Love on the Edge

Quintinius and Maris

Quintinius Verginix stood at the helm, hands gripping loosely on the wheel, drumming his fingers softly and absent-mindedly adjusting the flight-levers with ease to keep the GaleRider on an easy, calm course. It was very early in the morning, and the air was cool and wind was fair, with pink puffs of swirling cloud interlocking in the red-shaded sky above the Edge. Maris's Birthday it was today; the very reason Quint had organised this trip- just for her. It was just three years ago they had first met at the Palace of Shadows in Sanctaphrax with his now passed father, Wind Jackal and her now passed father, Linius Pallitax, where they had met on their balcony. Quint felt hot and weak as he remembered his father's death, he had no family left, not one he considered family really… a part from Maris. Quint smiled slightly as he recounted all the times Maris begged him for a cruise on his ship, offering anything in return; just to be with him. He let a hand free from its ever-lasting job at the wheel and fiddled with the stone hanging of a chain on his chest, a present Maris had given him on his birthday, amongst a few other things. It was a fiery red crystal carved in the shape of half a heart- although that was what Quint thought it was, he wished he wasn't just being hopeful. He would often find himself thinking whether she had the other half, tucked away somewhere safe? Maybe I'm just being silly, he would often think… but it does look like half a heart. His very own heart thumped in his chest just thinking about what she felt about him. They had been friends for three years, but were they still friends? Quint tilted the boat slightly to its left to get a better view of the sunrise, hoping Maris would wake to the brilliant shine, praising him for his skills. Tilting the pendant up to the light, he could see the light rays bounce in and out of the stone, looking like laser beams, he grinned, I'll just ask…

Maris woke to the creak of the mast, rolling over, she wiped her eyes and glanced up to the beautiful rays of crimson light, it was morning already. It was her birthday. It wasn't every day you turned sixteen after all. She felt a surge of excitement, not because it was her birthday, but she was reminded that Quint was there, she wasn't at Sanctaphrax studying as an Academie, but on a skyship. Anxious to see Quint again, she slipped down off her hammock, dressed and checked her herself in the mirror, she was more conscious of how she looked now, especially when Quint, the almighty Sky Pirate Captain was with her. She was just wiping the sleep off her eyes when she was struck by a thought, a thought that made her stomach drop, and her heart fall. What if the thing she was wanting so much wouldn't come? The three words? What if he just saw her as a friend? Nothing more? What if the trip was just a present, maybe he didn't do it so they could spend time together? She sat on the floor, tugging her black plaited hair. She couldn't bear to think that. She had waited so long, she just wanted to know. Anxiously, she started to braid her hair, to try distract herself. She went to a special draw and took out a few indigo ribbons, Quint's favourite colour, the colour of his eyes. She braided them into her hair and sat back down. Taking deep breaths and fighting back tears that may come, she put on a brave face, she couldn't look feeble in front of him. Quint always admired her boldness, determination and stubbornness, she couldn't look like she was about to fall apart. She stood shakily, clutching a half-heart charm on a chain around her neck. She smiled, she imagined him wearing it, just like her. It had been three years, and she wasn't going to wait another year just to know. I'll just ask…

Tip toeing quietly out of her room, trying not to wake anyone, Maris shut the door behind her and was hit by a dazzling ray of light. The most gorgeous light, and warmth. She felt as if she had just sunk into a hot bath, her skin looking orange in the glow. Walking to the stairs that led to the helm, she looked up at the ever-ending DeepWoods, a place of terror and beauty, betrayal and loyalty. All the same, Maris thought it a place of magic and wonder. She could hear a faint song far away, she inclined her head to the noise and took a few more steps up. What she heard made her clamp her hand to her mouth, it was Quint… singing.

A special place for you and me
An undying bond to guide us free
Loneliness blocking the day
Our Love lighting the way

Your gentle touch
Your smiling face
There is no corner
No dark place

Our passion flowing in the waves
My heart stands still
Awaiting your pace

Our love, withstanding time
Diminishing doubt, in our mind
There is no place I rather be…
Than in your heart and in your dreams…

Maris couldn't choose a better moment, almost blinded by happiness, happiness that meant that Quint, Quintinius…loved her, cared for her. For her. Her heart beat fast, she felt as if she just won a palace-full of gold, only it was more than that. Panting slightly, and going red, tears of happiness forming, she, almost stumbling, silently crawled up the steps just as he was repeating the song, and jumped up onto the helm beside him.

