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Daughters of Fate (Chapter 19)

And Diur did take to his task of maintaining the balance of the cosmos.  After Earoni formed the world of Geiha for her children to live on, Diur opened his claw and produced the sun and set into motion the path of Geiha about it.

 -Book of the Gods 1:10

Chapter 19 (27th of Taru-Des in the year 6198) 

“Come in,” Sheala called as a thudding knock came from her door.   Not surprised in the least by who it was, Reane entered then shut the door behind her after a quick check of the hall.  “Aren’t you supposed to still be confined to your cabin?” Sheala chided her.  

“Yeah.  And if Brentai finds out I’m out sneaking around, he’ll throw another fit.  Like he did last night when I snuck up onto the bridge.  I’ll say it again – I can’t believe I’m a prisoner on my own ship.”  

Sheala resumed combing out her hair in front of the mirror secured to the top of her dresser.  She hated the way the salt air dried out her hair out and made it brittle.  “So, what brings you down here to be with us common folk anyway?” 

“Come on Sheala, I just need someone to talk to.”  

“What’s the matter?” Sheala rolled her eyes.  “People aren’t paying enough attention to you?”  

Sitting on the corner of Sheala’s bed, there was a  sharp pain in Reane’s side.  “Actually,” she said, hiding her discomfort, “I wanted to know a couple things.  About Anthony.”  

“Anthony?  So why come to me?”  

“Because I’ve noticed that since we left Catersburg he and Brentai seem to have formed a good friendship.  Seems like they’ve almost become the best of friends.  Sheala, I’ve got to know about what’s in that man’s mind.  It’s driving me crazy.”  

“And you think that because Brentai and Anthony talk that I might have overheard something? Right?”  She stopped brushing her hair for a second.  “I might have.  But why ask?  Why not just find the information you want in my mind and take it?” 

“Look, I know you don’t like me doing that.  So, for the sake of our friendship, I’m not going to violate you in that way.  Besides, I’m just too exhausted.”  Exhausted was not an understatement.  She’d been sleeping a lot as her mind continued to recover.  “Even if I wanted to.  What with what happened in Catersburg and the other day with the archeon.  I’ve decided to shut my mind off for a while.  You know, give it a rest.  Seems that each time I’ve been using my abilities lately they take more and more out of me.  And right now I have a splitting headache.”  

“Told you.  You’ve been overexerting yourself.”  

“Being like this,” Reane stared at her hands, “makes me feel like a cripple.  That’s what it does.”  

“That must be horrible for you,” Sheala mocked her friend as she noticed a hair that could have possibly been gray.  She leaned close to the mirror to get a better look.  It was hard to tell.  It definitely seemed lighter than the others.  Not wanting to take any chances, she plucked it out by the root.  “Welcome to the real world the rest of us live in.” 

“You don’t understand.  Not being able to use my mind would be like you loosing one of your arms,” Reane tried to find an analogy that would help her friend to understand.  “All I really want to know is does he talk.  You know.  About me?”  

Turning to Reane, Sheala shook her head.  “Reane, I really don’t think he’s interested in you.” 

“What makes you say that?” the defensiveness in Reane’s voice was cutting.  

Sheala shook her head again and sighed.  “Because he never mentions you in casual conversation.  And when he does talk about you?  It’s always Captain Matir this or Captain Matir that.  Generally, at least from my experience, if a man’s interested he tries to get involved on a first name basis.”  

“I don’t know,” Reane mused.  “I think there might just be something there.”  Reane started to stare off into space.  

“You see!” Sheala exploded.  “That!”  She pointed an accusing finger. 

“What?”  

“That right there!  That forlorn, silly, look.  What is it with you?”  It was a serious question.  Sheala had seen it before.  “Every time you go after a man, he’s either someone you know nothing about or someone you know is going to hurt you in the end.”  

“Don’t get snippy with me.” Folding her arms, Reane sulked where she sat.  “I’m not like that at all.”  

