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 The Debt

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PostSubject: The Debt   Sat Mar 14, 2009 10:05 pm

Seamus, obviously irritated at the prospect of being in the Santa Catalina tavern full of Englishmen, poured a glass of wine. "Here," he said, handing the it to Chantilly, "drink it slow."

Chantilly stopped rubbing her temples for a moment and took the glass. "Merci," she mumbled. She took a half-hearted sip before setting it down on the table and letting out an exhausted sigh. It was too weak for a day like today, a terrible misadventure that had them running from Fortaleza with their tails between their legs. She'd tried to warn them it would end that way or worse, but Emile had insisted. His obsession with that damned sword is second only to the Umbra's, she depressingly noted.

No, the wine would not do. Chantilly pulled out her vial of laudanum, forgetting that she'd already finished it earlier, and sighed in disappointment. It would be a long night on top of the long day. She could feel it.

"You're dulling your blade with that..." Seamus chastised her, scowling at the vial. "Not to mention your wits."

"I'm losing my mind without it," Chantilly retorted.

Seamus shook his head and sighed, then looked over to the door, where Emile was just making his way out. "I see the good Vicomte is taking his leave. Unfortunate he's not going to stay and drink with us," Seamus commented.

Chantilly frowned. "He's probably displeased with me... that we didn't find the sword, and that the queen keeps following us about..."

"She does seem quite intent on what she wishes for you, whether you like it or not," Seamus said.

"She wants me to see a great many things her way, but I'm not like her. I don't want to be like her," Chantilly responded coolly.

"Doesn't mean she doesn't have useful advice," Seamus replied. Chantilly gave him a withering look. "I'm not saying to trust her - I mean, we both realize what she was," he added quickly.

"Even if she had something useful to say, how would you tell a truth from a lie with her?" Chantilly asked.

"I think you might be the only one who could," Seamus guessed.

Chantilly shook her head. "Her abilities are much too advanced. Besides, I barely know her much more than a stranger, despite the blood relation."

"Let me ask you this," Seamus postured. "How can you take Emile's word but not hers? Haven't both lied and betrayed you? Why is your forgiveness so limited in scope?"

"It's not a matter of forgiving the queen. Assuming she's not lying about it, she's been a part of the Umbra since my mother was alive. Her affiliation is lifelong. Much more than just a mistake. And Emile is... " Chantilly paused, running her finger along the lip of her wine glass as she pondered how to explain it.

"You don't have to finish answering that," Seamus said quickly.

Chantilly sighed. "It's not what you're thinking."

"I don't know your heart any more than I know your mind. I claim no insight." Seamus shrugged. "But he only lives because I wouldn't see you suffer any more on my account."

"You wouldn't really kill him, would you?" Chantilly wondered.

"Some prices can only be paid in blood. However, due to my debt to you, I swear I'll not harm him."

"So you only do any of this out of indebtedness. I suppose it's good to know where we stand," Chantilly said in an annoyed tone.

"I owe you a life. We'll only be square when I've given you one in return," Seamus responded. "It's the only reason I joined those robe-wearing Custodes bastards. Though deMontfort's life really isn't fit to repay you, so I'll not count his as anything other than a gift."

Chantilly knocked over her glass in irritation, sending the red wine spilling over the table. "If you're following me around just because I helped rescue you, forget the damn debt."

"Honor is real, and I've got mine to look after. If you want me to leave now, it'll take a broadside."

"She was right... I shouldn't have told you," Chantilly scowled, recalling a recent conversation with the queen.

Seamus shook his head. "I'm afraid I'll have to disagree with both of you then."

Chantilly snorted dismissively. "You would."

"Don't you see, Chantilly? I'm doing this so we can all have a future," Seamus argued.

"What future, Seamus? I'm a dead woman. I told you the prophecy. Sure, you and Emile get to live, if you don't kill each other I suppose, but not me," Chantilly retorted irritably.

"First you don't believe what you see, and now you think you're omniscient," Seamus sighed.

"Look at me, Seamus. Look." Chantilly ran her fingers through her lengthening, graying hair, drawing attention to it. "I'm dying in front of your damn eyes, but you deny it?"

"You know, you let the one sword you had slip through your fingers," Seamus mumbled, shaking his head sadly.

"What are you talking about?"

"The one thing that kept us alive all this time, you know? Hope. We still had hope. If you're so damn upset with your lot, then fight it, dammit!" Seamus replied angrily. "When I was in a stinking cell in Jamaica I had given up and was ready to die, but did I dance the Tyburn jig? No, and why was because those who still had hope didn't leave me behind. Just like I won't leave you."

"My hope is dead," Chantilly snapped. "The Umbra killed him to try and pry that stupid sword vision out of my head. So I don't want any part of any fight. All I want is for the visions to go away. So they don't take anyone else I care about away from me. I'm not risking anyone else to keep me alive. I'm done."

Seamus sat speechless for a moment before he finally spoke. "We all made a choice then. We knew there could be a price."

"When did I get to make my choice, Seamus? I have the visions. I didn't ask for this."

"If I could take that away, I would, mo chera," Seamus said quietly.

"But you can't. And so I'm finally going to get the choice I've been denied. No one else gets to suffer because of me."

"If it's hell you intend to visit, expect an escort!" Seamus yelled, slamming his fist into the table and rising to his feet. "You'll likely hate me for this... but what would Marcus say if he saw you now? Would he tell you to live or die?"

"It doesn't matter what he'd say. He's gone. And it's my fault."

"No! It's the fault of the one who held the blade."

"A blade he never would have met if not for me!"

"Do you really think he'd have traded a million days of peace for the time he spent with you?" Seamus insisted.

"How dare you," Chantilly growled. "Bringing his memory into it. I can't believe you're talking to me like this. This isn't your choice, so you'd better get used to it."

"You're right. It isn't. But I won't sit idly by while you will yourself to fade away." Seamus sighed in frustration. "Even if there was no fight to be had, you'd still be looking for your death."

Chantilly looked away. "You're an idiot," she muttered.

"And you're baffled by laudanum, so I guess we're both fools." Seamus' voice broke a little. "So you'll not try to live then, and I've no choice but to watch you go."

"Yeah."

Seamus turned for the door. "I'll see you again, mo chera," he said in a soft yet firm voice, then exited the tavern, leaving Chantilly to her grief.
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