|Series||RECKLESS by Pixichi|
|Previous||RECKLESS, Chapter 8|
|Next||RECKLESS, Chapter 10|
|← RECKLESS, Chapter 8||Chapter Chronology||RECKLESS, Chapter 10 →|
A man sat alone at a long black stone table, in a darkened room. He took another long sip of the dark red liquid in his goblet and his attention was roused by the sound of footsteps coming from deep within his castle. Within moments, the source emerged. A woman with long hair and empty eyes entered the room. She held in her hand a note bearing the royal seal of Albion.
"Who was at the door?" The man asked her.
"A soldier from Castle Fairfax in the North m'lord." She replied.
What did he want to come here, so far from the safety of civilization?" The man inquired.
"His name was Ron, he said he was a high guard of the King of Albion. It would seem that the king wants me to find his runaway sister." The auburn haired woman replied to the man in black from across the table. The man grinned at the news.
"So, the king wants you to track down some little brat eh? That seems hardly a good use for your services." The man stated, after taking a sip of his drink.
"I will do it if you wish me to. If it's just some girl, then it should be easy gold for you." She stated.
"Yes, it would be. I believe you should take the job, I think it may prove to be beneficial for both of us actually."
"Yes m'lord." The man glared at her, and the very room seemed to darken as he did so.
"What were the orders after you find her?"
"Take her back to the castle, unharmed."
"No, instead you are to bring her here, to me. Gather your things, something tells me that you will be needing them." The man finished his goblet and got to his feet.
"If that is what you wish of me, it shall be done." The woman bowed and exited the room. She returned quickly with a black sword, and an ebony longbow. The man grinned at the lady dressed in the long black satin dress, donned with such dangerous tools of death.
"I am ready my lord." She replied. The man gave her a once over.
"Yes. Good. Be on your way then." He commanded. When she was gone, he turned and grinned at the empty great hall, lined with skulls and sharp dark blades. There was no light, save a strange purple flame licking hungrily at the wall from a nearby candle.
"I had a feeling that this day would come. I should have finished it while I had a chance. but no matter, my Maiden of Dread will deal with this little problem for me soon enough." The mans laughter was more disturbing than the darkness that surrounded him. He looked into the malevolent glow of the single candle. His red eyes gleamed at the horrid thought of what was to come.
Victoria and Reaver sat in the living room, taking tea and conversing again. They spoke of many things, Victoria told him all about her life, her hobbies and interests, and of her best friend Andrea. Reaver in turn, simply took her in by smiling and listening, both of which were quite rare for him to do. She told him of her childhood, how she and her brother had played in the royal garden, and how her mother would tell them both stories before they went to bed. She told him about how she hated learning history, and wanted to be a rebel, how she hated refined upper-class snobs and dresses. She concluded by telling him of her latest adventure up in Mistpeak.
"So you hi-jacked my monorail huh?" Reaver laughed at that.
"Yeah, I guess I did." She snickered. She threw a cookie down for Daisy. Troublesome looked up towards her and the princess smiled as she gave one to her too. Reaver shook his head as he watched his wolf gobble up the handout. Victoria stared at him.
"What is it?"
"You are just like your mother. She used to feed her dog treats all the time too. Spoiled him rotten she did."
"What was she like? You know, when you two were dating?" Victoria asked.
"Well, she was stubborn, sharp, beautiful, and utterly feisty. She could be a bit of a puzzle at times too." Reaver reminisced.
"Puzzle?" Victoria asked.
"She was, at times hard to figure out, lets put it that way..." He replied. "Like the time that she-" He stopped abruptly and cleared his throat.
"What?" Victoria pressed him. Reaver looked away. His eyes showed that he was in great pain. Finally, he spoke.
"Victoria?" He asked her.
"Would it be alright with you if we didn't talk about your mother anymore?" The mood darkened in the small room.
"I suppose if that's what you want..." Victoria replied confused. Reaver stood, turned away, and fished out the same diary from the other night from the nearby dresser and handed it to her.
"You forgot this last night. I believe it shall be much more helpful to you in your quest than I am my dear." He spoke sadly. Victoria stood and placed the book back against her heart.
"I'm sorry for how I acted last night. I promise to take good care of this." Reaver stepped closer and placed his arm on her shoulder and then as shakily as a teenage boy, he embraced his daughter into his arms.
"Victoria...please forgive me for what I have done to you." He locked eyes with her. Victoria smiled up at him.
