|Series||The Journey by Azaelia Silmarwen|
|Previous||Sparrow's Journey: Chapter Ten|
|Next||Sparrow's Journey: Chapter Twelve|
|← Sparrow's Journey: Chapter Ten||Chapter Chronology||Sparrow's Journey: Chapter Twelve →|
WRITTEN: 9 July 2012
CHAPTER WARNING: This chapter contians some malexmaleEdit
Chapter Eleven: The ThiefEdit
Reaver casually glanced over at Sparrow when he heard the door close, before looking back at the man sculpturing his near perfect completion.
'Well, hello there,' he said, 'always a nice surprise to have company. I don’t get many visitors to my coastal paradise. Especially from one that might re-describe a man’s definition of “paradise”,' he added, taking in the Hero’s tired yet muddy complexion.
‘Thanks… I think,’ replied Sparrow. ‘Listen, I have something I need to discuss with you in private –‘
‘I’m afraid that I hate wasting time on nobodies. That’s you,’ Reaver interrupted, looking back at the sculptor.
‘Tell you what. Why don’t you go out and rescue some travellers, or slay some beasts. The details aren’t important, but prove to me, that you are worth dealing with and you’ll have my full attention. That’s it. Scoot. Off you go.'
‘No!’ Sparrow said stubbornly. ‘I’m tired, filthy, and I just had to travel through Wraithmarsh to see you -!’
'Well I'm impressed,' Reaver interrupted again. 'On the rare occasion that people make it through Wraithmarsh, they’re lost, confused… scared! But not you; you still have a lot of fire in your soul.’ Reaver looked at his statue critically. ‘Do you think my buttock looks like that?' he asked the sculptor coldly, before shooting him, killing him instantly.
Sighing, Reaver sheltered his gun and walked towards Sparrow. He then stopped in front of the grubby man and looked him up and down.
‘Tell you what,’ he said eventually. ‘Instead of going out and making a name for yourself, you and I can roll in the hay later tonight, and tomorrow morning I will listen to what you have to say.’
Sparrow stared at Reaver.
‘You want me to roll in the hay with you? You want me to play in hay?’
Now it was Reaver’s turn to stare, before he started laughing.
‘How adorable,’ he chuckled. ‘Tell me, are you still a virgin?’
‘So what if I am?’ Sparrow demanded.
‘Nothing, it just explains why you don’t know what “roll in the hay” means.’ Reaver then rephrased his offer. ‘Sleep with me, meaning have sex with me, and then we’ll do business.’
Sparrow stood there thinking it over. All he had to do was sleep with this man and then he would be able to recruit him. It seemed simple enough and a lot easier than what he had to do with Garth and Hammer, but the thought of sleeping with a man and practically selling his body made him hesitate.
‘Sure,’ he said eventually.
‘I suggest you bathe before tonight,’ said Reaver. ‘You smell pretty bad. What did you do? Go swimming in the marshes?’
‘No, a troll threw me into the water.’
‘You let a troll catch you?’
‘I was trying to sneak passed it so I wouldn’t have to fight it, but it didn’t work.’
Reaver looked as though he was trying not to laugh.
‘Henry!’ he yelled. Moments later, a servant appeared. ‘Show this young man to the bathroom where he can clean up and get him some clean clothes. Once that is done, get rid of this incompetent statue.’
‘Yes, Master Reaver,’ Henry said, before turning to Sparrow. ‘If you would please follow me, sir.’
Sparrow followed Henry out of the back room and up a flight of stairs.
As they walked through the mansion’s corridors, Sparrow was amazed at how luxurious Reaver’s place was. It would give Castle Fairfax a run for its money. Reaver definitely had good taste and he seemed to collect antiques, especially guns. Throughout the mansion were different guns mounted on trophy plaques, dating back to different eras. Sparrow didn’t even know that half these guns even existed. He wondered where Reaver got half of them from.
‘Here we are, sir.’ Henry entered the bathroom and began to prepare the bath while Sparrow looked around in awe.
With the bath prepared, Henry left to get Sparrow some clothes. The Hero then undressed and gratefully slipped into the warm bath water. Straight away his muscles began to un-tense and for the first time in years, he felt relaxed and unconcerned.
Two hours later, Sparrow was cleaner than he had been in a long time, fed, and was now being led to Reaver’s chambers where he was going to lose his virginity.
‘Have a good night, sir,’ Henry said with a knowing smile.
‘Thanks… I think,’ Sparrow replied uncertainly. He had no idea what to expect.
Taking a deep breath, Sparrow entered the room to find Reaver sitting next to the window, reading a book with a chalice of wine in his hand. He didn’t even look up.
‘Undress then lay on the bed,’ he said.
Sparrow nervously did as he asked.
