The adventure starts HERE!
Nym stood looking out over the dark water as the airship Envoy sailed through the night sky. The harsh, cold wind lashed against her face as the rain battered her skin in icy shards. Lightning flashed violently all around, the ship careening, struggling to stay airborne. The waves below seemed to reach for them with every angry crest, the thunder rolling like a violent and cruel laugh. Nym wrapped her arms around herself seeking comfort, but felt nothing. Amos was gone.
Nym’s mind was a mirror of the world around her, violent forces rocking internally until her only defense was to seek the chaos of the external world. Somehow, it made it hurt less to be exposed. It allowed her to shut down.
She realized that Amos was so much more to her than a friend and companion, he was her connection to anything that made sense. Somehow, she had forgotten herself; forgotten her life and her family. Perryn and Mike had given her ideas of who she might be, but she didn’t belong to any of them. Marcel? TriAnna? Lys? Somewhere a sister? Those names were like ideas of something that might be: ideas, not memories.
Amos was real. She remembered him at the jail and how she hated him. She remembered him at Ghostraven’s and how she distrusted him. She remembered him at the Archive and how she learned to understand him and she remembered him at the Mists and how she felt love for him. She knew what made him laugh and how he took his tea, what made him feel vulnerable and what gave him strength. Amos was real to her; more real than she had ever felt to herself. The idea frightened her.
Without him, she was alone, without even her own identity to strengthen her.
She looked down at the roiling water, and wondered what it would like to fall. She had fallen once, though she did not remember how it had happened. She wondered if perhaps she fell again…
“You need to get in, Ms.,” a warm hand touched Nym’s arm, bringing her out of her fugue. She felt a thick, woolen blanket drape over her shoulders as strong hands guided her into the passenger cabin. Ben Hammerton helped her to sit and, ensuring that she was bundled tightly in the blanket. fixed her a cup of tea.
“He’s okay, you know. Safer than any of us if you want to be fair about it,” Ben said, sitting next to Nym in the darkened cabin. The wind howled against the side of the airship, and everything moved out of kilter for a moment.
Nym looked at Ben in a daze, she had seldom witnessed the man without his jaunty hat. She could see him clearly now, his hair was thick and dark over a broad forehead and wide set gray eyes. His beard was neatly trimmed, his suit impeccable even through the storm. He was the portrait of absolute calm despite everything happening around them.
“How can you know that?” Nym asked, confused.
“I know because I put him into Mr. Carton’s car myself. Magruder’s folk did a fine job of trying to kill him, but all things said and done he won’t be more than a little sore come morning.” Ben gave Nym a reassuring smile.
“You… put him in a car?” Nym felt a rage building completely confused at how this man could sit next to her, offer her kindness, and also be the reason that Amos was gone.
“Yes. A car. Warm and dry and completely free of bullet holes, which makes him better off than the rest of us.” Ben took a moment to stir his tea, “Mr. Carton has nothing against your friend, Nym. Nothing against you. He’s gone out of his way to keep you safe from that pirate you’ve managed to upset. Carton is an old man chasing the ghost of his son, and he thinks Amos can help him find some peace with that before he dies.”
Nym sat looking at Ben Hammerton, utterly aghast.
He sighed. “Look,” he said, “Everybody here has a story and we’re all living it in our own time and from our own narrow point of view. Amos isn’t with you now because this,” Ben gestured to the room, “isn’t part of his story. Now I know you’re upset that your boyfriend isn’t where you decided he was supposed to be, but that’s life, sweetheart.”
Ben’s words were like a surgical knife. Nym felt an anger rising from a place deep and secret within her. She wanted to scream that she had no story, she wanted to claw at his flesh and make him understand that she was alone, that she needed Amos to make her real, to…define her.
Nym looked down into her tea cup, a tear rolling off her pale cheek into the warm amber pool swirling within it, and she understood. As much as she hated Ben Hammerton for the cold honesty of his words, she knew that they were an honest truth that she needed to hear.
She remembered how angry she had been with Amos when she thought that he had deceived her in his efforts to attain the Apport Sextant. She remembered what it felt like to be betrayed, and she tasted bile realizing that her feelings for Amos might, in their own way, be a sort of betrayal. Under her affection, which she knew to be real and true, was an expectation that he could replace her own self-understanding.
Amos deserved more. She deserved more.
Ben Hammerton gave Nym a smile and returned to the bridge, leaving her alone with her thoughts.
This part of the story is my own, Nym thought, this is the part where I define myself.
Nym started again out into the night sky. In the distance a flash of green lightning crawled along the clouds and in it’s brief illumination she saw the specter of another airship coming in behind them; a vessel she recognized as the Crow.