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Iterum Incipi

 
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Issy
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 6:27 pm    Post subject: Iterum Incipi Reply with quote

It had been weeks since her dismissal from the Scathachian Order, and Isuelt had taken solace in an old habit or two. Namely, running away from her problems and alcohol. What money she had, she had spent on a liquid diet and being holed up in a shabby inn about three days ride from Rhydin. However, the time was coming rapidly that she’d have to seriously consider what she was going to do for funds. As a Scathachian, she’d always had room and board, as well as a literal army at her command. But now, she was without an army, without food or shelter and without a salary of any kind. During her time apart from the Scathachians, during her stay in Metro, she had worked as a hired killer (a fact that she hid well, and a job she’d rather not go back to). Isuelt’s marketable skills were not exactly something that would fit neatly onto a resumé. Through her blurry, haze-like stupor, she sulked in a booth at the tavern downstairs from her room, staring at the empty space opposite her.

What had she done?
What had become of her life?
Had she been so blind to the consequences of her actions that she was left here? Alone and broke, nursing a pre-hangover.

She’d made some pretty *** choices before, but this one just about took the cake. In her time since her exile, she’d thought a lot about her Sisters and how they were fairing on their journey. She hoped that they had made it home, back to the Island, by now. She hoped that they had an Island at all. Isuelt couldn’t help but think of how she had wronged the Scathachians and prayed to Scathach and any god who would listen, that the age-old warriors be spared from the wrath of Bhaal and his followers, from Renna.

Isuelt sighed heavily and even she could smell the whiskey on her breath. Closing her eyes, she leaned her head back against the cushioned booth and silently cursed herself and her selfishness. She was neck deep in her self-loathing and this time, she deserved it. She had gotten distracted, by a number of things, and had lost her focus. She had taken her eyes off the Scathachian Sisterhood and it had been put in danger because of it. Her brow wrinkled, her eyes still closed, she felt the slow acidic burn of guilt boring through her very soul.

“You’re not dead…you’d better not be. You haven’t paid for that bottle yet.” The sour-faced barmaid was standing over Isuelt as she opened her eyes.

“No,” she managed to utter out past her dry lips. “No…here.” She reached into the pouch at her waist and meekly slid her last few coins to the woman.

Without a thank you, the barmaid scooped up the money and turned around.

Isuelt sighed and looked down at the table, at the last tenth of whiskey left in her bottle. The only thing she had of value at present. Should she swallow her pride and go back to Rhydin? No one there knew the details of what had transpired, though eventually, she knew that it would come out. Should she return to Metro? At least there she had Scorp; if he would still have her. There was no telling who’d she’d find in his bed. And was it even her business anymore? Should she simply go back to what she did best? Killing people for money. It was a surefire way to make a living. But she had put all that behind her…hadn’t she?

This was it. This was the crossroads of her life. And she wasn’t staring in any particular direction; she was simply staring at the near-empty whiskey bottle wishing she could drown in it.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Here." Tucker muttered. He was drunk in the back of a horsedrawn buggy operated by a young man in a shoddy, yet dirty tuxedo. Tucker watched as they passed the small Inn he had his eye on. He growled. "Here Goddammit!" Percy's booming voice was heard this time by the young man who promptly stopped the buggy. The springs of the coach creaked as Tucker dismounted.

"That will be 10 silver, sir." the young coachman said with a cracking voice of a prepubescent teen.

Reaching into the pouch on his belt, Tucker grabbed a handful of coins, more than enough, and without looking, threw them in the direction of the coach driver. Some of the coins struck the young man. Some clattered to the ground. The coach driver grimaced. It was rude, but at this moment, Tucker didn't care much for pleasantries or politeness.

Perceval had spent the better part of a year trying to get right with himself. He attended counseling, lived at the Sanctuary to immerse himself in peace and tried many other healthy and cathartic methods to deal with his depression. He tried his best to find closure in past relationships and made plans to build new ones. Unfortunately he still missed Eva and Lirssa passed away.

Tucker gripped the bottle of bourbon he had liberated from the previous bar as he walked/stumbled to the Inn. His knuckles were raw. There was a cut above his eye and blood on his shirt. He had been kicked out of every bar between here and RhyDin for his behavior and so, he simply continued on to the next one. This one. The same bar that Issy sat in, sulking in her own personal depression.

