Twenty – 08

[This post is from Bryant Tapping’s point of view.]


“Then you believe him?” Bryant asked quietly, drifting away from the door.  Tory startled and twisted toward him, as if he hadn’t realized that Bryant was still there.  For a few seconds, he held his gaze, then finally nodded slowly.

“To some degree or another,” Tory said.  “Even if I don’t believe the whole thing, usually prophecy doesn’t care.  Does it, Lin?”

Lin winced and stared at the floor.  He shook his head.  “No.  It usually doesn’t.”

There’s history there—something there that I’m not sure I want to know the whole of.  Bryant’s lips thinned and he nodded.  “You’re right about that, I think.  I remember Aoife saying it a few times when I was growing up, before she left.”

“How long ago did she leave?”  Tory asked, looking between Bryant, David, and Isabelle.  “How old were you?”

“I don’t really remember her,” Isabelle said.  “Never really had much chance to know her.”

“David and Isabelle were still really little,” Bryant said.

“I only have a few scattered memories I can string together,” David admitted.  “Her face, her voice, fragments of stories and the feel of her touch—gentle, soft, but usually cold fingers even when they probably should’ve been warm.  That could be a trick of my memory, though.”  He rubbed at his temple.  “My dad raised me.  I remember him being sad a lot, especially when I was younger, but that seemed to either fade as I got older or I just stopped noticing.”

I’m not sure which one it was, really.  I don’t know that he got over her or if he just stopped letting the rest of us see as we got older.  Probably the latter.

“I have most of the stories from him,” David continued.  “Though a lot of them were things my mother wrote down and gave to him for me—like she knew.”

“Being the Taliesin’s sister and a princess of the Aes Dana in her own right, it wouldn’t surprise me if she did,” Lin said quietly, leaning back and tilting his face toward the ceiling.  “I don’t know what made her leave you, but I’m sorry that she did.  That couldn’t have been easy, especially not knowing where she went or if she’d ever come back.”

“I…” David’s voice trailed away and he stared off into nothing for a few seconds.  Isabelle squeezed his hand and he looked at her then, smiling faintly.  “I don’t know.  I think I asked maybe twice growing up if she was ever going to come back before I asked my father one last time before we left to come on this journey, to come on this quest.  I don’t think even he ever expected her to come home.”  David took a slow, deep breath.  “Hell.  There are moments when I wonder if she loved us at all.”

“I’m sure that she did,” a voice said from the doorway.  “But Aoife was always more duty-bound than the rest of us.  If my sister thought that there was something she had to do and it meant leaving her husband and her child, she would.  Much to her eternal pain, she would.”

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