Moments later, Reaver too was naked and was leaning above Sparrow, who began to tremble. He refused to look at Reaver. He was beginning to think that he should have gone out to make a name for himself.
‘Relax… You’ll enjoy this,’ Reaver purred in his ear, before gently kissing his neck…
Sparrow awoke feeling warm, comfortable and well-rested. Something he hadn’t felt in a long time. He opened his eyes and realised that he must have fallen asleep in Reaver’s room. The previous night’s events were a blur to him, but he knew that he had enjoyed it.
Groaning, he sat up and stretched, before looking around the room. His eyes fell upon his clothes neatly folded up on the end of the king-sized bed. He hurriedly put them on, before exiting the room. Upon exiting the room, he found Henry coming to check on him.
‘Ah, you are awake, sir,’ he said. ‘If you’d please follow me, I will get you some food.’
It was then that Sparrow realised that he was hungry.
Once Sparrow’s hunger had been satisfied, Henry led him to the back room to see Reaver again. He was now posing for a portrait.
‘So you finally decided to join the land of the living again, did you?’ Reaver asked Sparrow when the Hero was standing before him. ‘I was beginning to think you had died. You’ve being asleep for just over a week.’
‘I was sleep for over a week?’ Sparrow now knew why he felt so well-rested.
‘Yes, and while you were asleep, I discovered that you walked straight out of Lucien's Spire. So, unless I missed my guess - and incidentally I never miss – you want me to help you walk right back in there and take him down. How am I doing so far?'
‘You’ve got it spot on. So will you help me?
'Hmm… tempting,' Reaver responded sarcastically. 'Who knows what lovelies he's got secreted away in there, but there’s a problem. You’ve done all sorts of impressive things – yes, I know about some of your wicked deeds around Albion - however, you haven’t done anything that benefits me.'
‘And you won’t help me until I do, correct?’
‘Correct. Now, what I need you to do is return a certain item to its rightful owners in Wraithmarsh.'
'But… there's no one living in Wraithmarsh,' Sparrow argued, ‘unless the owner was a crazy old man. If so, you don’t need to return anything since a banshee got him.’
‘No, I am not talking about any old people,’ replied Reaver. ‘The owners’ live in an enchanting place called the Shadow Court. I’d do it myself but my relationship with the owners is… complicated. And while my associates here have their uses, most aren’t terribly reliable.'
‘And what makes you think I am? You only just met me.’
‘True, but you desperately need my help. So how about this: you run this little errand for me, and then I’ll assist you in your quest for… er… vengeance or…. riches, or whatever it is that floats your particular boat.'
‘It’s vengeance,’ muttered Sparrow. 'Where's the thing that needs returning?'
‘That’s it there, see?' Reaver nodded over to a nearby desk with a dark seal on it, similar looking to the Temple of Shadows’ seal. 'See that little objet d'art?'
‘The what?’ Sparrow asked. Was Reaver speaking in a different language?
‘Work of art, artwork, art piece, or art object; take your pick.’
‘You’re talking about the seal, aren’t you?’
‘Yes, I’m talking about the seal,’ Reaver sighed. He figured that he’d probably need to be blunt with Sparrow for now on.
‘I was just making sure.’
Sparrow wondered over to the desk and picked up the evil seal. He knew that there was something wrong about the Seal the moment he touched it. It was filling him with dread.
'There’s a good lad,' Reaver said, as Sparrow put the seal in his bag. 'Just come and see me when you’ve dropped it off at the Shadow Court. Tatty-bye.'
Sparrow nodded and left the room, with Reaver saying to the painter, ‘Are you suggesting that my cheek bones are anywhere near that low?'
The sound of a gunshot followed.
The Shadow Court… it was they who destroyed Oakvale, said Theresa, as Sparrow left the mansion.
‘What would Reaver want with the Shadow Court then?’ Sparrow wondered aloud.
He was the young villager that made the deal with the Shadow Court all those years ago, Theresa said sadly. I actually met him once when he was only a boy. His heart has become cold and cruel since then.
‘He’s older than I thought he was,’ Sparrow commented.
With Theresa’s help, Sparrow managed to find the Shadow Court.
The door opens the same way the tomb in Bower Lake opens, Theresa told Sparrow as he tried to open the door.
‘Oh.’ He put Reaver’s Dark Seal into the relevant spot and opened the door.
Be carefully. There is more to this task than Reaver lets on.
‘Do you happen to know what the bargain was between Reaver and the Shadow Court?’ Sparrow asked as he and Shadow walked through the Shadow Courts’ dark corridors.
Shadow and Sparrow walked in silence and they soon became aware of someone sobbing, and they eventually came across the source when they entered a large court room. A teenage girl stood in the middle, sobbing and looking around, terrified. When she saw Sparrow, she ran to him and clung to him arm.