Pushing open the door he shoved his way passed patrons on his way to the bar. He got a few dirty looks and was annointed with a smattering of choice names along the way. He didn't care. No one swung on him or challenged him, so he didn't care. Tucker used the bar itself to stop his drunken, forward momentum. It groaned when he made contact; maybe even moved an inch or two. Glasses and the drinks within them shuddered, some splilling over. He could hear several explatives and exclamations from patrons bellied up to the bar.

"Hey?!" from one man "What the ****!?" from another and angry looks from the rest.

Tucker stared down the length of the bar at all of them. His eyes were half open. His brow was furrowed and his forehead bore those angry lines of annoyance. Everyone looked back at their drinks. Perceval sneered in contempt as he turned to look at the sour-faced barmaid whom he now had the attention of.

"Well?" she queried with a scowl. "What do ya want?"

Percy looked at her a moment, then at the bottle in his hand in deep consideration. Those lines in his forehead went away for a moment. The furrowed brow relented. He looked back to her.

"Peace."

She glowered back at him even moreso than before as she motioned to all the patrons he had disturbed upon his entrance. "Well, you cause a lot of ****ing commotion for someone who wants peace!" She looked him up and down and then turned away, tending to the drink orders of others.

Tucker turned, leaned his back against the bar and scanned the room with squinted eyes. He had almost perused the entire establishment when he finally saw her. Isuelt. His eyes widened, then narrowed again as he stared at her. 'If anyone can do it, she can.' Percy thought to himself. He's seen Issy fight before; enraged and in blood mode. He just had to give her the right kind of persuasion.

Gripping his bourbon bottle, Tucker started quickly in her direction. He wove through the crowd and as he did so, snachted a dagger from the sheath of a drunk man talking loudly to his friends. As soon as he reached the booth where Issy sat, he threw the dagger onto the table in front of her and leaned in, punching her squarely in side of the face.

Percy straightened, dropping his arms to his sides. His gaze rose to the ceiling of the shabby inn as he tilted his head back and waited.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2018 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was really something of a race to see what hit the floor first: Isuelt, the table or the bottle. The strike from Perceval, had it been more on-target, would have shattered her orbit. Or if it had been a little more off-target, would have broken her nose. Needless to say, Isuelt never saw it coming; she had been sitting with closed eyes, contemplating her next move in life. Perceval’s sledge hammer of a hit upended her, her bottle and the table. She was now laying on the floor, breathing through the blood in her mouth, watching the only thing she had of value in the world spill the rest of its meager contents onto the floor. As her vision came back into focus, she saw a dagger sticking out of the table that had ended up on its side.

She felt like she was moving in sluggish slow motion, but it was only moments before Isuelt pushed herself to her knees and nicked the dagger from its shallow wooden prison. Still panting, blood running now from her nose and lip, she turned her attention to the form nearest to her. Isuelt blinked and blinked again, trying to get her eyes in sync. There was a man there, short, or perhaps kneeling. She really didn’t ask questions. She knew she’d been hit and there was no telling where or when the next punch would come. She got to her feet, it didn’t matter that she was off-balance, and kicked the man squarely in the chest with all of her drunken weight behind her boot. Isuelt skidded herself, slipping on what she was sure was her spilled whiskey and came to a staggering halt. She blinked again, finally her eyes beginning to obey her. Hoisting the dagger in her hand she poised it to slash at the man’s throat, pausing to see if he had any last words.

Isuelt spit to the side, blood spattering against the floor, as she tried to catch her breath. Suddenly, her vision cleared as her drunken stupor gave way to the call of battle. And she saw him. Laying on the floor, then grimacing as he sat up from her kick. He had blood on his face and clothes, though she couldn’t see a way that that was from her. His gray hair, disheveled and half-covering his cheek, looked like it hadn’t been washed in days. Isuelt’s eyes widened slowly as her panting slowly subsided. She knew him. Perceval. Perceval Tucker. She hadn’t seen him in longer than she cared to remember. There was no way it was him that had struck her. Right?

The shouting voices around them came into focus just as Isuelt’s vision had, overlapping and growing closer.

“Get the **** out of here!”
“…punch a woman…”
“Drunken slobs!”

