Edmund looked less in control than he generally did. He was on the Boardwalk near Wutai, heading back to Truce in a hurry. His hair was messed up, a few usually neatly groomed strands falling into his face. Sand could be seen on the bottom of his coat and his pant legs. He was looking straight ahead, only occasionally glancing down at the contents of his hand: A singular waterlogged book.
Kimen pushed a couple of coins towards the lady at one of the stalls and picked up the cup on lemonade he had just paid for. A couple of rides a game and a drink were all the child could afford at the moment, so he had not planned on spending a lot of time here. In fact Kimen was planning on going to the beach next and seeing if he could find a few sea shells in the sand before returning to the castle. It seemed like the best way to spend the rest of his day. He turned away from the stall and took a few big gulps of his drink, not quite noticing Edmunds approach.
Edmund pushed as many people as he could out of his way, but it was no surprised that eventually he fell by tripping over someone elseís foot. The clanging of metal against wood was heard as his tarnished sword fell out of its sheath. Those nearby could hear him muttering incomprehensibly to himself as he gathered his belongings. The book had already had a page torn. "'tis in the past, and so am I..." Edmund looked up at the sky. "But what art thou, who hast this fortune on me..." he stood up, and began walking again, still muttering, as if speaking to a higher being. "If thou art Noble, I do forgive thee..."
The commotion in the crowd caught Kimen's attention and she looked up from her drink, noticing Edmund picking up the last of his belongings and pulling himself up to his feet. Forgetting it was in her hand, she almost dropped her drink. "Mr. Edmund?" She watched him as he started off again, saying things that she didn't quite hear. She had been trying to find the man for a while now, but she wasn't expecting to find him here. "W-wait!" She took off after him, cradling her drink in one arm as she squeezed passed people, apologizing and excusing herself as she made her way past each of them towards Edmund, hoping to not lose sight of him in the crowd. It wasn't too much longer before the child caught up to him and took hold of his sleeve, "Mr. Edmund!"
Edmund was pulled back to reality. He looked Kimen directly in their eyes, a look of fear in Edmund's. The young earl had no clue what to tell the child. Shall he let him know the truth? Shall he tell Kimen exactly how he had done everything? "Kimen," He said, trying to get his thoughts together. He looked down in his hands, and presented the book to child. "He would have wanted you to have this."
Kimen's eyes met with Edmunds and by seeing his expression alone the child began to worry that something bad had happened. But before Kimen could ask, Edmund presented an old tarnished book to him. The child took it, looking down at the damaged book and slowly coming to realize what Edmund meant, "Did... Did this belong to Mr. Kent?"
Edmund nodded. "It wasn't Kent's first," he said, calming down. He wiped a small tear that was beginning to form from his eye, and stood back up straight. "If you don't mind, if you want to talk, I'd like to head home. I have a few things that I want to take care of. And sort out." He looked at the book. "And dry off. I have a spell that shouldn't damage it."
"You miss Mr. Kent too, don't you?" Kimen frowned at seeing the man wipe tears from his eyes. It must have been hard on Mr. Edmund too, but she was too upset by the news that she didn't realize just how hard. They knew each other from their own world and they seemed to be becoming closer friends as a result of being stranded here. Losing Kent must have made Edmund feel very alone. "I do want to talk to you, Mr. Edmund. If itís not too much trouble." Kimen nodded.
Again, Edmund nodded at the child. "Very well, you." He began walking, trying to think of the question Kimen asked, occasionally glancing back at Kimen, partly to make sure that he was still following alright, and partly to keep an eye on the book. It felt like the final undeserved betrayal against his brother, giving it away, but it was also a favor to the late Sir Kent. "I regret his loss," he said, finally answering.
Kimen followed behind Edmund, holding his drink in one arm and the waterlogged book in the other. Poor Mr. Edmund, mourning alone all this time and Kimen had no idea. It must had hit him hard. The child lifted his head as the man spoke and nodded slowly. "It was really hard for Mr. Kent to adjust to this world considering what the one he came from was like. I am not surprised he went off to fight a demon once he heard there was one, but he wasn't a bad guy." After all, despite the child practicing magic he had given Kimen a home and took on the role of a father figure for him. "I am sure if you tried your best to stop him Mr. Edmund."
Edmund swallowed heavily at Kimen's comment in attempt to remove the lump from his throat. He was silent most of the rest of the walk, finally getting to a smaller house in Truce after about a half hour of walking. He jiggled the door. Locked. He waved his hand, jiggled it again. Still locked. "Hold on a minute. I've done this before." Edmund took a deep breath, and with both his hands motioned across the doorknob until he heard a click. He opened the door to let in Kimen. It shouldn't have been that hard
Kimen waited quietly as Edmund struggled to unlock the door wondering if maybe she should offer to come back later, then again the man seemed to be a bit upset. He could probably use the company. There was a lot Kimen wanted to talk about; about Kent's death and where he died primarily. But there was another thing Kimen wanted to request of the man especially with...things that happened recently. Once the door was opened, Kimen stepped inside.
