[2730 AD; a hotel in Rezar, Iiayi]
Kirk collapsed into the chair by Eva, who had been sitting there for the past hour. Today the chase had resulted yet again in failure, as Kirk was no closer to finding his son Rysol. He clutched the handle of his sword as the majestic leader of the Swords of Eight, Alan Berry, walked up to him. With his long gray hair and cape, Alan had the look of a leader as well as the experience to show for it.
“I know it’s been hurting you,” Alan said. “I cannot begin to imagine the pain that is going on within your soul.”
“Thank you, Alan,” Kirk said.
“But you can’t keep doing this,” Alan continued. “At some point you will have to let him go. It’s painful, but it is the truth.”
“I can’t do that,” Kirk replied.
“Kirk, even you have to realize when it’s a lost cause,” Eva said. She brushed away the hair over her uncovered right eye.
“Not you too,” Kirk said. “Come on, Eva, you fought alongside me. I would think you of all people would know about fighting for someone.”
“I… I know that!” Eva replied.
“Enough,” Alan said. “What is important now is tonight’s meeting. This one is important, so I hope you two will join us.”
Alan left Kirk and Eva by themselves. Kirk sighed as reclined into the chair, wondering if perhaps it all has been for nothing. After his wife was killed eight years ago, Kirk joined the Swords in order to find those that did it and find Rysol. The killer had to have taken him with them, after all. The following war that ensued, though, repurposed the Swords of Eight into a movement for peace.
“Kirk, if it makes you feel better, I think he’s alive too,” Eva said.
“Thank you,” he said. “What do you think Alan wants to talk about in the meeting?”
“I’m not sure,” she replied. “The war’s over… I mean, all that’s left is to help all the people affected.”
“That’s true,” Kirk said as he got out of the chair. “I think I’m going to get some fresh air. Do you want to come?”
“I think I’ll stay,” Eva said. “Just don’t spend all night out there, okay?”
“I’m not going to be for too long,” he said.
He stepped outside of the hotel, the once busy street during the day slowing down to a quiet current in the evening. Kirk was wondering if it was worth it to go forward into the night after Rysol, but he knew he had no chance of finding him in the dark.
“I just can’t give up,” he said. “Not when I know he’s alive!”
Later that night, Kirk walked into the meeting room where the rest of the group was waiting. He took a seat next to Eva, where they looked over to Alan.
“It’s good that you decided to join us, Kirk,” Alan said. He cleared his throat and took a drink of water. “Anyway, I suppose that you all want to know why Lowell, Tre, and I called you here.”
“Yes, well, it’s a simple thing,” Lowell Page said. In comparison to Alan, Lowell was bald and was a couple of inches taller. “Namely, we are disbanding the group, effective immediately.”
“What!?” Kirk asked.
“Are you serious!?” Gamil Gomel exclaimed, slamming his fist down on the table. He had thick eyebrows and a goatee. “After all the work we’ve done?”
“I know how you’re feeling, Gamil,” Tre Hendricks said. His long, greying hair was even longer than Alan’s, and he had a woolly beard to match. “This is a decision that we have to make, though.”
“Tre is correct,” Alan said, “This disbandment is not because we can’t help people, but because of certain schisms going on within.”
“Are you talking about last meeting?” Rado Liffe asked. The burly swordsman with blond hair looked over at Gamil. “Never in life have I seen a debate go down to thrown punches.”
“It was only one,” Gamil said. “Sorry about that, Sos.”
“You don’t need to apologize,” Sosimo Hudde, the third youngest of the group, said. He flipped his wavy hair back. “It was nothing compared to what I faced back in the Iiayikohnian military.”
“No, no, Rado,” Alan said, “This has been something we three have been thinking about ever since the end of the war.”
“It’s simple: we cannot continue to move in this way,” Lowell said. “Given how things have come to an end, there is no real reason to continue.”
“I don’t believe that!” Kirk said. “Is this how things end for us?”
“Kirk, please, I would suggest you let me explain it,” Alan said, “We fight for peace. That peace has been achieved, or at least I would hope so.”
“I can understand your concern,” Tre said, “Believe you me, the forty years I’ve fought felt like they would never come to an end, but it’s been a year.”
“A full year, no conflict!” Rado said. “To think such a thing would happen used to be a dream!”
“I just think it’s reckless to assume things will remain like this,” Kirk said, “Unless we continue to work, this peace isn’t going to last.”
“I never said I’d quit,” Alan said.
“What are you going to do about it, then?” Kirk asked.