Isuelt waved a hand to the small mob coming to presumably remove Perceval, or perhaps the both of them, from the tavern. “S’all right,” Isuelt’s voice was hoarse from disuse and hollow from the stain of whiskey. “We’re going…” It seemed to stay the immediate threat, but not the grumblings, as the trio of men backed away but kept a watchful eye to make sure that the pair followed through on Isuelt’s promise. And Isuelt fully intended on leaving; after all, there was nothing here for her any longer, the whiskey was all but sopped up by the floor boards. “Per- P- Percy?” Isuelt spit blood again as she found her voice. “What the ****?”
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Percy laid there on his back for a moment staring up at the ceiling. Issy's stiff boot to the chest had robbed his lungs of air. As the rafters of the inn finally came back into focus he was able to take in his first breath. It felt like his lungs had caved in, as if he'd been kicked in the chest by a clydesdale. Percy put his hand on his ribs expecting to feel the shape of a bootprint there, but after finally realizing what exactly had happened he began quietly cursing his failed plan. Until, that is, when he heard Issy's question of him. He slowly sat up, not quite standing yet, and looked Issy in the eye with quizzical annoyance.

"What the ****, me!?" He responsed, jabbing a thick finger into his chest, wincing, and then pointing it at Issy. "What the ****, you!?"

Tucker slowly rolled to his feet, eyeing Issy the whole time.

"What the hell happend to you!?" His arms outstretched and palms up, gesturing with a shocked expression on his face. "Where the hell is the Isuelt I know that would have slit the throat of ANY man that dare lay a hand on her, huh!?" he bellowed at her.

Finally he noticed the group of men leering at the both of them with looks of disgust and anger on their faces. Tucker leered back long enough for an awkward silence to befall the entire room. He looked like hell; dark circles under squinting eyes...dried blood and dirt on his face and clothing. Suddenly he began walking toward them; the floorboards creaking under his massive frame. Faces turned from anger and disgust to surprise and then fear as he came closer. However, just prior to reaching them, he stopped. Everyone's eyes were locked on Percy while he kept his fixed on the group of men. The room was dead quiet. Someone in the distance swallowed loudly, gulping in fright. Percy finally kneeled slowly and retrieved his unbroken bottle of bourbon from the floor. He looked it over, then casually dusted it off.

Turning his back on them, Percy looked to Issy as he started for the door, motioning with a nod for her to follow.

"Let's get the hell out of here. I don't like the company."
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Isuelt took a quick look back over her shoulder before following Perceval outside. The three enforcers seemed satisfied enough; they were hanging back while the sour-faced barmaid was barking orders to some young boy about cleaning up the mess of glass, booze and furniture. Isuelt sniffed and wiped at her bloody nose with the back of her hand. It was a surreal moment for her; testament to how far she'd fallen in a short amount of time. Vices will do that to a person. Their seductive charms have a way of winding themselves around you; and before you realize it, you're drowning in the very pit you thought you'd already climbed out of.

With a deep breath she turned and headed through the door and out into the street, looking around for the soldier. She spit once more, hoping the last of the blood was either expelled then or swallowed. The meager light of the overcast day was still enough of an onslaught on her eyes to make focusing a real priority. One hand shaded her vision as she struggled to keep both eyes open for any significant amount of time. Perceval's words were echoing in her ears as she finally spotted him and took a few stagger steps in his direction. Thankfully, however, her legs righted themselves and she was able to at least bluff her way towards sobriety.

It was true, Perceval had taken refuge at the Sanctuary for a time, but he had kept mostly to himself and was frankly scarce. Not that Isuelt was looking for him, she had a full plate herself during the last year. But she was mostly unaware of the majority of his demons. Not because she didn't care, but because she didn't ask. Secrets were valuable, and everyone was entitled to their fair share. No one would ever need to explain that to her.

"What's with you? Did I piss you off? I mean, what the ****, Percy? Huh?" She came to a slightly wavering stop and rested her hands on her hips. "Why would you think I would kill you? Because you punched me? Look, I have no idea what sort of beef you think you have with me, but one thing is for sure, I'm not going to kill a friend when they pull off a bonehead move like that." She waited for a moment before she continued. It really was liberating to find her voice again, "Look, you go off and kill a bunch of innocent people, hurt someone I care about, or do **** like that, and I'll drag your ass back to a precinct, but I'm not going to just kill." I don't do that anymore, was what would naturally follow, but she kept that to herself. "Besides," she opted for an alternative narrative, "I'm on vacation."