'Oh, please! Help me!' she begged. 'Me and some friends were reading aloud from this really old book we found. It had all these strange words. Then there was this bright light, and… I woke up here! Where are we?'
‘Shadow Court in Wraithmarsh,' Sparrow said stiffly, wishing she’d stop crying and let go of him.
'I’m so scared. I… I just want to go home!' she cried against Sparrow’s chest.
Sparrow rolled his eyes and looked at the three shadowy figures who had entered the room. When the teenager noticed them, she screamed and held onto Sparrow even tighter.
'Welcome,' said the first Shadow Judge.
'Welcome,' said the second.
'Welcome,' said the third.
'One of you carries the Dark Seal,' continued the first, 'but there are two of you. Only one is required.'
‘Required for what?' Sparrow asked suspiciously.
'One will trade their youth and beauty so that the King of Thieves may retain his,' answered the second Shadow Judge. ‘We will take whoever bares the Dark Seal. You most choose… quickly.'
So that’s why he looks so young… and here I was thinking it had something to do with Hero blood, Sparrow thought as he pulled away from the girl and putting the Dark Seal into her hands. He wasn’t about to sacrifice any of his youth or looks.
'What? No! You… can’t do this! Please! Don’t! Please!' she begged. ‘I just want to see my parents again!’
‘Relax, it’s not like they’re going to kill you. You’ll still be able to see them again. I’ve decided,’ he added to the Shadow Judges.
He then watched as dark shadows came and surrounded the girl. She was screaming inside, and when the shadows disappeared, standing in the girl's place was an old wrinkled woman.
'Reaver has again fulfilled the bargain,' said a Shadow Judge, 'but when the sacrifices stop, we shall come for him. This he knows.'
The Judges then disappeared and Sparrow left – after taking the Dark Seal away for the victim – leaving her behind to fend for herself.
It was her own fault, after all, Sparrow thought. It deserves her right for reading aloud from a strange book.
That was a difficult decision, but you are alive and strong. That is what matters most, Theresa said quietly. Return to Reaver.
‘Trust me, I am,’ Sparrow replied darkly.
'...and we're done, Barnum said as Sparrow entered the back room with Shadow hot on his heels.
Barnum had his old picture box before him and Reaver was posing in front of it.
'And you’re sure that it will look like me?' Reaver inquired suspiciously, taking no notice of Sparrow’s presence.
'Exactly like you, sir,' Barnum replied confidently, nodding in greeting to Sparrow. 'In three months, the picture should be developed and -'
'Three months?’ Reaver interrupted with a chuckle. ‘That’s no good.'
He shot Barnum and turned to face the furious Sparrow. His eyes widened slightly.
'And looking as youthful and spirited as ever!' he said cheerfully. 'Aren’t you a tricky one? Good for you. You have my eternal thanks for delivering that troublesome seal.'
‘Well, you can show your eternal gratitude by helping me now!’ Sparrow growled. ‘And he owed me money!’
'Hmm, maybe now would be a good time to admit that I have a confession to make.’
Sparrow’s eyes were suddenly full of suspicion.
'While you were away, it occurred to me that Lucien is probably a bit miffed that you wondered off without his permission,' Reaver explained calmly. 'Maybe miffed enough to part with a large amount of gold to get you back. And you know what? I was right. So, as fun as all this has been, I’m afraid that I must now return you to the Spire. Lucien’s men will be here at any - alright, what exactly was that?' he demanded as there was a loud boom, shaking the mansion, knocking Sparrow to his feet and a few of Reaver’s guns off the wall.
'Reaver, the city is under attack, by a bloody army of Lucien’s men!' one of Reaver’s men yelled from a balcony above. 'There are dozens of the buggers. And the guy in charge of the men is yelling, “find this Reaver”.'
'Me?' Reaver exclaimed. 'Lucien and I had a gentlemen’s agreement. How dare he betray me? And just when I was in the middle of trying to betray you! How inconvenient.'
‘What are you going to do now?' Sparrow asked as Reaver went to one of his bookcases.
Lucien is using great shards to transfer men to bloodstone, Theresa told Sparrow, urgently. The town is over run. You have to get out of there now. If Lucien gets his hands on either of you, it’ll be all over.
‘What on earth -?’ Reaver looked over at Sparrow. ‘Who -?’
‘That was Theresa, a blind seer talking to us through a Guild Seal. Only Heroes can hear it.’
'Right… well, I recommend that we flee down this really handy escape tunnel.' Reaver pulled on one of his books, and the bookcase moved a side to reveal a hidden tunnel. ‘Inside… quick!’
Sparrow did not hesitate. The moment he entered the passage, Reaver closed the entrance and led the way down its corridors.
‘Did you build this?’ Sparrow enquired.
