Chapter 2: Sacrifice
(As a result of the prior night, Lawrence has agreed to tell Vyse the history of where he cam from and where he wishes to go one of these days. It's been a while since I've wrote on this one so this little foreword is for me to get my bearings lol)
"Do…you remember when you visited lower Valua, Vyse? I remember you telling the crew about it and how you narrowly escaped…Do you remember that old rusted hotel that sat in the middle of town?" Lawrence asked curiously. Vyse laid onto his back, the glorious stars up in the sky above Crescent Island were especially bright tonight, they were like smiling children all dancing around their mother, the red moon of Nasr. Vyse sighed and closed his eyes.
"All too well…I remember it VERY clearly. I remember how it made me so mad that Valua could treat people like that, allowing poverty to ruin their lives without any escape. It disgusted me, but yeah I remember the hotel. What about it?" Vyse recalled. He turned his head to face Lawrence, anxious to hear more. Lawrence continued to stare into the vastness of the night sky, as if searching for something.
"I lived and worked there since I was 10 years old. My folks weren't around too much…they were dedicated ship technicians for the Valuan army. The reason they took the jobs were so that they could try and get us out of lower Valua. They've been saving every penny they earned since I was born to try and get out of that hell hole. 16 years…it took 16 years to almost get there, 16 grueling years of hard labor, with little to no down time. It eventually became a blessing to see my folks, once every two weeks, but only for one day and night. The only good thing to come out of that was that I learned to appreciate that I actually had a family, and two parents that were carrying the world on their shoulders to keep me safe. I was pretty much raised by the hotel owner, Geade; He was a kind and brilliant man. When I had trouble, missing my parents, or even not wanting to be alone, Geade was there for me without fail. He was my second father. Once I turned 13, he started teaching me about swordplay. He wasn't always the greatest teacher; he was getting very old and sick, but he toughed through it to teach me anyway, which is something I admired about him. It was mostly self-defense tactics and such, but I always put my heart into it. Who knows when I'd have to fend for myself or even help protect my loved ones. As I grew older, I found out Geade was actually an Ex-General for the Valuan army. He was discharged and banished to lower Valua as punishment for not following orders. He was a very close friend to General Gregorio, the only General that was worth appreciating in that retched fleet. He used to tell me stories about how the two of them would fight back to back, life and limb to protect themselves and Valua from all who opposed. They were the same age, but Geade always referred to Gregorio as his "Older Brother." Lawrence said, slowly pausing. Vyse was astounded at the story that the most silent member of his crew was now telling. Vyse closed his eyes once more, reminded of how Gregorio was a great man for him and his friends.
"Gregorio was a good man. I will never forget the sacrifice he made for Enrique, Fina, Aika, and myself; He gave us a chance to escape from Lord Galceon when we were at the very brink of defeat. It makes me wonder how such a great man was working for such a despicable fleet of fiends…" Vyse replied. Lawrence turned to Vyse, gazing at his words that graced the night's air. He decided to follow Vyse's example and lay down as well. He figured it he shouldn't let a beautiful sky like this go to waste.
"Back on point. Let's skip to the day before my 16th birthday. It was one of the biggest deals of my life. Not only did my folks get permission to spend two days with me, they had finally saved enough money to get a boat for us all to leave Valua for good. Obviously we had to wait for their work contract to be fulfilled, but it was only 2 more days away after my birthday, though it felt more like 2 weeks in our minds. My folks couldn't buy me anything gifts or anything of the sort, but I didn't care, I got to be with my parents for 2 whole days, that was more a gift than anything could even hope to be. Once mom and pop went to sleep the first night before the 2 days off, Geade woke me up quietly and led me downstairs. There was a box on the table where we normally sat and ate. It looked very old, warped by water and simply put, tarnished. I opened up the sizable box and found an interesting surprise. In that box was an old uniform of some kind, it wasn't till I removed it till I realized what it was. It was an old Valuan formal uniform; its the outfit that I have worn since that day onward to date," Lawrence said. He sat up and slowly slid his jacket off of his arms and shoulders and handed to to Vyse. Vyse sat up and accepted it. Vyse noticed that there was a white patch on the inside of the coat. Vyse held it up to the star's brilliant light so it could be legible.
"To my dear Lawrence,
I hope that you read this alone, because I don't have much time left to live. This uniform and the saber accompanying it are the only two possessions I own. Once you leave this rechid place, it will be time for you to become a man, and start your own story.
Geade M. Bastian"
The message read. Vyse and slowly handed it back to Lawrence, who once again equipped it back onto his frame. Needless to say, it was obvious that Lawrence had truly read the message after Geade's passing.
"Sorry…I can't read those words anymore, it hurts. The next 2 days were like a dream. We didn't really have spare funds to really do anything special, but we did more family living than we had ever before in my life. We told stories, played games, it still feels like such a dream to me. 2 days after however…that's when reality returned, and it returned with a vengeance…" Lawrence paused once more. Vyse noticed a light glimmer of light slowly sliding down Lawrence's cheek beneath his thick bangs. Regardless, his expression didn't faultier even for a moment, his cold, dead gaze still staring up.
"I turned out that their contract had a very dismal small print that could easily be mistaken. It read: "By accepting this contract, you are forfeiting your freedom to leave Valua on your own accord. Upon completion, it is up to the owner of this contract to allow the signees to come and go as they please," In all honesty, we didn't think anything of it, I mean, my folks had been working with them non-stop for 16 years, surely they would show some mercy on us…wrong. The problem was that my folks had worked so hard to the point they were needed. The Valuan army was now relying on them and their skills. They didn't care about them, they didn't care that they had a child living in poverty, they only cared about themselves. Needless to say, my folks didn't take that news lightly. I received a letter from them a day after negotiations fell through…" Lawrence paused one last time. This time he slowly removed an envelope from an inside pocket of his coat. Vyse accepted it carefully, slowly removing the letter from the envelope. The paper was worn-out and stained, its frayed edges indicated that had been removed from the envelope an insane number of times. Just like his coat, he held it up to the stars.
"To our beloved Lawrence
I'm sorry that this letter is probably the last time you will hear from us ever again. Your father and I have been jailed due to our backlash regarding the contract. We are to be executed tomorrow at noon. All the money we've saved for you all these years is in Geade's care. Along with it, we are going to leave you in Geade's care as well, just as you have been pretty much your whole life. Geade has already been informed that you two are to escape from this place. Our execution will be our last gift to you; because of the execution, the gate leading out of Valua will be completely free of guarding from noon to 12:30pm. We've chosen our fate for you, our dear Lawrence. FLY FREE MY SON! Escape the awful life we've tried to protect you from for so long! We both love you very much! Knowing that our demise will lead to your beginning gives us both the courage to face our fate with pride. We'll always be watching over you Lawrence. Always and forever…"
Good Bye Forever, Love You Forever,
Mama and Papa"
Vyse's eyes widened as he slowly read through the message. Each and every word was drenched with love, drama, and passion. Vyse couldn't help but shed a few tears upon ending the reading of the letter. As he wiped his eyes, he looked over at Lawrence, who had removed a photo from his inside pocket. He began staring at it with a glimmer in his eyes. When Vyse folded up the letter and placed it the envelope carefully, he was at a loss for words. No more words could be said tonight, nor did they need to be. Vyse decided it wasn't best to push for more of a story tonight, he'll just wait for tomorrow.
To Be Continued...