The sorcerer motioned to a table before disappearing into a room. Edmund's house, whilst on the small side, was beautifully decorated with ornate curtains and rugs, and a landscape painting on a wall, generally where a family portrait would be. Edmund lacked possession of one for obvious reasons. When Edmund returned, he had a small journal in his hands, and was dressed without his coat and wearing pants that weren't convered in sand. He motioned for the book. "Just for a moment, please."
Kimen set passed the book over to Edmund remembering that he mentioned something about drying the book with a spell. "I am really glad I ran into you. I wanted to talk to you about Mr. Kent's death and a few other things." Kimen said, looking uncomfortably down at the floor. Likely it was going to be a hard thing for Edmund to talk about and the child felt a pang of guilt just for bringing it up.
Edmund opened up the journal. Unknown to Kimen, it in fact was blank. Edmund seemed much calmer as he focused on the spell. Edmund picked up the waterlogged holy text and as he focused, fresh, clear water seemed to simply fall out of it. When there was no more dripping, Edmund opened the book to make sure that most of the damage wasn't too bad, waved his hand over the last pages in which his brother wrote in, and as the log entries of Edgar disappeared, they reappeared in Edmund's blank journal.
The mage smiled, and handed the book back to Kimen. "It should be safe to flip through the pages without tearing them now." Edmund stood up and went to the kitchen, coming back with two glasses of simple ice water, and a towel for the moisture that had fallen on the floor during the spell. Some magic wasn't perfect. When he sat back down, he turned to you once more. "I think we all need to talk. What did you want to ask?"
Kimen took the book then looked around the room, taking a seat too when Edmund returned and sat down. "Well, I wanted to ask you what happened to Mr. Kent again. I was pretty upset when you told me, Mr. Edmund. And if possible I would like to visit the place where he died. And I want to talk about Kent. And... And I want to know more about him. I-I want to know what the Kent you knew was like, back in your world." Kimen directed her gaze to her drink, "Mr. Kent... not long before he died told
someone that he was my father. It made me very happy, Mr. Edmund. Because it meant that I had family here. And even though I practiced magic, something he didn't agree with, he still accepted me for who I was. That... That was something my family back home couldn't do. I just... I just want to know everything I can about Mr. Kent because I admired him. He was my family and he was important to me. I want to know everything I can about him. Not just his death, but his life too! Is... that weird Mr. Edmund?" Kimen looked up from his drink, waiting for an answer.
Edmund collected his thoughts. "I'm a bastard," he said, plain and simply. "My father cast me away because he didn't want his church to know that he had sinned. So, yes, I do think that's weird. But I can somewhat see it. I just never had anyone that close to me in my life." He turned his head at the landscape portrait. "Sir Kent was known for being honest above all else. He was honest to himself. But, he was also an idealist."
Edmund continued his story, taking drinks from his water whenever his throat felt dry. "I can tell you he was a strong warrior, and that he trained hard, and that in my occasional visits to the castle where he trained he was either sharpening his blades for a quest or he had already left. He was very adventurous. In my final visit, however, he was exiled for hunting a foe without permission from the church. I later learned why the church had been so angry was the fact that he had not only killed the demon, he had informed no one, save for a small squire of his friend Sir Albany, and that upon achieving his kill he had defiled its corpse by skinning its head. I suppose you know more of Kent after that." Edmund turned back towards you. "I'm sorry. I was not truly a knight by title. It was a... I suppose you'd call it a nickname. I did not truly know him well."
"Any idea why he went that far? I am sure there had to be a reason Kent decided to take such actions." Kimen sipped at her drink, letting all the information she could sink in and commit it to memory. "I'm sorry to hear about the way your father treated you, Mr. Edmund. You are a good person and you didn't deserve that."
"No. He was right. He had the right to hate me. I did everything that bastards were suspected of doing anyway." Edmund let a bit of fire dance between his fingertips like a coin. "Kent told you, did he not? To learn magic, your only option was to learn it from demons." Edmund sighed and addressed your first question. "Like I said, he was an idealist. He wanted to not only to destroy evil, but obliterate it. He was sending a message that their time was over."