“You’re not?  Let me remind you about Abek, Franco, Yewmar, Galdesh -”  

“Alright already – you’ve made your point,” Reane continued to pout as she remembered each of those men rather vividly.  Each had been exactly as Sheala had said.  Someone she knew nothing about or someone that Reane knew was not going to care for her the way she thought she cared for them.  “But this time it’s different.” 

“How?” 

“I don’t know.  It just is.” 

“You want to know the worst part about you and your relationships, Reane?”  Sheala thought it was obvious, but felt the need to point it out anyway.  “You’re a freaking psychic! You can see the future. But you’re too scared to see how much of a wreak your relationships are going to be.” 

“You know,” Reane barked back, “Sometimes even I don’t like to know everything.  Besides, what’s wrong with him?  He’s not the most attractive man I’ve ever met, but he’s good looking and has got more personality that all of those other men you named combined.”  

“He’s a mystery, Reane.” 

“So?”  

“So?” Sheala made an exasperated wave of her hand, “Who starts going gaga for a man they literally know nothing about?” 

“I wouldn’t say I know nothing about him.” 

Sheala rolled her eyes and refocused her attention on her hair and the mirror.  Another slightly lighter strand caught her attention.  She plucked that one too, wincing as it came free.  “The fact that you know he’s wanted by the Empire doesn’t count as you knowing something about him.”  

“Maybe he’ll have dinner with me if I ask?” 

“Oooo.” Sheala cupped her chin in her hands and cocked her head to one side.  Making kissy faces in the mirror, “A nice romantic table to two.  One a love-struck blonde, hard up for affection. The other a mysterious stranger with no interest in her.  What could go wrong with that scenario?”  

Reane frowned.  “Why are you being so mean?”  

“I’m not being mean.  I’m being your friend.”  She gave up on the frustrating number of off colored hairs she was finding and stared down Reane.  “And as your friend, I’m telling you to keep your distance from Anthony.  There’s a reason why the Empire is after him.  And if I had to guess, considering that General Nightwing was poking around looking for him, I’d say that he’s probably in real deep with the rebellion.”  

“Yeah, well,” Reane shrugged, “I’m not exactly on Lord Hedric’s nice list either.  Not with running to Fimmirra and back the way I do.”  

“Right.  But before he came along, the Empire didn’t give a damn about you, The Oracle, Brentai,” she paused before concluding with an emphatic, “or me.”  

“So that’s what this is all about?”  A slight, almost spasmodic smile crossed her lips.  She might not have been using her mental powers, but she had found information none-the-less. 

“What?”  

“The fact that you’re on this ship.  And we’re heading to Fimmirra.”  

Drawing in a breath to reply, Sheala paused, then ticked off her complaints on her fingers.  “Oh, not just Fimmirra.  The fact that I had to flee from my entire life, leaving behind a sizable stash that for your sake better still be there when we get back.  The fact that I hate sailing.”  She pulled up and displayed the frizzy strands of her hair for emphasis on what the salt water did to it.  “The fact that I am still not even dried out from that winter storm that caught us down in the Southern Sea. Oh, and let’s not forget that big, scaly beast that nearly sunk us!  On top of all that,” she paused to hold up another slightly less than red hair between her fingers, “I think I’m already getting gray hair!  And you think I wouldn’t be upset by all this?”  

Reane just sat there.  Dumbfounded by the last comment.  “Really?  Gray hair?  That made your list of complaints?”  

“I’m twenty!” her friend screeched.  “Twenty!  And don’t change the subject.”  

Reane stood, shook her head, and headed for the door.  But she stopped and considered Sheala’s hair for a second on her way out.  “Hmmm.”  

“What?”  

“I think you missed a few,” the Captain added with a smile. 

“What!”  Sheala turned back to her mirror.  Drawing in as close as she could, she scoured each follicle she could manage in search of any more lightening hairs that she might have missed.  

Reane laughed and left her friend to her exercise in futility. 

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