- Report Post
- Posted: Thu, 29 Nov 2012 05:03:26 +0000
XANTHIA'S SUDDEN outburst had caught Abel by surprise. He turned his head slightly to his young friend, whose expression had gone from one of anger and spite like the one he had held moments ago to one of... excitement? Was that really the proper word to describe what he was seeing on her face? She was grinning from ear to ear as she began to rant and rave about her new sudden outlook on this mission. Just last night, she had been worried about what this trip could entail. Now, it was like someone had flipped a switch in her brain. How could her view on the subject just switch? Just like that?
"What are they made of? We could build towers and bridges out of it!”
"Or weapons," he quickly threw in; an obvious mistake by the look Xanthia had given him.
Continuing on, she mentioned something briefly about "the Sleeper and the Writer". That was not something he was completely familiar with. He had done his studies, sure, but not nearly as much as she had. At a point, he had been tempted to tune her out to avoid the inevitable headache that was bound to hit him. The excitement and energy she was displaying was a bit too much for him to handle, especially so early in the morning. But he was unable to simply tune her out. Everything she was saying was catching his attention, and fueling the rage that was storming through his mind. What bothered him more than anything was the fact that she was suddenly agreeing with Jhandel simply because he had mentioned Talbrelon'alim. He knew she was a scholar, but was the possibility that such a mythical place actually existing really worth such a change? He didn't think so. She obviously did.
Abel's heart sank at Xanthia's next set of words to catch his attention. "We're not talking about Nostras' ascension here; this is about the ascension of the entire human race." For the second time in that short meeting, the chair shifted audibly as he refrained from rising abruptly. Was he the only one in this group that had a leveled head on his shoulders? His eyes skimmed through the group. Xanthia still stood, now shaking the knight's hand and thanking him for bringing her along. Denre sat in her...his... chair as still as she...he... could manage. He really would have to ask which one the Denre preferred being referred to as. Becky also sat in her chair, staring up at Xanthia with a blush. A blush? Abel turned his gaze back to Xanthia, whose cheeks were flushed as the Prince pulled his lips from her hand. A twinge of jealousy rose in his heart for a moment. He pushed it aside; now was not the time to let such a thing grow into more than a slight twinge.
"'Fear not the boundary between gods and men, for knowledge is the bridge that spans across it.'" Jhandel said after Xanthia had returned to her seat. The knight avoided him completely, glancing around at anyone but Abel. But it was all too obvious to him. Those words were aimed directly at him for blatantly disagreeing with the point of the mission. His fingers twitched slightly. "This concludes the material I wished to cover in this meeting at Rhakovan's Hall. If there are any more questions, please ask them now or hold them until we are beyond the city's walls."
With nothing further to ask, he rose from his seat. Jhandel began to mention about when they would depart, and what to bring. He had already figured as much, and chose to instead excuse himself the moment the knight had finished speaking. He took a polite bow to the Prince, thanking him for his presence in the meeting and for the opportunity to be on the expedition. He then turned to Jhandel and stared at him for a long moment, then nodded his head and turned to leave. The boundary between gods and men is one that is not meant to be crossed. Tread carefully, Jhandel Koven. Once crossed, you cannot ever return. The thought surprised him, bringing him to a halt for a moment with a slight jump. Where had that come from? He took a quick glance around and then continued walking so not to draw attention to him. As he approached Xanthia, he stopped by her side and lightly grasped her elbow. He then voiced, in a slightly different wording, the very thought that had just crossed his mind. "I know you're excited, Xanthia, but please... Think rationally for a moment. The span between us and the gods is not meant to be crossed. We won't be bringing about a new age; we'll be ending it. Permanently. He knew she would not agree, though, and before he would give her the chance to vocally disagree with him, he left the Hall.
