Monday, 12 March 2012

Precious Delivery

There was a thick fog rolling in over the expanse of ocean, floating past the ships bow and cascading down its haul. It created a sort of quiet eerie anticipation. Alastair brushed his hood back to get a better view of the small off-coast fishermen's village, its structure not much more then a fading silhouette of a floating harbor, quaint wooden buildings and docked boats in the dimming light. The warmer air connecting with the cold their ship seemed to bring with them from Ambrea caused for a surreal scene of shadowed figures that seemed to walk on water in the distance, dotted with dim yellow lights from hidden taverns and inns.

Peering carefully, his sharp sights could just make out the shapes of lingering folks weaving in and out of floating wooden platforms, likely tieing off boats, unloading the last of cargo, precious and the like. This day, Alastair had precious cargo, two very important pieces of his life traveled with him, and he stepped back over to a heavily cloaked woman swaddling in her arms a small bundle. He smiled warmly to her, and without hesitation used a delicate finger to tip her chin up and find her lips for a heart felt kiss, just fleeting as he meant not to draw attention. "This is a quiet place." he whispered to her as his eyes cast down to the small child in her arms- he'd been holding back the heart ache the whole tiresome trip. "Occasionally a thief comes through but this is a quaint station for locals, most the people are warm or keep to themselves." he tried to reassure. "Ackley and his wife said they'd be waiting in the Sea Wyrm Inn" he gestured casually toward the water where a row of dim flickering lights perhaps suggested windows of a structure.

Alastair had tried to keep Blaze close, tried to be accommodating- he was worried mostly for her, especially with how her moods changed from one extreme to the next lately, and giving their only child over to a foster family was no easy task. He encouraged they dressed to conceal themselves, draw the least amount of interest, as nobody was to know where their child was staying, not even the members of their extended family, the claw pack.

Blaze nodded with a small smile that she hoped held a trace of bravery and strength, not that she felt either. She wanted Elemmírë's last hours with them to be untainted by sadness or regret. It may be a while until they saw her again and any memories that she may possibly hold from this day ought to be free of burden. They may be providing her with a far safer and pleasant childhood, yet she knew for neither of them would this day ever be remembered without the heartache that now consumed them both.

She followed his gaze over the water, knowing somewhere out there waited Elemmírë's future. She tried not to think of herself being replaced, knew from Alastair's assurances that there were good, honest and reliable people and that would love her as if she were their own. Her eyes cast down to the bundle carried close to her chest. Two big blue inquisitive eyes looked up at her, then past to the sky were a crow squawked as it flew overhead. As always she looked curious; quietly serene as if unaffected by the emotions that surely must be pouring silently from both her parents. Though Blaze decided it was probably a good thing.

Securing the long scarf that covered her hair and most of her face against an unfelt chill she turned Elemmírë just a little so that she may see quick glimpse of the buildings and traffic of people as they came into harbour. Holding her against one hip she thought to herself how big she had grown in the last few weeks. She would very soon be crawling properly and most likely interfering with everything she ought not to be. A progression they were sadly likely to miss.

She felt a nudge against her chest and looked down to see she had managed to escape a small hand. She reached for it quickly and tucked it safely away out of sight "Not now sweetheart" she whispered softly. She glanced to Alastair and reached for his hand, taking a calming breath as they prepared to disembark.

Alastair wrapped on arm around Blazes, gently locking her in and guided her to the nearest Inn. It was big enough to house a number of small rooms for the weary traveler. Nothing fancy. Inside was mostly an open room with tables and a bar, and in back a room for the chef. Only two serving women worked the tables, weaving in and out of them with trays filled with seaside food and hearty drinks. He spotted Ackley and his lovely wife in the corner of the room already with somethings to eat. He gestured toward them so Blaze could see and offered a reassuring grin. Both of them were an elderly couple, both white wiry hair, kind eyes and wrinkles that showed they were hard working, and with creases in just the right places to betray they were a pair to smile often. Ackley's wife nudged her husband in the side when she spotted Alastair's usual looming form, broad shouldered, cloaked as they were accustom and moving with a mysterious grace among regular looking locals. Surely she knew also by the cloaked woman at his side holding the small bundled child.

Ackley stood quickly, brushed the crumbs off his clothes. You could tell the couple had tried to dress up, in more presentable attire. Ackleys wife was in a nice simplistic dress, ruffled sleeves, covered her and was quite modest. It was a pretty earthy green color accented in white design. Ackley wore a dressy vest over a pressed long sleeve shirt made of finer fabric. A thick belt held in some of his stomach, his pants pulled high over the round of his torso. Between the both of them, the fabric's colors were muted, faded over the years. More or less clean, but Alastair could still smell the lingering musk of barn animals from the pairs home. The dark elf cracked a smile at the effort and as he got closer he extended his hand to shake the old mans.

