Before us, in the middle of the court yard, rose an impressively large statue supposedly placed there to honour those that protected this keep with their blood. It was a hooded figure holding a lantern and it seemed to be … praying? The small figure that crept from the mighty statue’s shadow demanded my attention even before we heard his voice. “It’s the Night Watchman that keep us safe. He watches over the blood that flows from this keep.” Why does that voice sound so familiar to me? “Kenneth,” without a word of warning Silver darted forward before crushing him to her in a hug. “I have missed you so much.” For the first time I saw Silver cry not openly but I saw the tear that landed on his chest. “Silver? I didn’t dare hope that it could be you.” A sad smile crossed his lips as he held her to him before scanning the horizon for something that only he knew was there. I was intensely interested in the exchange of emotional dialog, more so than Ron who suddenly became very interested in the Nigh Watchman. “Silver there is something you need to know.” Kenneth’s voice pulled my gaze from Ron who was still studying the statue to the couple that clung to each other as if the other was the only thing keeping them alive. And perhaps in a sense that was true, for Silver anyway. “The others…”
“I know.” Her voice was just barely a whisper as she hid her face in his neck again her arms tightening around his body once more. He just stood there giving her the time needed to pull herself together as he stared of at the brooding weather in the East. “You’re the only one my master has found.” He held her at arms length forcing her to look up at him. She doesn’t resist? Interesting.
“They’re gone, Silver. I’m sorry.” That seems to have had the desired effect on Ron as he stepped back to the conversation leaving his inspection of the statue for another time. “I’ll show to your rooms.” Disappearing before us, with Silver still clinging to his side, he gave us a chance to talk privately. “Well that would explain the sad look she carries in her eyes.” I turned my back to him as I stared up at the statue towering over us. “That would explain why she yet still lives. The last of the Shadow Keepers is quite an asset.” Walking of behind Ron and Kenneth I couldn’t help but look back at that statue, there really was something odd about it.
I found her watching the sun setting in the North as the wind lightly wiped her hair back from her face. Tears still drying on her face as she sat on the edge of the old battlements. Perhaps she really is capable of feelings other than indifference. But is she capable of feeling regret for the lives she took? For taking Anora’s life? A shadow slipped silently passed me in her direction and came to rest a few feet behind her before I realized that it was Ron. How had he slipped by me without notice? I have to be more careful. “Hey, are you alright?” She merely nodded as she sat staring into the valley below us. “I hope you don’t mind but I told Kenneth that we would be sharing a room. Don’t want you wandering around after dark.”
“It’s fine.” Still she doesn’t resist. Is it possible that she is only playing with me for her own amusement? “Why did you join the Shadow Keepers?”
“It’s a long story…” When I was about 15 the village I grew up in was in the middle of a war torn country. We were suppose to receive protection but it never came. One day a young man came up to the village to warn us of an impending attack. He was one of the rebel soldiers that patrolled our borders. My father believed that he was lying and convinced the other village men that he had to be hanged. He was kept in the middle of the square so that everyone could see the traitor. She sighed deeply as he sat watching her. I went to speak with him. To ask him if he knew he was going to die. He merely answered me and said that if he got one person to think about what he said then he would be happy. It shocked me to know that he was willing to die to safe maybe one life. And they wanted to kill him for that one reason. I stood watching as they executed him the next morning before leaving to find his comrades. I felt like I needed to bring them the news of his death. Like I needed to be with them rather than in my murderous village. Murderous village. Next thing your going to claim is that it is genetic, that you can’t help but kill the innocent. “Why did you believe him when he said to leave?” Silver then for the first time looked back at him. “Because he wore the mark of Litrador, my village.” She takes her hair from her neck to reveal a mark that none of us knew was there. “He came back even though he knew that he would surely die. Just to try and safe those he left behind.” Her voice was just barely above a whisper as I suddenly realized that I had been clutching and unclenching my hands throughout her entire recollection. Was it the sincerity in her voice that infuriated me or was it just the fact that the more I know about her the less I want her dead? No must be the sincerity I still want her dead at my feet. I was drawn from my thoughts as he struggled against the pain once again. His arm was now resting securely around her shoulders as she searched his eyes for any clue as to the cause of his discomfort. “It’s nothing. I’m just a little stiff.” Bad liar. Even I can see that is not nothing and I am a good fifteen steps away. “You seem to have a torn rotary cuff.” She hid her smile from him as his confused eyes trying to search hers for an answer as she continued to massage his injured muscles. “Let’s just say I know my injuries.” A few minuets passed. Good thing I’m a patient man, this can take all night. “So is it true?”
“Is what true?” No need to be shy now honey, we already know your secret.
“That you and the other Shadow keepers’ souls are connected?”
“Myth…” She wasn’t exactly eager to tell him as she fixated on his tattoo, tracing the lines with her finger nails, until he took hold of her hands and forced her to focus on his unasked question. “Are you really going to make me ask you again?”
“You didn’t technically ask me.”
“Silver.” His voice was threatening low. Wow Ron, didn’t know you had it in you bro. With a sigh she gave in. “The elders couldn’t understand how we knew what the others were up to despite not having seen them in days. So they came up with that myth in an attempt at understanding us. While the truth is we just grew so close it was as if they were an extension of myself.” There was a sad look to her eyes which she promptly hid from me before straitening up again and smiling back at him.
“Silver,” his hand rested on her shoulder which for some reason made my heart quicken. “There is something you need to know.”
“I know. Sam is listening to every word I say, weighing up every move I make just looking for a reason to kill me.” You know all that and still talk openly? You must either be dumber than I thought or smarted than I expected. Behind me the piano symphony became quite and I could recognize a new set of footsteps making their way out of the shadows opposite me. “Enjoying the view?” Who the hell are you? “So you are the one that brought me down here? One George Van Sego not know to be alive until about three months ago?”
“How did you know?” His smile was brilliant and even I have to admit if those midnight blue eyes looked my way I would sell my soul to the devil. “The music stopped. I only guessed.” And the smugness is back. I sigh a bit to loudly as the wind takes it of to the south. “Kenneth is actually the one playing. His music seems to calm the beast in all of us.”
“He always was good with notes.” What are you two playing at? Gesturing towards the courtyard he waited patiently as Silver meekly followed him out.
“So what is it you want?”
“Not wasting any time I see?” A self-assured smile stuck to his face. “What I want is to give you your freedom.”
“Yeah right. Like Ron and Sam will ever allow that.” His laughter filled my ears and I had to concentrate to hear what was said next. “Ron already told me that if you set foot outside this keep without Sam or him present he would take you back to the Forgotten Grave. Like it’s up to me to make you follow orders.”
“Yeah, he has a hard time accepting that I bow to no one. Not even you…”
“I have no intention of making you bow down to me. If anything I want you to stand beside me as we raise the Dark Dragons.” She merely watched him from the corner of her eye as he paraded around the court yard. “Just think about it. All the great legends coming together to train a new generation.” He suddenly turns to look her full in the eyes. “And you will be at the front of that army.”
“I don’t know I’m a mercenary not some monk training people in the mystic arts!”
“But that is the beauty of this. Why not be both?” She starts fidgeting with the trinket she wears around her wrist. “I don’t know…” Having a bit of inner turmoil? “I need to think about this.” And then she was gone before either of us could react.