[2740 AD; Admorse Casino]
“It looks like you’ve decided to accept my invitation,” Kirk said to Gale. “Please, feel free to sit.”
Gale took a chair at the table, as she was taking in the interior of the casino. The lighting accentuated the flashy decor, rich paintings, and the many card tables throughout. Sorin and Kirk were already seated, both of them sitting opposite of the bespectacled Gale.
“I had been skeptical at first,” she said, “But when I read your letter, I knew.”
“Great,” Kirk said. “Also, before I forget, this is my son, Sorin.”
“It’s nice to meet you,” Gale said to Sorin.
“Same to you,” Sorin replied.
Kirk smiled. “Now that we’ve got that out of the way, we can move onto business,” he said.
“You still haven’t explained anything to me,” Sorin said. “I ask you but you keep telling me ‘in due time.’ Just when is that time?”
“Sorin, that time is now,” Kirk said. “You are right. I left you and went off to fight my own battle for eighteen years.”
“What happened?” Sorin asked. “Does it have something to do with mother?”
“It’s a long story,” Kirk said. “To tell it all would take a night and a day. I will tell you this, though: you are not the only one that I have been wanting to see.”
“Does this have to do with the Swords of Eight?” Gale asked.
“The ‘Swords of Eight?’” Sorin wondered. “Why does that name sound familiar?”
“It’s because I am part of that group,” Kirk replied. “I am not kidding when I said it is a long story. Needless to say, I fought alongside these seven gifted warriors for many years.”
“Is it true that you all were once former military members?” Gale asked.
“Yes and no,” Kirk said. “I tried to join the military, but I failed to get in. My younger colleague Bellamy had the same experience, but for different reasons than mine.”
Kirk then reached into his pocket and pulled out a map. “I think you deserve to know what’s going on, my son,” Kirk said. “This is a map of Maeitakohn.”
“I’m familiar with the name,” Sorin said.
“You were there, weren’t you?” Gale asked.
Kirk nodded. “We fought there,” he replied. “For the best interests of everyone involved, we sided with the Ameci-Iiayi forces. Unfortunately, because war is a cruel hurricane, many countries were left impoverished.”
“The unrest in Maeitakohn,” Gale said. “I heard on the radio that there could be a civil war.”
“Yes, it concerns me greatly,” Kirk said. “Not only for all of the citizens of Maeita, but for me as well.”
“You? Why?” Sorin asked.
“This is the truth of the matter,” Kirk replied, “That I could not protect your mother was the biggest failure of my life. The ones that have done this evil deed, to stab my broken heart, they abducted your brother.”
“W-what!?” Sorin exclaimed as he slammed his hands on the table. “You can’t be serious!”
“I wish it was a lie,” Kirk said. “I wish I could have spent the last eighteen years with you, Rysol, and April, but this is the harsh reality we live in.”
“Then… then you came here to tell me,” Sorin said.
“Sorry I couldn’t tell you sooner,” Kirk said, “I had been caught up what with all that had been going on. I do believe I’ve found him, though.”
“Or at least I know for sure that he is in Maeitakohn,” Kirk said. “I can’t do this alone. Which is why I came to both of you.”
“Well, I can understand why Sorin may want to be involved, but why me?” Gale asked. “I’m not sure where I fit into this.”
“To be honest, I almost debated going to Isaac,” Kirk said. “Thankfully, I feel like I’ve made the right choice by going to you instead.”
“You think so?”
“I believe in your ability, Gale,” Kirk replied. “What Bellamy and I are trying to do is to prevent another war from happening. I think you’ll be very helpful to our cause.”
“If that is the case, then I would love to help,” Gale said. “I’ve always wanted to see the rest of the world, anyway.”
“That’s the spirit,” Kirk said. “So how about you, Sorin? I know this is a lot to take it all at once, but I could use your help.”
“Do you really think I can help?” Sorin asked. “Are you sure I wouldn’t be a burden to you?”