She drew a long, deep breath just then and let her now refocused gaze try its hand at looking down the street. She guessed it was late afternoon. Finally glancing back to Perceval, it was clear that he was in distress. He looked a mess and he wasn't really making sense. Of course, she wasn't necessarily the best judge of that right now. In fact, she wasn't the Judge of anything any longer. Still, she opted to put her own problems aside and concentrate on her friend. He obviously was in bad shape. Taking a few cautious steps closer, her voice was lowered tremendously to a gentler tone, "What's going on with you, Perce? Hm? You okay?"
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Okay?" He looked to Issy, "What the hell does that even mean?" He gazed at her with a look of perplexed anger. "When the hell were you or I ever 'Okay', Issy?"

"Our lives are the same, you and I." He motioned back and forth between the two of them. "We fight. We survive. We regret. We fill with self-doubt and then we go out and do it again.....We do it again hoping to try to fix the things we did wrong the first time....and then the time after that....and on and on and on!" Tucker paused to brush the hair out of his face. "Where does it end!?" He was yelling now; not necessarily at her, but out of frustration and lack of care about who was listening. "When do we finally look at what we've wrought and be satisfied!?"

People passing in the street began to give the two of them a wide berth as the yelling became louder. Some paused to listen, but then hurriedly decided to just keep moving along.

Tucker paused, taking a deep breath to calm himself. "You and I have been fighting all our lives for things that we thought were right. We fight wars...We fight battles....We fight in the streets and alleys of RhyDin...We fight for those who cannot fight for themselves! And those who cannot fight for themselves need us here!" He pointed a thick finger at the ground at this feet. "Because they cannot stomach the idea of doing the things we do." Again, he motioned to Issy and himself. "They cannot bear the thought of drawing blood in the name of hope. They cannot stomach the notion of killing in order to save lives. And by god, they refuse to ever put themselves into a position to have to see the realities of this world and all of the crimson venom that you and I know it's covered in! And yet we do it!" Percy's voice quieted. "Day after day; without pause. Because it's all we know."

Percy looked down at his hands; stained with earth and blood, clutching a bottle of bourbon. He stared a long time before looking back to her.

"It takes a toll." he nodded as he spoke the words quietly, as if embarrassed to say so. "People aren't meant to see the things we see. The horrible, unjust face of death....destruction.... The face of reality. They see it maybe once....maybe twice in their lives. But we see it too often. We've seen it so many times that it's there when we close our eyes at night." Percy closed his own eyes as he spoke. A tear forced its way out and rolled quickly down his cheek. "I'd gladly gouge out my own eyes if it meant I never have to see the things I've seen again."

"Okay? you ask?" He shook his head. "I don't know what that means." He shrugged his shoulders, looking to her with sadness crossing his brows. "Do you know what that means?"
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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2018 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What could she say? Nothing. She stood by silently, if not partially hung over more from his words than the alcohol. There wasn't a single argument that Isuelt could make to stand up against Perceval's tirade. On the contrary, Isuelt agreed with every single syllable that he uttered. He was right. All of it.

Isuelt stared at the ground for some time. In fact, it was the gaping chasm of silence that signaled to her that he had finished speaking. Perceval's words were echoing in her head over and over again. How their lives took a toll on them, how the very real fear of never knowing a "normal life" haunted them, how

Perhaps she couldn't amend or correct what Perceval had said, but the least she could do was add to it. She cleared her throat, but couldn't look him in the face just yet. "You're right, you know. This life is a shambles of sanity." She nodded her dark head, a few fallen tendrils of hair swaying in the breeze. "It's a wonder that any of us, any soldier, finds peace without death." She paused. "But they do find it." She looked up at him, "Wonder or not." Isuelt gauged his reaction before she found his silence as a permission to continue. She treaded lightly, both for his sake and her own.

