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 Midnight Oil

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PostSubject: Midnight Oil   Fri Mar 27, 2009 8:25 am

Another late night, another low candle. Another ink-horn, bled dry. Still he scratched pen to parchment, pouring his passions and fears to the cold paper.

It was all he had.

All he had but his own company. Wild passions. A thirst for paradise. Yearning for freedom, striving for a cause that was ultimately destined to fail. Perhaps he knew this; were you to ask him why he continued his fight, he wouldn’t give you a solid answer. But he knew.

“These are the times which try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in times of strife…”

He envied her, and he envied Marcus. Love, affection, devotion – such alien concepts to him, foreign words. He had lived without them for more than five years, he had sworn off them in the name of a higher cause. And he wanted them now, more than ever.

Save love for the heroic and the strong. His was a different path, and a separate calling. His was a different passion. He could live no other way; he could die no other way. But nevertheless…there were times he wished for a panacea. A relief. To drown in the bottle, or sink into someone’s arms.

His gaze flickered across the dimly-lit, cluttered chamber, falling on his narrow bed.

Empty. Who did he think he was?

“…in times of strife, abandon…”

A soft knock came at the chamber door, a gently repeated tapping that echoed through the room. Reynaud continued to write, not pausing to look over his shoulder. He spoke, and his voice carried a quiet weariness, perpetuated by a tone of dry amusement.

“If you’re a thief, I’ve got nothing for you to steal. If you’re a royalist looking for a fight, I suggest you do something more befitting of your station. If you’re looking for Madame Red, she’s three doors to my left. If you’re here to see me, come back tomorrow. I’m busy.”

There was a loud splintering as the door was forced open, swinging inward at the hinges. A tall, muscled figure stood on the threshold, face obscured in shadow. Reynaud smiled softly.

“It’s nice to know I’ve offended the right kind of people.”

A single gunshot split the night, echoing over the silent wharves and the gloomy forest of masts and rigging. The harbor fell immediately silent. Reynaud sighed, letting his pistol rest on the cluttered writing desk. Shaking his head, he hoisted the limp attacker over his shoulder and dragged him to the corridor, propping him against the wall. It would be gone by morning; the landlady knew her tenants quite well.

“…abandon principle in the name of comfort. But he who stands by his beliefs, in the face of death, deserves the love and praise of all free-thinking men and women…"
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