A/N: For the record, for anyone who ever does read this, if anybody's eyes manage to come here, this is taking place after the company set off but not by much. I'm thinking that they've been flying for a week or two maybe. They haven't yet reached that first little island thing that Walker visits to get the keys. They're just free flying…Because it's fun. ^-^ Oh, and I apologize for not having indented paragraphs. I don't know how to fix that. When I upload it to the internet, they become nonexistent and I don't know how to give them life. Sorry.
My first review and likely the only one I'll have for about half of my lifetime if the review pace doesn't change, was from my sister, and she didn't even read it. And as she is now some kind of Spanish halva/hybrid person, I can't comprehend half of it. She was just being nice, because I was whining, because I am learning to appreciate what reviews really do mean to authors. I think they're about half the reason I'm writing fanfics. And here I am with one, from someone who took pity on me, and did not even read it! *sigh*
And now I have to wonder if my A/N's are even being read or if I'm just talking to myself like some psychotic madwoman babbling about absolutely nothing of any consequence and sounding crazier with each word. *pouts* These lack of reviews are making me crazy, but now they're making me sound crazy too. Someone needs to do something. Seriously. This is most discouraging. *pouting amplifies and ensues* Please R&R. It is nice to see that this is even being noticed by anyone, not that the Terry Brooks page ever really changes often or anything. T-T
Not that it matters at this dismal moment in time, (I'm not emo, don't worry I'm just pouting ^-^) but this is a disclaimer because I do not own any characters, the background plot, or the general idea of the magic or any of the names. I suck at names actually. :(
The rating is not important because it is still at a level that will not magically burn from the sockets eyes of those underage or too immature. The only warning at all is like, one little word I think towards the end and it is so measly that I really don't think it matters at all. Happy reading! HAPPY REVIEWING!
Bek said nothing, staring with his still racing heart into the cowl where eyes glowed through the dark. He could recognize the vaguely human form now. He fought with himself internally, willing his courage to stand strong and not abandon him, because he needed to confirm this.
Taking a breath, Bek asked meekly, "Have you been watching me?" He jumped in startled fright when the other laughed, the sound raucous and predatory.
"Yes. I could see that you sensed me at times then as well, although not when I took extra precautions to mask myself."
Bek focused on his breathing to stay calm. Truls was an ally. Walker had brought him specifically. Intimidating as he was, Bek reasoned that he was in no danger. Although the others actions were becoming questionable.
Sinister cackles caused the broad shoulders to tremor. Bek could not understand what was so amusing. A slight spark of irritation accompanied his uncertainty. Wisely, he kept it from lashing out. For now.
"The druid asked me to, cloaking it in a myriad of mystical tension as only he could. Seemed to think I'd refuse, that it would be too tedious and troublesome for me. But what else have I to do? Something we have in common I think. Although that is not all that is similar between us. Even the druid, foolish and blind to certain things as he is, has said it."
He broke off, a slight growl concluding his final word, and gazed at Bek from that cowl.
Bek stared into the shadow where the other's face was hidden, uneasy with this change in demeanor and the way in which Truls Rohk just stared. That there was no discernable features for Bek to focus on heightened his discomfort, for the eyes had dimmed and Truls moved and lost the glow of the moon. All Bek had to see was shrouded in shadow.
"Why did Walker want you to watch me?" Bek asked slowly, tasting the opportunity to absolve the many mysteries that Walker had dancing around him. How much would Truls Rohk be willing to divulge, assuming that he had the knowledge to? And Walker's consent.
"Curious are you, boy?" he rumbled. Bek could not help but frown. It seemed like Truls Rohk was taunting him. And how does one reply to a question like that from a stranger?
"That is good. For you at least. It would be a shame if you were not. I have many things for you to exercise that curiosity of yours on, if you'd care to try."
Bek shifted. His question had not been answered.
"You have nothing better to put your energies to, as I have said. Neither do I. And with the druid's distorted way of thinking that you can magically accomplish miracles in a few weeks or, as I shudder to think - days, I feel that my methods are a better option."
"I don't understand. And I still don't understand why Walk-
"The druid wanted me to watch you for two reasons," Truls cut him off harshly. "One was for your safety. As you discovered, I can mask myself effectively when I need to, a useful tool for ensuring that danger does not befall me or, in this instance, the one I watch. I am free to observe the threat without risk and have the opportunity to catch any threat off guard, which is a useful advantage. The druid, knowing of my skills, felt that I was the best option for keeping you safe.
