wanted none of, that he could barely keep ahead of the incoming swings and thrusts, that he had barely been able to stay upright in…. he had eventually fallen into blackness. He vaguely remembered a stabbing pain and then slowly falling down. He should be dead. To be honest, Lucius was pretty sure that some sort of divine intervention was the only reason he was still holding on to his tired breath.
He should be dead.
But he wasn’t, he was just tired and sore and lost. He looked slowly over at Appi with a little bit of confusion. On the surface he had seen the obvious, but he still was finding it hard to believe that his friend… Aroden’s blood, more than a friend.. the closest thing he had to family now really…He was finding it hard to comprehend that Appi, who he grew up with running through the vineyards and causing mischief with the servants, was now somehow divinely connected in a way that honestly was just dumbfounding in it’s simplicity and beauty. Lucius had to look away, as even now there seemed to be celestial radiance and calm emanating from his childhood friend that unnerved Lucius. As he moved his head slowly, he gazed over at Axelrod and contemplated this new found companion. Someone who owed Lucius nothing had sacrificed much to help him escape his homeland over these past few days. And the irony of it all was it was not for gold or even glory and fame. It was just a gnome’s simple desire to help others. A unwavering devotion to the universal principle of freedom from tyranny. It made Lucius feel the deepest and blackest guilt for all the times he had scoffed or mistreated the “servants” as he grew into manhood at the estates. This “little one” had more nobility than any of Lucius’s ancestors. Lucius silently promised himself to always remember the example and sacrifice that Axelrod had made for him.
His tired and weary mind began to wander….
So much had changed in the last year. The long dark journey in the night from his school and last remnants of his innocence. The pain and humiliation of the Inquisitors. The violence, desperation and loneliness of the mines. The fall into despair and hopelessness on the ship. The brief joy of seeing his father in the blood pits, just to have it all come screaming down in blood, rage and ultimate loss as his father sacrificed himself on Lucius’s very own blade to perform one final act of fatherhood and set is son free. Lucius remembered being taken “home” and the sudden horror and despair that he had only been delivered from one prison to another. The rest is a blur. To be honest, the only thing he remembers vividly from that night is the feel of the chains cutting deep into his hands as he used his last remaining strength to end his Uncle’s life. After that… yes, the rest is a blur really. Lucius shook his head to try and clear it, he was wandering through dark memories and one he was not ready to confront. He was dreadfully on the edge of passing out.
The truth of the matter was, after all of the events of the last year, he had almost died tonight. But more importantly and the sole reason for the weight Lucius currently felt on his soul.
His death would have been trivial and meaningless.
He would have died at the hands of an average, ordinary, mercenary group that was only fighting for a monetary pardon from a local sheriff and out of greed and self preservation. He would have died because of some backwoods Ranger’s petty hatred of the Chellish people that caused him to strike down in full force and vehemence. But beyond who killed him, more important is “how” he died. Lucius realized he would have died a frightened and unknown boy, lost in an Andoran forest and with nothing to show for his life but an arrogance that had bred his own self righteous judgment, blind to empathy and compassion, to the point where he didn’t even know his own father or best friend.
What did he have to show? A dark year of forced recompense for a mistaken heritage and a family name already forgotten by his country and people.
Tears slowly formed in Lucius’s eyes. Some things he’s not willing to confront yet…but a slow realization began to come to him.
He had been given a second chance.
A chance to do something more. To do something noble. To make himself worthy again. Lucius slowly stood up and gazed through the cracks of what used to be a window into the night outside. “I will make you proud father.”, he whispered quietly to himself. “I will make myself worthy of the name you gave me and of the person you wanted me to be.” Lucius wiped his eyes and slowly rose. He looked at Appi and Axelrod with a new found feeling of trust and companionship. And maybe, just a little more understanding.
And as he gazed at his companions, with new found courage and direction, Lucius quietly whispered to himself “This is where it begins.”