The linens on his bed were soaked through with sweat and he woke with a sputter, choking on his breath. His nights were short and ended suddenly more often than not. He threw the sheets from his body and swept his legs out onto the floor. His blue eyes caught a little of the natural light and he sat up, hands on his knees. His knuckles were white and his fists were clenched tightly and his nails dug into the skin, drawing a small pool of blood. The bed bore old linen, stained with blood and sweat. A single pillow had been discarded from the top of the bed, the filling compacted and nearly flat. The room was sparse yet filthy. Books scattered around the floor, opened chests, and discarded garments strewn throughout. More than that, the scent of ale and bourbon filled the room. Empty mugs, bottles, and barrels. The man’s red hair was matted and tousled from his rough sleep. His eyes were a bright blue, but the spark behind them had faded. The colour still stood out against the rough skin and dark bags beneath his eyes.

It took several minutes before he could stand and his bare feet made little noise as he crossed the room. A stairwell took him down to the sitting room, and an unlit fireplace. The house was frigid, but he did not notice. He trailed droplets of blood behind him as he walked, and a keen eye could notice the discolouration on the floor. This was not the first bloody trail he had left across his home. He stepped outside and the air quickly dried the sweat on his skin. He walked a short distance and pulled water from the well. The first bucket went over his head, and he drank from the second. He stared down the well for a long time before lowering the bucket again. As he returned to his home, he barely noticed the ever-growing pile of letters and envelopes dropped off by the mail carriers.

His walls were once covered with a variety of swords and daggers, a great collection taken from enemies slain and awarded for his services to the Alliance and for work performed for various mercenary groups. He had once sought to collect the strongest, most well made blades around. All that remain were the stands. His first night, he collected all the serviceable steel in his home. He sent it to Jarrick Mason, a blacksmith. The blacksmith melted them down as a favour, and that was the end of that. The candles in his home had all burned so far down that they remained worthless, and the few precious oil lamps he had were dry.

He walked to the kitchen and pulled out some salted meats, cheeses, and bread. He ate for awhile. Each bite took effort, and time. His chewing was slow, methodically, but ultimately without focus. He was eating by force of habit and necessity, and took no time to savour the food. The time he took was another measure of just how little energy he had left. He would need supplies soon, but he also knew that someone would bring them again. Reed had brought food once. They talked of times of old for a little, but Sielic could see the pity in his once-friend’s face. He threw him out. Remembering the fight brought anger up from deep within, and a voice that only knew of blood and violence. He quashed it, shoved it back down, and opened another bottle.

Part of him knew there were things that needed to be done, fights to be won, outside of his home. Those were not his fights any longer, though. His hands shook as he lifted the bottle to his lips. No, this man was not worth even half a man in combat any longer. He’d lost the nerve to see things through, and the willpower to persevere. He knew of demons at large, had helped for a short while, but he slipped. The bottle was easier, more welcoming. The dark, chill of his home was more comforting. The pity and contempt for a man such as he had grown too much, and he saw it in the Templars. Some had forgiven, but too many watched with wary eyes when he walked by. Too many engaged out of obligation, and that all-too-familiar pity, for him to remain at the camps. When he left, he was quiet. He did not even take his belongings, leaving a few scattered chess pieces, leather armor, and assorted goods behind.

This was home, and though he did not feel good nor happy here, it felt right. This desolation was necessary. He had to remember what he did, and so he remained. When he finished his meal, he looked behind the house. It was there, the gravemarker for Tyrilyna. It would always be there, and he would always be here to see it and remember.

Author Sielic
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Comments (1)

  • Jarrick
    March 3, 2018 at 6:21 pm
    Heartwrenching... damn.

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