Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Koreshi Chronicles - Chapter VIII: What Any Of Us Want

02.SU.26, Shores of the Western River, The Great Western Plain

A chill woke him from the darkness and he opened his eyes to the light. The wind was picking up as Helios dipped to the horizon. He rolled over to take in the gently swaying grasses rustling against a backdrop of ochre, bleeding into cobalt and then dark ultramarine. After a while he lay flat on his back again. He watched the first stars above, enjoying the moment, relishing it like only a freed man could.

He rolled onto his other side and saw his old friend there sitting at the fire. “I thought I was dead,” he said conversationally, alluding wistfully to the heavenly scene of dusk, but his voice was trembling and unfamiliar to him as he said it and it helped him realise he meant it literally.

“I think not. I’ve met you when you thought you were dead.” The old man said gently as he poked the fire and adjusted the prairie hopper leg that was roasting there.

The old man understood. He always understood. “So, here we are again,” Ti said, mostly to himself. Understanding was something the young man had always aspired to in general, but right then he had to have answers to very specific questions. “How did you find me?” was the first one that came to mind.

“I didn’t. Remember? You found me.” Jonas said, turning the hopper over. The smell of the meat was intoxicating and Ti realised just how hungry he was. Then again, he would be. Had he found Jonas, Ti wondered. “I’ll take your word for it,” he mumbled. Had Ti really found Jonas or was the old Sandrider being insightfully cryptic, as usual? He was vaguely aware that they had been camped there for a few days, but he had no clear memory of what had preceded immediately before.

Ti turned back towards the extinguishing sun. The only things he remembered were the darkness and the thirst. The thirst! Enough to drive him near mad, but he knew he had to stay in his tomb as long as he could. He had to stay buried alive or come out to die. When the rations were gone, still he waited. When the battery cells died and darkness swallowed him, still he waited. When his body refused to secrete any fluids to reclaim, still he waited. He remembered licking the ceiling of his metal coffin for the condensate of his own breath. All the while, he waited. At some point he must have decided that to wait anymore would mean he wouldn’t have strength enough to get out from under the pile that he was buried under. Ti didn’t remember the decision. He didn’t even know if it was calculated. He had long since lost his faculty of reason.

Somehow had he gotten out and staggered away from the valley until he awoke with Jonas. “Why are you here?” Ti asked him, still seeking the answers.

“To help you answer that very question,” Jonas said. And he was right, as always. “It’s good to see you, old friend,” Ti said, and meant it.

02.SU.27, western edge of the Great White Desert

"I'm going I to miss you, old friend." Ti was holding the reigns of the armadillo as he looked his companion of the last seasons in the eyes. The sun was rising behind him and his beast.

"I will be back soon, do not fret. And I will have Askar to help us retrieve our brethren. And who knows, I may have more than that." Jonas smiled mischievously.

Ti shook his head. "Nothing has changed between me and Lyta because nothing's changed between me and Lukas. Please don't open old wounds." Ti and Jonas had spoken a number of times on this matter and all the questions and soul searching always led him to the same conclusion: she was better off thinking him dead.

"I am trying to heal these wounds, Titan, as you should. Tell me whose fault is it that you have not resolved issues with Lukas? Hmm?" Jonas’ accusation was couched in a friendly tone, as they always were.

"Jonas, he lied to me," Ti snapped.

"He lies to everyone. Himself most of all. You should not take it personally."

"Don't make light of my feelings." Ti knew that wasn’t Jonas’ intentions, but it was hard having to justify something as simple and universal as trust.

"I would never do that, Titan. I only mean that I have been with you a cycle now. From one end of the Badlands to the other and back again, and I have seen how you touch people. You do not threaten, you do not trick like your friend the Mekong doctor. You help them, and in the end they choose to help you."

“Jonas, I offered them security and purpose. I offered them my friendship and trust.”

Jonas smiled and shook his head. "Lukas ran away from the Koreshi many times. Eventually, he stayed for Hippartha and Torgath. Now, they stay with him to fulfill his hopes. Why didn’t you offer to help him with his goals, like you do with others?”

Ti blinked. Jonas was right; that was his M.O. He didn’t coerce, he cooperated. Ti felt that most people were basically good at heart. They just had to do bad things because they lacked the vision or resources to do the right ones. Ti had always believed that was the way to win people over. So why didn’t he succeed with Lukas?

“What do they want? What does Lukas want?” Ti asked, clearly at a loss.

Jonas smiled his all-knowing smile. He settled comfortably into his saddle and spun the animal into the rising sun. “What they all want: to know his place, to serve his purpose and be fulfilled. Like Hippartha and Torgath, he simply wants his family. Now, I will see you in a few weeks or a season. Be careful, Titan. I will only be able to watch over you from afar.”

Jonas’ parting words left Ti pensive. He sat in their camp and watched the long shadows of the armadillo ride into the bright morning scape. Ti had always sought to understand. To know himself and others was the key to this universal understanding. His belief had kept him alive. His goals and desires had brought him together with the thral.

‘Family’ was Jonas’ answer. Lukas hadn’t found it with the Koreshi. Lyta had. But then she lost them again and resolved not to care for anyone beyond Lukas and Todd again -- with one notable exception, he reminded himself. They were there for Lukas. So what was Lukas after?

Helios rose over the Great White Desert with blinding resolve. It moved inexorably, climbing higher into the cerulean heavens. Wisps of clouds streaked across the horizon. To the east lay the trench and Western Range. Ti pulled up camp and packed his own ride. Lukas wanted what everyone else wanted, including Ti. It was time to be honest and to find his family.

Heavy Gear Roleplaying Game


Certain Betrayal said...

Sorry LeRoiSinge, not related to Fennec

Hermes 72 - Heavy Gear RPG - Most artwork Copyright 2002 Dream Pod 9, Inc.