Gilder > Fan Stuff
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*re-reads chapter, whistles softly* Super angsty chapter. Go me! And the plot just gets more complicated as I go...

--I swear, at this rate, I'll never get used to the noise. Stupid merchants...--

Gilder fought the urge to cover his ears as he walked through the crowded bazaar of Nasrad, almost overflowing with people. Merchants were everywhere, their wares ranging from clothes to trained monkeys. Shoppers moved from stand to stand, having long ago mastered the movement patterns of the area. Gilder had as well, but that didn't mean that he really liked it.

--I infinitely prefer my base. Nobody suspects it, and no one is ever around.--

He managed to shove his way through to a less crowded area. Pausing for a moment to regain his sense of direction, he ducked down one of the dark, little-used alleys. Even after the city was rebuilt, there were still several areas that could be considered slums, and this was one of them. The buildings were close together, creating dark, narrow streets that were littered with trash, and had a faint hint of smells that one wouldn't want to identify. The whole place had an aura of sorrow.

--I could've gone the other way, but I didn't feel like being found. Luckily, the city was rebuilt with the same layout as before.--

The alleys often twisted and turned with no apparent reason, to the point where one who didn't know their way would be completely lost. The path became steadily worse as the blue rogue went farther, until it abruptly became much cleaner. The streets now resembled those of the entrance of the city, but were still fairly thin. He was now by the back entrances of some buildings in the richer areas of town.

Gilder reached for the handle of one of the doors, but hesitated, and allowed his hand to drop. He leaned against the building, staring at the door with mixed emotions.

--It seems like yesterday and forever at the same time... To think that I was at this same door nearly 22 years ago...--

My mind was numb as I watched the ship sink into the depths of the sky. Everyone that really mattered to me has perished in sinking flames, courtesy of the warships. My mind didn't register the nearby green ship, despite the activity on the deck. Tears streamed down my face as I tried to wake up, tried to convince myself that it was just a bad dream, that it had never really happened. I realized that I loved her, and now she was dead, never to come back. I'd never hear her voice, see her again.

And I didn't realize it until now.

I just stood there, thinking what a fool I was until a shot from the same Nasrean ship as before narrowly missed my ship, still causing it to rock slightly. Coming back to my senses, I gripped the wheel of the lifeboat, and locking my emotions away, I turned my ship towards the Nasr Kingdom, my only option. They may have killed Clara, but I couldn't stay here, and I couldn't go back to Valua. I refused to return to a life of dumpster diving, or being ruled by an evil bitch from hell.

I don't know how many hours I sailed for. My mind was completely devoid of all feeling. Even the frigidness of the desert night didn't bother me.

I reached Nasrad at daybreak the color of blood. It seemed like even the moons hated me. I got off the small boat at the dock, letting it sink deeper into the skies. What was the point of keeping it if I had no use for it?

I walked into the city, too exhausted to see the beauty of the buildings, the white stone harboring a pink tinge from the color of the new day. Not caring where I was going, I wandered down the alleys, the rapid deterioration of my surroundings going unnoticed. Eventually, I stumbled and fell. I had no energy to get up, no more tears to shed, and no ability to fall asleep. The horrible image was burned into my memory, and I would see it every time my eyes closed.

I was half-aware of the woman's voice over me, the arms that picked me up, and the murmur of voices as I was brought into a warm room. To tired to take it anymore, I lost consciousness.
/end flashback/

--If only I'd known that she had survived...--

Gilder grasped the handle and pushed open the door, entering the warm room beyond as a murmur of voices filled his ears.