|Confessions by Candlelight
Author: The Visionary PM
Gol is defeated and the world is saved, but what of the young warrior responsible for it, what price will he pay for the battles he has fought and what effect will it have on the one he cares for most? JK Set the after first game, revised for 2nd gameRated: Fiction T - English - Romance - Words: 4,365 - Reviews: 43 - Favs: 15 - Follows: 2 - Published: 04-02-03 - id: 1292484
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A.N. Greetings once more readers. Some of you may have read this work before and if you have I thank you for your time, I have endeavoured to improve this story enough to make it worth a second read or more enjoyable for those of you who are reading for the first time. Please, enjoy.
Confessions by Candlelight
The four of them stared in wonder at the wall of white eco before them, the pulsing warmth of its glow flooding the top of the tower with light, washing over each of them as they stood, each entranced in their own way by the site. Keira reached out a hand as a giggle of childish glee bubbled up inside her, a profound joy filling her in the presence of such glorious energy. A tiny wisp of white energy was caught like a snowflake on the breeze and spiralled playfully toward her, melting against her palm as she tried to catch it. A tingle spread up her arm from the contact and she smiled at the sense of euphoria that the touch of the pure life energy gifted to her. It was… beautiful. Where the dark eco seemed to suck the energy from her by its mere presence this invigorated her, the sound of its flow seeming like a child's laughter as it whispered in her ears.
She reached out a hand to grasp Jak's arm beside her, wanting to share his warmth, share the triumph with him now that their ordeal was finally over. But where her questing hand should have found his muscled arm she felt nothing, her eyes tearing away from the sight in front of her as she turned, why would he have moved from her side? Then her eyes found him and a scream of fear tore from her lips at the sight that greeted her. Jak, usually so assured and smooth in his movements lay sprawled upon the ground behind them, his entire body in spasm, his limbs twitching as his fingers clawed at the precursor metal beneath them. Even as her scream cut through the night his eyes rolled back into his head as his mouth opened, his body trying to scream in pain but no sound beyond a strangled gasp emerging as his face contorted into a grimace of agony.
Samos span at her cry, his eyes widening as he saw Jak upon the ground, Daxter diving from his shoulder to land upon the chest of his friend, calling his name desperately as he continued to tremble upon the floor of the tower roof. Keira fell to her knees at his side, gripping his shoulders desperately as she tried to pin him to the floor and halt his dreadful writhing. She leant over him, desperately calling his name as fear blossomed inside her, she could not loose him. Not now, not after everything that had happened, not when she was finally free to pour her heart out to him. Samos knelt next to him, his eyes narrowing as he scanned the boy briefly, a hand waving across his chest as green eco shimmered into being around his hand.
Keira looked up at him, her tears falling to trace red trails down her cheeks as he went limp in her grasp, the pounding of his heart beneath her palm wavering to an unsteady, weak tempo. Desperation edged her voice, 'Father, what's wrong with him? Do something Father, help him, use your eco.'
He looked at her with concern in his eyes as Jak's fingers scrabbled impotently at the metal, the strength in his body failing but his face remaining the same, silent screams gasping from his throat. 'I… I can't'
Daxter leapt from Jak's belly to Samos' chest, gripping his collar as panic hightened his voice, 'Can't? Whaddya mean can't. Cummon Big Green you're the magic man, use your eco.'
Samos knocked the ottsel aside before turning back to Jak, looking at his daughter with sympathy, her father all to aware of the feelings Keira had developed for the young fighter as he strove to protect Sandover. 'If I use my eco to try and heal him it will only make things worse. I've seen this before, once… it's called eco poisoning. Jak's been using eco so much… been giving so much of himself to control the forces he's wielded that his body can no longer stand being without the power of eco flowing through it. Because of his tremendous ability with it his body has absorbed so much eco over the past few weeks that its become like a drug. The white eco must have been the last straw, his body… his body just can't take anymore, his natural eco flow are so disrupted that he just can't function. I… I feared this may happen.'
Keira turned her eyes to her father with shock and anger shining behind her tears as Jak finally fell completely limp in her arms, what little strength he had had left after the battle drained by the poisoning of his body. 'You… you knew this would happen?' Her voice was an accusation, fury in its tone as she clasped Jak close to her as though to protect him from Samos' influence. 'How… how could you let him continue if you knew that this would happen? How could you father?'
Samos seemed stung by the venom in her words, an unfamiliar look of shame crossing his face as he spoke, unable to bring himself to meet her gaze, 'Keira, please understand… I had no choice. If I had stopped Jak from doing all that he has done then the world would have been doomed. I had no choice.'
