109 A Confrontation*
Aegin and Ebony were waiting when Rassa returned. They looked up at him expectantly, but he didn't say a word as he disappeared into his room, closing the door behind him.
"Don't push him," Ebony warned, "You know what he's like".
Aegin turned to look at her, "Yeah, I do, but sometimes one needs a good push to start acting rationally".
"He did what he thought was right," Ebony reasoned.
"Yeah, and in the process, could very well have exposed himself," Aegin argued.
"They think he's a Shadow Magician," Ebony sighed, "Which while it's not ideal, it's better than them knowing what he actually is".
Aegin sighed, he couldn't argue against that. The panic that would ensue should they realise what Rassa actually was...he was sure it'd be worse than the panic those hunger-filled creatures had created in Fountain Ridge a month ago. As far as Aegin knew, the city was still in a state of tension. The fact that they'd had no idea how to handle the situation had only added to the panic.
"Still," Aegin continued, "He shouldn't be watching over them like he is. It's not his responsibility".
"Perhaps not," Ebony agreed, "But there are few things he can connect to and be responsible for these days, especially seeing as the two of us so rarely agree with him. Let him do this, if only so he can feel like he did something right".
Aegin sighed and turned away, "It's not my responsibility to help him feel like what he does is right. It's my responsibility keep him safe. And he's doing a really bad job at listening to me".
Ebony put down her work as she stared at Aegin, "Since when did anything related to Rassa become your responsibility? Because his dead father told you to? Aegin, from what I've learned, Phillip was a great man and a great father, but he was just a man. How can he decide what is best for Rassa? Rassa is, as far as we know, the only one of his kind. It is not our responsibility in any way shape or form, to advise him on himself. The best we can do, in fact the only reason we're even here with him, is so that we can help him, despite what little we can offer. Thinking anything beyond that is just stupid. You will do nothing but shut him out further".
Ebony stood and moved to her room, "Do yourself a favour if you want him to still treat you as a friend. Don't inhibit him. We all know that even if he is discovered, he would never surrender himself".
Aegin watched after Ebony as she closed the door behind her, leaving him alone in the living area. He hated to admit it, but she was right. Phillip had been a great man, but he hadn't seen Rassa in more than 5 years when he died. The most he'd heard were stories, and those stories barely scratched the surface of what Aegin had seen Rassa was capable of. Phillip had forced him to make a promise that Aegin couldn't possibly keep, and yet Aegin had tried to anyway.
The only thing he'd succeeded in doing was pushing Rassa further and further away. He just...he never wanted to see Rassa in chains again. He'd witnessed what it had done to the boy, and he didn't want it to haunt and break the man. Aegin sat at the little table for a long while before he retired to bed, and by that time, Rassa was already asleep, fighting the nightmares for another night.
Aegin settled down in his own bed, watching Rassa with pained eyes.
"I'm sorry," Aegin whispered into the darkness, "I have no idea how to handle this situation, but I know I've been doing it wrong, and I'm sorry for that".
He said nothing more as he turned and settled back onto his bed. Perhaps he was just as much a mess as Rassa was. They all were. Lost and unable to find themselves. Torn from the lives they knew in pursuit of something better, only to lose track of where they had imagined themselves going. Reality had put an impenetrable wall before them, and now they had to find a way past it. The impossibility of it all...it was easier to just close ones' eyes and repeat this boring routine rather than move forward.
All three of them were pretty silent the following day. They reported to the Salt Docks and worked from dawn until dusk, then moved to The Leaky Boat for dinner.
Aegin and Ebony weren't silly, they knew that Rassa had probably heard their conversation the night before. It was better to treat it like he'd been a part of it than not, but it didn't make things any less awkward. Still, he didn't push them further away, nor scold them for treating him like a delicate child. He just kept silent. In some ways it was worse. At least if he said something they'd know where they stood.
Their awkwardness however, was broken when Ewan walked through the door of The Leaky Boat, an arrogant smirk resting upon his face as he went up to the bar to order. He had a group of sailors at his back, all of them looking mighty impressed with themselves.
Jeremiah, who already sat at the bar, glanced over at them all with a look of discontent.
"Captain," Ewan greeted, "I hear your investigation bore some fruit last night".
Forget the Captain, Aegin nearly scoffed at the pure arrogance of the man's claim. As if Ewan knew without a shadow of a doubt that the Token family would never uncover the culprit.
Jeremiah's gaze returned to his tankard, "If you're here to gloat, please leave. I'm not in the mood".
"Gloat?" asked Ewan, "Why would I do such a thing. I'm just inquiring, one old friend to another".
He smirked, his friends chuckling at his words.
Aaron stood from behind Jeremiah, but Jeremiah placed a hand on his shoulder, "Nevermind him, we'll leave. And when the cargo arrives, we'll sail out of the bay, waving from the upper deck as he glares at us from the shore".
Jeremiah finished his tankard and stood to leave, turning to Ewan whose smile had dropped away.
"After all, even without evidence, we know who the mutinous bastards are".
He turned away with Aaron by his side. Ewan grit his teeth in rage for a moment before he spun and grabbed a knife from a nearby customer, then stalked after Jeremiah with the knife held high.
Those watching tensed in shock, waiting to see what would happen.
"Captain!" Aaron shouted as he noticed the oncoming threat.
Rassa flicked his finger and a shadow imperceptibly wrapped around Ewan's leg and tugged backwards before dispersing, all in the matter of a few miliseconds. Ewan went tumbling to the ground, shock replacing his vengeful expression. He landed face first, and the crowd paused in surprise for a moment before laughter ensued.
Jeremiah tutted as he looked down at Ewan, "Maybe you should lay off the drink, medical or otherwise".
Then Jeremiah and Aaron turned and left. Aegin and Ebony looked to Rassa who remained still, the tankard before him untouched.
As Aegin turned away, he couldn't help the little smirk that appeared on his lips.
Perhaps letting Rassa do what he pleased wasn't all bad.