"Alastair lad!" he clasped hands firmly and shook his hand just as eagerly. The old mans eyes lingered on him a fleeting moment before he turned captivated with Blaze. "And miss Blaze!" he went to kiss her on the cheek, not invited, and grabbed for a hand to shake as well, causing her to blush in surprise. "Its a pleasure ta be meetin ya finally, heard so much about ye, why ...doesn't seem that long master Wylder was here visitin, writing ya love letters all secretly in that back corner" he gesture briefly and then pulled his wife forward. "This is me lovely second half Calora" The woman nodded, her cheek flushed rosy, she was mostly watching Blaze and the small bundle eagerly. She looked like the kind of woman who loved children, and the way she held her hands gently flooded in front of her lap suggested her gentle touch. Her eyes were a deep brown, sharing that same elderly twinkle as Ackley had.

"Oh darling its a pleasure to meet ya, and this tiny precious babe, it must be Elemmírë!" She leaned as if wanting a peek but didn't over step boundaries to fast, respectful of mothers wishes. Blaze was slightly overwhelmed by their friendly welcome, especially after the long, sad and quiet brooding journey they had just made. "You too.." she replied softly, eyes flickering between them "Both of you...Alastair has told me much about you." She relented her tight hold on Elemmírë enough so that she may take a look at her very soon to be foster daughter. Her bright blue eyes gazed up and she seemed to smile, always liking attention. Feeling a little conflicted Blaze gently handed her over, loosening her swaddling so that she may move more freely now inside. She had to see that Elemmírë!" would not cry...for if she did Blaze would be taking her straight home again. With her arms free she felt rather awkward and so sought the reassurance of Alastair's hand again, though her dark eyes looked fondly upon Elemmírë whom was now having a great cooing fuss made of her.

With a quick glance around the tavern she felt at ease enough to let the scarf slip from her hair, figiting with it a little before drapping it over her arm. Yet she kept on her cloak, not wanting her pale skin to be made more obvious than it already was. She did not wish attention to be drawn to her more, unusual features. "I hope you have not been waiting long" she said quietly, speaking with her head bowed slightly, not wishing to intimidate them with show of fangs.

"Oh my dear, don't fret, don't fret" Calora reassured "We are more then happy to be here for ya. And we understand how important this is." she hushed while the old woman cradled the bundle in her arms, staring down adoringly. "Oh my!" she gasped. "She looks just like you master Wylder, what a beautiful, beautiful child!" Calora looked up at the new parents "But then all children are such precious jewels, but this one is certainly special. I know that master Wylder would only choose a worthy companion, and with both your blessed souls I know this little girl will grow up with all your best traits!" Calora held their daughter tightly, and as best as he could tell Elemmírë seemed right at home. Perhaps babies could just sense good people.

Alastair gave Blazes hand a squeeze. He was pleased to see how well everyone was getting along thus far, but chemistry he didn't doubt. Still he felt a wrenching feeling in his gut as the child was passed to different arms. He tried his best to hold himself together. Ackley and his wife only knew Alastair as being that strong noble blooded fellow, kind enough to entrust party of his lifes fortune with. The kind to come and go in the passing of shadows. He wasn't so much that illusive man he use to be, but it was always weird acting different then someone expected.

"There isn't so much to add, I filled you in on all the details about her blood lines and such in letters" Alastair spoke softly, but Blaze might have recognize the subtle strain in his voice, it off handedly cause his accent to thicken as he tried to downplay emotion.

Ackley had been taking in Blazes vampyric and elegant features, it wasn't often they got to see such unique races where they were from. "As pretty as the books portray em" he mused and gave Blaze an approving smile before her turned to Alastair "of course, of course. And we aren't hard to reach, only a few days travel if you make the entire trip, the both of you always welcome anytime" he then gesture to their table, offering a seat "Would you two like to stay a while and have a bite to eat?" Ackley asked, ready to wave a server over.

Alastair turned to Blaze, he wasn't sure how willing she was to linger around with the pain of knowing their parting would be hard to handle. At least for Alastair, he hated this anticipation of leaving broken hearted. Blaze did not look at him straight away though she felt his eyes upon her. She was frozen in a moment trying to watch herself from an outside view, to distance herself from the mounting grief inside. She blinked suddenly and looked at him, a tiny shake of her head.

