The Void Before Us, The Reward to Reap

Adventure awaits a young man, with visions beyond comprehension and hope that transcends reality.

“What do you think is out there, Ty? Really out there?”

Before them, a void of endless darkness loomed. The Shadowsea’s swollen expanse did little to unnerve them; both boys had grown up staring into its vastness. Yet even being accustomed to its terrible majesty wasn’t enough to deter awe. Its mystery knew no bounds.

The boys leaned against the rail of the Pioneer, the stale breeze tousling their hair as they peered into the yawning, eternal darkness. The old shadownaught creaked as it hovered in empty air. A mere six inches of aged wood separated the two trespassers from standing on the deck to drifting into the beyond.

Tyran offered a cocky smile and shrugged. Pale hair, nearly silver, framed his handsome, olive face. Girls were already swooning over him, writing his name in their diaries and praying that he thought of them. Yet now, his inflated sense self-assurance these past few days bloated beyond its normal levels. And why not? His brother had returned, with promises of riches and glory. Tales of Ducard’s grand adventure in the Shadowsea meant that Tyran bore the bloodline of heroes. “Whatever it is, I can say this: I am ready for it.”

“No one is ready for the likes of you,” Bon laughed. He was of a height with Tyran, though with sandy hair and plain features. While Tyran stalked and swayed with leonine grace, Bon preferred to stay out of sight. He knew his closest friend was full of himself. He just didn’t care. His smile slowly faded. “But, honestly…do you believe what Duc said?”

“‘Course I do!” Tyran replied. “What sort of brother would I be if I doubted him! He looks at you like a brother too, Bon. It’s not right to think he made it up.”

Bon flushed. “I didn’t mean it like that, Ty. I just meant…” He sighed and shook his head. “Everything he saw changes everything for us. It changes everything for all of Moonglow. New worlds out there? Places to explore? It’s all so..–”

Amazing, I know!” Tyran rapped him on the arm with a playful punch.

“I was going to say terrifying,” Bon said wryly.

“Bah, you sound like a nervous old lady,” Tyran snorted. “Besides, in a few days, you won’t have to ask me what I think. You’ll get to see if for yourself! Just think about the adventure, Bon! When we return, we will be as famous as Ducard! The girls will be lining up!”

“You’re the captain’s servant. I’m cleaning pots. Those things don’t get fame and girls.” But even Bon could feel the tingle of excitement rush over him. Being a crewman, even if he stayed in a dingy scullery to his elbows in grimy pots, was better than being an overlooked orphan in the streets of the port city.

“Who goes there?!” The voice burst from the shadows behind them, in the middle of the shadownaught, an Tyran and Bon both covered their faces as a sudden blanket of orange light spilled upon them. The lantern dangled before them, in the meaty hands of a man that might not have finished evolving. A brute face poked from a thatchy beard. It sneered at them. “Pot boy and page boy. A likely scourge. Be off here, the cap’n hasn’t given any permission to be on his ship.”

Tyran’s eyes narrowed. “Do you know who I am?”

“Yeah, you’re a nobody,” the brute face snarled. “It’s your brother that’s a somebody, say true, and even he, a somebody, knows well enough to heed the words of the cap’n. Get off this ship before I get an itch to toss you.”

Tyran’s face purpled, but Bon snatched him by the shoulder and pulled him toward the docks. “Just be quiet,” he hissed. “It won’t do to make that one mad.”

Once off the ship, Tyran pushed Bon’s hand from him. He glanced up at the hovering mass of thePioneer, scowling. “I’m not a nobody, Bon. I’mnot. And I’m not going to let someone like that tell me that I am.”

“I was less worried about what else he might say to us and more worried that he’d suddenly fancy twisting us into knots.” Bon pushed Tyran away from the shadownaught with gentle force. “Besides, do you really want an enemy like that when we’re out in the middle of the Shadowsea?”

An impish smile played at the corners of Tyran’s mouth. “Oh, the tricks I could play on that one…”

Bon rolled his eyes. “I’m not ready for an adventure with you. I think I’ll be content scrubbing pots as opposed to running from that monstrosity.”

“I’d just lead the monstrosity to you,” Tyran beamed. “After all, every hero needs a sidekick.”

Bon shoved him. “I’ll show you a kick!” Their laughter echoed in the night, before the sound reached the void, where it fell suddenly silent.

The End

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