"I could never stay angry at you." She replied kindly. Reaver smiled and drew her closer. Then he reluctantly kissed her forehead, softly and sweetly.
"Thank you Victoria, but now I fear that I have done everything that I can for you now. Time has made me a cruel and wicked monster, but I need you to know, that deep down, I still possess the same heart that loved your mother so very long ago. I will never love anyone again the way that I loved her. To speak of her makes me die inside, I ask you to understand this." He explained. Victoria nodded slowly.
"I understand now. I won't ask you anything else. I'll use this diary to get my answers from now on father."
"Good. Now, lets finish our tea shall we?" Reaver asked heading back to his armchair. Victoria nodded and followed suit. She decided to read the diary later. Instead, she placed the old book inside her satchel and picked up another cookie from the tray. The fireplace crackled and hummed as the yule log from within was burned away. It was getting to be evening now, the last of the sunlight was dissipating below the rising moon. Reaver sipped the last of his tea and then glanced over to where Troublesome and Daisy were relaxing together.
"Troublesome, come." He called his wolf. Troublesome got up and stretched her long legs before loping to her masters side. She plopped down at his feet, and let out a gracious huff. Reaver looked down at her and smiled. Victoria whistled for Daisy. The wolfdogs ears pricked at the sound, and she stood and bounded over to where her mistress was waiting on the bed. She jumped up onto a soft pillow beside Victoria. Victoria looked to see if her father would object, but he merely watched and then looked away into the fire.
"Victoria." He spoke up.
"What are you going to do now? You cannot keep running off like this. Your brothers been worrying about you, as have I."
"Speak for yourself, but I know for a fact the only person that Logan worries about is himself." She replied dryly.
"I know it seems that way dearest, but he maintains a proud image. Below that kingly attitude, he's still very much your big brother." Victoria pondered that, remembering the night in the ballroom. The night she ran away. Logan had a sad look of loss and regret on his face that night, after she had told him that she would rather die than be his sister. Perhaps Reaver was right, he was their father after all.
"But see? Even if you are right, I don't want to be a princess or the future queen. I just want to be free to be my own person." Victoria explained. Reaver pondered her words.
"Hmmmm. So you really don't want to be royalty?" He asked.
"No, I hate it. I would do anything to change my life." Reaver stood and sighed heavily. She is so much like her... He thought to himself. What would Connie do right now? What would she want for our daughter? Perhaps I should give Victoria the right to make her own choice. Reaver looked at his daughter and began to speak. Victoria braced herself for another "your a princess, you need to start acting like it" speech. But she would never have been able to guess at her fathers next words.
"There is a ship, in Industrial, which I use for personal holidays. If you really want to escape the crown, and your responsibility, your very much welcome to it."
"But, I don't know how to sail." Victoria said.
"I had a feeling that you might say that. Listen well to what I am about to tell you. Go to the Riveter's Rest, in Industrial. At exactly 2:00 am, you should see a young man, about your age, drinking whiskey at the very back corner table. He has red hair and blue eyes. His name in Gustavan the Great. But everyone just calls him Gus. He will agree to sail for you, if you give him this." Reaver slipped Victoria a yellowed piece of paper.
"What is it?" She asked curious.
"Best left for his eyes my dear, you wouldn't understand the contents. It basically insures you a good and experienced crew, lets just put it that way."
"A crew as well? That would be awesome!" Victoria cried. Reaver smiled at his youths exuberance.
"I'm glad that it makes you happy Victoria, that's all that I want for you, never forget it." Victoria rushed over and hugged him.
"I love you daddy!" She cried. Reaver, reluctant to show his true feelings, slowly embraced her back.
"I love you too."
Victoria had decided to listen to Reaver and go to meet this Gus character at the pub in Industrial. She patted her thigh as Daisy bounded close behind her.
"Well, at least now I know who my dad is girl. Although it still shocks me. I always thought that Reaver was nothing more than a corrupted businessman, but once you get to know him, he's actually a pretty neat guy." Daisy just woofed. "Its really neat that you got to meet your parent too." Victoria added. The two passed by many a manor and many a guard, but Reaver had given Victoria a generous amount of changes of clothing, more than enough disguises to go on for a good while. Victoria, eager to meet this Gustavan character, made her way back to Industrial.
