Chapter Seven

on November 6, 2009 in Evermist

© 2009, Patrick Hester.  All Rights Reserved

Evermist: Chapter Seven

Elias stood before the mirror adjusting his shirt beneath his coat, hand straying to the freshly stitched patch on his shoulder; a bullseye with a small rifle laid across it and the word ‘Marksman’ in white just beneath. He couldn’t help but grin.

“Okay, okay – we all know you got the Marksman’s patch!” Narut chided him as he entered their room still wrapped in his towel and fresh from the shower. “No need to rub it in!”

Elias grinned. “I’m not! I’m just… I didn’t actually think it would happen is all.”

“Right,” Narut said as he started dressing. “That gets you an extra half silver a month, right? I should have practiced more!”

Elias laughed nervously. The pay increase had been a surprise, the average Militiaman making a silver and a half per month where he’d make a solid two. He almost shook his head at that. His allowance at home had been a silver and a half a week for the last three years.

“Three weeks left before… You seeing Millie tonight?”

“Yeah…” Elias answered. The last two weeks he’d spent every moment of leave with Millie just talking, something he realized he’d never actually done a lot of with Anise. There was a way to get onto the roof of the The Widow’s Apron, through a little window in the attic, and they would lay a blanket out, chew on a warm loaf of bread and stare up at the stars, musing about where they were all supposed to have come from thousands of years ago.

Behind him, Narut was drying his hair and eyeing his own clothing. “Hot water! I still can’t get over it.”

“No hot water in your father’s house?”

“No water period. We have a well. I had to bring bucket after bucket in for my mother every day. Now my little brother does it, I guess. We always washed up on the stones behind the kitchen. Never had hot water unless we boiled it.”

Elias shook his head. Everyday he learned of something else he took for granted that did not exist outside the city of Valles. Quickly making his goodbyes to Narut, he headed out of their cramped room and into the hall.

Elias looked around as Sergent Fesh called to him. He didn’t want to be late for his date but he knew he couldn’t just ignore the older man. Before he could finish snapping to, Fesh waved him off and smiled.

“Walk with me, Eli,” he said quietly. Eli fell into step beside his sergent, who took a right through a quick hallway towards the open area and the main gates to the city. Eli smiled, remembering his arrival at those gates only a few weeks earlier. The hallway came out on the far north end and Fesh took a quick left to lead them under the Commander’s office above, where he paused and looked Eli up and down.

“Date night?” he asked with a smile. Eli wondered if everyone knew about he and Millie. Blushing he tried to explain himself, but Fesh just laughed lightly, something he’d never seen the other do before.

“I’ve known that girl a long time, Eli,” Fesh said. “Her father served as a fort guard for two terms. Not many serve two terms, not with Evermist looming over their heads as a possibility.”

There was a noise above them, and Fesh guided Eli beneath the stairs leading up to the Commanders office. Confused, Eli started to ask what was going on, but Fesh warned him with a look. Someone, a pair of someone’s, were coming down the stairs. Eli waited with Fesh, still confused. He could hear two men talking and his heart sank with recognition of one. Fesh met his eye and nodded. When the men on the stairs were half way to the gate, Fesh stepped out from the shadow of the stairs and motioned for Eli to follow.

“You know him?” Fesh asked.

Eli stared after the two men, nodding.

“My father,” he said.

“Ah,” Fesh sighed. “You have siblings, then?”

“A younger brother and sister, yes. Why?”

Fesh rubbed a rough hand across his jawline. “He made a hefty donation to the Militia – not unusual for a wealthy man. Typically they do it to protect a child from having to go to Evermist, but-“

“He paid to make sure I go to Evermist,” Eli finished for him. Fesh didn’t have to nod, didn’t have to acknowledge him. He knew it was the truth. His father did not want him to come back.

“Be careful, Eli,” Fesh said in a hushed voice. “I like you. You’re the type could be something one day – maybe an officer, save some lives. But a man like that,” he waved after Eli’s father. “He wants what he wants and he’ll do whatever it takes to get it,” Fesh looked him in the eye. “And he doesn’t want you coming back.”

Eli nodded. Fesh lead him back to where they met and Eli wandered for a bit before meeting Millie. He knew that they never got along, but what had he done to make his father hate him so much?

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