|Series||Fable: The Return by Scorponix|
|← Chapter 24||Chapter Chronology||Chapter 26 →|
The king sees his son as the man he has become after all these years.
His eyes are a bright combination of green and hazel, his cheeks are well defined. He wears a profound, delicate chin that drips sweat. A blood-red tattoo stretches across his face in an odd and menacing design. "My…my son. My Boy!" The king's face turns from shock and anger into an expression of total happiness.
"I'm not your son. Not anymore, not after what you did to mother."
"A wretched name given from a wretched father." Henry leans down and retrieves his claymore from the sand.
"You're alive!" The king is on his knees, his smiling teeth glisten from the tears that now fall from his eyes.
"No thanks to you. I lived on my own and I'm better because of it. I don't need you, I never needed you…And now I'm going to get rid of you, maybe the rest of the world can feel the," Henry pauses. "Can feel the joy I…The joy I felt when I left you." He raises his claymore and aligns his swing.
"Your mother would be proud of the man you've become."
"W…What?" He slumps lightly. "Mother? No…no!" He recovers and grips the giant blade tighter.
"I know I'm proud…"
"You…you aren't going to fight me? You're just going to whimper like…a child?" Henry's voice has become much less stern. "Stand up," he waits. "Stand up and face me like a man! Like a king! Don't just sit there on your knees! I want you to look me in the eyes when I…when I." Henry stumbles and gags. "Aren't you going to tell me that it wasn't your fault? Aren't you at least going to try?"
The king shakily stands up, tears still streaming down his faces and dripping from the tip of his chin. "Henry…I-"
"Don't you 'Henry' me! Don't you dare! That is not my name, it has not been my name since the day you killed her…you killed…you killed." He lowers the claymore in deep thought and anger. "Dad…Dad I'm sorry-"
The king swiftly catches him in a strong embrace and flings the blade to the ground once more. "Don't ever be sorry, my son. Don't ever be sorry for the choices you make, for they make you who you are. And you, my son, have become a man." Henry clutches his father tightly and a small, voiceless, tear leaves his eye. In their embrace, they are unable to hear the massive booing of the crowd from all around them.
The noises are silenced, and the embrace is broken by an abnormally loud pistol shot. The father and son turn to see Reaver leap down from the stands and fit his black pistol back onto the top of his signature cane. He gracefully struts through the sand in his crimson suit, still with a smirk stretching the the black heart on his cheek. The Chieftain soon follows suit and leaps into the circle. Reaver reaches them and begins to circle, he tucks his cane into his armpit and claps his hands slowly.
"Touching, it really is touching. Marvelous actually, the glorious reuniting of a monarch and his runaway son. If I were to be truthful, I'd say I was really hoping to hear the sound of your royal cranium thumping onto the sand. But, I must say that the heartfelt embrace of a father and son truly warms my itty bitty heart. It does. And through the crowd of angry faces wanting your head lopped off I spied a couple wet eyes in the distance, moved by your performance."
"I was not putting on a performance, traitor." The king spat back.
"Oh, I'm a traitor now?"
"Yes, yes you are. On countless occasions you have attempted to betray or to cause the death of two different kings of Albion. You have caused the murder of hundreds of Albion's people for your sick advancement of youth."
"Ah, and the king with a newly cleaned up face is talking to me about ill-gained youth."
"My youth was given back to me in order to stop the Court"
"The Court that you summoned from the Void. You took the knife, you took your own blood, and you yourself brought them upon the world. Tell me, the people that died in Bower Lake and in Bowerstone Market, was that my fault?"
"How do you know abou-"
"Your youth being regained, was that my fault as well?"
"You shot my rope and prevented me from escaping!"
"So that you could continue on a journey of your own, and look how you popped out. I'd say maybe fifty years younger and with a new appreciation for fire. Tell me this too, did the hobbes cry when you massacred them?"
"How do you-"
"Do you think you're the only one the hag talks to?" The king is left speechless from Reaver's question. "Good, let us not forget that I was a Hero before you, before your father even. Sure I was never the good heroic type but I was a Hero none the less. I could be compared to that Twinblade man if he were a bit thinner, better looking, charismatic, and gave the swords up for a nice pair of pistols. I was a Hero before your ancestors body was even cold in the ground."
"You…you will never return to Bowerstone Industrial. It does not belong to you anymore. Your company is disbanded."
"Very well, that will make my departure for the mystical lands of Samarkand all the more easy for business. I won't have to handle any arrangement for a replacement to head my industries. I suppose you'll use that mad doctor who created the talking automatons, not a bad selection I suppose. Ah, but I will be transforming my workers from tired Albionites to the multitudes of slaves that litter my new kingdom."
