The Prisoner of Nimm
Fallon walked the long hall making his way to his quarters. It had been a very long day and the heat was a killing heat. His disguise made it a little better. It was insulated and helped to cool him sum what, but still there was no escaping the extreme of the temperature. He tried to distract his mind. His eyes caught sight of his reflection in the polished steel plate that guarded his quarters. He was a monster. Stopping, he stood staring at his alter personality. The costume was designed to make him look even more ferocious than he was, if that had even been possible, if something of more ferocity even existed. The armor he wore was made of Litrion, a feather light metal that was impenetrable. It was somehow weaved with the skins of the Krog reptile, giving him an eerie appearance and the ability to bend light and blend into the background, chameleon like, and almost unseen. It allowed him the element of surprise and it put at least fifty pounds on him and a good five inches. The mask mechanism pressed hard against his jaw bone, and today, made it ache. It was designed to move with him, be him. When he would open his mouth the mask of metal fangs would open as well showing several ridges of razor sharp fangs, dripping a sticky substance that struck fear into any that looked upon him. The voice box imbedded into the throat appendage would breathe out a threatening hiss, distort and arrange for his voice to be that of total menace. The arsenal he wore displayed for all to see…a warning. He was a predator, a deadly warrior even without the contrivance, but it was necessary to his plan to be what all would fear. He stood looking at himself without really seeing, his mind deep in the labyrinth of the situation that was opening not only to him but to the Varda of Beddia. Two of Varda held in his custody, Torrein and Taial. Soon he would play his hand and begin to turn the situation to his advantage. He began to move again, making his way inside his chamber. Boo would be there. He hoped that she would be coherent, her normal self and not in the clemme’. The day had already been difficult but to come back and have to deal with that as well was an overwhelming prospect. He passed his hand over the sensor array and the door opened. He nodded to those that stood guard over what was his. They returned a smile. It was a good sign. He stepped inside, his eyes searched for her. He heard her laugh.
“Fallon, come look.” Relief washed over him. She was herself for this moment. He pulled off the helmet that encompassed the mask. As he walked to her he disengaged the voice skew mechanism. Her voice was like music.
“Look… aren’t they beautiful?” She was sitting on the floor with her long legs folded in front of her. Her dress pulled up almost to her hips and was unceremoniously shoved into her lap. The brightly colored marbles spread out around her.
“Yes Boo, they are very beautiful. Not as beautiful as you, but they will do.” He smiled tenderly at her.
“Do they make you happy?”
“Oh yes. I love them. Thank you.” His smile held a sadness that did not escape her. In her coherent times she was focused, intelligent, deliberating. She was kind and gentle, and Fallon loved her, she knew that. She asked,
“Did I forget?” He shook his head.
“It does not matter, Boo. The only thing that matters is that you are happy.”
“I will be happy when you speak the truth. When did you give me the marbles?”
“A few months past.” Her chin tipped upwards her eyes leveled on him.
“I’m not getting better am I?” She began to collect the marbles to place them into their pouch.
“Do not put them away just yet. I will wash up and then we can have a game of it. We have not played in a while. I would like it.” She smiled up at him, her soft brown eyes sparkling.
