"My debt to you is over, Knight-Captain, and the strange thing is, I'm a little sorry about it," says Bishop, as he steps out from the shadows. She stands at the head of the group of adventurers, her short, reddish-brown hair framing her face, her expression a mixture of surprise, anger and hurt. He wills himself to maintain his casual demeanor, when deep down he is feeling anything but calm.
"For what it's worth, I almost kept going for you, right there until the end. But your Uncle...some things are too hard to get past. Even…" and here his words fail, if only for a moment. "...even with everything else."
Gods, he hasn't meant for that to have come out sounding so…sincere. All the time he had been part of her little adventuring company, all the chances he had then to be open with her, he had been aloof and apathetic. And now, at the worst time of all, here he is getting all soppy…
"Don't do this, Bishop," she says quietly, shaking her head slowly. Was that a flash of neediness in her eyes? Or is he kidding himself again, like he had so many times before with her?
"I can't help it," He tries to sound his usual self. "Getting tied down...even to a feeling for someone, just isn't my style." He forces a sneer, which (he hopes) looks convincing enough. "The most frustrating thing about it? When I met you, I was thinking it would be as easy to hate you as I did Duncan. But I don't...at all."
There, that is as emotional as he will allow himself to get. But what he really wants to do is to scream at her, let it all out. Don't think I didn't see you and the paladin here right before the siege! And to think, before that, I would have fought for you!
I would have died for you…
But no, that's not his style either, is it? Instead, "But see, that's the reason it's going to end like this. I'm not going to be tied to anyone or anything again..."
Especially not if his own feelings could get so close to scaring him at times.
"Can you at least tell me why…?" she asks.
At this point, the Shadow Reaver speaks, patronisingly. He has almost forgotten Black Garius is there. "Oh, go on, Bishop; we have some time before our Master arrives, and then none of this will matter."
He glares at the undead shadow, not bothering to hide his contempt. But Garius is right about one thing; soon, nothing would matter. If she wants to hear the truth, so be it.
Hey, it's not like the secret's going to hurt my chances with her anymore…
"You see, Knight-Captain," he says bitterly, with a hint of self-loathe in his voice, "for every West Harbour that gives rise to someone like you, someone great…there's a hundred of me, that end up going down the other path…"
When he has finished telling his story, the looks on everyone else's faces say it all; shock, horror, disgust…well, what was he expecting, admiration and acceptance? After all, he has just admitted to butchering an entire village – his home village. Heartlessly herding them to a fiery death, like sheep in a corral. In a way, he is enjoying watching their expressions, amused that they all deem themselves fit to judge him; a paladin who broke his oath, a dwarf who picks fights for the hells of it, a spoilt, arrogant sorceress who wouldn't think twice about setting anyone, let alone anything, on fire, a tiefling…
But the look on her face…it seems different from those of the rest. Is that…disappointment? Sadness? And why is he feeling a tug of guilt just looking at her? Not guilty for what he had done, but guilty for letting her down…
"So…just because Duncan saved your life, you're going to take mine?"
He manages a nonchalant shrug. "No telling what Duncan told you about me. You're as much a liability as he. I would have tried to kill you sooner, but things just got…complicated."
"Bishop…" she whispers. Gods, why does he always feel this way whenever she speaks his name? It's like silk brushing against his skin. "Sometimes two people caring for each other can be a strength, not a weakness."
Two people…? No, it cannot be. He will not let himself be led on again, especially not now, no matter how sincere she tries to sound. He pictures her up on the battlements of Crossroads Keep, her arms around the paladin...how they strolled, hand in hand, to her Captain's suite. Would you do that if you really cared about me? he thought. No, you're a liar. A good liar, but a liar nonetheless.
"Say what you will…it doesn't matter in the end," he looks away.
"Come now, Bishop, let us get on with this," Garius interrupts impatiently. "Our Master awaits."
Bishop is just turning to give Garius another dark glare, when he sees her slightly pointed ears twitch, ever so slightly. In a subtly teasing tone, she asked, "Was that an order I heard, Bishop?"
"You watch it!" he shouts despite himself, knowing full well that she is baiting him. Damn, she knows him well. "I'm not anyone's lackey, not anym-"
"I think we've heard enough from this Knight-Captain of Neverwinter…and from you, ranger. Now be silent!"
He tenses. Nobody talks to me like that. Slowly, purposefully, Bishop turns to face Garius. "Is that so?" he said, his voice laced with menace. "Well, in that case, you can fight the Shard-Bearer on your own. After all, you really don't need me, do you? I think it might be better if you stopped having people stand between you and the Knight-Captain here – Torio, Lorne, your Reaver friends…I'm not going to fight your battle."
"You will die here if you leave, Bishop," Garius warns, "I will come for you when I am done here."
"Hmph," he smirks, as he strolls towards the nearest exit. "Garius, you're going to die if you stay." He stops long enough to put two fingers to his temple in a mock farewell salute. "Cap'n…"