A WA3 Fanfiction By:
Black Waltz 0
It was late afternoon in the town of Humphrey's Peak, in the midst of autumn. The drifter quartet and the remainder of the Winslett family crowded the main room of the house, packing up their supplies for a short camping trip. With excited child-like anticipation did Kaitlyn try and hoist her backpack to her small shoulders, the extra weight threatening to force her off balance. She tipped into the hands of a big Baskar priest standing behind her, who chuckled and separated the girl from her burden.
"You sure you're gonna need all these things? We're only going to be away for the weekend." He said, removing three weeks worth of reading material and a giant oversized teddy bear that Kaitlyn had somehow managed to stuff into such a small confinement from her pack.
"But Uncle Gallows!" Kaitlyn protested, "They're my special things! Daddy gave them to me, right Daddy?" Clive was sitting down on the couch, leaning slightly to the left. He was particularly pale, bereft of his trademark jacket, his left shoulder was tightly bandaged and seemed to be discomforting him to a small degree.
Clive smiled wanly, shifting himself into a straighter position. "Kaitlyn, a drifter cannot burden themselves with things that only have a sentimental value, as it will eventually drag them down to unwanted cessation. You should leave them here, at home, so you always know you can come back to them when you wish to rest your wings. Besides, I shall take care of them for you." He explained warmly.
"But Daddy-" Kaitlyn pleaded.
Virginia knelt down so she could speak to Kaitlyn face-to-face. "You shouldn't worry about it." She advised cheerfully. "When I first started out, I brought a whole suitcase full of things I didn't need. Soon enough, I realized it was more of a burden than a luxury. You should listen to your father."
Kaitlyn weighed the debate, and decided that they were indeed correct. "Okay, but take good care of Mr. Fuzzy Wuzzy!" She proclaimed, hugging the bear once for good measure.
Jet opened the door a crack, just enough to poke his head inside. "Yo dawdlers, we leaving or what? What's takin' so long?" The silver-haired boy looked impatient.
Virginia shot an irritated glance at Jet. "We'll be there in a sec, we're just saying goodbye." Jet rolled his eyes exasperatedly and shut the door, accidentally getting the shreds of his red and white bandanna caught in the doorframe. He opened it again and had to endure the fact that Virginia was giggling at him.
Catherine looked solemnly at Gallows and Virginia, hands clasped in front of her body. "Please take good care of her." She implored quietly. "After what happened before, I don't think either of us could take another shock like that." Catherine took Clive's hand and he nodded slightly.
The female drifter merely smiled and raised her hand in the making of a vow. With her other arm she elbowed Gallows to do the same. "We swear on Jet's grave she won't come to harm." Gallows made a similar promise, smirking.
"Hey!" Jet wrenched the window open and glared at the other two drifters. "I ain't dead yet!"
"We'll see." Virginia joked under her breath. Out loud she said; "You two… I hope, well, I hope things'll be better when we get back. With you, I mean, Clive. Get well soon."
"Thank you, Virginia. It means a lot to me to hear that." Clive replied, unconsciously rubbing his injured shoulder gingerly. The wound was very deep and painful, he swore that sometimes he could still feel the teeth sinking into him, but the worst part was not the physical hurt, that would go away in time, the mental scars went much deeper. And there was a good chance that they would never heal.
Gallows and Kaitlyn had finished sorting through all the things the girl would need on the road, able to halve the everything in her bag to only necessities. Kaitlyn swung the bag onto her back, much lighter than before. "I'm ready!" She cried in a sing-song voice, skipping over to her parents.
Catherine hugged her. "Be good. No fighting, no exploring by yourself and stay close to the group."
Kaitlyn nodded happily. "I will, Mama." She looked at Clive, "Don't worry, Daddy. I'll be careful." Kaitlyn transferred herself from her mother's arms to her father's, but she was gentle because of the many bound injuries Clive was hiding under his vest.
It was time to go, and for a few moments Kaitlyn found it incredibly difficult to part with her family. Sure, she would be back in only two days, but she was beginning to miss them even before she had left. Seeing this, Gallows took her hand and led her to the doorway, Kaitlyn turned and waved all the way there.
"I shall escort all the pretty ladies!" He announced with glee, winking at the historian. Clive merely smiled and put his hand to his forehead, mumbling something like 'What have I done?'
Virginia opened the door for the two, Gallows having to duck a bit unless he wanted a big bruise on his forehead. "See you soon." She said, brushing a hand over a deep cut near her temple. Clive immediately grimaced at that motion. Virginia noticed what she was doing and flushed deep red. "I'm sorry. It was a reflex action." She apologized.
Clive looked tired. "No, I am the one who should be sorry." He sighed. "I'm sorry for everything."
"It wasn't your fault." Virginia argued, "Don't apologize." She waved a small 'goodbye' and softly closed the door.
Clive sat back down heavily on the couch. The camping trip had been hastily planned, mostly for the reason to let Clive take a few days off to heal from his recent injuries, and more importantly, the ones that were not physical. He still found it hard to believe that only three days ago he had-
"Honey, I know that look. Don't think about it, please. Such thoughts would only make it worse." Catherine delicately placed a slender hand on Clive's un-mangled shoulder, the drifter leaning into the touch. Knowing that the contact was wanted, Catherine wrapped her entire arm around Clive's back and rubbed it carefully, the drifter stared at the ground brokenly.
He tried to listen to his wife, but simply feigning ignorance was something he just could not do. He had no choice but to think about it, how only three days ago he had been submerged into his own personal Hell. Literally, and spiritually.
There were still a few things he had to sort out.
Clive reached into his pocket and pulled out a diminutive golden slab, dropping it onto their coffee table. Catherine looked at it, confused, and Clive could not help but feel his stomach turn at the sight. The Lust Jaw. Throughout his travels, it had served him well and faithfully. But the guardian of desire was anything but faithful, and Clive had learned that he had ended up serving her much more effectively. It had almost cost him his very soul.
"Catherine, how many people did I kill?" He asked her emotionlessly.
"Clive!" Catherine scolded, "You must know, it wasn't your fault-"
Clive didn't seem to be listening. "Disregard that. How many people did I maim? Cripple? Mutilate?" He clenched one hand into a fist, and bit his lip. "I am a murderer."
Catherine did not know what to say, all she could do was deny what had truly happened. "You're not a murderer. You were influenced by her. You had no choice." She said quietly.
"Catherine!" He yelled with unhappy desperation, "The choice was mine, and I took it! I wanted to do it. I don't know why, but I did. I cannot keep this inside me. Please, I need to talk about this to someone, anyone…" Clive had to pause for a second to gather his thoughts, he was shivering slightly. "I love you, Catherine. You're the only one who can help me. You were there, you saw most of it, b-but there are other things you do not know about, and it is haunting me…" He removed his glasses to wipe away some tears of shame, his voice lowered to almost a whimper. "I have to tell someone, or it will surely kill me."
A tear ran down her cheek, splashing lightly onto the cold floor. "Tell me, then." She whispered.