“All that matters is that you are happy. Hurry up.” She laughed as she dumped them back out onto the richly woven carpet and began to divide them up. He walked to the antechamber and began to pull off his armor, his weapons. He was tired. His muscles, even his bones ached. His entire body felt the aftermath of his labor. But times like this were becoming more and more rare. Even his private guards were exhausted from her ‘episodes’. They knew how to deal with them, how to deal with her. Even the guards loved her. She was playful and sweet and always thinking of their well being. Even in the middle of her nightmares, her delusions, she was intent on looking out for their safety, while they guarded hers. While her mind went wild hiding from some phantom that did not exist, fighting off an attack that was not happening, running away from some creature army that was not coming, he and his guards would go through all of the motions with her as she played out some scenario that was all too real inside her mind, it was the only way to end them. He had tried to hold her still, tell her it was just in her mind a nightmare from long passed. But it wasn’t. For her it was as real as the day that it had happened. For her the illusion was as real as the air she breathed…the air…another thing real, yet unseen. The nightmares kept coming, her mind slipping further and further into the abyss. Sometimes the images inside her mind became so real they slipped out and came to life around her and those that tried to help her. When her illusion became real, they played out the scenario again and again, killing the same attackers again and again. Nothing that they had tried had helped. The Word ‘Goblei’ was not allowed to be spoken, and none were ever allowed above the third level. None were allowed to even pass by using the courtyard below the windows of their private chamber. She had begged him for a child of her own. At first he was steadfast in not allowing it, but when she was in the nursery of the Keep with the contraband children, she seemed content. She had never had an ‘episode’ in the nursery. She could play with the children for hours on end and was an excellent caregiver to them. The children loved her and seemed to have a stabilizing effect on her. He had hoped that when she conceived something would change for her. But it hadn’t. Now a child was coming to her. What would happen next would be anyone’s guess. A brief moment relief came as he pulled himself free of his masquerade and bent over the basin and poured the water, splashing it on his face hoping to bring down the temperature. He looked up to where the mirror had been hung. He saw no reflection. The mirrors had been removed when it was discovered that they were a trigger for her illusions, her delusions. Sadness washed him. If only she could see how beautiful she was maybe it would give her a moment of happiness. He smoothed the stray strands of his hair back into his long sweep of hair bound meticulously at the nape of his neck. It was the palest tan. Not blond. No yellow or gold in it, a perfect creamy pale tan color. His eyes, cobalt blue, found her sitting practicing her thumb flick, marble placed precariously on her finger. Her face fixed in concentration. She was not good at this game but she didn’t know that. She beat him every time. She said it was her ‘woman’s touch’ and she would laugh. He would act annoyed. They would do this again tonight and it would make her happy for a time. He watched her for a moment. Her hair, the same color as his, had been whacked and snipped at several different lengths. It looked as if anytime a strand got in her way she would just snip it. Not paying any attention to how it fit in with the rest. She just wanted it out of her way. He smiled and a small chuckle moved his chest. Somehow the asymmetrical hairdo seemed to suit her. There was nothing that could distract from her beauty, the sweet almost pixie like quality of her innocence. She saw him watching, her nose wrinkled, her smile widened.
“I promise I won’t beat you too badly. Who knows you might get lucky and win. Now hurry, I’m ready.” He walked to her, she watched his body move and in one fluid motion sat down on the floor in front of her. He was incredibly graceful for his large size. His body was glorious. Even through her smile, her thoughts betrayed her.
“You should find a mate. You work hard and I see you suffer, a mate would lighten this for you.”
“You are enough for me Boo, I love you.” His eyes cast to her stomach that showed its roundness. He drew his eyes away before she could see.
“I love you as well Fallon, but not the way you need to be loved. Not the way you need to have love.”
“Is it any different for you Boo? Knowing that you will never see the father of your child again? Someday you will hate me for what I must do, for what I have done.”
“Just promise me that he will be safe.”
“I will do what I can. I will care for you…and the child.”
“Promise me he will be safe, Fallon. Promise me that he will live.”
“I will promise that he will live to find his way. How he will live beyond that I cannot promise. It is out of my hands.”
“When will it happen? When will you allow them their escape?”
“Tomorrow.” Her eyes cast downward. Her hands stilled.
“Can I see him? Just once more? Can I have him? Tonight, just for tonight, before…before he is no more?” Fallon let out a deep exhale. His eyes looked to hers and held them with his.
“He would have to be drugged Boo. He cannot know. If he knew, he would come for you, no matter what the cost. He would never give up, he would never quit. You know this. It was your request that he not see you in the clemme’, that he never know what happens to you. It was for this I agreed to allow you his babe. Tomorrow he will need all of his strength, all of his mental capabilities if he is to live, if he is to be, as you have asked, safe. He will need to be strong and the drugs required to induce the state of Une-nansha Uri…Unrealized time…in one of his bloodline, is more powerful than any other drug we use on the prisoners, and it takes days to wear off. It could damage his chance of survival. I cannot give you both. You must choose.” Her voice was soft, her heart broken.
“I chose, he be safe.” She pushed the marbles to Fallon and began to pick hers up.
“I will be the Green Gideon, you can be the Red Rothman.” She dropped the marbles into the circle and picked up her steely.
“I will let you go first and I will give you ten points to start.” She smiled at him.
“Someday you will get better at playing games. Someday, you might even win.”