By Paul Smith.
Time out from the World (Path 28)
Copyright 2016 Paul Smith
This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to people, places or events is purely coincidental, and bears no malicious intent.
For more information on my work, and to keep up to date with new releases please follow me on Twitter @tattooloverboi or check out one of my galleries:
Shakespir: [+ http://www.Shakespir.com/profile/view/starofthemorning+]
‘Man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.’
To Walk the Path is the final instalment in my cyber-fantasy series The Star Plague Journals. Anyone who enjoys this chapter and wants to keep up to date on future releases (or who fancies trying some of my other work) should check out my galleries on Shakespir or DeviantART:
“The ‘Circle of Virgin Thorns’…? It sounds like dodgy porn if you ask me.”
Timo stuck his tongue out. “Good job I didn’t then.”
“Least you got us in there somewhere.”
“Could hardly miss you out, after all you’ve done for me.”
Ikari smiled, gazing away at the ring where it bisected the night sky overhead.
“Now…” Timo leant in the squeeze his arm. “No getting maudlin, you promised!”
“I know…” The Nym shook his head, smile sad. Timo reached up to rescue the tear on his cheek, kissed him softly. The Nym’s skin was cool and salty, a fact not entirely down to the tears: the Run had hit some rough weather on the way out of Mestrarl. Summer storms were particularly bad this year according to Enrico.
Yet tonight the sky was clear as a bell, the ring and the stars behind it painting the heavens with all their beauty.
Ikari pushed away from the rail to rummage in his pockets. He came up with a pair of lollipops, offering one to Timo. He accepted, felt a wolf’s tail wagging somewhere and smiled. There would be no need for the wolf’s talents tonight but it seemed unfair to exclude him.
“Are you happy though?” the Nym asked.
Timo nodded, grinning. “Montego Beach is just beautiful. And the ruins… well, you saw them.”
“I did indeed.” The Nym chuckled. “You do realise you’re not supposed to take the whole ‘green fingered’ metaphor so seriously, don’t you?”
Timo laughed. “I know. But those pillars…! And the oasis at the centre of the old Sacristy. Just crying out for some colour.”
Ikari nodded. “You’ve done a sterling job.”
“Contact off the… Well…” Burman seemed to struggle for a moment “…Captain, it’s overhead!”
And indeed it was. Timo joined everyone else aboard to watch the arrival of their mysterious visitor. The vessel descended gracefully from the sky overhead, balanced perfectly on its nose (so he presumed), tail in the air. It looked like a stylised dolphin, lines of phosphorescent lights sweeping back from its prow along the hull’s gentle curves. The tail was fluke-less, coming to a neat point, the dorsal and mid fins mere suggestions rather than protrusions. And it was vast. It was only as it drew closer that he truly began to appreciate the scale involved. The ship’s main body could easily have swallowed Kharpal’s infamous Bee Houses. All three of them…
Timo glance at the crow’s nest, where a worried looking Burman was pointing out at the surrounding ocean, which had become oddly flat beneath the vessel above.
Boto swarmed the waters, their chattering song and grinning snouts raised to the sky. Timo looked out over the massed throng of leaping, dancing bodies in wonder. There must be thousands of them…
“Don’t panic,” Ikari called. “They’re just here to welcome their cousins to shore.”
“But we’re at sea…?” Burman called back, but the Nym’s attention was already elsewhere.
Overhead, the ship let out the most almighty drone Timo had ever heard. About them the dolphins went beserk, leaping and back flipping as they cried out their response. This continued for a few moments before ship issued another utterance, and abruptly there was silence.
“That’s my ride then.”
Timo nodded. He too had felt the ship’s questing ping, and a moment later a beam of light illuminated a spot on the deck. They advanced towards it, Timo acutely aware of the avid eyes, both human and cetacean, following their progress. “Are you sure you have to do this?” he asked, one final time.
Ikari shrugged. “Got to go and meet the coming storm. Seek forgiveness for the part my people played in what was done.”
As they reached the spot, Ikari turned, squeezing his shoulders one final time. “Take care kiddo. Write to me, you hear?”
Timo nodded, swallowing to dislodge the lump in his throat. “I will. You take care too. No heroics! Remember…?”
“I do.” Ikari swallowed. “Well, guess its time to go paddling.” And he stepped into the beam, feet lifting slowly from the deck as he was draw upwards towards the waiting vessel overhead.
“Inan has the answers you’ll need if this goes wrong…” he called down “…Promise me you’ll go?”
“I promise!” Timo called back.
Then ship ship overhead was moving. It’s ascent was slow at first, waiting on it’s passenger. But as Ikari vanished into a misty section of hull beneath the nose it picked up speed. A final cry was answered by the assembled dolphins before they too scattered, cavorting away across the oceans surface as the ship overhead slide steadily out of sight.
Timo was left standing alone on the deck of the Run beneath the night sky, gazing up at the stars with a smile playing on his lips.
The League’s war on the Orphan’s draws to a close as Galairel and his allies attempt to liberate the Congregate from Ariana and her lackeys. ‘The Star Plague Journals’ draw to a close in these, the final chapters of the series. Come watch as we fan the flames. 'Time out from the World' is the twenty eighth and final chapter of 'To Walk the Path'. It is the cherry on the icing atop the many layered cake that has been the 'Star Plague Journals'. I hope you have enjoyed.