Friday, February 15, 2008

Chapter 32


On this particular morning, Xylic felt differently than he ever had before. It was almost as if something inside of him had been lining up for ages, and had finally clicked into place. He not only felt, but he knew that change was coming, which can often be evident in mornings where, after a long winter, the breeze is warm and things begin to wake from endless slumber.

He looked at the row of journals that lined the shelf in his room. His father had never kept a journal, or if he had, he’d not left it anywhere where Xylic could find it. Maybe it was for this reason that Xylic had always been meticulous about it. Not that there was anyone to read them. He didn’t necessarily wonder if he’d ever have some sort of posterity to hand them down to, because that would mean he meant to pass on his awkward status as half-elven to another being. However, in some small corner of his mind he wanted it; and the rest of his dour mind continually pounded that small corner of his mind to wretchedness.

Regardless of the inner conflicts he’d grown tired of fighting, he knew change was coming, and in that he felt a rare beam of optimism. No matter what occurred today, he was going to leave this city. He didn’t know for how long or if it would be forever, and he didn’t really care, as he was swept up in the idea of doing so and details didn’t matter yet.

It was a large step for Xylic, who was always steeped deeply in his habits, but whether it was the culmination of his life’s frustrations or the recent intensities with her that had brought him to this wasn’t clear to him. Perhaps he would ask her to come with him.

Then again, he certainly couldn’t ask that of her. She had so much here, and he had nothing, except for her.

Even that simple concession he shouldn’t possess, he thought with some semblance of guilt caused by the residue of all the years his father insisted upon him being apart, separate, and unknown. His father had been gone for quite some time, now. It’d been nearly twenty years. Xylic was, to his bones, exceptionally loyal once he decided that was what he was going to be, and fortunately for him he’d only found two people in his lifetime he deemed worthy of his particular brand of loyalty.

One was his father, and the other was Bactine.

Xylic had gone over again and again why it was her, but it was as difficult for him to pen it in his journal in distinct words as it would be for him to explain the tapestry of a world. However, there were things he could put his finger on. For one thing, she was strangely intelligent. Even when he first looked at her, he knew there was more going on in her mind than was on the mind of the standard young woman of this city. He generally found girls vacuous and silly, and Bactine was far from that.

There was also the subject of her strange temperament. She was livid and poignant in alternating turns, and he hadn’t yet figured out what set each off. Part of this was a puzzle, which riveted his interest in place. She refused to fall to the level of the blithe, and she would never think to moon after anyone. At least in the time he’d known her, she’d never had much interest in boys; it was as if they were all too dull to hold her interest longer than a few moments.

In fact, on further contemplation, he realized the most interest she’d shown in anyone (besides himself) was that she gave to Sangwine. To realize it gave him a brief pang of jealousy and despair, but his optimism at the change of the day swallowed it, leaving all unpleasantries barely noticed.

Even more deeply inside his psyche, Xylic knew he was duly intrigued by Sangwine himself, a fact which annoyed the living daylights out of him. He had, on the surface, an instant dislike of the man. Not only could Bactine not stop from staring at Sangwine whenever he was around, but he had a polished and arrogant nature which Xylic found to be altogether false.

If there was one thing that Xylic despised more than anything else in a person, it was insincerity.

But beyond that, perhaps he liked him. Perhaps he did, and that possibility brought an intense fear that shook the very roots of his being, for if Xylic were to grow to like this elf, who was so like himself, what then would happen once he became aware of what Xylic was?

Xylic shook that thought aside, since it wasn’t a bridge he’d yet come to, and shifted restlessly beside his window. In a few minutes, he would touch the row of journals on his shelf, lock his door, and meet Bactine outside of the corner common room, where they most liked to watch people pass.

And today, he would suggest they do something entirely different with their lives.

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