"What we do...is...not necessarily asked of us. It's....it is volunteered. We chose this life. Chose to 'protect', chose to 'help.' Not all soldiers do, but I know that I did. And it's...it's a self sacrifice. It's supposed to be noble. It's supposed to be altruist. It's supposed to be a higher calling. And you're right...the things we've seen, moreover the things we've done..." She swallowed and glanced away. "In the name of peace, in the name of righteousness..." Isuelt licked at her lips, blood still slowly trickling from her nose. She was just as disgusted by the things that she'd done as Perceval was. Moreover, there were times when she was even more disgusted that she wasn't as upset by her actions as she thought she should have been. It was always a precarious balance between feeling too much and feeling too little. It was why she was an alcoholic; it helped her cope immensely and it was the lesser of the two evils to deal with.

Isuelt's thoughts belied her for a moment, but as she drew a breath to continue, there was a small miracle. A miracle in the most desolate of places, because isn't that always where miracles occur? She had a moment of clarity, a moment of enlightenment. In the midst of personal chaos, a shard of light opened her eyes and she did little more than open her mouth and let the rest of the words simply tumble out. "But that's not why we do it..." She gingerly wiped at her nose with the back of her hand to clear away the blood, spitting out one last time the coppery taste in her mouth. "We just deal with the stress, the headaches, the heartaches, the mental breakdowns, the self-disgust because we serve a higher purpose. And no, it's not for everyone. It takes a special type of person to handle the chaos, the utter *** and misery that we deal with on an everyday basis, that comes with the job. We do it to make a difference in this world. We're pushed to our very limits, to the point of losing our minds. And for what? No social life, no peace, no youth left in us. But you know, we find a way to keep going, to laugh about it, to vent about it. Because that's what we do. And god damn it, there's very few of us that can do what we do. But they thank the heavens for us every night, whether they know it or not. We do this for fate, for destiny. Ours, theirs. We don't belong to ourselves. We belong to the world. We belong to history. And while you can get stuck down in the muck, you can also rise above it. Use it. We are set on this earth by the gods themselves to mold their plans into actions. And there is no one, except another soldier, who understands this like we do. And it doesn't matter. Because we understand it. We are instruments of the gods and each one of us is meant to do exactly what we have done. There is no shame, there is no blame. There is only destiny."

She was almost out of breath by the time she finished speaking; she had felt her very soul moved by the syllables that fell from her lips, almost as if she was listening to someone else say them. But as soon as she heard those words, she knew them to be true deep in her heart. Tears came to her eyes as she looked to Perceval; she felt the strangest sensation overtake her. One of cleansing, one of redemption, one of baptism.

Her voice quieted to almost a whisper as she spoke through her tears, "This is a greatness. We're miracles. Miracles that we survive, that we walk, that we carry on. And I will never, ever question the gods who know my survival is the key to their will. You are a *** miracle. And don't you ever forget it!"
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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2018 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

“Miracles!? You and I are ****ing Miracles!?”

Tucker's eyes were wide in disbelief as he responded to Isuelt. He stormed over to her; Isuelt holding her ground as he did.

“Is that what you tell yourself when you look at your reflection in the mirror every morning!? That you're a 'Miracle'!?”

The word came out this time as more of a degradation than any sort of compliment. Tucker looked her squarely in the eyes as he continued his drunken tirade.

“You and I have slaughtered HUNDREDS of men and women on the battlefield! We pass through their battalions like butchers! Cleaving them to pieces in the name of 'Righteousness'!? We burn cities to the ground in the name of 'Greatness and Destiny'!?”

Perceval had taken a few steps back by now. He was still clutching the bottle of bourbon in one hand as he pointed a finger deftly at Issy.

“You can try to delude yourself into believing that you are simply the 'instrument' of the Gods; that the Gods tell us what to do and we obey because we have no other recourse! That the Gods choose to send us on a so called 'Mission of Peace'! But you can't take the blame off of yourself, Issy. Nor can you cleanse yourself of the shame we have brought on ourselves!”

Tucker spun around with his back to her. He paused a moment to catch his breath and his thoughts before turning back around and stepping up close to her once more.

“Have you ever listened, Isuelt? Listened to the families of the men and women we left slain and mutilated on the battlefield?"

He paused; his eyes darting back and forth between Isuelt's. She did the right thing and kept silent, allowing him to continue.

"I have! For years I have! When they get word that their loved ones will never return!? Have you listened to their children wailing out in sorrow because they know they will never hold them again!!? Children whose lives WE'VE destroyed in the name of 'Peace and Righteousness'!! Do you believe for one MOMENT that those families look at us as ****ing MIRACLES!!!? WE...!” he motioned wildly between the two of them. “...are the harbingers of devastation and ruin!!...because it's the only thing we do well!!”