Silently, he strolled down the street back to his restaurant, Quixote. All the while, he could not get Xanthia's words out of his mind. "... this is about the ascension of the entire human race." And his reaction to it still surprised him. Though they traveled every now and again, his parents were citizens of Tourmaline. They shared the same views that most others shared. They were not scholars, so to speak, but they still believed that the man was capable of one day ascending to something closer to the gods. So why were his beliefs to different? Why was he so against it? Would bridging that gap really be so bad? A sharp pain shot through his chest, like some invisible hand was clenching around his heart. Each time he asked himself that question, his heart began to ache. No. He was not wrong in his beliefs. The boundary between god and man was not meant to be erased. Abel knew in his heart and mind what this meant, then. The expedition was not to reach Talbrelon'alim, which meant that at some point during the trip, he would have to inconspicuously eliminate Jhandel Koven. And perhaps even whoever it was that was to act as their guide should Jhandel not survive. Xanthia would be making maps the whole way. If they lost their guide and Jhandel, they would have no choice but to turn back -- and her maps would suffice for the return journey.
Upon his arrival at the restaurant, Abel noticed a letter had been laid At the small box that served as a mailbox of sorts for the restaurant. He unlocked the door and entered, grabbing the letter as he did so. Glancing at the envelope, he saw his name neatly written on it. Curiosity had now struck him. Ever since he could remember, he could only recall receiving two different types of letters -- invitations to the royal banquets he cooked for and letters of gratitude for the feasts he prepared for said banquets. He missed the one last night, so there was no need for either. He grabbed a small letter opener by the front counter and sliced the envelope open. Retrieving the letter, he skimmed it briefly, then reread it in its entirety.
It was an invitation to a family picnic with Xanthia's family. His heart jumped a bit. Adelle had always forewarned him about the day he had a meal with his eventual future-wife's family. The whole man-to-man talk with her father. Foolishly, Abel thought that this was exactly what that was. For a moment, anyhow. He and Xanthia were nothing more than friends, at least as far as her parents were concerned. Right? Unless she had told them about their moment in the courtyard at the festival. And if that was the case... "Well, damn. Can't avoid that one." Abel laughed and placed the envelope on the counter and made his way back to the kitchen and office where he always kept a spare change of clothes for himself. He changed and prepared the restaurant for another new day, the whole time thinking about the picnic he would be having with Xanthia's family the next day.
- - - The Next Day - - -
Abel had dressed himself in a similar manner as he did for his work, except a bit more relaxed. Actually, looking at him, you would never have been able to tell that he worked in the kitchen day in and day out. Aside from his black trousers, he wore a white shirt woven of silk and over it, a tunic of fiery orange colour that made one think of a setting sun. Satisfied with his appearance, he left the sanctuary of his home for to the place designated in the letter. Just outside of the city gates, his eyes fell upon Xanthia and her family. Her father, Yanry Vetyz, called out a greeting and rose from where he sat to meet him.
"Counselor Vetyz, good morning to you." Abel responded as he took the Counselor's hand into his with a firm grip. Yanry patted Abel's shoulder with one hand and gestured to the picnic with the other as he led him to the Vetyz family. "I would not have missed it, Counselor." The Counselor and Abel had not gotten along quite well in the past due to Abel's clear defiance of Xanthia's father on a few occasions. He had snuck her out once to go see a play, though her family did not know about that. But there had been tension between the two ever since Abel interrupt the Counselor and encouraged Xanthia to join the Royal Cartographer's guild. Perhaps this was a time to remedy that tension.
Abel greeted Xanthia's mother, a beautiful woman from whom Xanthia had received her looks. He took her hand and placed a gentle kiss on the top of her hand, as he had always done in the past. Those brown eyes were the only difference between she had her daughter, as Xanthia owned a pair of beautiful green eyes. He turned his attention to Kai and, much like he had with the Counselor, shook his hand. With a grin, he simply said, "You've got quite a grip now, Mister Kaiyan." Then, he turned to Xanthia. A look of apology came across his face instantaneously as he recalled his clear disagreement with her at the meeting the previous day. He would not take back what he had said, but still, he wished her to know that he was sorry for the manner it happened nonetheless. As he had to her mother, he took her hand and kissed it (much as the Prince had done), but he held it to his lips for a moment longer. When he released her hand, he took a seat next to her on the blanket and allowed the family to start their picnic.