|Chapter One: Sophie|
|Series||Fable Forever by Vampireninjabunnies|
|Previous||Prologue: The Sacrifice|
|Next||Chapter Two: Lessons|
|← Prologue: The Sacrifice||Chapter Chronology||Chapter Two: Lessons →|
300 Years Later
Reaver sits in front of the fireplace in his study; stretching out his long legs more comfortably. He sips wine from an ornate glass chalice as he stares out onto the bright morning rays glistening on the crystalline waters of Bower Lake. How long would these nightmares haunt him? How often in his life would his thoughts return to Oakvale, to that night; to her? He stood; walking to the window. The smell of the lilander flowers in his garden wafting through the open window. The delicate scent taunted him; chastised him, forcing him to remember things best left forgotten. Ah, if only he could forget. Forget everything and just be Reaver. Just be the mask he had created long ago. But that mask was faltering; and he was so weary of life. Maybe I should have one of the servants burn the lilanders and be rid of them forever. The thought passed quickly as though it had never been.
Suddenly he was torn out of his reverie by a familiar voice. “You’re losing your touch old man.” He turned to the source smiling. Devon was such a welcome presence in his life. “It used to be I’d have a gun in my face by now.” Devon laughed his grey eyes sparkling with youth. True youth; a youth Reaver had not possessed in such a long time. “What brings you here to my humble abode Devon?” he asked. After all he had not seen Devon in such a long time. “Not bored are you?” Devon laughed lounging lazily behind Reaver’s desk. “There is far too much to do in the world to ever be bored.” “Well, we’ll see how you feel in a century or so.” Reaver sighed; placing his empty glass on the shelf beside him. His butler walked in looking rather nervous as he spoke to his master. “Master Reaver.” “Yes what is it James.” “Well it seems…well that is…” “What! Spit it out already!” Reaver shouted quickly losing his patience with the sputtering simpleton. “The workers have called up a strike at the recycling plant. They say they won’t work until they get a raise.”
Reaver pulled his gun out of its holster and fired. The man fell to the floor in an ungraceful heap; dead. Reaver’s nose wrinkled in disgust, how frail mortals were. So easily killed. He rang the servant’s bell. Two pretty little maids hurried in “Clean this up.” He ordered; waving his hand flippantly as the maids hurried with their task. “Have you ever heard the saying don’t shoot the messenger?” Devon asked unfazed by the incident. Reaver left the room stepping over the body as he did so; Devon close behind. “So where are we headed?” he asked as Reaver grabbed his hat and cane; opening the front door.
Reaver turned to his friend. “We? We are going nowhere. I have errands to run before going to the castle to see the king. You are staying here.” “As if I’m staying here. I came for a visit and you would be a very poor host if you just left me by myself all day.” Devon said as the carriage pulled up to the stoop. “I’m sure you could find some way to entertain yourself.” Devon looked back at one of the pretty maids as she walked past “Oh, I’m sure I could. But there is always time for that later. I want to see what you’ve been up to since my last visit.” Devon crawled into the carriage beside Reaver grinning stubbornly. “Fine.”
Devon found out quickly that the day-to-day life of his friend had become quite dull over the last twenty years. He also noticed that behind the eternally youthful face Reaver looked haggard and weary. It worried him. He had always known Reaver to have a certain zest for life; that seemed to be gone now. It made him seem almost…old. Reaver dealt with the strike quickly; telling the workers that if they didn’t get back to work immediately they could all go find work elsewhere. Apparently jobs were few and far between; so they went back to work. Nothing of much interest really happened at all. “Why are you doing this?” “Why am I doing what?” Reaver asked; looking over some seemingly important paperwork. “The whole business tycoon thing?” Reaver looked up from his papers. “You can’t possibly need the money.” “Piracy grew dull. I needed something else to occupy my time.” Reaver said blandly; his eyes returning to the work before him.
Devon stared at his friend; wondering. Was this going to happen to him as well? In three hundred years would he lose his zest for life? He never fully understood Reaver. Reaver had always felt a certain but well-hidden guilt about his immortality. Devon had never felt any guilt at all. After all, he didn’t want to die. Personally he thought it was a pretty fair trade. He had asked Reaver about his dealings with the Shadow Court once. Reaver shot him in the leg. He never brought it up again. But still, he didn’t like the change in Reaver. It was unbecoming and a little frightening.
Devon was forced out of his reverie as Reaver stood. “I have to go to the shipyard to oversee some shipments. Stay here.” Reaver looked at the dejected expression spreading over Devon fiery features. A thought struck and he smiled. “Or rather, why don’t you go visit the tavern in Bowerstone Market? I’m sure you’ll be able to find something of interest there.” Of course Devon would find something to entertain him; if only briefly. Probably some pretty tavern wench; and of course she’d be more than willing. Devon reminded Reaver of himself in that regard. He was handsome and vain; cringing at the very thought of cutting his fiery red locks. Devon perked up immediately, “Good plan old friend, but why not join me?” Reaver sighed “Just go Devon; I’m too busy for your games.”
