Whatever the Future Holds: Part 1
The Helm and Cloak was the best and most expensive inn in Baldur’s Gate. The food was good and the rooms were clean and very comfortable. Whenever they were in the city, Kane’s group always stayed there. Even though there was no beer of any kind served there, that wasn’t a problem. As far as drinking was concerned, any one of the other taverns would serve their purposes just fine.
It was very early morning; about one o’clock, and outside it was pitch black and raining hard. The occasional rumble of thunder suggested that a storm was on its way. Kane’s room was dark and the warrior lay sprawled across his double bed wearing only his trousers. He was not asleep; he was staring up at the patterned ceiling, his hands behind his head.
They had returned to Baldur’s Gate since Kane had connections there and it was easy to find work. And he really needed to work, needed to do something to keep himself occupied. When he was working, he didn’t have so much time to think. They had picked up a new wizard, Kane had been reluctant to do so but he realised that they had little choice. Some jobs simply required a wizard. Of course the only one available just happened to be completely insane and prone to rambling on to himself about the dangers of rabbits. He also came with a companion of his own, a shifty looking and light-fingered halfling fighter. Kane neither liked nor trusted either of them and had no plans to keep them around longer than he had to, but they were better than nothing. He knew though that he would never trust them to watch his back in battle. Not like Edwin…
Kane cursed and stood up, beginning to pace back and forth across the room. He had promised himself that he would not think about Edwin, that what was done was done, and yet the wizard still kept constantly creeping into his thoughts. It had been several days since he had left Beregost and he still missed Edwin a great deal, missed his sarcastic comments and his insults, the way he always pretended that nothing was wrong even when it was obvious that there was, his selfish and occasionally cruel streak. He might have messed up his spells a few times and gotten himself and the others into a few difficult situations, but he had been a highly talented wizard, not to mention a loyal companion and a good friend, at least to Kane. The warrior felt guilty, the last thing he had ever wanted to do was to hurt his friend, but he knew that he must have done.
The look on his face when I walked away…he couldn’t believe I was really going. Perhaps we should have just stayed as friends. Perhaps it was a mistake taking him as a lover, knowing how he felt.
Though the two had shared a bed for only a matter of weeks, Kane could not deny that he had been happier being with Edwin than he had been in a long time. Edwin had seemed to be happier too.
I promised him that he could always travel with me, that I would never turn my back on him.
But even though leaving Edwin had hurt them both, Kane remained convinced that it had been the right thing to do. He cared for Edwin a great deal and really had wanted what was best for him. Any sort of relationship could never work out. They were too different; they came from different worlds. Hopefully Eddie could one day go back to his old life, with his family, but Kane could never do that. His whole family was dead, Benny was probably dead and all he had now was his companions and the voice in his head that came to torture him now and then, telling him to stop fighting and accept who he was.
I can fight it now…but one day I might give in again. I always hurt those people close to me and I can’t risk hurting Eddie. This is for the best.
Struck with a sudden desire for some company, he half wished that he had taken up Viconia’s offer to share his bed. She wasn’t Edwin, but she was attractive and a good lover and he did care for her, even if her possessiveness did get on his nerves at times. And what he really needed just then was a little bit of fun to release all the tension inside him. But he just didn’t feel in the mood and hadn’t since the night he had left Edwin. The wizard certainly had got to him.
It was still raining heavily; he could hear the dull thud of the rain as it hit the window. It still felt strange to sleep and wake up again without Edwin beside him, but the warrior was determined to get at least some sleep that night. As he was lying there, he suddenly remembered something that Benny had once said to him.
“It is no crime to care for others, Kane,” the assassin had told him. “No matter what some people might think. But if you really care for someone, sometimes it’s just better to let them go.”
Thinking of his former teacher, his closest friend, gave Kane some comfort, though it was also mixed with sadness. Part of him believed that his teacher was long dead, as many of the Shadow Thieves believed or wanted to believe. And yet, even though he had been labelled as a traitor, he still had people loyal to him, both amongst the Shadow Thieves and not, powerful people. With their help, perhaps he could have survived.
His last thought before he finally fell into a dreamless sleep was of how Edwin was fairing alone.
Many miles away, in the open wilderness between Waterdeep and the city of Baldur’s Gate, a lone figure in a black cloak stood under a tree, looking up at the sky and waiting. The branches offered him little protection and he was getting soaked, but he didn’t care. With the rain coming down so heavily and a storm on the way, he didn’t really believe that what he was looking for would arrive that night, but that did not stop him hoping.
His heart lifted a little as he saw the large bird, a hawk, circling around the treetops. It swooped down and then back up, waiting for a signal. He gave a low whistle and the bird came down to him at once, landing on the man’s raised arm. A small piece of parchment, very tightly rolled up and sealed with an unrecognisable seal, was firmly attached to its leg. He untied it quickly and the bird flew off again, eager to get inside before the weather got any worse.
The man did not unroll the parchment right away. Instead, he held it in his hand for a moment or two, regarding it almost thoughtfully. The seal was lightly trapped, not enough to stop someone with experience in disarming traps, but a precaution to stop just anyone opening and reading it. The note was brief and the writing was untidy, as though the writer had penned it in a great hurry.
Things have become worse since we last spoke. Trouble in the city. Have had spies watching Theaza. Travelling with companions, dwarf, female drow and Red Wizard of Thay. Last sighting – Theaza and others heading to BG, wizard going south. Mae’Var has also had assassins tracking him and there are other assassins on his trail too, strange ones. Be careful.
The man nodded thoughtfully and tucked the note inside his cloak. He would permanently dispose of it later. “Interesting. Very interesting.”
Whatever the Future Holds: Part 1
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