"Arghhhhhhhh!" Quint shouted, stumbling backwards and losing his footing. He was completely red in the face. On the floor, legs flailing, he looked at Maris's cheerful eyes, he felt humiliated. She had caught him singing. Who in all of the Edge, a CAPTAIN of all people, was caught singing about a… a girl? Surely a normal Captain would be bold, tall, without hesitation, just like his father. Not a soft-hearted boy singing! Completely lost for words, Quint looked away, puffing and trying to scramble back up, hiding is face. He felt as though he was caught stealing… the embarrassment.

"I…uh…er…," Quint stuttered, looking away, trying to cover as much of his face as possible as he grabbed the wheel. Should I run for it? I could get someone to take over… He tried to cough casually, act collected but all that came out was a whimper. He turned and met Maris's eyes, prying into him. It just made him stumble more for words.

"I… um… sorry… I was just practicing for….for-", for what Quint? A chorus, buff up a bit you wimp… he thought to himself. He gulped, puffing. He cast his eyes to the horizon, gripping the wheel tightly. For some reason, it seemed harder to steer now than it had been before Maris caught him singing, it took every ounce of his concentration just to turn the wheel. To his surprise, Maris gave a loud, but elegant hysterical laugh. She covered her face to quieten herself down but just laughed even more. She doubled over, her face going red. Her stomach hurt, her breaths coming quickly. Despite the laughter, she still felt immensely delighted. Quint, trying not to look at him, loved her, she thought, no, she knew. Quint with his indigo eyes, pale skin and black hair, the hero over three years, loved her. Without hesitation she ran to him and threw her arms around him. Quint gasped and nearly fell backwards with shock, hardly believing what was happening. Emotions struck him in waves, shock, disbelief and… content. He closed his eyes, smiled and let his hands go off the wheel, the terror of seconds before melting away, not caring about the wheel or the ship for a split second. He didn't care about anything, just him and her. Tears of joy fell down Maris's cheeks, rolling off her chin and falling on Quint's neck. Quint felt this and patted her hair, wrapping his arms around her. Quint didn't feel afraid about asking, or doing anything. He just needed to tell her, now or never.

He tilted his head down to her ear and whispered without hesitation,

"I love you," he breathed, he sighed, finally he had said it. He gripped her tighter, not even noticing the skyship tilting dramatically to the left. Maris tensed beneath him and pulled back to look at him with her teary eyes. She smiled and cupped his handsome face in his hands, ignoring the tears of happiness welling in his own eyes.

"I love you too Quintinius, I always have," and with that she lent up and pressed her mouth to his. She was sure he could feel her heart beating, as she could hear it pounding in her head, but she didn't care.

All they had was each other, no-one else, just them. Threading her fingers in his hair, she felt this could go on forever… until.

Thump!

"Oi! May I remind you a captain should be steering his vessel not… oh," A shrill voice faltered, Maris opened her eyes I surprise and looked, but Quint kept kissing her.

"Ignore him…" Quint mumbled. Maris giggled when Spillins, the wise ancient oakelf winked at them both, steering the skyship for them. His magical eyes reading the aura of those around him… but the colour that surrounded Quint and Maris was the most powerful and intense. A fluorescent light magenta engulfed them… love. He started humming the wedding song, but no-one cared.

Finally the couple pulled away, looking at each other.

"What a present," Maris whispered through a grin, stroking his neck, pulling out the charm she had given him. She placed the jagged edges of the stone to her own charm, making them fit to create a dazzling heart. Quint's own heart throbbed. A ray of light shone through the stone, engulfing them both in a red light.

"No one could want more than that,"

Quint smiled, "I love you," he said again, he felt he could say it forever.

This time he kissed her gently, both still engulfed in the fire-light representing their ever-lasting love for each other, love that was finally revealed after years…

Spillins the oakelf sighed, and looked ahead, beaming at the sight of the two together after all this time. He knew all along…

He could read their auras after all.