Kirk pounded his fist on the table. “I would never think that of you,” he said, “And I know that Ray would never think of you as a burden either. What you are is a fighter, someone who never gives up. What I see in you is not a burden, but a force knocking at the door ready to break it down!”
“You believe that much in me?”
“I tell no lies,” Kirk replied, “Both you and Rysol are my sons, no doubt about it. That’s why I need you now.”
“I know you say that, but I still don’t know,” Sorin said. “My life has been delivering wares, not fighting or saving the world or whatever it is you’ve been doing. I’m… I’m sorry.”
Sorin stood up and walked away from the table to leave the casino. Gale looked over at him, but Kirk shook his head.
“Are you sure that you want to let him go?” Gale asked.
“I think he needs to think this one out,” Kirk said. “I had the same feelings his age, too.”
Outside, Sorin looked up to the sky. It was a beautiful sunset, mixing together the warm sunlight with the impending nightfall that was soon to come. Sorin sighed as he leaned against the metal railing, turning his sights to the water below. He had been in the city of Admorse many times, but never really had a chance to admire the ports or the nearby ocean.
“Smith would really like this, I bet,” he said.
Sorin picked up a small stone at his feet and throw it at the water. Despite his wanting to see it skip, the stone made a big splash in the water and sank into the depths. He frowned and turned back to the casino, the exterior just as flashy as it is inside.
“Hey,” Gale said. She had just stepped out of the casino and walked up to Sorin.
“He’s still in there?” Sorin asked.
“Kirk had to make a call,” she replied. “I told him I would be out here, but I don’t know if he heard me.”
“Great,” he said. “Well, you’re welcome to look at the port with me.”
Gale blushed. “I guess that’s okay,” she said.
“Um, not like it was an invitation of anything,” Sorin said. He tried to laugh it off but turned back to the port.
“So you really haven’t met him?” Gale asked.
“My father, you mean?”
“I do wonder myself,” she said, “All these years gone and he comes to you now. I… can relate, somewhat.”
“My mother died when I was born,” she replied. “As for my father, I mean, Isaac, we really have not been on the best terms.”
“I’m sorry to hear about that,” Sorin said.
“Thanks,” Gale said. “Isaac never really accepted me, which was why I was cast to the side and raised by my cousin instead. I don’t know if he hates me for what happened to mother, or if it’s due to something else. All I know is that I hate him, too.”
“I see,” Sorin said. “I can’t begin to imagine what that’s like.”
“On one hand, I would love to be able to call Isaac my father,” she said. “I look at you and Kirk, and I know that envy is a horrible thing to possess, but I can almost see the green.”
Sorin closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “Well, I wish the best for you, if that helps,” he said.
“Thanks,” she said. “I guess… I guess I got too personal there, didn’t I? I mean, we’re strangers and I spilled my guts out to you!”
“It’s fine,” Sorin said. “You’d be surprised the things I hear as a delivery driver.”
“Although, I guess in comparison to your story, those stories might pale out,” he said, rubbing his chin.
“I suppose,” Gale said. “I’ve decided something.”
“What is that?”
“I’ve decided… that I really don’t like talking about Isaac,” Gale replied. “Let’s just forget I even brought him up, okay?”
“I agree,” Sorin said. “You and I would probably be better off, anyway.”
Gale smiled and chuckled. “Thank you,” she said. “You’re kind of cute like that, you know.”
“What do you mean?”
“Oh… um, n-no, just forget that was even said!” Gale looked around to see if anyone was around, but it was just her and Sorin. “Please, maybe talk to your father one more time? I’m sure he should be done with his phone call by now…”
“If you say so,” Sorin said. He walked away from the railing and into the casino while Gale waited outside. Once he was gone, Gale breathed a sigh of relief.
“I can’t help myself, can I?” Gale asked herself. “Fortunately, it doesn’t seem like he paid much attention to what I said.”
As the sun started to disappear into the ocean, Gale turned to look at the sky above.
“Rohan, I know you’d be proud of my decision,” Gale said. “I can only hope you’ll get Isaac to feel the same way, too.”
To be continued…