Aaron released the airship’s wheel, and turned around, taking several steps to over to the railing. Clasping his hands he rested his forearms on the railing and leaned there, looking back at the tall spires of the flying city in the far off distance as it retreated into the clouds on the horizon.
The sun was just starting to set behind it and illuminated the towers with an orange glow making them sparkle, as if they had been set ablaze by the sun.
He hadn’t looked back after he’d left Mai standing there on the dock, until now that is. He had never hoped to meet up with anyone from his past, especially not her. And he had no regrets leaving her standing there.
The city vanished into the clouds and was gone from sight.
Turning from the railing, Aaron checked the course of the ship and then headed down onto the main deck. He checked over the rigging holding the sails under control as they billowed in the wind, driving the ship forward.
The FTL drive in the belly of the ship only countered the effects of gravity, lightening the ship enough for it to float into the air, but it was the sails that did all the work keeping the ship moving. It was amazing really, how the ancient past-time of plying the seas of a planet in sailing ships had been brought back to life with new technology.
Aaron frowned and came around the mast of the ship, leaning back against it and sliding down into a sitting position at it’s base. Reaching into his coat pocket, he pulled out the paper-wrapped packaged that Mai had given him.
It lay heavy in his hands as he stared at it mournfully. Why had she given it back to him. It was the one part of his past that he had wanted to get rid of the most. He’d thrown it away back then. But somehow it had found it’s way back to him.
Gripping the paper tightly, he unwrapped it enough to look at the weapon that lay underneath. The pistol was of the finest make, better than most weapon smith’s throughout the galaxy could produce. It was a thick, hefty gun, made with a straight sleek design. The glossy black metal that it was made from reflected the light perfectly. The grip and balance of the weapon had been crafted solely for his hand alone, no one else’s.
He hesitated, staring down at it. The other thing about this weapon was that it was special. It called out to him with persuasions of strength, speed, power… and death. It had been meant to serve a special purpose and he had been meant to be it’s wielder.
Reaching slowly for the hilt, he gripped the weapon.
Suddenly a surge of rage driven power coursed through his veins and his mind went blank. His pupils dilated and his muscles coiled.
Mindlessly he pulled the weapon from the rest of the paper and gripped it tightly, standing in one motion. His eyes narrowed and his face set into stone mask with a permanent scowl, he took a firing stance and stretched out his arm toward the bow of the ship. His eyes sighted along the weapon and he aimed it.
As if possessed by a demon, his finger tightened on the trigger.
“Kill,” came the whisper, just as if someone had been standing right beside him, breathing the word in his ear.
Sucking in a breath, Aaron’s eyes went wide and he released his grip on the weapon. It clattered to the deck as he slumped back against the mast, sliding back into a sitting position, his muscles relaxing.
His breathing ragged, he looked to where the weapon lay on the scratched and worn wood of the decking.
The feeling… the power… it was just the same as he remembered. There was only one word to describe the weapon with, cursed.
Leaning forward, he slid the paper around the gun as quickly as possible. His hand shook as wrapped the paper back around the heavy pistol, hiding it from sight and then stowing it back in his coat pocket.
Voices flooded his head and his whole body shook. “Assassin! Death bringer! Black hearted monster! Maniac! Demon!”
Closing his eyes, he drove the voices and the memories from his head. Taking a deep breath, he let it out into a long sigh. This was exactly what he’d been trying to avoid; his past coming back to him.
Slowly, he stood up. It was time for something to drink. And that something had to be really, really strong.
Heading around the mast, he took the stairs leading into the hold of the ship and into his cabin. Prying open the cupboard he kept his stash in, he pulled out a bottle of the strongest drink he could find.
Popping the cork, he took a long draught from it and then headed back up on deck.
Standing at the bow of the ship, he raised the bottle to the horizon in front of him.
“To the open sky,” he said softly. “And to a past forgotten.” Tipping the bottle to back, he took a sip and then proceeded to down the rest.
The sky was clear, his course was set and there were no storms on the forecast. It would be smooth sailing through the night.