|Soul Cycle (NaNoWriMo 2012)
Author: Berria PM
In a Kingdom where everything is unquestionably perfect, Comyn is a lawbreaker. His life is guided by the crime of making better what is supposedly the best. Silicon is a strange girl, whose existence stands for everything Comyn believes in. But becoming involved with her is leading him to believe that maybe his beliefs are faulty and that there are some things best left imperfect.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Fantasy - Chapters: 11 - Words: 45,683 - Reviews: 1 - Updated: 11-17-12 - Published: 11-12-12 - id: 3073721
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Chapter 09 : Recovery
The next few days had might as well have never happened. Comyn was not quite sure what he did. He did not remember leaving the house for the rest of the week, but Acair and Benita would occasionally come invite him into town and he somehow ended up having breakfast at the Dermin's house every morning. From there, the most he remembered doing was trying to wash the flowery oil out of his shirt and failing miserably. Letting Acair wash his clothes in one load got all of his clothing infected. Maybe it was psychological, but the smell of flowers seemed to be stuck in everything he wore.
It took three days for him to snap out of his depression. A strange feat, since it was only once he started to clear the fog in his head that Comyn even realized it had been there. He had been sitting at the table with Acair and he must have been eating breakfast, because suddenly Comyn realized he was choking on his drink. The shock evaporated the fog and for the first time he realized how worried his younger brother looked.
"Sorry, Acair. I'm okay now."
"Okay?! You almost choked! On water, of all things!"
"Heh, yeah... but I'm fine now."
"I don't believe it. But welcome back, Comyn."
They managed to finish their meal with smiles on their faces. It was noon by the time that the boys finished their housekeeping. Comyn's room in particular seemed to have fallen into a frightening state of mess during his three days of feeling sorry for himself, but it was a quick fix when they tackled the problem together. When they were done, it was Comyn who suggested that they go visit Benita and Dermin.
" Are you sick, Comyn?"
"It's just... you've never wanted to go to anyone's house willingly before. You must be really sick."
Comyn scowled at this assumption. It was his first time frowning this way in three days and felt strange on his face, but at the same time it was somehow refreshing. Who knew that scowls could be refreshing?
"It's not that I want to go, okay? I just need to thank them for breakfast-"
"Hehn. I guess you're not sick after all."
"- and probably apologize."
"Whoa, never mind. Comyn, maybe I should take you to the doctor's-"
His scowl dropped instantly at the reminder. Acair cursed himself for so carelessly reminding Comyn of how Silicon had died and looked down, ashamed. He was certain that his older brother was about to get lost in another angsty fog, but it was the sight of Acair looking so upset and worried that kept Comyn grounded.
"It's fine, Acair. It's... not every doctor's fault. That bastard doesn't even deserve to be called a doctor."
"Come on, let's go. I want to ask Andrew about the castle too. He's the one who took my shift, right?"
"Mm, yeah... Are you really sure?"
Comyn nodded. He was surprised by all of the details he had apparently picked up, if only subconsciously, during his three days in emo land. The guild members had felt awful about what had happened to Silicon. He vaguely remembered seeing Filib actually look angry, which was uncommon for him, and calling for them to attack the castle rather than just rob it. Finella, too, had been very angry to confirm that the royal family had murdered a young girl so cruelly. Apparently, Finella and Andrew had broken in to stir up trouble the night after and tried to retrieve Silicon's body. They'd been of the opinion that a proper burial would put Comyn at ease. However, they hadn't been able to. Though they found her room, it was covered in blood and her corpse had been mutilated and it was impossible to carry all of the pieces-
He remembered blacking out at that point in the recap. Andrew and Finella had sounded so angry that they hadn't censored the details, but had calmed down when Comyn woke up on the kitchen floor. Acair had been cleaning what he assumed was vomit.
These details were now dragged back into his consciousness, but Comyn did not let them drag him into despair this time. Instead he turned them into a reason to be angry. The fact that Silicon's body had been in such a state sickened him when he first heard it, but now he was infuriated. It had been enough to kill her in such a way, but at least her body had been left to seem so peaceful. Mutilating her corpse was unforgivable and he hated the royal family more than ever for thinking that was ever an option. He let that hatred bleed over to the entire upper class, himself included.
The hatred must have been showing on his face, because Comyn noticed Acair looking almost terrified now.
"How has Benita been?"
Comyn tried to defuse his brother's concerns with a more light hearted conversation. Maybe calm himself down as well and save his anger for when he could use it for something productive.
"She's okay. Just working a lot. She's really worried about you."
"Yeah... I guess..."
He somehow wasn't surprised to hear it. Normally he tried not to think of Benita as someone that he could worry, but this was a situation where he couldn't deny it.
"I've been really out of it, but I've gotta get back on track... Guess I'll start with Benita. How's Finella?"
