Chapter 7 - Never Knew Lonely

Viselys, having been patched together enough to be reasonably ambulatory, winced off towards the long, dark passage from which the echoes of sobbing could be heard. He furrowed his brow in slight annoyance that nobody else in the party had had the compassion to go and comfort Diamondback, but perhaps he was best suited to the job anyway. After all, what could ease her fears better than to see that he was fine?

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He found the girl sitting about twenty feet into the cavern, just far enough to be obscured by shadows. Nonetheless, he could see that she was sitting with her back to the wall with her legs pulled up against her chest, her arms clutching them there tightly as she rocked slightly. Her face was pressed to her knees, but this did little to stifle her sobs.

“Hey, Tara, look, I’m okay. Between Ornrik and Urol, I’m still among the living.”

Diamondback froze momentarily. Her face shot up to look at him, and he was surprised to see that her tears made black streaks down her cheeks. This indicated to him that she had been wearing eye makeup, though he realized that he hadn’t actually noticed previously. Nor had he ever noticed her applying makeup – not that he watched her in her morning routine. How odd that she should choose to adorn herself so while they tracked through the jungle and through subcorwynean passages, but then he never pretended to understand the affectations of women. Still, that did not prevent him from being a bit surprised when Diamondback started sobbing all the louder and turned away from him.

“Tara?! What’s wrong?” He moved closer and knelt next to her.

She didn’t look at him as she answered, “I thought you were dead!!” she responded in what would have been a scream save for the fact that her voice was so strained from crying.

“But I’m not. See? I’m just fine.” He tried to comfort her, and he put his hand on her shoulder.

This opened a whole new floodgate of emotions for the girl as she turned to him and wrapped her arms around his neck, nearly knocking him over, “But I thought you were. Oh, Viselys, what would I do if anything happened to you? I couldn’t… I wouldn’t want to…”

Viselys didn’t really understand what she was on about, but he patted her back and held her, “Okay, it’s okay. It’s alright now.”

She pushed herself back from him to look him in the eye, “No it’s not. Nothing’s ‘alright!’” She moved back to put some distance between them, “You don’t understand - Idae did, though - what it’s like to be all alone in the world. And yet, without understanding, you were still nice to me, and that meant so much more. I tried to kill you, but you not only forgave me, you put your reputation on the line by taking responsibility for me. And you’ve trusted me with your life so many times since then.” Her tone wasn’t one of simple explanation; it was a desperate effort to make him understand. Her voice was frantic, as though her life depended on the success of this communication, “No one else ever really cared. I never knew how lonely I was until you.” Then her voice did become a scream and it was impossible that the others in the throne room could not have heard, “I never loved someone like I love you!” Her own reaction made it seem like she was as shocked as he was by her words. Her jaw dropped and both her hands clapped over her mouth. Again she turned away from him and her sobs started afresh in gasps.

“Gods! I’ve been dying to tell you, and now that I have, I could just die! I know you don’t feel the same way about me. It’s Lavinia you love. I just… I had to tell you, because I almost lost the chance forever.”

Viselys moved towards her, but she stood up and turned around. She wiped her eyes, and took a deep breath. Viselys was about to speak, but she spoke before he could. “Well, I’m glad I got that off my chest.” She did sound resolute, and the sobbing had ceased. “Right, sorry. I’ve got a grip on it again. Let’s get back to business.” She walked past Viselys who was still on the floor in the cavern.

Continue to Chapter 8...

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