“Why couldn’t I do it?”
Sish sat behind one of the sheds surrounding Jim Randus’ gardens. The stiff wouldn’t expect him to be in his own home still. It had been almost morning when Sish found this spot. He had broken down in an instant though.
Jim Randus, the reason Sish hated Fetona the most and the killer of three of his friends. Why couldn’t he kill the Damnable stiff!? He hadn’t felt anything when he killed the speaker or those officers back at the arena. Could his anger have been suppressing his hesitance? Maybe if he was angry enough, Sish could kill the Divine?
He shook his head. That wasn’t it. He felt guilt for the others he had killed. That stiff – Captain Vandeel – had been right. Those men were just doing their duty. The speaker may have been guilty, but the officers were innocent of killing old man Kojack. It was just like if Grave told Sish to kill someone. He would have to obey. Those officers were still despicable, but they didn’t deserve death…
Sish shook his head. What was he thinking!? Of course they all deserved death! That officer had been trying to get in his head! He couldn’t let them win.
Suddenly, Sish heard a noise to his right. In the dim light of the sun in the horizon, a figure coming around the shed’s corner was illuminated. Damnation! Sish picked up a few twigs off the ground he had used earlier to escape. Whoever it was wouldn’t be expecting an attack, even if it was a weak one.
To Sish’s surprise, it was a young girl in a rough working dress. Maybe he could knock her out and tie her up. There was bound to be some rope lying about in the shed that he could-
The girl’s face came into view. It was Kanere.
It had been ten years, but never would Sish forget those shy green eyes of hers. Kanere’s body and face had matured, but still held the youthfulness Sish remembered. He long hair, however, was died black like most Divines. Sish didn’t care, though, as he was simply enthralled to see her.
Kanere’s voice was cut off as Sish closed the gap and embraced her. Yes, this really was Kanere. The fragile body was still the same and she quivered nervously like always. Sish stayed like that for a moment, enjoying the reunion of his only living childhood friend, but eventually he pulled back.
“Kanere,” he said, all thoughts of anger or grief gone, “You look amazing!”
She didn’t reply at first, but seemed to be somewhat confused. “Wh-who are you..?”
Sish shook his head. Of course she didn’t remember. “Well, I am not someone who will give you his leftovers. I think Thomat would steal those first.”
Her eyes grew wide with shock and Sish was pushed back. She looked… haunted. “This is a dream,” she whispered, the shock filling her voice and making her quiver, “Sish and Thomat are dead. They aren’t alive. They died from those men…”
Sish quietly walked up to her and gathered Kanere into his arms. “Kanere, it’s OK,” he whispered, “I am alive and not going to die anytime soon.”
She didn’t move. “Is it really you, Sish?”
Sish pushed her back and held her still by the shoulders. Then, he gave her a wide smile. “Who else has such a wondrous smile?”
She laughed involuntarily then slammed into Sish’s chest. He started to push her away again, but he realized that Kanere was crying. She never was one to keep her emotions inside. “Where were you!?” she sobbed, “Why didn’t you come see me!?”
Sadness filled Sish. What could he say? He didn’t want to be around the damnable stiffs? He was afraid of Fetona? Or should he say he was a weakling and wanted to stay alive? Nothing seemed good enough to ease her, so Sish just let her cry.
After a while, Kanere calmed down and they both sat down against the shed. The sun had come up a little more signaling almost an hour passing since Kanere discovered him. She was now smiling like a little girl who had gotten a toy, while Sish was left feeling guilty for not coming to see her sooner, like she had wanted. She had thought he was dead all these years.
“Sish, you look terrible, you know?”
“Where have you been since…” She hesitated, but Sish knew what she meant; the incident, the one that took the lives of their three friends.
Sish decided to save her the pain of saying it. “I was taken in by a woman who was a Farmer. At first I simply helped with house chores, but eventually I started helping out in the fields. I don’t know if you know much about Farmers, but they don’t like outsiders.”
Kanere gave him a curious look. By the Lost God, it was good to see her. It was if a piece of happiness had returned. One that he thought was long gone.
“Well, I was forbidden, since I wasn’t a Farmer, and me and my foster mother moved away to live in the forest. We survived off the land and eventually made a small house up in the Wilds-“
“Wait, you mean the dangerous forests to the North?” Kanere interrupted, sounding more excited than worried. She hadn’t changed much. Shy, but danger loving.
“Yes, now let me finish!” She smiled and leaned back against the shed. It was the first time Sish’s yelling didn’t scare or alarm anyone. It was a good feeling. “Anyway, about two years ago, a man came to our house. His name was Grave Rim.”
Sish started to get annoyed at the interruptions, but it was a pleasant annoyance with Kanere. “What is it?”
“You mean the rebel leader?”
“Then you are…?”
Sish shook his head. “I hate Fetona as much as any Nomad, but I don’t want to fight in a war. I just want to find the Lost God.”
Saying that was a mistake. Realization hit Kanere and her face darkened. What had she figured out? Sish felt himself becoming afraid. “Were you the one who killed all those officers the other day?” she asked quietly, staring Sish in the eyes. They were the same eyes of a friend who had learned they were betrayed.
Sish couldn’t break the gaze and eventually gave in. “Yes…”