Devon looked appalled. Too busy for his games. But Reaver was the one who had taught him to play these games in the first place. Devon knew one thing though; once his friend had made up his mind that was it. There would be little chance of changing it. “Alright.” He conceded. “But you have to take me to the castle with you later.” “Excuse me.” Reaver questioned; cocking an eyebrow. “Well, the last time I came to Bowerstone the king was your old friend Sparrow. I want to meet the new king. Logan isn’t it.” “It isn’t. He was overthrown by his brother Roren.”
“Oh, a coup de tat. You didn’t have anything to do with that, did you?” “Actually, I didn’t. Now go. Be off with you. Chop chop.” Reaver watched as Devon left; a soft sigh of relief escaping his lips. Oh how he did adore Devon so. But the child could still be such a bother sometimes. He often wished Devon would visit him more often. Immortality is so much more bearable when one has company. He had thought of Sparrow often since his youngest son had taken the throne seven years ago. Sparrow had been a dear friend; and Reaver did not think so of many. Reaver sighed once more; leaving his office and headed for the shipyards.
The king sat in the war room; overseeing the various demands within the kingdom. He smiled as his daughter Sophie ran about the room; pretending to be…well who really ever knew with Sophie. She briefly stopped her game to smile at him. Her dark curls falling out of the braids that kept them at bay. He watched as she ran out of the room to go terrorize the staff; her dress not at all flattered by the toy gun tied to her waist. Where on earth did she find all that energy? He often grew exhausted just watching her. Perhaps he was just getting old.
“Your Majesty.” The king broke away from his thoughts and turned to Jasper. “Yes Jasper.” “Reaver and Page are here to see you. Apparently that cad has some proposal of what to do about Bowerstone’s overfilled prisons.” The king laughed. Of course he did. No matter what problem Albion was faced with; there was Reaver. With some morally ambiguous solution. “Tell them I’ll be there shortly. And ask them if they could please try to maintain a certain level of civility until I arrive.” “Yes of course your majesty.” Jasper bowed before leaving the war room. The king sighed; his head already aching. As strange as it was; he considered Reaver to be as dear a friend as Page. Albeit a rather irritating friend; but still. He hated listening to the two of them argue. He left the war room and headed toward the throne room; not at all looking forward to the task at hand.
“Your majesty…” Reaver said flamboyantly. Devon tried not to laugh at his friend. After all, that would be rude. With all of Albion’s nobility here watching. But still…it was pretty funny; at least to him. And at least here Reaver seemed a bit more like himself. “The prisons of Albion are overflowing. With resources.” Reaver all but cooed; in a sickeningly sing song voice. “Why should the people of Albion pay for their care when they can pay for it themselves? Through labour. Have them work in the hobbe infested mines of Albion. They’ll earn their keep and fill the treasury at the same time.” “That’s just monstrous your majesty.” Page cried out. “These people need to be rehabilitated; not enslaved. Improve the living conditions in the prisons. Better food and a source of education for the prisoners. So that when they are freed they have the tools to make better lives for themselves.” Reaver looked at Page mockingly “But why risk the lives of good people who have done no wrong; when we have perfectly good useless cretins by the dozens sitting in Albion’s prisons.” “You selfish vain monstrous pig!” “I have been called worse; and by far better people than you my sweet.” Reaver retorted; smiling.
“Enough.” They both looked up at the king; who was now standing. “We shall follow through with Page’s plan…” The king stopped mid sentence; as he stared at his fleeing daughter. Reaver and Page turned. Princess Sophie was running through the halls; Reaver’s hat clutched in her small fingers.
Laughter echoes through the castle halls; followed by the frantic running of servants and guards. The soft clacking of a cane on marble floors ringing in the air. Sophie runs through Devon’s legs as he flirts with one of the maids. “What the…” He stares after her; laughing. As Sophie evades the capture of several guards she slams into something. She looks up to see a tall man staring down at her. His sapphire eyes reflecting the light that filters in through the stained window panes. He helps her up gently; and takes the hat from her. “One should not take things that don’t belong to them young princess.” he scolded. Sophie looked at him perplexed. “But I’m the Princess. Everything belongs to me.”
Reaver chuckled; placing his hat firmly on his head and turned to the king. “Good day your majesty.” As he walked toward Devon; who was still rather engrossed in his new lady friend; Sophie pulled out her small toy gun and fired it. The cork hit him squarely in the back of the head; a deadly shot had the gun been real. “Sophie!” The king yelled. Everyone knew Reaver’s temper and the king didn’t really want to fight him. Reaver turned to face the princess; smiling.
He strode over and knelt before the small girl. Her icy blue eyes filled with defiance. He placed his hat upon her head; still smiling and tapped it twice as he stood. “Keep it.” The king looked at Reaver questioningly. Reaver was not known for even small gestures of generosity. Reaver simply smiled at his king. “She reminds me of someone I knew a long time ago. Again I bid you good day your majesty.” He leaves the castle, Devon close behind. “I think it was me.” He muses to himself before climbing into his carriage behind Devon.