I guess I should give a warning. There are some spoilers ahead for "Fable: the Journey." Also I'm taking loosely here from the events in the novel "Edge of the World," though I haven't read it. However, it's mostly it's own beast, so you don't have to know anything about either of those to enjoy it.
Now run ahead, you little scamps, plunge your clammy, thirsty fingers into the pages before you. ;)
It was the one year anniversary of Albion's most recent brush with destruction, and as tantalizing and scandalous as the festivities were, Reaver found himself slinking away from the tangled mass of drunken bodies currently carpeting his bedroom. He had his fun for the evening, and now he felt... not tired... more like bone weary. It was a state he found himself in far to often these days.
He headed for his study, a robe wrapped around his naked form, and a chalice of wine in hand. He had half a mind to head to attic instead. Last year he spent this night on the roof with a bottle of fine brandy and an excellent view of the end of the world.
He had felt it then, building for weeks. The same sort of dread that bit into his core every time he stood before the Shadow Court. The skies had filled with darkness and fire, a storm that gathered around the Spire and tried to devour it. Then, in a blinding flash of light, the structure crumbled into the sea.
He didn't know how he felt about that night. For the first time since little Sparrow walked into his life he was powerless to control his fate. He was confident it would work itself out, but he couldn't escape the what ifs.
The door to his study swung on well oiled hinges, and the Dragonstomper .48 was out of his robe pocket in a flash. There was a figure standing in the lightless room, thumbing through one of his books.
"Don't move," he commanded. Normally he shot intruders on sight, but he was curious who had the audacity to sneak this far into his home. He flicked the lights on (Electricity. Such a wonderful invention). His eyes narrowed at the sight of a very familiar red and white cloak.
"How wonderful to see you Theresa," he smirked, not lowering his weapon. "I must say, I never thought I'd lay eyes on you again. I was certain you died in that little light show last year."
"She did," came the answer... in a very masculine voice. The Seer turned towards the Tycoon. He was young man, slight, tan skinned, and as blind as Theresa had been. He wore strange, jewel encrusted gauntlets that flickered with magic.
Reaver's smirk grew into a grin. "Apparently not before finding a delicious young replacement."
The Seer's shudder did not go unnoticed.
"You seem to have taken an interest in my book collection," he continued. He gestured at the flaking copy of The Hero of Oakvale that the Seer still held. "Funny, I thought the blind had no use for such things."
"There are many ways to see the world."
The hammer of his Dragonstomper clicked into place. "Yes, well... That book you're holding is a rare first edition, and worth a pretty penny. So I'd appreciate it if you would put it down before I kill you. Wouldn't want to risk any blood stains. They're quite devaluing."
"I'll warn you once, Reaver. If you try to shoot me, you'll be the one in pain." The Seer's voice was calm, and he placed the book back on Reaver's desk.
As the gun fired, the Seer's left arm came up. With a twang, the bullet bounced off a faint barrier and into a wall.
Before Reaver could get a second shot off, the same arm extended and a ball of light sent him crashing into a bookshelf. He landed on his feet, but found the front of his robes bunched unto a fist, and his wrist caught in a burning grip.
Reaver tried to wrench himself out of the boy's grasp. The gauntlet that had his gun arm became white hot, but he refused to drop his weapon. Gritting his teeth, he swung out with his free hand.
The Seer anticipated this. He let go of his opponent's robe and stepped back, avoiding the blow. Then moved in and shot a Light spell directly into Reaver's stomach.
That did the trick.
Reaver tasted blood as his legs gave out. He was vaguely aware of his weapon clattering to the floor and being kicked to a far corner as he sank against the wall with his arms wrapped around his midriff. The physical pain was bad enough, but that light... it left a crippling ache in his blackened soul.
"You'll find I'm not like Theresa," the Seer coldly said. "I'm not gonna be cryptic with you, and I'll use force if I must."
Reaver choked out a chuckle. "No you certainly are not. You rather remind me of this horrible old man I used to oppose in the Royal Court now and again. And that accent... you're a Dweller, are you not?"
"I am. My name is Gabriel."
He managed to laugh despite the pain it caused him. "You gain all that power, and use it to exact revenge on a business man for chopping down a few trees? Good for you."
"That's not what this is about." Gabriel crouched in front of him. "It's about the Shadows of Wraithmarsh."
The change was instant. All humor vanished from the Tycoon. He leaned forward and hissed, "What do you know of them?"
"Only what I see, and I see them coming for you. If you refuse to listen to me... to act like the Hero you are, then they'll destroy you and Albion along with you."
"They wouldn't dare!" There was genuine fear in his voice now. "We have a bargain, and I've already paid my tithe for this year."
Gabriel tilted his head to the side. "You're afraid if you resist them, they'll take your eternal youth? They'll take so much more if you don't."
There was no response. Reaver sat there, long legs stretched in front of him, breathing harsh. Finally he said, "What would you have me do?" His voice, to his ears, sounded so old.
The Seer stood and removed a deck of cards from his cloak. A quick shuffle and a draw, and he handed one to Reaver.
It was a Joker. A whip thin man, brightly dressed and juggling knives. There was a splatter of blood on the card, but on inspection it was part of the design.
"This card represents a man you met in the past. He was not born a Hero, but forged by his own hand, and without his help, you'll never complete your quest. Seek him in the Belly of the Whale."
A grey portal appeared behind the Seer. As he stepped back into it, he said, "I suggest you take the quickest means of travel you have." The portal faded and he was gone.
