»I was really fucking naive when I joined the Armada. Young, stupid and bloody naive.« he said, thoughtfully stroking the neck of his whiskey bottle, which was still full.
The blind once-soldier sighed heavily and leaned back in the chair. He had no idea why he was about to tell the pirate everything. It will make him feel better to lift it off his spirit, he said. If he shares his problems, he will face them easier when the time is right, he said.
It's not that he didn't trust the peacock. He just never told anyone about these things before. He didn't want to, for several reasons. Shame. Anger. He would never admit it, but there was also fear. He didn't want his crewmate's – his friend's view on him change, if he finds out about it.
The man felt weird, being all sober. He wasn't used of all these emotions, he didn't feel them as much when he was drunk, which was most of the time.
»What happened?« Asked Pavo, who sat opposite to the swan. He was leaned back in his chair, listening carefully.
Cyg sighed again, angrily this time, looking away from the peacock.
"I was just a kiddo… around 20, 23… ya know? I was an idiot," he said. It was strange to hear him speak this quietly. Usually he would be shouting and cursing like mad, but not now.
"What happened then?" Pavo asked again, leaning forwards a bit, his elbows on the table's edge.
The blind man stroked the bottle again.
"I'm not a purebred swan. My great-grandfather was a heron. My great-grandmother was a swan. She was disowned when they ran away together. My grandparents then, were swans, as were my parents, that's why you can't really tell…"
Pavo raised his eyebrows. Things got interesting. Being a mixed race wasn't a big thing usually, unless one was a swan. Swans were considered a pure race, they were mostly rich, but mixed race swans weren't.
"You could tell by my family's fortune though. We were poor. Well, not dirt poor, like… peasants. You know?"
He tapped his fingertips on the table, nervous and irritated.
"When I joined the bastards who call themselves the Light River Armada, I knew that I couldn't get far, rank-wise. But the thing was, I wanted to, I really, really wanted to, I had my reasons. The problem with this was, that I was ready to do just about anything to get as high as possible…"
He hoped he had said enough, but he doubted that the peacock will be pleased. He wasn't the type to let the details go unnoticed.
"Well, go on?"
For the third time, Cyg sighed, heavier than before.
"For fuck's sake, Pavo, do I have to?" he nearly growled, frowning.
"It's not healthy to keep secrets. Besides, I might think you are hiding something." Shrugged the peacock.
He was right, and Cyg knew that. He should be happy and extremely grateful that he was even accepted into this pirate crew. He shouldn't act suspiciously.
"Okay, I'll tell ya this as quickly as I can, just… don't interrupt me," mumbled the blind swan. He was feeling very distressed at the moment. Under so much pressure. Maybe Pavo was right, maybe he will feel better if he rolls that rock off his chest.
He didn't feel like himself at all. These emotions he was feeling, this fear. It was no him. He gripped the neck of the bottle. As soon as this is over with, he will be allowed to drink again, then he will feel like himself again. He hated being sober. He remembered all those details when he was sober. He just wasn't himself when he was sober.
"So, I go up to my captain's office, we're on a ship. I tell 'em, 'sir, I'm doing the best I can, and I'm better than many of those other fellas, so why don't I get a promotion, while they do?'.
And he looked at me, was all like 'Ya know bloody well why, Corporal, only the finest men can be lieutenants.'. Of cause, by 'finest' he meant fucking 'pure blood'.
So I tell 'em, I say, I say I'm ready to do anything to be promoted. He looks at me funny, is like 'anything?', and I knew then that I fucked up, but I was a brat, too proud to back down, so I say 'yeah, anything'."
The swan sighed yet again, rubbing his face with his pale hands.
"So he tells me to meet him in his office at ten in the evening. I remember, on my way there, I considered turning back, but I didn't… So yeah, then he fucked me,"
He dropped his hand on the table with a loud thud.
"I remember I was so unsure. Asked 'em if there's others he did that to, to which he said yes. For some reason that made me feel less unsure… He… he did it three times, and then I got promoted. I was a soldier, and I tell you, Pavo, a fucking great one as well, and he got me promoted for being a fucking whore!"
He hit the table with his fist, and relaxed it afterwards, he seemed hurt.
Pavo didn't force him to say more, yet, to his surprise, the man continued.
"With a few years, I easily rose to my current… well, the highest rank I got to. I worked hard, Pavo, I worked real fucking hard, I was pushed down by others several times, you can't fucking imagine how it was! It's a dog eat dog life in the Armada, everyone is out to get everyone. And everyone was out to get me, because, according to them, I didn't deserve my rank! And then! And then what happened?"
At this point, Cyg started shouting, and even stood up.
Pavo remained calm, but upon hearing the noise, his little assistant quietly came into the room, to see if everything was okay.
"One wound," Cyg continued, not even noticing the newcomer.
"One wound, Pavo. And everything was gone. I worked so hard… But then… I don't, I don't even know what happened. I woke up in the dark. Darker darkness than any darkness I've ever seen before in my life."
He slowly sat back down, sighing heavily.
"So, they kicked me out, just like that. I remember how it was. In the hospital, me and the others. That bloody bastard Ferox came in to visit the wounded. It wasn't a friendly or motivational visit though. He went from bed to bed. I remember… 'You'll pull through'. 'You'll make it'. 'Good man'.
Then he came up to my bed. Asked the doctors what was wrong with me. Then I heard them, found out for the first time that I'll be blind forever. You know what that uptight bastard said? 'He's of no use anymore. Once he's awake, tell him he can go home.'
Just like that. He wouldn't even tell me this into my face. He didn't know I was awake.
I wasted half of my life there, Pavo. They didn't give a shit.
Now do you see why I want them to go to hell?
Is this a reason good enough for you?"
Pavo, his arm around little Auna, who was frightened by the blind man's yelling, slowly and quietly sighed. He had to be honest – he never expected to hear a story like this one from this drunken angry sailor.
"Certainly, Cyg," he said.
He usually wasn't the man for compassion, but something told him that the blind man – his friend – needed it right now.
"You know," he said, "You are safe here. No one will stab you in the back here, Cyg,"
He should add something. These words didn't seem to do.
"Cyg," he said again, to get the broken man's attention.
"If anyone tries, I'll hurt them, rather badly."
He knew that this would bring a little smile on the swan's face.