Calora glanced at her husband, a knowing look shared between them. She felt her heart go out to both of them, having to give up a child, even if just a temporary measure was something no parent should ever have to go through. Ackley shifted awkwardly and cleared his throat in a distracting cough "Or...perhaps you be rather gettin back...before it gets dark like?" he suggested kindly, attempting to offer them a way out of being inclined to stay for the sake of manners.

Blaze swallowed a lump in her throat, a swift tight nod, thankful and relieved that this painful departing would not have to be prolonged. She looked away for a moment, fiercely blinking back tears before she would look back to see Calora's concerned yet kindly face patiently waiting for her to regain composure. She smiled reassuringly and gently passed Elemmírë back to her for a last embrace. "Remember now my dear, this is not is just farewell until next time" she said in a soothing gentle tone.

Blaze nodded again, attempting to smile, grateful for her understanding. She pulled Elemmírë close, stroking her cheek with delicate fingertip, seeing her little innocent face look back at her with curiosity. "One day you will understand why we could not keep you with us now" she whispered, voice strained yet soft "But you shall be in the safest hands, only the best for little star" she could feel cold tears rolling over her cheeks yet she continued; they were things she had to say. "So you be a good girl for them...and let them love you as much as your father and I do, because we do love you...more than anything" she heard her voice breaking and new she would not last much longer or else would be unable to leave without her "We will see you soon" she murmured as she lowered her head to place a teary kiss upon her brow.

Ackley and Calora respectfully stepped away slightly to give them an air of privacy though they were still in earshot. Blaze straightened with a shuddered breath and looked to Alastair, could see him feeling that same inner turmoil but knew he needed to say his farewell also and so gently handed Elemmírë into his strong arms, taking a moment just to marvel at how much she loved the both of them and that it was no sight she would ever wish even her worst enemy to endure, a father saying goodbye to his little girl.

Alastair reached for his daughter carefully, taking her from Blaze's arms and into his own. He did all he could not to break apart in front of Ackley and his wife, or in front of other frequent patrons. But it was hard, one of the hardest things he had to face. And seeing Blazes hurt made it all the worse. He was just glad that Elemmírë was to young to understand, it would have been worse had she realized the separation that was about to take place.

As he held the delicate bundle a scene from a still unmade memory flashed up to the front of his mind. Saw himself on Ackleys farm, walking up the dirt road path, and his little jewel star, still small, but able to run, if not clumsily -scurrying to close the distance, where he could sweep her happily into his arms, seeing a real smile on her face. Feeling the feelings of what that situation could bring.. relief, happiness and despair when he was forced to leave the child once more. It made a breath catch deep within his throat, forming a lump. Alastair clutched his little one securely and turned from the others to have a private moment to himself, with just Elemmírë. He pressed his forehead to hers gently and kissed her small cheek.

Finally he stepped up toward Calora again and passed their only daughter over to new foster parents. The less time he spent mulling over the meeting and soon to be leaving, the better. There was still chaos to return home to, and he needed to be strong for that, and for Blaze. He moved the blanket away from his daughters hand just to touch it, while speaking soflty to her in his kins native tongue "Cormamin niuve tenna' ta elea lle au', Elemmírë. Tenna' ento lye omenta"
(My heart shall weep until it sees thee again, Jewel Star. Until next we meet.) He then stepped back to take Blazes hand, tilting his gaze down to her and whispered "We can catch the one of the last few ships to leave tonight, if we go now" and placed a hand at the small of her back.

Blaze gratefully took his hand, lacing her fingers with his in need, at least they did not have to face this torment alone. She wrapped her scarf over her hair, then after a moments hesitation she stepped forward and kissed Calora upon the cheek, "Please look after her well and write to us often....anything you need..." she could feel a sob catching in her throat and pulled away unable to continue. Calora looked at her with a maternal understanding and nodded.

With a tormented smile for the both of them and one last desperate glance to her daughter, Blaze took a deep breath and turned to the doorway, feet moving against her will and the weaving path back to the shipyard blurred by tears, hugging herself to Alastair tightly for the warmth she craved. Already her arms felt desperate to hold her and heart felt a creeping void by her absence, like a limb pulled away. It took all the will in the world not to turn back to reclaim her once more, for both of them. Alastair held her close, not looking back himself, just pushing forward and helping Blaze back onto the ship for the return journey home, one that would probably feel long and empty.

1 comment:

  1. Written in conjuction with my friend & muse as his alter ego 'Alastair' Couldn't have done it without him!