Sunday, March 07, 2010

Tommy On The Shore

The sunrise was the most beautiful thing Tommy had noticed in years. He blinked. He shook his head. His mind cleared and he unclenched his fists. He looked down at a sudden splash and remembered the young man he was drowning. He slowly lowered both arms to his sides, job completed he thought. He watched the new corpse floated away, slowly spinning towards the sea. Tommy looked up and blinked. Tommy stood empty before a full sunrise feeling as if he had forgotten or lost something. Something of value.

Seven years prior Tommy had solved a temporary unemployment problem with a long term employment one. He joined a guild. This guild required seven years of Tommy's life. This guild required extreme training. He learned skills and acquired abilities, until he was called adept. A new adept is sent on a mission unlikely to succeed. The candidate may refuse and return to life outside the guild or they may accept. Acceptance is exile until death or success. Upon success the adept returns to take his place in the role the guild plays in the affairs of the world. The guild which he joined has great influence over the remains of the world.

Tommy remembered the young man's name. He remembered his face, much younger than his own. His name was Byron and he was called adept two years prior. He was a prodigy. Tommy remembered, Byron had been too sweet for the assignment he was given and refused. Tommy had imagined Byron living good, maybe cooking in an inn next to some ancient quarry. Tommy had imagined that all the houses were made from stone, stone left in the nearby quarry. Tommy had dreamed that when he was free to leave the guild he would go work in that quarry. He was large enough and strong enough. He and Byron would drink together again and live simple lives free from training and violence. Tommy stood in front of the sunrise, knelt and bowed his head. He was being foolish he knew, those dreams were floating dead.

Tommy splashed himself with water, washing the blood from his face, hands, and the stubble covering his scalp, gone sticky. Pulling his hand across his scalp, sent water spraying; a sharp halo in the pinkish water around him.

He stood, clean. He checked himself for wounds or visible bruising. He found none. He never knew that refusal meant death, until now. Now he knew. There were rumors, but they were not taken seriously. They were not believed. He had proven those rumors true today. Now, he knew that every adept of his guild had proven the rumor true as well, each and every one of them.

Adepts of this guild often prove rumors to be true. Tommy now had a decision that his masters had not prepared him for, he can return and take a position in the guild or he could continue and find a place out side the guild.  Not in his imagined rock quarry but the world was broad and wide and he had no doubt he could prove useful to other, more generous masters.

Of course, he would be hunted.