Scarblade's Pearl: Forgive and Regret - Part One
The fires of Nira's anger began dying away soon after she'd taken off. Her heartbeat and breathing slowed to normal and her mind cleared.
I... I just attacked the Revenge! she thought, eyes widening with realization.
I tore apart a ship!
And for what reason? Spite? Anger? Revenge?
"An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind..." she whispered under her breath, the words finally sinking in. She closed her eyes and shook her head despairingly.
"I really am a monster!" she muttered shakily.
Nira felt like her wings would fall off at any moment when she finally made it back to the Black Pawkeet. It was well after sunset, but Nira, oddly enough, could see lights on the deck. As she came closer, she was startled to find that Garin, Jacques, Rai, and the majority of the crew seemed to be up and staring into the sky.
They're looking for me! Even at this hour! she thought disbelievingly.
When one of the crew spotted Nira, he cried out and pointed. Then everyone watched silently as she came down for a landing.
She nearly fell forward when her feet touched the ground (her knees had buckled beneath her) but Garin and Jacques managed to catch her on both sides just in time.
"You okay?" Garin asked.
Nira half grinned at him, cursing herself silently when tears misted her eyes (despite her determination not to cry).
"My wings feel like they're about to fall off, my legs won't work properly, my eyes insist upon letting loose tears, and I just made one of the biggest mistakes of my life. Other than that, I'm good." Her voice cracked as she spoke and a few pesky tears managed to escape, yet she still managed that phony smile.
Garin and Jacques frowned at her.
"You really need some rest," said Jacques.
Nira let go a bit of bitter laughter.
"After the terrible things I've done, I'll be surprised if I sleep through the night," she declared.
Garin's frown deepened.
"I think it'd be best if you lie down for a while," he said, beginning to gently lead Nira toward Jacques' cabin. Jacques followed his lead on her other side. Nira did her best to help, but couldn't do much with her limited leg use. Rai watched from the sidelines, not sure how his Captain would react if he followed. Best if he just kept his distance.
"I'm sorry..." Garin whispered into Nira's ear. Nira chocked back a sob.
"No... I'm sorry...." she whispered back.
Nira wouldn't rest until she'd explained what had happened when she went back to the Revenge. She decided she might as well add in the fact that she'd recovered her lost memories, since that was a bit important. After that, she fell into a deep slumber, haunted by the occasional nightmare of the past. She slept for nearly twenty four hours.
When she woke, it was dark, and a full moon lit the sky. After a bit of stretching, she left the cabin behind. Outside, the sky was absolutely beautiful. Thousands of stars twinkled and shone stunningly. Nira gazed at them wonderingly for a while, before making her way up to the forecastle. There, she leaned on the rail and gazed out at the dark, glimmering water below.
Cautiously, she brought some of the water up before her and shaped it into a small sphere. It was still strange for her to have forgotten she could do such things and then suddenly remember it all.
Carefully, she began changing the sphere's shape. To any spectators, she may have looked like a potter molding clay. The details she was putting into it were so intricate, so precise, and yet she didn't really know what she was making. That is, until her hands stopped moving. Ice seemed to trickle down her spine.
Before her was a model of the Revenge in its top form. Every detail was just as it had been when she'd been on it. Just as she remembered.
With a violent shudder, Nira threw the water back the way it had come. Her heart was pounding so hard, she thought it might burst out of her chest.
Nira turned sharply at the sound of her name. Rai stood there, holding a lantern and looking concerned. Nira put a hand over her heart and sighed deeply.
"Geez, Rai! Don't sneak up on me like that!" she said scoldingly. The Kougra flinched slightly.
"Sorry, but I wasn't expecting you," he muttered.
Nira opened her mouth to reply, when suddenly a voice sounded in her head.
O-oh, hi, Nira. Man, you startled me!
Sorry, but I wasn't expecting you.
Nira blinked in confusion. The second voice had been hers, but who had the first belonged to? Hadn't she recovered all her memories?
"Nira? You okay?" Rai's voice brought Nira back to the present. She blinked slowly at him, then sighed and put a hand to her head.
"I don't know... I thought.... I thought I recovered all my memories...." she said slowly.
"But you didn't?" Rai asked quietly. Nira looked at her friend helplessly.