Keira stared up at him with bewilderment and hurt, her world suddenly on its head as what should have been a celebration became a time of desperate fear. 'What… what can we do? When's he going to get better?' The anger was gone now, replaced by grief, her emotions spinning from one extreme to another as she looked down at the man in her arms, his shirt already stained by her tears.
Samos sighed, 'I… I'm afraid that there's not a lot we can do. It's a bad case. All we can do is take him back to Sandover and make him as comfortable as possible. It… it could take months before he gets better… if ever.' He said the last in a quite tone and Keira let out a horrified gasp, her grip on Jak tightening as Daxter's eyes shot open.
'You mean he could die from this?' Whirling he pounded on Jak's chest, hysteria creeping into his voice as he called to his friend, desperately seeking some response. 'Jak! Jak man, don't die on me! Don't you dare die on me Jak!'
Samos seized the ottsel and dragged him aside once more, gesturing with his staff back toward the main tower that contained the portal gate that could carry them back to Sandover. His voice rose as he took over, the authority he was used to wielding as a sage allowing him to take charge. 'That will do nothing but delay us Daxter. Now please, calm down and let us get Jak back to his hut. The sooner he is abed the better.'
Keira refused Samos' help as she wordlessly lifted Jak in her arms, his muscular frame heavier than she had expected but not a burden she would let go of. He had given his all to protect her, to protect everything. She would not leave his side until he was able to receive her gratitude. As the lift hummed into life and began to carry them downward the words were a silent oath as she stared into his face, features twitching in his comatose slumber. She would stay by his side, no matter how long it took.
Samos paused as he passed the small hut that held Jak, his body still refusing to wake from his unnatural slumber. He sighed as he glimpsed the inside of Jak's room and spotted the solitary figure who was tireless in her care of him. Keira was still there, by his side. Of course she was. She had been there since Jak had been lain out upon his old bed in Sandover, refusing to leave his side until he recovered from the coma he had fallen into as his body gradually purged the remnants of eco poisoning from his system. A sense of grief hung over the entire village with Jak's condition, his silent confidence and willingness to aid those who needed his strength sorely missed by all for more than the help he had given. Samos was even beginning to miss the sound of Daxter's constant chatter, the ottsel almost eerily silent as he waited in vain for any change in Jak's condition.
But it was Keira's reaction that grieved him the most. His daughter, usually so bright eyed and energetically inventive seemed almost dead inside now that Jak was no longer with her, her eyes lacking the lustre that they had always borne since her childhood. It was true that the two had never truly begun any romantic relationship but Samos knew, had known for a long time, the spark had been there. Stolen glances as they spoke, soft brushes of hands or touches that had lasted a moment longer than necessary. They had been in love for so long but had been cautious, tentative in their exploration of their feelings for each other. That was probably what made it so painful for her, the man she loved was at death's door and she had never told him of the feelings that she harboured for him in her heart, never been able to share the feeling that he held for her.
Sniffing back a tear Samos hurried on, Keira did not like being disturbed while she worked. Her worktop had become a desk in Jak's room now littered with bits of ecotronics and tools as she brought her work to his hut so that she need never leave him. Her days were spent entirely in that small hut, her work half-hearted as she tinkered with old inventions, only giving her full attention to him, even what little she ate was taken from what the villagers brought to her.
Inside the hut Keira brooded over an out-dated machine, dry-eyed but seeming as though she had spent much of her time crying. In truth she had only stopped because she had run out of tears, puffy red circles around her eyes proof of her grief, the sounds of weeping a nightly accompaniment to the creatures of the night. She was the only one that was ever here any more. Even Daxter's presence had dwindled to a single visit per day as time wore on and the days stretched into weeks and then months, next week would signal the start of the fifth. But she had sworn to stay by his side and she would, even if it took five years for him to recover, she would not abandon him.
She paused, dropping her tools with a sigh as she turned to watch him. He was so handsome, even as he slept. She could still remember watching with baited breath each time he went off to fight his way forward, watching as he fought against Gol and Meia's creation, wishing with all her heart that she could be by his side. In truth he had captured her heart long before then her teenage dreams filled with thoughts of the young man. The strong but silent type grew on a girl, particularly when he was the tall, handsome, strong, silent type. He had come to Sandover as a teenager, eleven years old, alone with only a cloak and the clothes on his back to his name.
Samos had taken him under his wing without hesitation, the man who had become his uncle adopting him for the purposes of custom and for the past six years he had lived as a Sandover villager. Many had suspected that the speed with which Samos had taken the youngster into his tutelage told of some shared history but her father had always been unwilling to tell of the boy's past and Jak unable to thanks to whatever had robbed him of his voice. She sighed again as she leant on the desk, watching him silently as she had spent endless hours doing since his coma had begun.
