|The Fable Continues|
''I wrote this for my Creative Writing A-Level. I couldn't think of anything to write about so I wrote about Ben Finn. I changed some of the details around exactly what happened in the game because.. storylines. It's set in a kind of Albion meets New Jersey place, because I love Frank Iero. Don't judge me for this, I just wanted to put it into the world.''
---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Ben Finn had been through the wars. Literally. He had fought in the Revolution; he had seen his comrade, mentor and father figure die, he had been branded as a traitor, he had been forced to fight for his nation, and now.. he was lost, alone, and most of all, bored. He didn’t want to fight for his country anymore, as much as those had been the best days of his life. He didn’t want to see anymore of his friends, family, or anyone, dead, at the hands of war.
Wood’s Landing. A ghost town. Or, at least, it felt like that. People were hiding, scared of each other. All sense of community was lost during the war. Nobody around these parts were in favour of independence.. they were all loyal to the crown. After Major Swift had been hung, handlebar mustache and all, and buried at the back of the Inn they had renamed in his honour, Ben had no longer felt the allegiance to the Albion. There was no point sporting that particular loyalty, when all he would have got was “WANTED” posters and death warrants.
Ben found himself at the Old Spyre Inn, yet again. It wasn’t the drink that brought him there - although that was a damn good medicine - it was the memories. The good and the bad. He could only re-live them here, as all his old friends had already gone away. As they would, they had nothing to keep them in that dustbowl. A prince, a butler, a slave of the military and a rebel leader. Ben laughed, as he always did, at the thought of Page. She had been his rock, during the war, but they all knew it would never last. Rebels and the military.. they would never mix.
Ben smiled, to himself, and finished off his beer. He’d been drinking way too much, as of late, and it was starting to worry him. But it numbed the pain he felt. He felt it almost constantly. The feeling of loss, the feeling of everything being not-quite-right. The revolution had swept over the kingdom like the final gust of wind that blows all the dead leaves off the trees. All that was left were the bare bones of a society, exposed and weak. Ben watched them closely, all the drunken, sad, lonely, hopeless, lost people. He feels both a connection and a separation from them.
“Ay, Johnny?” Ben watched the drunken old men fall over one another. It was strange to imagine these people fought, tooth and nail, for their freedom, just to waste it on alcohol and gambling. But Ben kept his opinions to himself. “Did ya hear the current myth? ‘Bout ol’ Swifty’s treasure? They say the old spy ‘ad some secrets.”
Ben’s attention was piqued. He listened harder, now, as he knew everything he thought there was to know about the Major’s life. He hailed the barmaid, Maria, who was over on the other side of the inn. He needed another beer to deal with this situation. He inched his uncomfortable chair closer to the table that the old men were sitting at, with their slovenly behaviour and beer-stained white shirts. They were exactly the kind of men who would run the rumour mill.
“No, Billy, I ain’t heard nothin’. Nobody tells me anything these days. ‘Think I’m a traitor.” Ben laughed under his breath. They had said he was a traitor too. They were all traitors, in the eyes of the revolutionaries. “Ol’ man Swift was a good fella. But I imagine he would ov’ ‘ad to keep some secrets. Allegiance to the flag, an’ all that.”
“They say…” Billy paused to formulate the right amount of tension, aware that the entire inn was hanging on to his words. He was indulging in his moment in the spotlight. He dropped his tone to a stage-whisper and Ben squinted his eyes, as if that would help his other senses. “That Swifty had an ol’ relic, some kinda fam’ly ‘eirloom or somat..” The whole room seemed to holding its collective breath, even the birds outside didn’t dare to make a sound. “An’ he ‘id it. somewhere down near the Raritan.. somewhere near the sewers.. but!” Feeling that he was losing his audience, Billy suddenly erupted with sound. “rumour ‘as it! This af’rmentioned relic.. is magic!”
