the shadows are calling us out IP: 126.96.36.199 Posted on May 20, 2018 at 05:32:17 PM by Gawain
"And I'm not really wanted there anymore." If he hadn't been so still and deep in thought he'd have missed it. The alien voice brushed quietly against the back of his mind, so innocuous that had they sat more in-line with his personal musings, he might have mistaken them for his own thoughts. He had not expected the ring to work, or for Mallos to notice. He certainly hadn't expected a reply, let alone such an honest one. Gawain thought of Tristan, sitting alone in his tent with the weight of the world on his shoulders and a bottle cradled in his lap. Perhaps it wasn't being wanted that mattered, perhaps it was being needed. At least, that was what he kept telling himself.
The Spaniard appeared silently, barely disturbing the roses. His spoken voice was a smooth as his thoughts. Gawain sat up slowly, drawing his knees up to his chin. He shuffled a little to his left to make space between himself and the rose bush's thorns, and his eyes strayed back to his bedroom window. There was a light in the room next to it which had not been there before. He wondered who sat on the other side of the glass, ignorant to the spies looking up at them from outside.
"I'm sorry if I disturbed you," Gawain said, rubbing at the back of his neck. He slipped the prayer ring from his finger and held it out. "I didn't think it would do anything. I'm not used to prayers being answered quite so directly."
As he said it, his gaze strayed from one part of the castle to the other and settled on the tall stained-glass windows of Arthur's chapel. His hand twitched subconsciously to clutch at the cross which lay against his sternum, hidden beneath his shirt. In the long lonely silences of his adolescence, when he had grown tired of crying out for aid and rescue, his father's faith had been the only comfort left to him.
"This place is so strange," Gawain mused, "I had expected to come back and find everything as I remembered it. Some places are so changed I could be on a planet I've never visited before. And then I'll stumble across something that is so achingly familiar I feel like a child again." He sighed, running his hands through his hair in frustration.
Self-consciousness stirred. He'd dragged Mallos into a conversation he might be unwilling to have. When Gawain hadn't heard from him in the weeks since his arrival in Shaman, he'd assumed his grandfather didn't want anything further to do with him, his duty to Arthur discharged. He had been content to let it lie, having no wish to force his company on anyone who did not want it. If he hadn't had so many question... It was too late now.
"I'm sorry," he said again, shaking his head. "I haven't felt settled since I got here. I missed every inch of this place, and dreamed of coming back to it for so long. This..." he gestured vaguely at the rose garden with a wry expression. "This was never what I had in mind. I feel like I've opened a book at the final chapter after only reading the first page, and I have no idea which way is up." Gawain sighed again and stared off into the night.
"We've all lost our anchor, haven't we?" he ventured, finally. He saw Arthur's face staring back at him out of the night, heard the bubbling of his guardian's brook. His memories of Avalon faded with each passing day. "I was so far away, but just knowing he was out there..."
He trailed off into silence, biting down hard on his lower lip.