Acair paused, debating his response. Then took a deep breath and took his first verbal step onto the field of depressing mines that Comyn had stranded himself in.
"Mr Filib has been looking up that engraving from the earring. Miss Finella is trying to look up diseases that would explain why Silicon's ankle was still bleeding when you visited her."
Comyn averted his gaze. At first he wondered why they were so worried about the health and well-being of a dead girl, before it clicked. It wasn't Silicon they were worried about. It was him.
"It doesn't matter anymore. I'll have to let them know that they can stop."
"Are you sure?"
He wasn't. He did want to know. He had wanted to learn all he could about Silicon and do everything he could to help her, and that still stood true. Comyn wanted to continue researching the engraving, her sickness, find out why she'd been locked up, and uncover her secret memories. Even if she was dead, he wanted to say that he'd tried his hardest for her.
But he knew he couldn't do that. His heart wanted to stay stuck on her, that girl he'd known for only four days, but he knew he needed to forget her and move on.
"Yeah, I'm sure. We've got a lot of work to do. Those nobles are going to get comfortable again if I don't get back to work."
"Just don't push yourself. I know it's going to be hard, after everything that happened..."
" c Yeah. I'll get over it."
His first stop was the Dermin's house. Acair had given him the tip that Benita would be off work for the afternoon and would return in the evening. Comyn didn't want to go back to the pub that night, so decided to catch her before she had to leave her work. Anything to avoid returning to the pub. He didn't want to be there without having visited Silicon first, and that was now impossible.
The door to the house swung open and banged against the outer wall of the squished house. Comyn and Acair jumped with surprise, neither of them having expected such a violent reaction to their knocking. Benita was behind the door abuse, answering the question of why she had felt she needed a back-up door.
"Acair! What are you doing, bringing him here? Comyn should be resting!"
Instantly there was scolding. Acair smiled weakly, accepting that Benita had the right to be upset.
"I didn't bring him, though. He came on his own."
"Don't put it that way, Acair. It makes it sound like I wanted to come..."
"He wanted to come."
Benita was silent. It was her silence that eventually got Comyn's attention to redirect to her and he found that worrisome quiet to be contagious. Benita was normally not such a quiet girl.
"Comyn... oh thank goodness!"
And then her arms were around him. The sound Comyn made probably sounded close to a dying bird as he stumbled backwards, caught off guard when Benita threw all of her weight into the hug. He wondered if he had really been eating his meals or if he'd just been staring at them, because Comyn was now realizing that he felt weak. Weaker than usual, anyway. Enough that he fell to the ground, after tripping backwards down the three front stairs, with Benita on top of him.
"I was so worried! You weren't talking and you were zoning out, Comyn!"
"G-geh... and now I've got a concussion... g-geez, Ben, you didn't have to-"
Her shoulders were shaking. Comyn felt Benita hiccuping and realized that sometime between the hug, the falling, and his new concussion that she had started crying. He tilted his head back at first, aware of how Acair was watching with a satisfied smile, then sighed and pulled an arm around her. Patting her back and trying to be comforting, even though he was pretty sure his concussion and him had more reason to cry and be comforted than she did.
"Yeah, okay, sorry. I'm back now, so give it a rest."
"Mm. Mm, I will... in a minute..."
Honestly, that was just another minute spent laying on the ground that Comyn did not want to waste. But he gave Benita her minute before sitting her up, letting her throw herself at him with another hug, and then forcing her to stand up and quit the hugging.
"Dermin in at this hour?"
"No, he's not... He's working, stupid."
"Right... guess I'll come back tomorrow morning."
Benita nodded, wiping her tears and trying to smile.
"I'll make you breakfast then... what do you want?"
"Anything. I feel like I haven't eaten in a week."
"That's because you haven't been eating well."
Acair brought himself back into the conversation with scolding. How typical.
"Yeah, well... shut up. Anyway, I'm going to see Finella and Filib."
"You're going to see them?"
" c Sorta."
Benita looked over at Acair with concern and lifted a hand to her cheek.
"I think I broke his brain when I took him down the stairs, Acair. I'm sorry."
"It's okay, Benita. I like this change. You should take him down the stairs in our house next. There are more of them."
"You think that'd help?"
"Hey! I can still hear, you two!"
She laughed and lowered her hands, now using them to brush dust off of her dress and correct wrinkles that had come with their fall.
"Well, you should hurry. They'll be glad to see you."
"Mm, sure. See you, then."
"Right. See you, Comyn. Thanks for coming."
It had been a short visit, but Acair was sure to remind Comyn that it had been very productive. It was a visit that he seemed to repeat with Finella, except less concussion-giving hugs and more suffocation. Filib gave him a pat on the back and they both sat Comyn down for a proper meal, which he realized was the first full meal he had eaten in three days. Neither Filib nor Finella spoke about the digging they had been doing for him, which Comyn was glad for. He would have lost his supper if they reminded him of her. Acair helped him drop hints and they both seemed to understand that Comyn didn't need them to look up details on Silicon anymore.