His attempts were futile. Attention had moved on. Nobody believed in magic, after the horrors they had seen, so nobody cared about a so-called ‘magic’ relic some dead traitor owned. But Ben couldn’t get it off his mind. Major Swift, his friend, his brother, his comrade, the great leader with the fantastic mustache? Keeping secrets wasn’t his style. He was more of the type to blurt out secrets without realising and big-mouthing his way out of it. Until he couldn’t anymore..
“Billy, my lad!” Ben approached the drunken mess at the table next to him, trying not to flinch from the smell. “What is happening with you, man?” He had never met this person before, but he was drunk enough and sad enough to risk embarrassment for the protection of his mentor’s last secret. “So, what about this relic, huh? What’s that about?”
*change of scene, lapse in time*
That is how Ben Finn found himself wandering drunkenly down the side of the ugly, putrid Raritan River.. although it was less like a river and more like a dumping site. The police were always finding dead bodies in there, and there were always charity campaigns for the king to clean it up. The smell was enough to make anyone want to throw up, but Ben was far too determined to worry with things like his senses. He was focused on the information the frankly sketchy man at the Inn had given him.
He followed the instructions meticulously, taking every step with the exact same enthusiasm Billy at the Inn had told him. He travelled further and further in the darkness, wincing at the far off sarcastic comments of the gnomes, hidden in the nearby park.
“Are you lost? Can we help you starve and die?” One of them laughed. "You should go somewhere nice and peaceful. Like a cemetery!" Ben tried to ignore them. He let the sounds wash over him, as he climbed through the foliage. The further he got away, the quieter the insults sounded. "I'd like to get to know someone like you... and then drown them." It started to sound like they weren’t even aimed at him, but just a competition for the worst insult.
Ben felt a certain sense of security, under the watchful eye of the moon and the stars. They seemed to be guiding him, not in the way in which you would expect to find the son of God, but he felt they wouldn’t allow him to get lost. Of course, he was so blindingly intoxicated, he had no idea what was happening, he could fall into the freezing canal for all cared. He just had to find out about Swift’s last secret.
That’s when he fell onto it. Or, more accurately, he tripped over it. A shiny metallic box, half buried in the grass hillside next to the river. It couldn’t have been more beautiful. Ben reached down, dazed, and retrieved it from it’s resting place. He hadn’t really believed the guy, the Inn guy, when he had uttered the word “magic”. But Ben couldn’t deny with the light and the feeling he got when he held it in his hands… that he had no idea what it did. He turned it over in his hands, looking at every individual part of it. What, exactly, was magical about it?
This was it! The only remaining piece of Major Swift. The only link between Ben and his comrade. Well, Ben could always grow the handlebar mustache and pretend it was as good, but this, this piece of junk, was the last secret that the Major would ever give him. And it.. it was useless! A useless, shiny, piece of junk.
Ben felt the tears prick at the back of his eyes. Why would he do this to him? Ben had been willing to die at war under his command. Ben had watched him die, hung from the tree in front castle and he watched the life slip from his eyes. And this is how he repays him? Ben wasn’t having it. His eyes dampened as he held the cold hexagonal box in his shaking hands and walked to the river.
Images flashed through his mind as he held the lightweight box over the flowing sludge. A young, blond, sprightly Ben Finn, fresh faced and eager eyed, joining the army. Major Swift, with his ‘tasche and gun, looking dapper. Page, with the adorable smile she did after his “I don’t trust the military” line. Then, the images weren’t so pleasant. Major Swift, being tortured. The same day, minutes later, his body hanging limp. Page waving goodbye from the back of her ship. The sight of the sparkling piece of junk that he now held in his hands. And he let go. He let go of all the memories. Of the war, of his friends, of his lover. He let go of the good times, and the bad times and the present. He watched them all drop in the river, and drown on impact. Once they reached the Raritan, they were irretrievable. He turned around, then, and slowly wandered back in the direction of the Inn, to tell everyone that the rumours were wrong, and there was nothing remarkable, or the slightest bit magical about Major Swift.