Vacation

I reclined softly in a cushioned deck chair, gazing out at white foam waves lapping at a white sand beach, and all that I could think of was how little I wanted to be there.

“Stop feeling so sorry for yourself.”  Kya pushed a full wine glass into my hand and took her seat next to me.  “You just got sent to the Isle free of charge.  How could even you find a problem with that?”

“You already said why.  I was sent here.”  I drank deeply, but the wine tasted chalky, so I dumped the rest off of the deck.  “Captain Rikards thought that I would get in the way of his investigation, so he sent me away.”

Kya stepped from the wooden planks of the deck and kicked sand over the purple stain of my wine, restoring the beach to its pristine shape.  She moved effortlessly, like the tide.  How irritating.

“You would have gotten in the way, Mott, and you know it.”  She glided back to her chair and lounged on her side, facing me.  “The case was too personal.  They’re investigating your father’s murder, for god’s sake.”

The problem was, I knew she was right—I knew that if I found the man who killed my father I would beat him until his bones were a fine powder.  I knew that I would be nothing but a liability if had stayed in Haven and I hunted down that murderous sorcerer.  But I also knew that every part of me wanted to do just that.  I stared in frustration at the clenched fists in my lap.

Kya reached out with her soft hands and touched my chin, gently raising my gaze from my hands and directing it towards the waves.  “I know you don’t want to be here, but try to enjoy it.  Revenge won’t bring your—”

I leaped to my feet in the middle of her sentence, drawing a yelp of surprise.  There was something on the water, something hurtling across the waves at breakneck speed.  A human, too far away to make out a face, but I could recognize that blood-red cloak anywhere.

I had last seen it disappearing around the corner of the dark alley where my father had died.

I summoned all of my power and focused it on the small figure on the ocean, my mind utterly consumed with the desire to wipe it from existence.  An inhuman yell tore itself from my throat, and with it came a beam of burning light that raced across the beach, carving furrows in the sand as it raced towards my target.

The beam hit the wave that he was riding on and combusted, spewing forth a salty spray and flinging the other sorcerer through the air.  He landed with a sharp crack on the beach.

As I moved forward with murder in my mind, I felt hands clutch at me.  Kya.  I raged against her grasp, fighting towards my enemy.

Another pair of hands joined hers.

Who dared to try to keep me from my revenge?  I didn’t even think about why anyone else would be on this secluded beach, I just surged forward with straining muscle and gnashing teeth.

A hand left my arm and appeared in front of my face.  It was rough and scarred—definitely not Kya’s

“Sleep, Mott.”

An inky darkness blossomed from the palm and consumed my vision.

***

I awoke in a familiar metal chair at a familiar oaken desk.  My vision was swimming, but the ripples soon subsided into a calm pool.

I sat across from the stern, weathered face of Captain Rikard.  The man’s gaze was fiercely unapologetic.

“Bait!” I yelled at him.  “I was Bait?”

He calmly wiped my spittle from his brow.  “And damn good bait, too.”  An infuriating grin spread across his face.  “You complained to nearly everyone in Haven about your little vacation.  He would’ve had trouble not finding you.”

“And where is he now?”

“Locked up, and as far away from your crazy ass as possible.”  Rickard leaned in over my desk, losing his self-satisfied smirk.  “My advice to you: move on.  Revenge won’t fix anything—hell, it won’t even make you feel better.”  He fingered the gold wedding bands on his left hand.  I had never really noticed them before, but they were clearly a pair.  “Take it from someone who knows.”

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