'Who are you Jak?' She asked the sleeping form. 'I want to learn who you are, I want to be able to understand what it is that I see in your eyes. Please God,' She prayed quietly, her eyes shutting as fervent need overcame her. 'Please, just let him get better, don't let someone as wonderful as him die… There's too much I don't know about him… there's so much more that I want to do with him… there's so much more that I have to tell him.' She shut her eyes as she felt a fresh tide of tears well up in her eyes and moved to his side, seeking the comfort he brought to her even as he slept. Sitting by his bedside and laying her head on the soft steel that was his chest beneath the blanket she cried softly into the material before eventually she drifted into a shallow sleep.
She never looked back at his face, never saw the large blue eyes that looked at her with sadness as he struggled to force his body to move, to control the chaos inside him and offer her comfort. The sadness gradually changed to determination as Jak gritted his teeth and sucked a deep breath into his lungs, cooling the flows for a moment, giving him lucidity and control. He thought of waking her, of holding her close, of letting her know that he was recovering that her prayers would be answered but without a voice it would take time and he could already feel the eddies of eco poison reasserting themselves in his blood. His eyes lit up as they caught sight of his pack lying unopened by his bedside. There was a way, a way to speak to her without a voice. A way to tell her just how much she meant to him. Arms made weak by lethargy snatched at the pack that had lain unattended by the bedside for over four months. One article within was the focus of Jak's thoughts as he pulled out what he needed and began to write quickly before the coma claimed him once more.
Keira awoke slowly, her body weak thanks to her long vigil at Jak's bedside and the fatigue telling on her after so long. But this time, instead of the sight of his unchanged face she awoke to find a small book resting under her hand as it lay on Jak's chest. It was leather-bound and old, the white pages yellowed by age and use. As she ran her hand over the letters of the title, Keira's eyes widened. It was Jak's journal, the book where the solitary, quiet warrior collected the thoughts that he lacked the ability to speak to others. Poking out from between two of the sheets was a slip of new paper, the neat rows of writing recognisable as the hand that Jak wrote in, the style oddly old-fashioned for someone his age. She picked up the note and gazed at it in wonder, when had he written this? When had he awoken? Hurriedly snatching a lighter from her desk she lit a half dozen candles around the bed and held the note in their light as she began to read.
I can never tell you with my voice how precious you are to me but when I woke up and found that you had stayed with me I fell in love with you all over again. I don't have long until I go under again and I do not know how long you have stayed by my side as I slept but I thank you for every moment that you have spent here. When I woke up last night I heard your wish, heard that you wanted to know what was in my heart, well now you do. A long time ago, after I lost my voice I knew that when I met the woman I loved I would never be able to tell her of the life I had lived, of who I am. To make up for it I began this journal of my thoughts, recording my experiences as far back as I can remember so that when I finally met the woman that I loved I would be able to give it to her. To show her who I am in the hope that she would accept me and be willing to return my love. I want you to be the woman who reads this journal Keira for I have loved you for a long, long time and would give my life to fulfil any wish of yours.
Keira's hands trembled as her vision blurred with tears euphoria singing through her as a weak smile crossed her features. He loved her, he cared for her as much as she cared for him, trusted her enough to give her this, his most private thoughts to read simply so that she could better understand him. She held the journal held tightly in her fingers, indecision halting her as though she dared not let it go but dared not open it. As though doing so would send her past the point of no return, as though doing so would be to accept his love and admit that she returned it. She looked at his face, so peaceful, so handsome even in sleep. A thousand memories of loving that face ran through her mind and she knew that to go past the point of no return was precisely what she wanted. Taking a deep breath to steady her nerves she turned the first page and began to discover the past that Jak had chosen to reveal only to her.
The journal told her of Jak's childhood, his first eight years of life lost but for two years he had lived to the far North in a village called the Eco Fortress. His parents had been alive then and had taught him how to fight. He had been happy then, his body lacking a voice even in childhood but his gift with channelling eco meaning that he became quite a celebrity within the community of fighters. Keira smiled as she read these parts, a small, time-worn photo taped to the page of a grinning child with wild, spiky blonde hair between two proud parents, one a broad-shouldered father and the other a lithe, athletic, beautiful woman.
Jak did not recover consciousness again in the five days that it took Keira to read of his life, candles burning long into the night as she read every emotion, every thought that he had experienced in his life. The diary was a stream of consciousness, no attempt made to edit the feelings and thoughts, no censorship or boundaries but simply Jak, the man showing her his heart with unadulterated honesty and hoping that she would accept it.