"Yes and no. I think... I just heard a voice. One I didn't recognize. And then I heard myself reply to it." she replied quietly, looking out at the water again. Rai came forward, placed his lantern on the deck beside him, and leaned on the rail beside Nira.
"So basically, there's still something you can't remember?" It was more of a rhetorical question, and he already knew the answer, but Rai just couldn't help asking. Nira sighed, leaning her forehead on the railing.
"That's pretty much it..." she grumbled. Just when she thought she'd gotten it all back, too.
A silence passed between them.
"Where'd you get that?" Rai asked suddenly. Nira looked at him in confusion, then followed his eyes to the necklace she wore.
"Oh... this?" she asked, fingering the blue stone pendant.
"I... I don't know...." she answered, eyes becoming clouded as she tried to remember. She winced as an image began forming in front of her eyes.
She saw a hand, gloved in black, holding her necklace out by the chain. The hand opened to drop the necklace into her open palms.
Here. Birthday present, the voice from before muttered.
And then it all faded away, leaving Nira standing before a frantic-looking Raiqil on the deck of the Black Pawkeet once more.
"It was a birthday present!" she exclaimed, startling the Kougra so much he jumped.
"The necklace?" Rai asked, still looking a bit stunned.
"Yes, the necklace! I got it on my last birthday, the day I..." Nira gulped, unable to go on. Rai understood and didn't ask her to finish.
"Are you sure it was... that birthday?" he asked uncertainly. Nira nodded slowly.
"My hands looked exactly the same as they do now. And I know I didn't get any gifts during my other birthdays on the Revenge. Except from... him...."
Rai tried to keep the conversation moving.
"Looked the same? You mean you saw them?" he asked, looking mystified. Nira shrugged.
"Not really... I got a brief memory of the moment I was given the necklace. Whoever gave it to me is the same person I can't seem to remember. His voice was the same."
The strange disappointment in Rai's voice made Nira look him in the eyes. Realizing what he'd just said, Rai's cheeks turned a soft pink and he turned away, making a show of looking at the stars.
"The sky sure is nice tonight, isn't it?" he said a little loudly, seeming a bit nervous. Nira turned in the opposite direction, also looking at the stars.
"Yeah..." she said quietly, suddenly uncomfortable.
Now an awkward silence passed between them.
"...I hope you find him," Rai said finally. Nira spun around to look at him, startled.
"I hope you find him. Or at the very least remember who he was." Rai smiled as he spoke, and Nira couldn't help smiling in return. Without warning, she threw her arms around him and hugged him tight. Rai staggered back a step from the force of it.
"If I'd had a brother, I'd have wanted him to be you!" she whispered warmly. Rai smiled, returning the hug.
"And if I'd had a sister, I wouldn't have complained about it being you," he replied.
When Nira released him, Rai went back to his cabin, saying he wanted a bit more sleep before dawn came. Nira watched him go, then looked to the sky. The stars were starting to disappear, and a tiny line of lighter sky could be seen in the far distance. She sighed, folded her arms on the rail, and leaned her head on top. Why did life always have to be so complex? Nothing could just stay simple, it seemed.
Things with Lightning had been simple. Before she went to Altador. Before she saw him again. Before he...
Nira scrunched her eyes shut. She couldn't even think it.
If only she hadn't recovered her memory. If only she'd lived with Lightning and never left the island.
But then again, would she have really wanted that? Thinking back, she could remember how frustrated she was, unable to remember anything and yet still able to do everything she once knew. No, she would never have been satisfied with such a life. But knowing was a curse of its own. If only she could go back in time and stop it. If only she could undo the terrible deed. But she couldn't, and she knew it. Nothing she did could make things right.
Her thoughts drifted to Alia, who she had met in Maraqua during her stay. Had the Kyrii recognized her at all when she'd come in? Had she dismissed it as being a trick of the eye or a strange coincidence? She must have suspected it. After all, how many pirate Shoyrus did one see in a lifetime? In Maraqua no less?
Could she apologize? But then she'd have to tell Alia who she was. And if she knew...? She wondered if Alia would hate her.
Nira couldn't bear the thought. And yet, she felt a longing in her heart, a desire to apologize so deep, she couldn't have resisted if she'd wanted to. With a sigh, her eyes drifted closed.
Life's just too complicated... she thought.
To be continued...