There was no chance of anyone finding Reaver in this rather humiliating position. His guests were either gone home or passed out, and the servants knew to keep away when they heard gunfire lest they catch a bullet themselves. With this in mind, he rested his head against the book shelf, closed his eyes, and stayed like that for nearly an hour. Finally, his Hero's blood healed him enough that he groaned shakily to his feet. Stooping in the corner to retrieve his gun, he shuffled back to his room.
There he found several bodies still laying about. He took a deep breath, resisting the urge to shoot one of them in the head. Instead he fired a shot at the ceiling. "Last call, everybody out! Be gone with you! Shoo!" He stepped aside as the startled and drunken Nobles clutched at the remnants of their clothes and ran from the room.
Now alone, he made his way to his bed and collapsed onto it. Sleep took him. Sleep that was frequently interrupted by screams from the past.
When he awoke late the next morning he was completely healed, but unrested. It took a great deal of effort to crawl out of bed and into the washroom, and he bathed and groomed himself surprisingly quickly, having become an expert at it over the years.
Back in his room, he payed no mind to the mess. The maids would take care of it. He carefully avoided stepping bare foot into anything unsavory as he entered his closet... or more accurately the large room he kept his clothes in. In a dark and undisturbed corner was a chest of drawers containing garments most people would be shocked to know he owned. Plain, common clothes fit for peasants. He sneered at them even has he made his selection.
A loose linen shirt and faded black waistcoat, simple trousers, and old leather riding boots. Even the belt that held his gun holster and sword was far below his usual standards. He completed the ensemble with a dark cloak, high collared and low hooded so that his face was barely visible.
Reaver sighed at the grubby stranger in the mirror, but if he wanted to go anywhere without being mobbed or undergoing another kidnapping attempt, he would have to hide his glorious visage.
That done, he practically ran through the mansion to his study. He collected The Hero of Oakvale, and a couple of other priceless books from the room, scratched out a quick note for his Chief of Staff, and gave one of the light fixtures on the wall a hardy yank.
With a thunk, a square section of floor lowered, and slid out of sight. Underneath it was a Cullis Gate. He stepped onto it and felt that strange questing energy flow through him, wordlessly asking, where would you like to go?
He vanished in a flash. A minute later, the floor slid back into place.
He reappeared in what used to be the Hero Queen's Sanctuary, and was now the place he kept his most valuable possessions. The main room looked a bit like his study; book lined shelves, a desk covered in clutter. There was a chest that contained such treasures as the four Dragonstompers he wasn't currently using, and a magnificent Auroran diamond he filched from the Royal Treasury. These were the things he didn't trust anyone near.
Reaver dropped the books he had under his arm on the desk next to a small collection he had liberated from the Brightwall Academy during a charity banquet. He then leaned over the modal of Albion at the center of the room.
Seek him in the Belly of the Whale, the Seer had said. Reaver also recalled the boy stating he wouldn't be cryptic. So either this self-forged Hero he was looking for truly got himself swallowed by a large sea mammal, or there was a place that went by that name. Reaver wracked his impressive brains for possible locations.
"Ah yes..." Now he remembered. There was a rather famous Albion style pub located in Aurora City that saw most of the sailors and traders passing through there. He often heard it floating in and out of conversations while inspecting his factories in Bowerstone Industrial. "Aurora it is then." He reached out and touched the tiny relief of Aurora, commanding, take me here.
The Auroran port was quiet under the mid-afternoon sun, and so no one was around to notice a dark figure materialize in a sandy corner of the bay. Reaver made note of the Cullis Gate's location and then hurried to find some shade.
"Pardon me, miss." He grabbed the first passerby, a rather lovely young woman. "I'm lookin' for the Belly of the Whale?" He spoke in a soft, low voice that was completely unlike his own.
She looked a little frightened, but smiled and said, "Of course, stranger. If you head up that way and stay to the left, you can not miss it."
He released her. "Much abliged," he said.
The city looked like it was doing well, he noted as he followed the woman's directions. He smirked to himself as he thought about the look on that Page woman's face when she realized he had he taken control of the country while the Queen was off in Samarkand... and wasn't making everyone's lives miserable. The smile faltered somewhat when he recalled attending her funeral nearly a decade ago. He only went because he knew he was the last person she wanted there.
It was annoyingly hard sometimes to keep track of who was bothering him now and not in the past.
If the cartoonish whale sign hanging outside this building was any indication, he was here. He slipped inside and found the place nearly empty. It seemed if he was to find this 'Blood Stained Joker,' here, he would have to be patient. He growled to himself. Patience was something he had no... well... patience for. If his life wasn't on the line he would have found himself a few nice, exotic whores, had some fun, gone home, and told Gabriel where he could shove his Sight. However, he couldn't even go for the whores without the risk of missing his unwitting future companion.
With the umpteenth sigh of the day, he settled into one of the tables near the back and ordered himself a bottle of wine and a room for the night.
The sun was almost down, and Reaver was nearly asleep in his goblet when a loud and familiar voice drifted into the Pub.
His eyes widened as a roguish, blond man burst through the door with a gaggle of rowdy sailors; a man who should be, if not dead, then withered with age. This was not the case. In fact the insufferable ex soldier had the audacity to look exactly the same as the last time Reaver laid eyes on him. He would worry about that later, though.
"Benjamin Finn?" he whispered to a Seer who wasn't there. "You've got to be joking."