to go back.
Standing on the deck of his ship, Gilder took a quick break to look around at the new supplies. Seeing that everything was there, he went back to his quarters, knowing that his crew would put it all away.
Gilder's cabin was decorated like the rest of the ship (crimson, dark brown and gold) with one major difference. There were no pictures of half-naked ladies anywhere. Instead, the walls had various maps and paintings from all over Arcadia. Sighing tiredly, Gilder lay down on the bed, staring at a small crack in the ceiling
--I should get rid of those pictures on the bridge... Hell, the only reasons that I keep them around for are to keep my reputation, and because my crew likes them. Maybe I should show everyone who I really am... No. I just... I couldn't. They wouldn't understand, they wouldn't believe me, and I wouldn't be able to stand that. Especially after that accident, when my love died forever... No, better to live in the present and keep this womanizer facade. It's the only way I'll survive.--
Sighing again, Gilder started to think about what had possibly been the very beginning of the whole mess.
Two years had passed since the spiked whip incident. It took me seven months to heal fully, even with the help of the healing spells. Still, my back is criss-crossed with white scars. I would still get beaten occasionally, but only with a leather whip.
I was asleep in my quarters when I heard a quiet knock on my door. I got up and opened it, and my mouth dropped in shock. Clara was standing there with her father, who had been stationed near Nasrad for the past two years or so. It turned out that Clara had been sending and receiving letters the whole time, and had asked for her and myself to be taken elsewhere. This was her father's first chance to do so.
I followed them out of the house and to the dock of the Valuan warship, not bothering to grab anything on the way, as I knew that I would be provided with better clothes once aboard. Clara and I were given clothes like those of the rich boys as disguises, and we put them on. We couldn't afford getting discovered.
The engines started, and we moved out of the dock, making it past the Grand Fortress gate with ease. Once out of sight from Sailor's Isle, Clara went to the bridge to watch everything that was going on there. I went to one of the unused bedrooms and lay down on the bed, promptly falling asleep.
I don't know exactly what time it was when it happened.
Sometime during the night, I was woken when the ship shook violently. We were anchored near the southeast corner of Valua. I tried to go to the deck to see what was going on, but roaring flames blocked my path. Giving up on that, I turned and entered one of the lifeboat bays, selecting a ship at random and steering it away from the smoldering metal.
When far enough away, I turned the small boat around. Nasrean ships were firing at the admiral's, which was now slowly sinking into the lower reaches of the sky. I was numb until a hand of ice with a message gripped my heart.
Where were Clara and her father?
--Ah, damn... I need something to cheer me up...--
A thought came to him, and he smacked himself in the forehead lightly.
--Why didn't I think of that earlier? Not only will it cheer me up, but she actually understands what I've been through!--
A smile on his face again, Gilder left the ship, headed for a certain house in Nasrad.