A free build for LOM. As tensions rise between world powers, two outlaws seal themselves into a life of isolation.
About this creation
Two months after the previous part...
Halfway to hell, halfway from heaven, halfway from home, halfway from where Gaius roused me from my hermitage. Once again the world had failed me. Once again, I was running away.
"Mr. Salvis, wait!" my companion called from behind me.
"What?" I demanded.
Gaius didn't answer. Instead, he spent the next few seconds catching me and his breath.
"You're just going home? After we went all that way?" he asked.
"Yes," I replied. "I went back with you because you said the world had changed, that for once there might be peace. I went to that marriage because I thought life might actually have gone back to normal for once. But what did you want? You wanted to assassinate them. You lied to me. You dragged me out of my home because you needed my help in murder! Yes, I'm going home. And don't try to take me with you again."
I turned on my heel and continued down the road to Bodus. The mountains I called home reached into the sky. The sight of them promised good things, like so many benevolent, stone-faced idols, awaiting the return of their servants.
"I don't know what you want, Mr. Salvis!" Gaius yelled after me. "We're outlaws! We exist because of chaos, because the world is such a terrible place. It's our way of life! Killing the king and queen - we had to try. We had to try to keep the violence a little longer."
I ignored him. War I could tolerate. I was a soldier once! But this - this wasn't war. This was murder. Murder, I couldn't have any part in. I felt a hand grab violently at my cloak. It was Gaius.
I sighed. I would have to talk to him, whether I liked it or not.
"Gaius, let me go home," I said. "The world's not for me. It's broken - it's falling apart!"
"Maybe for them, it is," Gaius said. "What changed your mind? The assassination attempt? That doesn't even matter anymore, Mr. Salvis! Do you remember what was happening when we left? Mythron was - it was dying, Mr. Salvis! Uprisings everywhere. Lyomere completely under rebel control. Even without us, the world will tear itself apart. Why not live in the world, while it's still here?"
"We can, Gaius," I replied. "The world might tear itself apart, but does that mean we should help? Let those kingdoms...those - those giants, fight among themselves. Let's live our own lives, out here, in these mountains, where the giants will never come, where we'll never be bothered."
"Ok, maybe we don't fight with them," Gaius said. "Let's fight against them! We can't just run, Mr. Salvis, can we? We shouldn't just run away! How is that fair to all those other people who are like us, who might need our help? Isn't the right thing better than nothing?"
Fire filled my mind's eye.
"The world can't be saved," I insisted. "Those people doing good things - it's pointless. It's all going to burn. They're just making it burn slower. They can do good things if they want. But if I'm going to live, I'm not going to live spreading false hope and illusions. I'm just as broken as the places I'm running from, Gaius. It's not just about me. If I run, I give the good people one less person to worry about."
"Mythron will fall," I continued. "Rainos will fall. Enalica will fall. Everybody falls. I don't want to be anywhere near them when that happens. You know where I want to be? I want to be up there, in those mountains. That's home for me. When the cities are falling and the crowns are melting, that's where I want to be."
"Maybe I can't run. Maybe you're right, Gaius. The world won't leave me alone. It'll come after me, no matter where and how much I run. When everything falls to the flames, I'll fall with them. But when I do, Gaius, do you know what I'll be? I'll be free from all the things that make living hell. Don't you want that too? You don't honestly want to live and die by the chaos out there, do you?"
"I don't know," he said. "I like the sound of that. Going off and being alone. Being free. But that world - can we just leave it like that? Don't we have responsibility?"
I gazed at the mountains. They were so beautiful, so stoic, so calm, as the sunlight just began to wax golden on their rocky shoulders and snowy peaks.
"Responsibility?" I repeated. "To what?"
I turned around and threw my quiver and bow into the dirt beside the road. The sword and shield I kept only for the rest of the journey home. Gaius stared at me.
"Well...well, to the good things, to the good people," he said slowly.
"I don't even trust myself to say what's good and what's bad anymore, Gaius," I said. "All the people I've killed, the things I've stolen, the laws I've broken - I just have to get out of here, some place where I can be alone, so the world's safe from me, and I'm safe from the world. Maybe you have a responsibility. But I don't."
I nodded to myself. I was satisfied with what I had just said. The demons of bloodlust and lawlessness would torment me no longer. They lay there in the dirt, together with my weapons. I had flung them from my mind. May they never return.
As I walked away, I heard something clattering on to ground. I later learned Gaius left his weapons there, too.
Well, all but one. It was a good thing he took it, too. You can't live without a bow.
We went off to the mountains, the two of us. Maybe the demons we left behind would go on to wreak havoc in someone else's mind. But at the time, all that mattered was that we had gotten rid of them from ours. It seemed there was nothing that could stop us from living our own lives.
But when you look back, you always see all the mistakes. The ones that hurt the most, the ones that terrorize us, are the ones we can see now, but didn't see back then. It was the best moment of my life, going into the mountains once again, for the last time. Or so I thought.