218 The Abyss of Sorrow I *
*Eldovian Era 1711, 15th day of the 3rd month*
Ebony twisted her ankle around in circles as she sat on the bed beside Aegin. He nodded in approval.
"Good, I guess after they fixed me I should have had more faith in them," Aegin sighed.
Ebony gave a small smile, "I don't know, I think they're more concerned about their own lives than ours. Not that I can blame them".
The silence lapsed between the two of them, "I hear you've made friends".
Aegin shrugged, "Well the group that I thought would be a problem turned out not to be. I think they've been here so long that they've accepted the reality that one day they're all going to die here. Hence, they mourn the loss of their comrades, but they don't blame the culprit for it. It's like they've totally given up on any form of vengeance. Of escape".
"Well, I'll be sure to hope they don't rub off on you then," Ebony said, "After all somebody has to train me".
Aegin sighed, "I guess you have healed now so I should probably do something about keeping that promise, huh?"
Ebony continued to look at him expectantly. A grin dawned on his face.
"Do you remember the exercise that Rassa taught you?" asked Aegin.
Ebony's look dimmed slightly, "That was serious".
"Of course it was," said Aegin, "They only let us meet once a week, so do that exercise for at least an hour a day. The rest of the running around they make you do will surely be enough work for you to help with your stamina. Don't be too harsh on your leg though. If it starts hurting you'll have to take a break. Just do it for an hour in total at first. We'll work on doing it an hour straight another time".
"That's it?" asked Ebony, looking unimpressed.
Aegin nodded, "That's it".
Ebony huffed, "I thought this was going to be more exciting, it's so underwhelming".
Aegin snorted, "Don't know what you expected, but basics are necessary. You can't throw a good punch if your muscles aren't prepared for it".
Ebony turned to look at him, "You okay?"
Aegin turned back to her, "Are you?"
Ebony grabbed onto his hand and held it as she leaned over to rest her head on his shoulder, "We'll get out".
As they sat in a companionable silence, Ebony's hand delved into her pocket to hold the Tracking Charm there. She did it at least once a day, usually when she was going to bed to make sure Aegin was okay. She was sure that Aegin did the same for her. They'd take it off her it they found it on her, but they'd gotten more lax as the weeks dragged by and somehow Ebony got it back even if it was put into a locked box that she was not allowed anywhere near. When she explained its purpose to the Madame, and the fact that it would return to her within a couple of hours regardless of whether it was locked away or not, the Madame had been intrigued by it and wanted to know who made it. Ebony, ever the useful slave, had told her the Maker was unavailable for consultation.
She clutched the tracking charm, watching as the lines came into existence around her, the one connecting her with Aegin the brightest. Falla, Iah and Kit up north. Sharli's had started travelling south a few weeks ago and now...wait, where was Sharli's line?
Where was Rassa's line?
Ebony sat up sharply, taking the charm out of her pocket and holding it before her as she counted the lines.
"Ebony?" asked Aegin, "What's wrong?
"The lines...where are Rassa and Sharli's?"
Aegin took out his own charm and looked, then he met Ebony's worried gaze.
Aegin's eyes turned sad as he placed the charm on the bed beside him, "I think we're on our own now, Eb".
Ebony's cry was near silent as she felt the tear well in her eyes. Aegin pulled her into him, hugging her tightly as she released the breath, then sobbed deeply into his chest.
Far across the sea, on the Eldovian east of Port Lovolon, Kit sat on the side of Star Pavilion, watching as Olly paced around and around, eyes wide in amazement and wonder as he took in the sights.
There really didn't seem to be much to see from a distance. It was just a round Pavilion about a hundred meters in diameter, a column large enough that Kit couldn't put his arms all the way around it situated every ten meters or so. They weren't holding up a roof though, they were holding up arches that connected each column, then rings that went around and around before joining together at the apex. Olly had been so excited when he'd seen it, and even more excited the closer to the center he walked. He was even more excited when the night sky became visible and the stars came out. At one point, Kit was sure he'd wet himself, but then, even if he had Kit was positive that Olly wouldn't care.
He sighed, "Olly we've been here for hours, what exactly are you looking at".
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"The beginning and the paths to the end," Olly replied.
Kit sighed, looking over his shoulder at Olly, "Are we going to bed any time soon? Lync said we're leaving in the morning to go to the Mine".
"Can't miss this, can't miss this," Olly said.
Kit rolled his eyes, he couldn't exactly leave him alone. He'd done that in Port Lovolon when he'd bought the horses and as a result he'd lost Olly in a market. He'd found him arguing with street vendor who played find the coin with his customers.
Kit had gotten him out of that argument as quickly as possible.
In the month and a half they'd been at the Star Pavilion, Olly had barely left the Pavilion itself. Lync had insisted that Kit and Olly wait at the Pavilion until it was safe to move forward to the mines. The winter snow had taken longer to clear up than usual.
Olly suddenly froze, noticed only by Kit because the excitable pacing finally stopped. Kit grinned as he stood and turned to face Olly.
"So you're finally...Olly? What's wrong?"
Olly had a complicated expression on his face as he appraised the Mist around him and stared towards the South-East. After a moment, he turned to look at Kit, his eyes sad but so clear.
"Sharli...she jumped off the cliff and cannot return," Olly said.
Kit frowned, then he pulled out his Tracking Charm and clutched it tight in his hand. The lines came to life around him, there was Ebony and Aegin, Iah and Falla...no Sharli.
"Sharli's dead," Kit whispered, tears filling his eyes. Then he noticed the other missing line, "What about Rassa?"
He looked up at Olly for an explanation.
"Is he dead too?"
Olly frowned, "I...I can't see Rassa".
"What do you mean?" asked Kit.
"The Mist won't tell me, and I cannot see it. It's like he doesn't even exist," Olly said, "If I had to guess...I'd say he has made a decision".
Kit bit his lip as he tried to keep his emotions in check. It didn't work as he found himself on his knees, tears falling down his cheeks, "They're dead. We left so they wouldn't die, didn't we?"
He looked to Olly. Olly approached him, then sat down beside Kit and placed a hand on Kit's shoulder.
"Not everything is so black and white," Olly said.
Kit had no idea what he meant, but knew that Olly was trying his best to comfort him.