"The agreement was for you to get me to the Northern Wastes, I am here on an island in a trap that you sprung."
"Just two things this time. Firstly, our deal was a ship that gets you to the Northern Wastes, I don't have to do it myself. And, this trap was all thought up in the head of your dear little boy here, Henry I believe it is. The truth is, I grow tired of my Industrial work. Oh, have I moved on to a third subject? Dreadfully sorry."
"We still have a deal, Reaver. And wether you have my trust or not, I intend for your end of the bargain to be upheld."
"Oh it shall, your majesty. It shall," Reaver takes his cane and pops it into the sand to lean. The Chieftain has been near them, listening to every word. "Cheiftain my dear friend, let us leave this blood-soaked place." He agrees and leads the three men out of the arena. Several warriors are sent in to fight each other to make up for the terrible show put on by the king.
When they are finally out of the arena and on the road, Henry and his father talk. "Father…I know it wasn't your fault. I was so young, and I needed someone to place the blame on. You were the first person I saw and…you were always so strong. I thought you had the power to bring her back, but you didn't. I was devastated."
"We both were, son. We both were. But tell me…where did you run to?"
"When I fled the castle I went into Old Town rather than Market Town, knowing that anyone who saw me in the market would recognize me and take me right back. In Old Town they saw me as a lost boy in a bad world…but at least I wasn't in Industrial, they said. Nobody there cared who I was or where I was going. And when I saw all of the guards you sent, I fled the city entirely and went to the mines at Bower Lake. I narrowly snuck by a group of bandits that was hiding in the woods, but I made it. The miners didn't care about me either…so I kept walking. I wandered into the tall trees…knowing you'd told me never to go in there. I just wanted to go the places you told me not to…I didn't know there was a good reason. I barely made it into the village at Silverpines that night, a balverine sniffed me out meters before the entrance…thankfully the silver torches scared him off. The villagers didn't like me…said I would be another hungry mouth to feed. They gave me a butter knife and…and they shoved me in the forest on the other side of the village. I ran and ran for my life, until I found an abandoned hut on a hill. I went into the hut and locked the door as fast as I could. When…when I thought I was finally safe…I went to sleep on the bed. That night I woke up to a howling noise from far away I rubbed my tired eyes and…and in the window I saw them. I saw the balverines watching me…just watching me…waiting to see if I was alive. When they saw me wake up…they started attacking the door, trying to get in and rip me apart. That's when something strange happen. My vision went hazy and a woman in red came out of nowhere…she was blind but…beautiful. She told me that my destiny was not to die here. She took my hand and I fell asleep. Next thing I knew…I woke up on the streets of Bloodstone. Over the years I came to call it home and I took to the life of a pirate. Eventually, I gained Reaver's trust and became a part of his crew. And now…here I am."
"I am overjoyed to know you are alive, and to see what you have become. I only wish I was there to see your life happen."
"You don't want to see the things I have to become…this."
They walk for a few moments in silence. "The woman who came to you, the blind woman in red. Her name is Theresa, she has helped our family for generations. I am forever grateful to her…for all she has done."
The group arrives within a city of large, ornately carved wooden buildings. They wind in and out of the giant trees that litter the city. The ever present fog of Witchwood reflects the sunlight piercing through the treetops and glimmers on all of the buildings. Citizens of Knothole Glade weave in and out of streets, carrying their spears and revealing their various tattoos. There is a small ring of dirt surrounded by wood at the front of the city, shirtless men surround the circle and cheer for two men fist fighting each other. They walk further into the city and they come to a 4-way break in the road.
Reaver speaks, "The Chieftain and I are going to make our final arrangements for the departure. Just come back to the ship whenever his majesty feds to rest his bottom and have it move from beneath him. Executioner, I think you know what you should show your Daddy" Reaver and the Chieftain take one route and walk towards a large, official-looking building.
Henry looks to his father, "Father, I have something I want you to see." Henry leads the king down a winding dirt street, lined by torches, towards a small hut. "This is my home. And this," He looks to a slender woman who now steps out of the hut. "This…is my wife, Savannah." Henry has an enormous smile as his wife approaches them and he throws an arm onto her shoulder. She is tanned, with dark hair, bright green eyes, soft cheeks and a slim frame.
"She…she looks like your mother."
"I know," Henry smiles and kisses Savannah. "My love…this is my father, the king of Albion."
She speaks, "Your father? But…Exy I thought you despised him."
"I did…I did. But things have changed."
"Well," She smiles at the king. "Then it's nice to meet you, father." The king smiles at this, a way of welcoming her into his family. Before he can say anything, Henry attracts his attention again.
"Come, there is something else I need to show you."