"I disagree. No one should have the right to hate anyone. We all have reasons for making the choices that we do in life. Sometimes they are wise and sometimes they are foolish but they seemed like the best route for you to take when you made your decisions. You took the best route you thought you could, Mr. Edmund." Kimen then smiled lightly, "Funny though how both of our families kind of rejected us, yet Mr. Kent didn't. Mr. Kent knew of your magic and probably of how you acquired it but he still came to visit you quite often. And you two became friends, didn't you? He might have hated evil, but he didn't hate us.Ē
But, he would have. If he knew. If he knew how he had been the one to collapse the order. If he knew he had acquired magic for no other reason than for revenge. If he had known it was him who had killed him. Kimen had wanted to protect people instead. Edmund stared timidly at Kimen, and glanced at his sword, which he had leaned against the chair he was sitting in. "Do you still want to be a knight?" he asked.
"Huh?" Kimen was caught off guard by the question, and simply blinked at Edmund unsure that the man was asking. Did Kimen still want to become a knight? Kimen had never actually voiced such a desire to be one so she wasn't sure why the man was asking. Unless Mr. Edmund thought that Kimen wanted to follow in Mr. Kent's footsteps. Now that she thought about it, it was a logical conclusion to make since she was Mr. Kents squire. The only problem was that Kimen didn't know how to quite answer that.
Although posed as a 'yes' or 'no' question, it wasn't that simple. "I want..." Kimen paused. Taking a deep breath as she tried to sum up everything, "Mr. Edmund before I came here I wanted to be something more than that. And yet I don't think I have the capacity to become what I wanted to become. I wanted to be someone who can maintain peace and order, I wanted to be someone who can uphold justice and protect people. I wanted to be able to stand on my own and not be someone's pawn and not be manipulated and do the right thing no matter how difficult the choice was... or how many people important to me hated me for it. I wanted to be worthy of the position I found myself in. But I couldn't do that. I... I still want to be able to do those things. Even here in the cleft. Maybe not to the same extent that was expected of me, but..." Kimen let out a sigh, "Those things are important for a knight too, are they not? I don't think I would make a good knight either."
Edmund smiled at the response that Kimen gave. "Even the modesty of thinking you're not worthy... you really were Sir Kent's squire, weren't you?" He chuckled. "I suppose Sir Kent never let you call him 'sir,' either?" Edmund looked Kimen straight in the eyes. "If you were the Centurio of the order, Kimen, I can guarantee that the Legio Aurea would still be standing. If you truly want to learn about Kent, read that book, and continue your training."
Kimen looked down at the book in his hands and then back to Edmund, realizing that he was serious. He didn't know what a Centurio was, but the child decided to follow the manís suggestion of reading the book and finding out later. He held the book tightly to him, meeting Edmund's gaze, "Um about continuing my training." Kimen's head sank a little into his shoulders, feeling like he would be asking too much if he brought up the other thing he was meaning to ask Edmund. "I... Don't have a teacher Mr. Edmund.'
Edmund understood. "I know some of the training that you're being given, but only through second hand sources. I can help you with your swordsmanship and equestrianism. Etiquette training Kent had... and ignored. But in exchange, I need something from you." He once again pointed to the book in Kimen's hands. "You need to study that, and tell me every lesson you learn from it. Because I haven't read it either, and I think it will help both of us."
"I will, Mr. Edmund. I will get to reading this right away and tell you everything I learned from it" Kimen smiled at the man, squeezing the book to his chest tightly. "Um...Can I learn magic from you too?"
Edmund's head fell back down to his glass. "I... I don't know, Kimen." he said. "My magic has hurt a lot of people. Are you sure that you want to live with that responsibility?"
"Magic is no different than any other tool. It can be used to kill and destroy and bring evil if that is the intention of the person using it, but it can also create and protect and bring about good depending on how itís used. I've told Mr. Kent this too. I've reached the point where studying on my own isn't working out as well as I had hoped and I would be grateful if I had some guidance. I am afraid most of my endeavors lately have ended in failure and... some bad things happened as a result." Kimen looked down at the floor. She didn't want a repeat of what happened to that hylian girl. She could still clearly remember the last look on that girls face, and it sometimes haunted the child in her sleep.
Edmund slowly nodded his head. "Very well, I can guide your magic as well." Edmund stood up and grabbed his sword, fastening it once more to his belt. "Go home, then, Kimen. Rest. I'm not giving you a time to see me. Tomorrow, next week, or perhaps never. If you're going to pursue your goals, you seek them out. Do not expect the divine to thrust them towards you."
Kimen smiled happily at the man. "I can't wait to see what kind of teacher you are, Mr. Edmund. Expect me to hunt you down sometime tomorrow then." And with that, the child excitedly waved goodbye and made his way to the door.
As soon as the child left, Edmund's calm face faded. His footsteps grew heavier as he made his way to the kitchen. He flung open a cabinet containing a fine bottle of wine, pulled the cork out with magic, and began to drink directly from the bottle. He looked at his reflection in a nearby plate. "What have you gotten yourself into, Gloucester...? He doesn't even know." He fell down onto the floor, leaned his back against the counter, and began to cry.