Next he visited Andrew, who was less sympathetic and more proud of him for digging himself out of his depression. The following day, after his first night without multiple nightmares, Comyn visited Dermin. With the apologies and sympathy out of the way, things slowly fell back into their normal pattern. He spent a week helping Benita at the pub rather than stealing and took any spare time to distract himself with new alchemic research. Finally, after spending a lot of time cleaning tables and taking orders from Benita, Comyn was assigned a proper job. A trial robbery run beyond the upper class wall. He knew that hoping to return to the castle was too much, but this would satisfy his itch to get active again.
His assigned house was one of the many manors beyond the upper class wall. The manors made themselves very easy to identify, as each of them had a very unique outer appearance. Probably an attempt to be the most stare-worthy manor, he knew, but it resulted in the district looking very disorganized. The clashing colours and styles were less uniform than the architectural decisions enforced on the lower class. Honestly, Comyn thought the rest of the town looked a lot nicer than the messy upper class district.
Making it even easier to find his target home was that they all had name plates. Proud of their surnames, the nobles often spammed their property's name. Some had small walls constructed and then consumed by giant shiny plates, while others went as far as arranging bed of flowers to spill out their names. It was a bit stupid, but Comyn withheld his judgments. Mostly because he had no one to share them with.
Comyn was looking for the "Bridge" estate. Finella and Filib had assignments in other parts of the noble district, but had given him a vague idea of what direction he needed to head in before they jumped the wall. He was on his own now, looking for a manor with the name "Bridge" and, as Finella had told him:
"It's got a red roof and looots of pillars. It's quite tall. You won't be able to miss it!"
And she was right.
The Bridge manor truly did loom over the rest of the district with its height. It was more than simply being up on a hill, like all manors were, with a view of the commoners that lived their lives both metaphorically and physically below the upper class. This manor was even above the other upper class homes. The Bridge manor had a sturdy foundation that gave it a boost and was at least four or maybe even five stories tall. The stone was pure white and reflected even the faintest traces of moonlight, bouncing them back and seeming to glow. His dark outfit would stick out very plainly against all of that white, so Comyn changed his attire to a matching shade with the touch of a finger, to help himself to blend in.
The stone was so smooth and perfect that he had to wonder if magic was used to maintain this place. Comyn was forced to use his alchemy to make indentations in the building's exterior, just enough to use as foot and hand holds as he scaled the side. It was a stupid and pointless task, really. He could have very easily gone through the first window, stolen nonsense, and then left. But he couldn't help himself. This manor was so tall that he had the urge to climb it and admire the view that it provided.
Comyn decided to change his outfit back to black once he had reached the red rooftop. It was tempting to change his cloak to red, but he knew better. Instead, he carefully made his way across the roof to the chimney and used its shadow for cover. It was the dead of night, when he was used to having the evening smog roll in and obscure his vision, so it was strange to look up and see a perfectly clear sky. The smog ended right around the wall that divided the upper class from lower, where the dark clouds pressed against an invisible magical shield that they could not get passed. Comyn wondered what excuse these people used to justify that abuse of magic, but he didn't think too deeply into the matter. He just leaned back against the chimney, which was cold from disuse, and stared up. Without any smog to hide them, Comyn could actually see the stars that he read about in books. The quiet of the night encouraged him to close his eyes for just a minute, taking that time to get a grip on his wavering emotions, because he forced himself to look up and properly appreciate the starry sky.
"She'd have liked this."
He knew he wasn't supposed to think about her, but Silicon somehow snuck into his thoughts. Comyn caught himself once again wishing that he had taken her away from the castle sooner. Then he'd have been able to take her to places like this. He remembered catching her looking out her window nights before and wondered if she had been trying to catch a glimpse of the sunset behind the wall, maybe even see the stars that were muted by the castle's blinding use of electricity. Either way, Silicon was so excitable and seemed able to appreciate every little blessing. She would have been excited about these stars regardless of whether or not she had thought about seeing them before. It was easy to imagine her excitement, even now.
He smiled despite himself and pulled himself off of the chimney again.
"Maybe not here in particular. I wouldn't want her to get arrested."
"So you're here for illegal reasons?"
There was no other warning. Comyn turned to the source of the voice and saw a blur of platinum blonde hair and silver. A knife swept across him and cut an opening in his shirt, but he had at least enough time to stumble backwards to avoid being hurt. There was no time to see his attacker through the flurry of blades used to fight and it was difficult to block them all. Impossible to get his own attack in. It was only when the attacker shoved him square in the chest and dislodged his footing that Comyn had a chance to see who was attacking him. As he fell off of the roof he was looking up into the narrowed green eyes of a young woman.
"Then fall. Death is more merciful than arrest in this country anyway."