Worst Things First
April 23, 2012
The loss of Ethan hit us both hard. Hannah cried into the night. Her sobbing could be easily heard as I paced in the living room of the luxurious hotel room one of the people we rescued had provided us.
She came out of the bedroom with tears streaming down her face. “Oh Jack, I just can’t believe Ethan’s gone.”
“I know, despite how annoying the little turd tended to be, he sure grew on you after a while.” I took her in my arms. “We have all gone through a lot. In the end, we became a good team.”
“And now I feel like its over,” she cried.
“I know honey, but the rest of us have to go on.” She hugged me like she was trying to give me the Heimlich and then said, “It’s not just Ethan. Jack, there’s something else making me sad. It’s tearing me apart.”
I stiffened. “What else is going on?”
“Oh Jack, it’s awful.”
I grabbed her by the shoulders and moved her back so we could see each other’s eyes. “Hannah, tell me. What’s going on?”
“It’s the Darcarre, Jack I…”
“What did they do to you? Did you curse you or taint you somehow? I swear I’ll kill every last one of those pukes if that’s what it takes to-”
“No, no Jack. It isn’t like that. I…well, you know how the Splinter Darcarre have declared war against their own kind and the rest of the Dark Alliance?”
“Yes, but what does this have to do with-”
She placed a delicate hand over my mouth. “The powers, our powers, want to take advantage of this. They feel that if we can form an agreement of sorts with these Splinter Darcarre and maybe a few other Xemmoni races, like the Dyevils, it will not only keep them from attacking us when we need our strength to most, but with their help we could have at least a chance of winning or at least holding our own against the Darken Empire.”
“They want us to work with Xemmoni?” I felt stunned. “Who wants this?”
“You’d probably rather not know. But since I’ve already been working with the Darcarre, they figured I would be a natural choice to try to stay involved and fortify this alliance.”
“But what about Vile Darken? Isn’t destroying him the most important thing?”
“Yes, it could be, but this potential forging of an agreement between the Stalwarts and certain Xemmoni stretches across multiple worlds. In the end, this could be the one thing that saves us.” She looked up at me. “I’m being promoted and giving more responsibly than I ever imagined possible. I should be happy, but I feel so sad.”
“I still can’t believe this. I have to fight Darken. Just when I need more help than I ever have, these ‘powers’ want to take away my only remaining ally?”
She grew more serious and regained some of her composure. “Jack, this is your quest. I think we both now that you started this alone and in the end you’re going to head into this final chapter alone.”
Icy fingers crawled up my spine and Hannah hugged me again as I shivered. Despite having her in my arms, I don’t think there was ever a time in my life that I felt more alone.