'No… Smugglers built these tunnels ages ago,' replied Reaver. 'I don’t think they have been used for about three hundred years.'
'Oh no, wait a minute, now,' the pirate continued. 'I came through here in… that’s right. I was consorting with Ursula at the time and Penelope found out and she set the house on fire while I was sleeping. With Andrew, as I recall. Ah, that would have been two hundred years ago.'
Sparrow was about to say something when part of the cave wall was blasted open ahead of the two Heroes, and Lucien’s men hurried in, firing at them.
'Lucien's men… here?' Reaver said, drawing his gun. 'Well so much for pleasurable walk through the labyrinth. He must have known about these tunnels. And I thought that I had been so clever and secretive. How irksome.'
‘You’re telling me,’ muttered Sparrow, taking out his rifle. ‘For once it would be nice to have something secret from Lucien.’
With Reaver and Sparrow’s gun skills, they were able to defeat Lucien's men in no time. Worried that Lucien’s men would soon be upon them and would show up again at any time, the Heroes ran through the passages, hoping to get as far away as possible. Neither of them fancied the thought of being locked up in the Spire, especially Sparrow. The thought of being behind bars again was terrifying.
'They are practically oozing out of the stonework,' Reaver commented as another wall in front of them was blasted in.
Once more the Heroes were able to eliminate the Spire soldiers without breaking a sweat. They continued along the passageway.
‘I’d love to find out how Lucien knew about these tunnels,’ Reaver said as they ran along.
‘Lucien studies history,’ Sparrow explained. ‘These passages might be in a history book or some –ARGH!’
A group of soldiers stood waiting for the two Heroes as they rounded a corner. As they rounded the corner, they began to shoot and one of the bullets got Sparrow in the shoulder.
‘You okay?’ Reaver asked as he shot the soldiers.
‘Yeah... I’ll be okay.’ Sparrow grimaced as he pulled out the bullet.
‘This is such an unfair fight!’ Reaver complained as he quickly jumped back behind the corner to avoid being shot in the head. ‘They’ve got men on the bridge up ahead, covering for the men heading towards us!’
‘We’re sitting ducks if we remain here,’ said Sparrow. ‘For all we know, Lucien might have men coming up behind us.’
’True, but what can we do. I might be good at dodging bullets and blocking them, but I cannot fire a gun at the same time, as well as block melee attacks,’ Reaver grumbled, sticking his hand around the corner and firing at random. He hit two soldiers.
‘Then, we’ll send some balverines out to meet them then,’ Sparrow said, with a strange gleam in his eyes.
‘And where are we to get balverines from?’
Reaver soon found out. While he had been talking, Sparrow had been drawing upon his Will and summoned some dead balverines, who immediately when and slaughtered the Spire soldiers.
‘Useful,’ Reaver said approvingly, as they hurried on. ‘Who taught you how to use dark magic?’
‘My master, Cornelius Grim. He is the head cultist of the Temple of Shadows.’
‘You are a Shadow Cultist, huh? Is that how you retained your youth? Do you give the Shadow’s lots of sacrifices and worship?’
‘I haven’t done any sacrifices in ten years, and I have never worshipped them… I don’t worship anyone, for that matter. No, some teenager read aloud from some book with her friends and she was taken to the Shadow Court. It was her youth and beauty that was sacrificed. As much as I needed your help, there was no way I was going to sacrifice my youth and beauty for you to keep yours.’
Reaver and Sparrow were now on top of a bridge, upon which held several dead soldier bodies. When they looked down, they saw that they had in fact had soldiers on their tail and were still chasing after them.
'Now this is what I call a fair fight,' Reaver laughed, as the soldiers began to drop like flies. After all, the Heroes did have the upper hand in position and skill.
‘We're nearly there,' Reaver said as they continued down the passage and came to a barred window, from which they could see the sea port. A ship was pulling in. 'Ah, there's my ship coming in now: the Reaver. I was going to call her the Narcissus, but there was already one in the registry. One day, you can tell your grandchildren of this day,' he continued as they walked down the rest of the passages. 'How you fought alongside of the legendary Reaver. How he missed no target ...'
‘I have to have children, before I have grandchildren, Reaver. And I’ll doubt I’ll ever have any,’ said Sparrow.
'Wait,' Reaver said quietly, flinging his arm out to stop Sparrow, before pointing up ahead at the soldiers waiting for them.
The guards had not yet seen them, so Reaver took out his gun and shot all of them, without breaking rhythm. Sparrow was highly impressed, but he guessed that Reaver had had a long time to perfect his shooting skills.
'You can tell them about that,' Reaver said casually, knocking modesty aside and clearly having not having listened to a word Sparrow said about having descendants. 'Not that they will believe you. Ah, here's the exit,' he added, leading the way out.