The candles lit the room with an ethereal glow as Locke descended down the rickety steps toward the resting place of the one he loved more than anything in the world. His eyes were downcast toward the floor, his sheer will keeping his from bursting into tears at the sight of his fiancée laying in that bed, unmoving. A hand was at his shoulder to aid in steadying the man behind him.
Locke’s steps slowed as he waited for the old man to catch up, praying to anything above that his emotions wouldn’t get the better of him. A man wasn’t supposed to cry over something that happened everyday. Well… the whole concept of suspended animation didn’t happen everyday but death certainly did.
“You’re certain this will work?” he whispered, still wondering if his words would wake the girl who previously died in his arms.
“Yes, yes, of course it will work!” the old man behind chirped as his footsteps finally found solid ground. “I’ve done this lots of times before so don’t worry about it my son!”
There was something in the man’s words that made Locke wonder if this man had lost his wits during the war. Although, as he admitted to himself, he never really paid attention to the man before the loss of something this precious had brought Locke to the man. The treasure hunter couldn’t even come to bear to referring to Rachel in the past tense as he was still coming to terms with his own grief. “You’re certain?” he questioned dubiously.
“For the last time, my boy, yes, it will work.” the man replied in a somberness that he’d never previously displayed. “My herbs have never failed me in the past.”
All this witchcraft had Locke’s mind swirling in paranoia as his feet slowly began moving forward toward the bed, surrounded by candles. The scent of smoking herbs was overpowering to his senses as he moved forward as best he could, his knees wanting to buckle beneath him. He knew that this had to be done, that he’d find a way to bring her back to him. It was time to say it, he’d never leave the nearly destroyed village if he didn’t do so.
“Rachel…” he began, his voice breaking halfway through the saying of her name. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry that I couldn’t save you on that day. That you had… lost your memories because I’m an idiot of a thief. I failed you in more ways than words could ever express and I’ll never be able to make that up to you. So please, just give me time and I’ll find a way to bring you back.”
The last part was choked with so much emotion that the old man didn’t have the words to describe the passion behind those words being spoken by the youth.
“This is goodbye for now,” he muttered to the girl, taking her hand in his and pressing a kiss to the cold skin before putting it back. “But I’ll come back to you. I’ll find a way to bring you back into this world even if it takes my last dying breath to do so!”
His hands dropped to his sides as he fell to knees against the bed, knocking over several candles in the process, their flames being extinguished from the wax pouring over them. He was lost to the world at this moment as the overbearing emotion of losing this girl finally brought forth the tears he’d been suppressing all this time. He let them flow freely even as the fumes of the herbs clouded his mind, colours dancing in front of his eyes.
Visions of Rachel running to him ran past his gaze in his state of euphoria. Locke’s head snapped up at this point, staring at the lifeless body that slept peacefully before him. A cry came from his throat before he was leaping to his feet, staring around the room in confusion. “Where am I…? What’s going on?”
The old man must’ve been immune to the drugs as he stepped aside adeptly. He was obviously used to such reactions to his practices as Locke ran past him, hurrying up the stairs, doors slamming behind him before an oath was roared outside. Then nothing, bringing a sigh from the old man who trudged up the stairs to check up on the young man. There were some who just couldn’t handle grief as he came to the front, discovering his patron slumped against the side of his house, breathing heavily.
“You’d best come back inside and rest young man. It will do you a world of good.” As would the sleeping herbs he’d slip into the tea he’d offer the boy inside.
The cool air outside burned his lung as a hand was extended to him from the old man.
“I’ll make you some tea, come on back inside.”
“I can’t!” he snapped stubbornly standing up of his free will. “I can’t go back down there…”
“We don’t have to go back downstairs. Your lady love isn’t going anywhere boy. Some tea will calm you.”
A few minutes passed in silence before Locke finally made his way back inside, slumping down to the bed as the old man, pulled out a mug, placing it on the table. The sleeping herbs were conveniently placed in the bottom of the mug as the man poured in the tea above it. “A hot cup of tea will help you think clearer.”
As the mug was presented to him, Locke’s hands cupped the mug, blowing on it before taking a sip. The flavour of the tea was different with a sweet compared to usually bitter blend used by the locals. The old man had been right though; the tea did calm him down but also brought about a constantly increasing need for sleep as the herbs used to brew the tea began to work their magic.
“I’m suddenly tired… do you mind…?”
“No my boy, go ahead.”
He smiled gratefully just before the mug clattered to the floor, cracking it in half as the treasure hunter slumped to the bed, asleep before his head hit the pillow.