It’s like this...
"Eight pieces, three days, four kings, two nights. Don't ask me which night. Night or knight, I've no idea. But that's what I got for you."
You blinked at me for a second, and I flinched. It was always so much to explain, wasted so much of their precious time, and never made anything any clearer. There were things I was never allowed to say, things they always wanted. Yet here we are, about to embark on the same old dance.
"The hell does that even mean?"
Yep, here we go again.
"Okay, um, let me backtrack."
There were certain words I was supposed to avoid, in order to gain trust and respect, and portray that my information was in fact, factual. Um, was one of them. I was never good at my word choice- never passed that part of the course. Desperate times, I guess. Something else we're not supposed to mention.
"You're first question, was whether or not you should embark on your quest to usurp the Queen?"
Your gaze darkened beneath the fading colors of dusk, and I thought you might push me off the edge.
"Sure, yeah. I did eventually ask that question," I rolled my eyes at you, "to which you responded, 'Should you?' like I should know! I'm asking you!"
Okay, but now you're getting on my nerves.
"Oh, my apologies, your majesty, I thought you wanted information! I didn't know you needed people to make your decisions for you as well?" I crossed my arms, smirking as you bristled, this time of indignation rat the cold.
"Oh, my apologies, your majesty, I thought you wanted information! I didn't know you needed people to make your decisions for you as well?" I crossed my arms, smirking as you bristled, this time of indignation rather than cold.
I actually almost began to possibly maybe like this cliff.
"I told you not to call me that," you growled, looking over your shoulder. As if you thought you seemed so important that someone would actually be following you. Heck, if I was following you, I'd be grossed out and be on my way in an hour. If this was the runaway rebel leader prince, then find me another rebel leader. This guy was a prick.
"Well?" I sighed, "you know the answer..."
You frowned at me.
I wouldn't have cared. I would've played the part and sent you on your way, gone to take care of things that actually mattered, if... If you weren't the key to everything. So much pressure relied on this meeting, and I couldn't tell whether or not you saw how much that pressure was killing me. The pressure I wouldn't have to hold if it weren't for this cliff, the cliff that started taking them... The people who mattered. They would know what to do. The future they so delicately crafted... And I might screw it all up. Stupid word choice.
"I'm going to kill her." You snapped me out of my reverie, back into this hell of a conversation.
I'm not allowed to approve. But we needed him to kill the queen. So I just nodded, adjusting my cloak.
"And your second question?"
I needed you to repeat it, just so that you understood.
"What do I need to do so?"
I nodded at you, taking a deep breath.
Give them a hint, and they'll create their own solution. Make them think it'll happen if they do it a certain way, and they'll do it. Be vague.
"Eight pieces, three days, four kings, and two knights."
Then you started doing the most curious thing.
You started laughing.
"Yeah, that's not an answer. You're coming with us."
And before I could even register your words, or the scars on your face as you lunged closer, I was falling- the stars shining above me in the sky, growing farther away as I joined the others, falling ever closer to the waves of the unforgiving sea.
The shuffle of angel’s feet
"This time was different."
"I stepped into a dusty man with a rusty sense of right and wrong. He wore leather and linen and carried heavy iron."
"And were there stage coaches?"
I laugh. "There was a stage coach, yes."
"So you had a Wild West adventure."
I grunt. "Yeah. A regular Westworld."
"I liked that series the first season."
I grunt again. Shrug. "It was sleepy."
"Sometimes. So tell me more."
"Sure, but first, when do we stop?"
"Whenever you'd like."
"Does it never get old to you? Living the lives of others? When do we get to live our own?"
He frowns and stares off into the infinite black. "Isn't it all ours? Aren't we living now, and then?"
"No, we're borrowers."
"These people, they don't ask for us. They don't invite us in."
"We're not demons, we don't need an invitation."
"Right, but we don't exactly burn bushes or manifest with a thousand eyes anymore."
He laughs. "The old ways were fun, but that was then. And it is now, depending on perspective. Don't get me started on Time."
"They don't even believe in us anymore."
"Ah. Our brother's best trick might well serve us, too."
I sigh. I can't help but agree.