"The other reason was to ensure that he knew the instant you discovered something…shall we say…extraordinary…within yourself A gift, or curse, depending on how you would like to look at it." The shadow shifted against the railing, crouching down as if to make himself less noticeable. "Have my vague words burned into you the need to know yet?"
Bek stared. "What are you talking about?" he wondered aloud, utterly lost. Something within himself? A gift or curse? Walker thought he could perform miracles in a few weeks time?
What was it that Walker knew about him that he did not? Who else knew it? What in the name of all the shades in Shannara was it?
"Do the others have extra protection too?" Bek thought he already knew the answer. He was not disappointed.
"Why only me then?" Did it have something to do with his unknown gifts? What else could it be?
But could he even trust in the other's word for sincerity?
A voice in the back of Bek's head itched for him too. Instinct usually never failed him. And it could explain the reasoning behind Bek's placement aboard the Jerle Shannara.
Bek was suddenly aware of Truls' silence and still, staring posture. Was he waiting for something?
"Have you satisfied yourself with thinking it through?" the crouching shadow rasped softly. "Or are you unwilling to make decision without further, extensive analysis?"
"Thinking it through?" Bek ventured cautiously. Then a torrent of questions began to pour from him, gaining confidence and need. "What am I thinking through? What decision am I to make? What is it that you know about me, that Walker knows, that I don't? And why is he keeping secrets from me?"
Truls Rohk laughed softly, the sound combined with the image of him crouched readily making the hairs of the back of Bek's neck rise.
"You certainly don't know anything about druids, do you boy? He keeps secrets because that is part of his job, his method of working to achieve his goals. Or some nonsense like that."
Bek opened his mouth to put emphasis on the more important questions but Truls Rohk's sudden transition from crouching at the railing to towering over Bek silenced him, his feet stumbling back instinctively.
"Quiet for now, boy. Your questions are good, but we have little time with which to work. Any time dedicated to this will likely be at night, the earlier part of it, as you will need to sleep and we will need to take precaution against member's of the ship noticing too much. Walker in particular.
"Now," he began again in a firm, rasping grumble that would have silenced Bek had he been speaking. Truls Rohk took a step towards him for good measure. Bek fought the want to retreat, but could not refrain from hunkering down and away a little.
"What you are thinking on is all that I have said and all that has been told to you, by the druid and various other people. Think on what you know, what is known but not necessarily true or right, and all that lies in complete mystery.
"Then you must decide, of all of that, what you want to know and what you are uncertain of learning, for there is great peace and comfort and stability in ignorance. Some things, upon learning of, may change you. And some of those changes may be permanent. Some things you may wish you'd never asked.
"Whether or not you yearn for truth and knowing, I think that you should know that some of these secrets will catch up to you in time. Some of these secrets are things of which you cannot hide, despite your deepest wishes. They are things that are so much a part of you, that they cannot be ignored no matter how hard you try."
Bek could not fathom it. What was going on? The other's words were beginning to frighten him.
"You can do as the druid would want and remain blissfully ignorant. Or you can do as I would do, and seek to learn, so that when the time comes for you to confront it as you inevitably must, you can. But either way you decide, I advise against telling anyone of this encounter. For if you ever do want to know, it would make it more difficult for me to help you.
"Also, I think that you would likely want to keep this secret to yourself once it is uncovered. Much harder to do when you've let on to others that there may be something of value to talk about. I'll return tomorrow night for your answer, and then from there…we'll see what happens."
"Wait!" Bek cried, afraid of losing Truls after such an abrupt dismissal and still needing information. The rippling of his shadowy form stilled.
"An answer already?" the shadow asked in a rumbling, maliciously gleeful growl. Bek shivered.
"No…I don't think so…I just…why are you giving me this opportunity? I appreciate it, but if Walker is so against it that we'd have to lie and hide it from him…"
Truls Rohk sniggered.
"You think that I do only as he orders, like a trained dog?" He released a barking laugh that he quickly suppressed until it was softer. "I am no one's pet, boy. I doubt that I could even constitute as tame," he spoke the last word with dark, mocking affection.
"Yes but…well…Walker is in lead of this expedition. And what if he's withholding information from you as well, and that it is important for things to end up going his way?"
