There was some kind of tension – an angry hand pulling at his emotions so that he felt like a puppet. Who was pulling the strings? Christel couldn’t say – he didn’t quite care. What was he feeling? Anger? No, it was more like defeat.
As he stared over the iridescent blue horizon in the loneliness and silence of the ocean, he began to figure it out. She was my only chance, he realised. The one way for me to have a normal life – she was my freedom from despair. And now she’s gone. Too afraid to stand up and fight. And who can blame her?
He was depressing himself. He felt like needed to get drunk but he had left all of the liquor with Devin when they parted. All he had was the ocean. The waves to rock him to sleep, the wind to cool him, the sound of water splashing against the hull to sing him a song, and the sky to paint him a picture.
He was alone, with nothing left to do but drown in his misery and lay in his immense pile of gold. It’s her, or the gold. You can’t have both. Damn you, Devin.
And then he heard something. “My god you’re a pitiful sight,” said a voice from the nothingness. “And when I say my god, I’m referring to myself of course.”
Christel spun around from the wheel of the boat. “Who’s there?” he said, frightened.
She placed her hand on his shoulder from behind, slowly pacing around him until he saw her face. She donned a black robe and her skin was pale. Her dark hair and eyes were coated in a shadow. “Hello Christel,” she said softly.
How did she get here? “Who are you?” he asked.
He felt like he knew the answer, and as the woman smiled at him he felt a jolt, and then he remembered. The girl from Taelliwey… she sold him a watch… “I can see why she chose you…” she had said. “Do you believe in fate, destiny...? She will call to you…”
Christel placed a hand in his pocket and drew out his watch. The sunlight glistened off the gold as he flicked it open. Ten forty-five. “You are now going to forget this until you are needed.”
His head was spinning. He remembered. “You…?” The words were stuck in his throat.
“My name is Ariana,” said the woman, “goddess of fate. The young lady you spoke to in Taelliwey was Merida, goddess of time. I believe she gave you that watch. Keep it safe, you’ll need it later on.”
Christel was so confused. “Shut up!” he cried, and after a moment of silence he continued. “Okay, so you’re the goddess of fate. What do you want?”
Ariana stepped closer to him. “As it happens I need your help, Christel, and so does Noveria.”
Christel hesitated. “Noveria? Why?”
“Garn Pallerii,” she watched Christel twitch at the sound of his name. “He is planning something, I don’t know what, but it’s big. He’ll destroy Taelliwey…”591Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡX92mob3Sdh
“Like I care about Taelliwey,” he spat.
“The Surian’s will probably be next,” Ariana continued, “and then the Rhaetaii, your own people, and then the Djann.”
Christel didn’t want to believe her. “And what would you have me do? In fact, why pick me in the first place?”
“Call it destiny,” the goddess smiled, cold and yet beautiful. “You can unite the humans and the Djann, and the orcs from the Eldar Forest. If Garn is raising an army then you can get them to fight as one against him.”591Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡOPA6z7lLLb
Christel laughed at that. “I am no leader of men, nor am I a peace maker. I am a thief. Find someone else.”
Ariana was silent for a long time, and Christel thought she was going to leave – simply vanish and leave him alone again. But she didn’t.
“I refuse to believe that all you truly care for in this world is money.” Her words were firm and harsh, and they cut through Christel like a dagger. “There is one way to truly decide where your heart lies. The choice will be up to you.”
Christel did not like where this was going.
“You’re currently holding the biggest take of your life, enough gold to last you, well, forever. But, as we speak, Hazel Kisani is on her way to being ambushed by a group of bandits.”
Christel jumped at the sound of her name. “What?” he was overcome by anger. “What have you done to Hazel!” He grabbed her by the collar.
Ariana raised her pale hands slightly. “Relax, I can see the future, remember? Well… to an extent. I have no way of knowing whether or not she lives or dies. That’s up to you.”
Christel released her coat and returned to steering the boat. “We’re almost at the island. I can unload the gold and still make it back to save her.”
Ariana’s smile was then twisted, and it was as if she were playing a game. “You won’t make it in time unless you turn around right now.”591Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡl7ESlFFmZi
“Fuck you,” Christel exclaimed. “If I leave the boat alone I’ll risk losing the treasure.”
“Well it’s a game of risk then. You can risk losing the treasure, or you can risk having Hazel die.”
Christel was stuck. He felt pale and heavy – like he was drowning. If I lose the gold then everything… my vengeance will all be for nothing. Nothing… Christel pondered the word. I think get it now – Hazel or the gold, but not both. Christel clenched his fist and punched the wheel so hard that his knuckled turned red. I’m so sorry Carley, but I’ve made my choice.
With a tear in his eye he took his wealth and emptied the gold over the side of the boat. He watched as each coin, jewel and diamond plummeted into the abyss of the sea. Then he turned the boat around, and made his way back to Eden.ns 220.127.116.11da2