Like a shadow on a darkened wall, the Maiden of Dread made her way silently through the night. She was hot on the trail of the missing princess. Her trek had led her to Bowerstone Market, and she crept in and out of the alleyways, unnoticed by all. She came upon a small blue rag, and picked it up. She handed the said rag to her companion, a silver haired man, with deep blue eyes. The man took the rag, sniffed it furiously before grunting.
"So she was here. Silver, can you pick up the scent from anywhere around here?" She asked him. Silver moved downwind and sniffed some more.
"They went that way." He said in a low voice, pointing towards the Bower Bridge.
"Alright. Lead the way." Silver did as he was told, and ran out towards the bridge. The woman followed close behind. Silver sniffed the air and his blue eyes gleamed as he looked out towards Millfields.
"She is there, for sure." The man growled.
Reaver sat at his desk in his darkened study, drinking his brandy whilst gazing out the window into the darkness of Millfields. He slammed the goblet down loudly onto the desk.
"You had to let her go. Twenty years of not seeing your own daughter and you let her go...Not much has changed in 300 years, your still a ghastly father..." He sighed heavily to himself. He held his aching head, tried to reason with what he had done.
"Why couldn't I have just gone with her? Is my work that much more important to me?" He asked himself, and then came the dark memory of Connie, how he had started up those very factories to keep his mind off of her impending doom, which he alone had caused. "Yes...yes it is...I can't let her die too...she's better off without me." He patted Troublesome, who was laying loyally down at his feet. The wolf looked up at her master and her green eyes that matched his. He smiled at her before swigged the last of his drink. Troublesome huffed and went back to resting her head on the floor. The hour was late, and Reaver decided it was time to retire to his bedchambers. He drowsily made his way across the room and to the stairs, with Troublesome following lazily behind. Reaver had just started into his bedroom when Troublesome began to growl in her low deep growl.
"What is it?" Reaver looked warily around the room. He pulled out his pistol and advanced deeper in to the room. Suddenly from behind him, Troublesome gave a startled yelp, and Reaver turned to see her pinned down, by a large white balverine. He started to aim, when a knife found his throat.
"Try to move and your food for my partner here." A feminine voice threatened. Reaver was still very surprised to be caught off guard let alone by a woman. Most of the women he knew would cut off their left breast to be with him, not try to kill him. This instantly made him curious, as dangerous women often did. Reaver loved a challenge.
"And whom do I have the pleasure of being attacked by?" He grinned unfazed. Troublesome whimpered under the huge claws of the balverine, who in snarled fiercely in her face.
"They call me the Maiden of Dread. My partner smelled a young girl. He followed her scent to this home. Where is she?" The woman asked him. Reaver chuckled to himself.
"I don't know what type of exotic beast tamer you are to control balverines, but my specialty is women not beasts. I have many women from all walks of life within this house, so its no wonder that your "partner" smelled them-"
"I seek a specific woman you fool! Victoria Remswood, tell me where she is or your dead!" The woman screeched.
"Is that a fact?" Reaver's charming grin expanded into a dangerous smile as he quickly and with much force jammed his elbow into his attackers stomach. The woman winced as she fell to her knees. The balverine gave a roar and charged at the loose scoundrel, but Reaver was one step ahead of the monster. He pulled free his pistol, and shot the beast in the head. Then he whirled around and shot the woman two times in both of her arms, disabling her use of weaponry. The woman screamed in agony. Reaver caught his breath and then cockily approached his fallen assailant. Her head was down,.as she gasped for air from the loss of blood. He knelt down and drew her face up to get a better look at her. The instant he did so, his heart froze. Piercing blue eyes glared through pain into his own green ones. He knew this face, all too well. For it was that of a woman that he had driven himself half-crazy trying to forget.
"Connie...No, that's not possible...your dead..." He whispered. The woman glared at him some more.
"Who is this Connie? I am the Maiden of Dread, hired bounty hunter, and you shall pay for what you have done to me!" She cursed him. Reaver felt like his world had been capsized in ice.
"How is this even possible?! I was there when you died, this cannot be..."
"What are you even talking about?" The woman hissed at him. Reaver felt his heart snap like a weak twig.
"Don't you even remember me? It's me Connie..." He offered. The woman clothed in black just turned away. She looked towards the fallen balverine.
"Silver! Silver, get up and kill this man!" She commanded, but the monster didn't move. Reaver stared disbelieving at her. "No, your dead, this is just a crazy dream..." He thought to himself. "Just a dream..."