"The druid and I," Truls Rohk began as if this were a dull topic he'd explained twice already. "do not see eye to eye on most things. He wants to keep you unaware for as long as possible. For your well-being. Although in my mind, it would not only be benefit your abilities to cope with this to know sooner, but also your chances of survival, as well as the chances of every person on board. It may even improve the outlook of this voyage.
"This…gift of yours can give you strength and power when you need it, but first you must learn about it. And once you've come to terms with its existence and your standing with others after discovering it, you must begin to learn how to control it and use it. Something that I think will take much longer than enemies would be willing to give you, and something that will take more time than the druid wants to realize.
"So in my way of thinking, getting you accustomed to it all now, while we are in no immediate danger and surrounded by allies, as well as doing little else of value, will make you more capable when the time comes for you to act. You will have time to learn and grow, and not be as rushed which would only make you less capable."
Bek digested that. It made sense. Truls Rohk's line of thought. But he could understand Walker's logic too, at least to some extent.
But to invite such peril to spare him some kind of pain that he must inevitably embrace? For Walker must have thought ahead as Truls Rohk, and he must have seen the flaws in his plan. He was too clever not to. Was this great secret of Walker's really that bad? It made Bek less certain of his desire to know. But what then would happen if he waited as Walker wanted him too?
Bek took a steadying breath. "What would happen if I decided that I want to know? You mentioned earlier about using the time after sunset for this. What exactly would we be doing?"
"If you decided that you were capable of knowing sooner rather than later, then I would teach you."
"About it? What is this gift of mine exactly? What does it do?"
Truls Rohk laughed. "That is a question I'll answer once you decide. But yes, I will be teaching you about it, although that will likely be talk and story telling and then finally, speculation. From there, the real fun would begin as we move to the practical and physical use of it."
Bek frowned with Truls' vague phrases and ways of communication. He was making it sketchier and sketchier.
He was making Bek more curious.
"Do we share the same gift then? If you're going to teach me, does that mean that you also have it? Is that what you meant about us having something in common? More than having nothing to do on board at least."
Truls Rohk was silent, observing him, sizing him up. Bek's interest piqued. What was it that he could share with the enigmatic and independent Truls Rohk?
"I do not harbor the same gift. Yours is something related to your blood, your heritage. Many of you ancestors possessed the same gift, but no others out of the bloodline. You and I are similar for different reasons, although they do pertain to your gift."
"You know who I am?" Bek demanded, stunned.
"Yes, but that is for the night upcoming." He paused, seemed to muse to himself, then resumed more softly. "Perhaps I will tell you a little of myself, and how it is that we are alike then as well. It may help you to learn to cope with being who you are."
Bek startled with the abrupt disappearance of Truls Rohk. How did he do that? It had to be some form of magic. No creature was that swift, and certainly no man.
His gift, Bek pondered as he shuffled to his bed. Related to his bloodline. His ancestors. His heritage. He would finally resolve the mystery of who he was.
Bek stopped just before descending to the lower level, bathed in the light of the moon like the glorious promise of hope that now burned inside him.
He would find out who he was, and about his family. It was worth any of the pain that Truls Rohk warned of to know just that. He was going to have to confront the struggle at some point anyway, if Truls was to be believed. He did make sense in the idea of coping with it now, in the comfort of his friend's presence and in security. And besides, he may as well reap the reward while he had the opportunity.
But still, Bek supposed that he should consider the matter more carefully tomorrow. His mind would be sharper after some rest. If there were any inconsistencies or reasons to be wary or back out, he would have a better chance pinpointing them tomorrow. Yes, putting the potentially enormous decision from his weary mind sounded like a wonderful course of action.
Settling into his bunk, Bek curled up tightly beneath the blankets and tried not to think of all that could change or go wrong when he learned more about himself tomorrow night.
He tried not to imagine what kind of trials and suffering he would experience once his heritage was uncovered. He tried not to comprehend what kind of hell it must be if a druid as sure and strong as Walker was working to spare him the pain of discovering it so soon when the wait could mean disaster. If someone as prepared and capable as Truls Rohk was warning him of the dangers of knowing. The agony that Truls was certain it would bring.
Suddenly, sating his craving for his need to know more about himself and why he was there did not seem nearly as significant as what obtaining that knowledge could mean for him. Less certain than he was five minutes ago, Bek tried unsuccessfully to lull himself to sleep with the reassuring sound of Quentin's familiar snores.
A/N: For the record, I have no beta and I apologie for any mistakes or points of confusion. Sorry. Thanks for reading, for those of you who have, and PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE review. Thanks. Cheers!