All of it got him thinking of Death. Luke thought that if he would ever worship one of the Twins, he would worship Death. He didn’t understand how people failed to see the beauty of Death, the beauty of being compelled to make every moment count before you reach the end of the line… The beauty of the moment when you accept it’s finally over; so silent, so peaceful, so… Perfect. Luke had been so close to it, he stared it in the eyes, and it had left him with a very itchy wound as a reminder. He really should have that looked at again…
Finally he moved from where he had been lying, looking around the room he had chosen to spend the night in. Light was slipping through the curtains. It was morning… Did he sleep? He must have slept, but he wasn’t sure if he had or if he simply lost himself in thought. As he sat up, he felt an aching in the back of his head, he also felt a bit of pain in his left forearm and, as he rolled up his sleeve to examine it, he discovered the word ‘STOP’ scratched onto it. He tilted his head staring at it. So, he must have slept, he certainly did dream. “Am I in your head, or are you in mine?” He mumbled. Ever since that thing almost killed him, Luke had heard and seen things that didn’t seem to quite belong in his mind. He didn’t know why, nor did he actually care for it much anymore, he just wanted it gone. Finally, he reached for the book he had dropped in his lap, opening it to the same bit he had been reading, and rereading, the night before.
I've figured it out. Gods help me, it can be done, but it will require a sacrifice; bait. Good of Newhaven and all that, right? I just hope I'm strong enough to do what must be done when the time comes.
Just below it though, there was something written that just wasn’t there the night before, something written in Luke’s own handwriting, although he had no memory of writing anything.
Time has come.
“What the…? Who are you?”
Luke sighed, not turning towards the man that had just entered the room, probably released from night shift and looking to get some shut eye. “Don’t worry about it, pal. I’m just leaving.” He stated, standing up.
The guard eyed him suspiciously, he had snatched uniforms, but he didn’t really look like a castle guard in one bit. “I asked: Who are you?” The man repeated.
Luckas nodded. “I’m none of your business. Now, go to sleep. You look tired.” He stated.
The man let out a yawn and began to drag himself towards the bed, dropping down on it and immediately falling asleep.
“Good boy.” Luke told him with a snicker. Turning to leave the room, however, he stopped, noticing a piece of paper in the guard’s hand. He took the note from the man and read it over. “Huh, now this sounds important… I should make sure it reaches its destination.” He stated, stuffing the note in his pocket and walking out of the room. “First though, I think I’ll go have a look at the festivities.”
[White Shadows encampment]
Annie had woken up before sunrise again, this time not greeted by the usual silence of the healers, but with a level of excitement only seen in that camp once each year. She wasn’t all too fond of excitement, to be honest, but she couldn’t help but smile at how happy everyone was for a change. Since she had taken command of the Shadows, things had been rough, it was noticeable, but this date seemed to have the power to make all troubles be forgotten.
“I knew you would be hiding out here.” She heard a familiar voice behind her. “Suppose not everything changes in time.”
Annie didn’t quite believe her mind wasn’t playing tricks on her even when she turned to face the owner of that voice. It took a good moment of staring before she was even able to speak. “I can’t believe this.” She mumbled, taking a step forward. “Alistair? I thought you said you were never coming back.”
“I wasn’t, but…” Alistair heaved a sigh. “She made me swear I wouldn’t say this, but what the hell… I ran into your mother a couple of months ago and she… suggested, it would be a good idea for me to check up on you.”
Annie raised an eyebrow. “Check up on me?”
He chuckled slightly. “She didn’t actually say that, but I know that’s what she meant. I told her that there was no way in hell I was coming back here, but lately I just couldn’t get the idea out of my head. So… Here I am.”
“Where did you see her?” Annie asked him.
“I saw her in the mountains, but she wouldn’t tell me why exactly she was there. She looked pretty tired too, as if she hadn’t been sleeping.” He said, attempting to hide a concerned look. “She said not to worry though.”
“She always says that. It’s hardly ever true.” Annie replied. “Never mind that though, are you staying or just checking up on me?” She asked with a smile.
“Oh, I’ll stay for a little while, see some friends and maybe visit Newhaven, but I will be leaving again soon.” He stated, pacing around one of Annie’s favorite gardens, which was now covered in white snow, and enjoying the ‘crunchy’ sound of his footsteps on the frozen grass. “I can’t say I don’t miss this place, but I don’t think I still have it in me to do this kind of work anymore. I hope you understand that.”
“Sure I do.” She said, walking past him and dragging him along with her to the encampment. “Come on, I’m sure Isaac will be happy to see you.”
Alistair nodded in agreement, walking after her. “Is he still having outbursts?”
“A few, but nothing… Too troublesome…” Annie stopped walking as she noticed someone who was waiting by the entrance of her tent. Usually, Evin’s presence wouldn’t bother her, but she was sure Sean was still around somewhere. “Al… Do me a favor: Find Isaac and tell him to keep Sean Fletcher as far from my tent as possible.”
“Sure, no problem.”Alistair said, walking past Annie’s tent to look for Isaac.
Annie simply walked over to Evin and offered the assassin a smile. “Hello Evin, to what do I owe the pleasure of your visit?” She said, walking into the tent. “Come on in.” She asked, taking a seat and waiting for the man to enter as well. “Is there something I can help you with?”