Twenty-two – 06

[This post is from Artorius Mackenzie’s point of view.]

That, of course, was the worst of it.

If not me, then who?

The problem was, he couldn’t come up with a good answer.  Unless it was someone completely unconnected to all of it, there really was no other option.

Tory just shook his head, turning to head back across the marsh, back toward the village.  Suddenly the riverside wasn’t nearly as welcoming, wasn’t nearly so attractive a place to think.

You weren’t really coming out here to think.  You were coming out here to escape what you’d already realized.

He’d gone two steps before Astrid was there at his side, falling in with him as he started back across the marsh.  The look she shot him told him that she knew exactly what he was thinking and exactly the effect her words had on him.

“Tory, you already knew.”

“I came out here because I didn’t want it to be true.”

“Of course you did.”  She shook her head.  “That’s what we all do.  We’re just lucky we haven’t had to face more than little things growing up.  All of us know that our parents would’ve liked to escape some of the crazy themselves but that was never an option, now was it?”

“I don’t know,” he mumbled as they tramped through the mud and the damp.  He’d have to clean his boots when they got back.  “It seems like they tried, too.”

“Maybe,” Astrid allowed.  “But I don’t think they ever succeeded and in the end it probably would’ve been easier if they hadn’t fought it tooth and nail.  So when do we leave?”

He stopped walking.  “What?”

She went another step and pivoted back toward him.  “When do we leave?”

“I don’t—”

“You don’t think we have to leave?  Have to go somewhere on this quest to claim your destiny?  You don’t think there’s some kind of war we’re going to have to fight?  You’re dreaming, Tory.”  She shook her head and started walking again.  “Just tell me when.  I’m with you.”

She left him standing there in the marsh below the hill, alone.

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