“My plan is to become prime minister of this country,” Alan replied. “I know I will be putting my storied past behind me, but I know that the world will be better off for it.”
“That sounds good to me!” Sosimo said with a grin. “You’ve always been the most diplomatic of us all. Sorry Kirk!”
“Is that it?” Kirk asked.
“Look, what more do you want!?” Lowell asked. “You see, this is why we keep fucking fighting. You never know when to stop asking questions!”
“As long as there are still concerns, I will still ask questions,” Kirk said. “That much is certain.”
“Gah… You always do this…”
“Lowell, please, I think he has every right to be concerned,” Alan said. “Just save it for another time.”
“There isn’t going to be another time!” Eva said as she stood up. “This is the last meeting, is it not? What good do we do if we are not a team?”
“Do not think that because we’re not a team anymore means you cannot keep working,” Tre said. “I know our time is coming to an end, but I think all of you have the potential to keep doing good.”
“That’s a good idea,” Alan said. “With that, I think this meeting is over. Best of luck to each and every one of you.”
Alan walked out of the room, with Lowell and Tre following behind him. Kirk looked over to Eva as both of them knew that there was no changing Alan’s mind. Gamil bolted up to his feet and walked over to Rado, grabbing him by the collar.
“What do you think you are doing?” Rado said. Despite being larger than Gamil, the other man was taken aback by how Gamil had him.
“You are willing to give up?” Gamil asked. “After what we’ve been through?”
“Gamil, bud, you should calm down,” Sosimo said.
“I’m not the only one who thinks this!” Gamil exclaimed. “To see Kirk there, fighting not for himself but for those who cannot! That is truly an amazing sight!”
“I didn’t think it was that amazing,” Kirk said, “I just spoke my mind.”
Gamil let Rado go. “You keep fighting,” Gamil said. “Keep fighting for the world. That’s all I ask of you.”
Kirk nodded. “Thank you,” he said. “I… I’m going to go now…”
Kirk left the room and went up to his hotel room. He fell onto the bed as he contemplated whether or not he should continue this fight he knew he could not win. He thought about both Rysol and Sorin and if he would really be able to reunite his two children again. It was a thought he’d have to continue later as Eva entered his room.
“Are you okay?” Eva asked.
“I am,” he replied. “I just have to refocus the goal.”
“Don’t wear yourself out,” she said. “Please just consider that.”
“I’ll try not to, Eva,” Kirk said. “And I hope that you do the same concerning Belkley.”
“You don’t have to worry about him,” she replied. “He can take care of himself at this point.”
“How is he doing?”
“He’s doing well,” Eva said. “He picked up a job at the local armory. They were really impressed with his aptitude for organization.”
“That’s good,” Kirk said. “I remember when he was just a little child. Seems like he’s really taken to you, hasn’t he?”
“After what happened to him, he deserves to feel good,” she said. “It’s the least I can offer him.”
“Yeah,” he said. “I wonder how Sorin is doing…”
“You said he was in good hands, correct?”
“I did, but I just wish I could go back.”
“You could,” she said.
Kirk looked outside of the window. Night had already arrived, and he knew that he’d have to sleep soon. “I know,” he said. “Part of me wonders if it’s worth continuing this chase. I mean, I haven’t seen Rysol in many years. Would he recognize me?”
“Kirk… I’m sure he’d recognize you,” Eva said, putting her hand on his shoulder.
“Maybe,” Kirk said. The last time Kirk had seen Rysol was when Rysol was six. Kirk had been working all day, and after work he had come home to find a massacre within his home. To see his wife April, the mother of their children, stabbed to death had him to his knees. He checked every room in the house, finding the year old Sorin hidden in the closet of his bedroom, but the same could not be said of his other son Rysol. He was nowhere to be found.
“It feels like failure every day,” Kirk said. “These boys carry on April and myself. I can’t just let it go.”
“I understand,” Eva said. She took a seat next to him. “I guess if something were to happen to Belkley, I’d feel the same way.”
“He has someone to look up to,” Kirk said. “I only want my sons feel the same way.”
“I know,” she said. “It’s getting late, isn’t it?”
“Are you leaving?”
“Actually, I was wondering if I could stay,” she said. “Just… I don’t want you to feel alone.”
“Of course not!” Eva said. “Maybe you need to just… relax for tonight?”
“I know… I know,” she said. “I’ve been alone, too. No one deserves that.”
“Then let’s share the loneliness.”
Kirk turned out the lights and slipped into the bed, Eva joining along with him. The night felt close as Kirk and Eva felt a little less lonely, which was a rare moment that neither wanted to end.
To be continued…