The second chapter clenched her heart in fingers of ice as it told of the night that had changed his life forever. Only weeks before his eleventh birthday lurkers had attacked the fortress, thousands of them against the three hundred fighters in the village. But the fighting had gone on for six hours before the wooden stockade was finally breached. The pages here were crinkled, the paper showing the signs of tears, long dry but still marring the ink with watery. Keira's own added to them as she read of how Jak had watched his parents die before his eyes, his scream so heart-rending that it had caused a momentary lull in the fighting. He had been knocked out after that and when he had awoken the village was gone, only burnt rubble and bodies remaining of his home.
Alone he had travelled South, seeking the Samos, a sage who had visited the village from time to time in his childhood. He had found him in Sandover and made his home here. Keira read with tears in her eyes as she watched Jak's writing change through the years, pages and pages of his thoughts and hopes, his wants, needs and fears. His soul was bared on paper before her, his thoughts of her an ever present factor in his later writings.
It almost choked Keira with emotion as on the last night she read the entries that he had made during his journey against Gol and Meia. He had done it for her. He had done it all for her. The simple knowledge that she was in danger was what had driven him to give so much of himself, the act of protecting her the only thing in the thoughts he displayed upon the journal. By the end Keira's hands were trembling once more as her vision swam with new tears that trailed down her cheeks, quite sobs escaping her as she closed the book and lay her smaller frame against his muscular chest, her arms surrounding him as she embraced him.
He had been through so much, he had had things done to him that would have destroyed anyone else, he had done things that no-one else could have done and he had gone through it all… for her. Those were his final words in the journal, the words he had written before he had climbed Gol's citadel, releasing the Sages before facing the mad siblings' monstrous machination. "I will protect Keira, I will do it for her." She squeezed her eyes shut against the flow of tears as she hugged herself close to him, the steady beat of his heart reassuring her as she snuggled against his warmth, crying tears of joy.
She jumped as a strong hand suddenly cupped her cheek, gentle fingers wiping away the tears that ran from her eyes as the muscles beneath her shifted with sudden movement. Her eyes shot open and instantly she found his gaze, his longed for eyes staring down at her, a mixture of concern and devotion in those endless depths. Her voice was stuck in her throat as she stared up at him, her mouth opening to shout her joy but the enormity of the emotions that spiralled through her robbing her of any speech. As one hand ran gently through her green locks his other closed over her slim fingers bringing them to his lips to place a gentle kiss upon her palm as he watched her, asking with his eyes why she cried.
The action broke the barrier of shock and Keira seized his shoulders and pulled herself up to his face, pushing her lips against his in a frenzy of joy and longing. Her hands tangled in his hair as she felt his strong, muscular arms surround her as he returned her kiss, his eyes shining into hers as joy danced in that gaze that told her of his feelings better than any words ever could. She prayed that hers mirrored his as she broke the kiss and spoke her heart, trying to be as honest with him as he had been with her in that journal.
'Jak… I read the journal Jak.' His eyes changed, apprehension creeping into his expression as he waited for her next words. 'And… and I'm sorry for what happened to you Jak… you didn't deserve that. But… but I want you to know that I do accept you Jak, I accept all of you, every word of that journal is in my heart and I will never let it go because… I'll never let you go Jak. I never want to be apart from you again Jak because I love you… I love you more than my words can ever tell you but I just hope that you can see it as much in my eyes as I can in yours.'
A change came over his eyes, a genuine smile of happiness shining from his face as they softened and he cupped her cheek tenderly. Somehow she knew, somehow he told her without words that she had shown him with her words what he had shown her with his writings. He lowered his lips slowly and this time Keira felt a rush fly through her body from the contact. How long it lasted she could not tell but when it ended she rested astride him, her arms around his neck as his surrounded her shoulders, their foreheads touching as they stared into one another's eyes.
Then Keira saw it for the first time, a look that came into Jak's eyes, a strange softening of his face as light seemed to shine from the depths of his pupils. It was all she needed to know that Jak had just said I love you. Resting her forehead against his chest she closed her eyes against a tear of happiness as it rolled down her cheek.
'I love you too Jak.'
A.N. Finished, once more, revised to incorporate both the revelations that the second game brought and the improvements to my writing that time has brought. I hope that you enjoyed it and thank you once more for your time. If you wish you may read Destiny's choice, a sequel the second game but also to this story. Again, I hope that you enjoyed it and as always, reviews are more than welcome.
Until next time,
Go with God