This chapter is late due to me getting conjunctivitis thanks to my contacts on Halloween. I wanted to make sure there were two chapters this week so there will be another chapter tomorrow, too!
Chapter 34. What Happened To Dorian Wicken?
Erin rubbed her hands together in hopes of warming them up. It was a chilly September morning in Frusen. Greenwood had figured out that the rift that would take the Erizul Guild to Mercury was somewhere in Frusen. They'd slept there overnight and were now setting off to hunt for the rift.
Greenwood was using the moonstone compass, that Erin had reluctantly given up, to find the rift. They were a small group consisting of Erin, Greenwood, Etho, and Chad. Skereth and Sevadus were off giving Craig a tour of the town they were staying in.
"You've never been here," Erin had whispered to Skereth when she'd suggested the tour. Skereth had just elbowed her in the arm and continued talking about the town.
It had been a mutual decision for Sevadus and Skereth to stay behind, as they didn't want the group to be too large.
Erin pulled her coat around her, she wasn't sure how a country could be so cold in September. When she'd woken up that morning there had been frost on the window. She tried to ignore the cold and keep her focus on the task at hand. Finding a rift to rid the world of the worst people she'd ever encountered.
Chad, who'd been walking a little ahead of Erin, slowed to walk next to her, "I guess we're nearing the end of that quest we started months ago, huh?" he said.
Erin looked up into Chad's soft eyes, they weren't as sweet and innocent as they'd been when she'd first met him, but they still had that softness about them. She nodded, "Yes, I suppose we are. I didn't think it would ever lead to this. I thought travelling with pirates was crazy, but now that's child's play," she laughed, her laughter not quite reaching a smile.
Chad squeezed her arm gently, "Once we do this, things will settle down, we may even get to stay in one country,"
"Now that sounds nice!" Erin exclaimed, "To think, I'd never left the country back on Earth and now I've travelled to nearly every country on Sunreth."
The felin chuckled and the two fell back into silence. Greenwood and Etho were talking quietly to each other about something that Erin couldn't quite make out. Etho seemed a lot more relaxed now that Greenwood had released him from his contract. He'd always seemed fairly tense before, although that could have been an after effect of being trapped in a coffin for decades.
They walked for what felt like an eternity before Greenwood stopped suddenly, "I think I might have found something," he slowly stepped backwards, then to the right, then a tiny step forward, "Aha!" He pulled off one of his leather gloves and muttered something under his breath.
What happened next Erin would never have believed if she hadn't seen it with her own eyes. It was like the fabric of the universe split to reveal the dusty surface of Mercury.
"Holy shit…that's really cool," Erin stared at it in disbelief. She walked around it to see if it changed, but it just showed her different angles, "How the hell?"
"Magic," Greenwood said simply, "is that the right planet?"
Erin shrugged, "I have no idea, I guess so? It looks like the pictures I've seen."
"Are any of the other planets in the solar system inhabitable?" Greenwood asked.
"Nope, I just know that Mercury has poison gas."
"Well, it wouldn't hurt too much if we send them to the wrong one, then," Greenwood replied. He waved his hand and the rip resealed itself, "Right, should we wait to contact the Erizul Guild or contact them now to get this business over and done with?"
Erin looked at the other two men, "What do you think?"
"I think," Chad said, "we should arrange to meet tomorrow, give us some time to prepare fully."
Etho nodded, "Sounds good to me, come on, let's go back and meet up with the others,"
"So there could be more planets in the...solar system, that's what it's called, right?" Sevadus asked Craig.
They were lounging in one of the flats of the building Greenwood had rented, Erin didn't ask how he'd managed to rent a whole block of flats for them, but she didn't dare question him.
Sevadus had instantly taken to Craig and the two were discussing science and electronics. Erin wondered if Craig might be the start of the digital age on Sunreth.
While the boys geeked out, Erin was talking to Etho and Greenwood. She wanted to get to the bottom of what had happened to her father. Skereth had her arm around Erin's shoulders in a protective way, making sure Erin felt safe.
"Your father travelled to Earth in hopes of protecting you from the dangers of Sunreth. He thought a land without magic would keep you safe," Greenwood explained, "he didn't know I was there, he, like everyone else, thought I was dead after the accident.”
"When Dorian learned I was alive and well, he came to threaten me. He told me he would make sure I regretted it if I ever went near his son. I was under the impression you were a man until we met."
"Yes," Erin nodded, "I remember Craig being very confused when he learned my gender."
Greenwood nodded, "I believed him and left him alone. From what I can tell he separated himself from you to make sure you were safer-"
"Yes, I know that much," Erin interjected, "he completely erased my existence on Sunreth, people who would have known me as a child don't recognise me."
"Right, I see. Well..." Greenwood shuffled in his seat, he clearly didn't want to say what he was about to admit, "I was angry at him…he gloated about being with Liana, he knew I was...that I had feelings for her."
Erin felt sick and suddenly wished she could send Greenwood to Mercury with the Erizul Guild. She kept quiet though and just gripped Skereth's leg for comfort.
"Anyway, he came to me one day, drunk, I think he'd been drinking away a depression from losing Liana or maybe being on Earth, I don't really know. But he came to my home and started acting very violently, telling me it was my fault Liana was dead. I- I don't know how your mother died. He was brandishing her spirit at me. It was in a bottle. He shouted that it was my doing.
"I told him to calm down, he wouldn't listen, the alcohol was...he attacked me...Erin, I promise I didn't mean to-"
"What did you do?" Erin asked, her hands balled up into fists so tight her knuckles were white.
"I really didn't mean to, he was angry and trying to kill me-" Greenwood stuttered.
Erin stood up, so she could look down on Greenwood, "Did you kill my father?"
"It was an accident-"
"Did you kill him!?" Erin shouted.
"Yes! I was trying to protect myself! I was trying to knock him out, I didn't mean to kill him. You have to believe me! I would not have killed him on purpose!"
"Wouldn't you? You were in love with my mother, you probably hated my father! Fucking hell, you're disgusting! Get out! Once you've got rid of the Erizul Guild I never want to see your repulsive face again!" She pointed at the door, "GET OUT!"
Greenwood scrambled up and hurried to the door as fast as his ancient body would carry him. Erin fell to her knees, tears streaming down her face. Her father was gone, she'd accepted that long ago, but knowing how it'd happened made everything hurt.
She felt Skereth pull her into a hug and she buried her head in her girlfriend's shoulder.
The thought of her father- a man who'd been described as sweet natured and loving- could drunkenly attack Greenwood made her sick. She wanted to believe her father was a good man, but she didn't know if she could know. He might have been a drunk behind closed doors. A charming man on the outside, but the scum of the earth at home.
"Joe is a liar," Etho's voice sounded coldly, "your father wasn't drunk, Joe was. Your father did go to Joe that night and he did blame Joe for your mother's death, but he was as sober as you can get."
Erin looked up at Etho, "How do you know?"
"Because Joe and I had been drinking together that night. Well, he was drinking, I was keeping him company. I heard everything, your father definitely wasn't drunk that night. Joe threatened him and Dorian punched him in self defence. To keep the gruesome details out, it ended with Joe killing your dad."
"Why didn't you correct him?" Skereth asked coldly.
Etho sighed, "Because I've tried to tell him the real story so many times and every time he's denied it and stuck to his version. I am sorry about what happened to Dorian, he was a good man and should be alive today."