As Tucker spoke, the sun broke through the clouds, sending light into his eyes and diverting his attention. He squinted, peering back until he finally took the bourbon bottle and threw it as hard as he could at the sun, yelling in anger as he did. He had thrown so hard that it left him off balance and he staggered, finally falling to his knees at the base of a large puddle of mud and water. Tucker's own reflection in muddy water caught his eye. He stared for a moment until suddenly his rage returned. He began to pound at his image in the water with his fists relentlessly, sending bursts of muddy water into his face and chest. He slammed his fists into the muck over and over until he was exhausted; out of breath, on his knees, most of his body, hair and face drenched in filth. Tucker looked at his mud-covered hands, then again at his reflection in the puddle as it calmed. He could see the strands of hair dripping with dirt, his face darkened by the grime and then again at his soiled hands. The hands he can never make clean.

Percy finally looked back to her and spoke quietly.

“This is where we belong. No one has chose our path for us. We chose. And when we sow nothing but malice and death in our lives, then we have nothing more to reap but pain and solitude. There is no getting around that, Issy.”


Last edited by Perceval Tucker on Tue May 15, 2018 1:05 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2018 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Isuelt stood silently, taking all of his tirade in, watching him beat his reflection into a muddy pulp. He was right, she knew it. All of it. But she had lived her life trying to clean it up, trying to put a different spin on it, trying to make it flowery. But the truth is the truth and no amount of perfume can make it smell any better. It was the only way she knew to go on with her life, however. She had tried to end her life twice in the past, and each time someone had intervened. She took it as a sign. A sign to push on. To push on in the only why she knew how.

But Perceval was right. Isuelt was deluding herself; her sanity depended on it. Her life depended on it.

"It's all I have..." She said quietly, a shadow now behind her as she watched him on his knees in the street in the middle of a mud puddle. She didn't go to stop him, or help him up. He needed to do what he needed to do. She understood that. "My delusions." She continued with tears in her eyes and an edge to her voice. "I literally have nothing now." Her tongue was on the verge of confession. "I am nothing." She let her emotions run down her cheeks unchecked. Perceval's razored words had cut them free. She lost her voice, she lost her will, she lost herself in that moment. Every emotion, every thought that she'd been fighting back with self-banishment, with alcohol, with delusion, came flooding to her. Her life as she knew it was over. She was no longer a Scathachian, she had no home, no money, nothing. She was dead already. "I'm....finished."

She watched Perceval for a few moments, a man she so admired, so respected. A fellow soldier who was trying desperately to feel his way around the torn and jagged world that people like them helped create. She knew his pain, all of it. And it would never go away, it could only be pushed down deeply inside until it would not be suppressed any longer and surged to the surface like a buoy to ravage the mind and slaughter the spirit.

"You're right, Perceval. I'll drop the illusion. I'll not blow sunshine up your ass. You're absolutely correct. And we're miserable. And we're already dead. Physically dying is the only thing left for us. But even that...isn't enough. People like us don't get peace from death. We don't get that escape. The bill always comes due." She stared at him, hating herself for the truth that was tumbling from her lips. "And there's nothing we can do about it. We made those choices, as you say, and we're tortured for them. We're haunted for them. We are punished for doing the lesser of two evils. After all, it's still an evil we are doing, isn't it?" Her disgust was so palpable that she could feel the bile rising in her throat. The overwhelming urge to vomit provided her a pause and she only continued after it passed. "Isn't it?"

In that moment she hated Perceval for finding her. She hated him for the truth he made her acknowledge. She hated him for forcing her to look at herself....really look at herself and admit that she had reached the bottom of the bell jar. Still he was clarity in the storm. He was truth. He was here, going through the same thing. Both of them had been literally and figuratively brought to their knees. Two life-long warriors who were left as shells of themselves because they followed orders and did their jobs, they were left in the muddy street with nothing.

Isuelt walked over to Perceval and offered him her hand. "We deserve a lot of *** for doing the things we've done. But you don't deserve for everyone to see you here in the muck in the street. We'll figure this out. We'll find a way to breathe. We have to." She nodded to Perceval, knowing that he needed saving as much as she did. Maybe if they looked together they would find a rock to cling to in the storm.
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