He continues. "So tell me about this life you lived."
"It was only moments."
"His last, yes?"
I nod. He continues, "Well? Did you have him go out in a blaze of glory?"
"So, you leapt into a cowboy, then, was it?"
I laugh. "A bandit."
"Oh ho! Just like Calgary, eh?"
"Oh, I don't think this one was much for repentance, but I had him do good, in the end."
"So you robbed a stagecoach?"
"Well, that's the thing. It was more of a smiting."
"You smote a stagecoach? Seems like more of a 'leave that to the boss' thing."
I roll my eyes. "Right. Like the boss even cares what we do, Gabe."
"I said not to get me started on this. Don't think like they do, Michael. Time is far from linear. Boss is here, boss is gone, boss is there, boss is everyhere. It's metaphysical and mystical and magical."
"Now you sound like a loony."
"Back to the stagecoach."
"I killed the gang. And the coach drivers."
He nods. "Why'd you kill the drivers?"
"Because of what they were hauling in the passenger compartment."
I pause for dramatic effect. It works. He leans in, gestures impatiently.
I let it linger a few seconds more before whispering, "A coffin."
He rocks back on his heels. "The drivers were familiars."
I smile widely, hoping the everlight glints from my teeth. "Exactly."
"So you leapt into wild west robbers who didn't know they were robbing a vampire being transported, where? Deadwood? Santa Fe? Yuma?"
"Oh," he grimaces. "Not sexy."
"You should've seen the look on her face, though. Right before the flames. Pure comedy gold."
"Well? Was she?"
"I almost didn't notice how pretty she was, but yes. As she reached up and ripped out my host's throat, immediately before the charring and smoke, yeah, she was pretty."
He laughs. "I guess you can say she was very hot."
I sigh, and stare back at the precipice of knowledge, readying myself for a leap into the life of another unsuspecting mortal.
You begin, your voice carrying a hint of weariness and contemplation. "It's like this... the ocean of knowledge is vast and boundless, teeming with countless mysteries and undiscovered truths. As I stood here, peering into its depths, I glimpsed fragments of understanding, like fleeting ripples upon the surface. But they were mere fragments, pieces of a greater puzzle, a tapestry woven with threads of wisdom and enigma."
I nod, understanding the weight of your words. The pursuit of knowledge often reveals more questions than answers, unraveling the fabric of what we thought we knew. "And what have you found within those fragments? What revelations have you brought to this precipice?"
A contemplative silence lingers for a moment, as if you are carefully selecting your words. "I have seen glimpses of the interconnectedness of all things," you say, your voice tinged with awe. "Every piece of knowledge, every discovery, every strand of thought is like a ripple in this vast ocean. They merge and blend, forming currents that shape the very fabric of existence. The more we delve into the depths, the more we realize that everything is intertwined, flowing together in an intricate dance of ideas and concepts."
The wind picks up, carrying with it a whisper of ancient wisdom. "But with that realization comes a sense of humility," you continue, your voice carrying a tinge of humility itself. "We are but humble explorers, trying to navigate these waters, charting the uncharted, and attempting to comprehend the incomprehensible. The more we know, the more we realize how much more there is to discover. It's a never-ending journey, a perpetual quest for understanding."
As I absorb your words, a sense of wonder and excitement fills the air. We stand on the precipice of knowledge, on the cusp of a limitless expanse. Together, we have glimpsed the boundless depths, and though we may never fully grasp its entirety, the pursuit itself is an exhilarating endeavor.
With a renewed sense of purpose, I turn to you and speak, my voice filled with determination. "Let us continue this journey together, for the thirst for knowledge knows no bounds. With every step, every discovery, we inch closer to unlocking the secrets that lie within this vast ocean. And even if we never reach its fathomless depths, the pursuit will have been worth it, for it is through the journey itself that we find meaning and growth."
We share a nod, a silent agreement to embark on this lifelong quest together, exploring the mysteries that lie beyond the horizon of our understanding. And with hearts alight with curiosity, we step forward, braving the chill winds and the tumultuous sea, forever driven by the relentless pursuit of knowledge, forever standing on the precipice of what is yet to be known.