Part Ten ~ Confrontations
I can’t kill him. Some part of me is happy, some part is angry. What will happen? Which side of me will win? Can one win? Or am I stuck with the good and the evil forever? I don’t know anymore which side is better. Or which side is real.
Rumina…She’s confusing everything. You should love your sister. But do I love her? Or do I hate her so much I want her dead?
“Look, little brother, I think it’s Bryn over there,” Doubar said, pointing over the two persons standing on the hill in front of them, a few feet ahead. They had been searching for her for the last hour or so. They feared she might have left the island, but it seemed she didn’t. “But who’s with her?”
Firouz looked with his magnascope. “Definitively Bryn,” he confirmed. He frowned when he recognized the person with her “With Rumina.”
Sinbad clenched his fists. “Rumina? It can’t be good. We better hurry.”
Doubar grabbed his arm as he passed in front of him. “You mean, you want to interfere between two powerful witches?” He shook his head. “That’s not a good idea.”
“They don’t seem to be fighting. Just talking,” Firouz observed.
“Exactly. Don’t you think it’s strange to see them talking to each other?” Sinbad asked, freeing his arm from Doubar’s grip. “They don’t even know each other. And whenever Rumina is involved, nothing good can come out of it.”
Rongar nodded. He told Firouz by signs that they didn’t meet Rumina since Bryn joined the Nomad’s crew. As far as he knew, Rumina didn’t know Bryn.
“That’s true…I wonder where she was all that time?”
“Let’s find out,” Sinbad said as he walked toward Rumina and Bryn. Rongar, Firouz and Doubar soon followed, even though Doubar still thought it wasn’t a good idea. He wasn’t in any hurry to meet with Rumina again.
When they arrived close to them – too close for Doubar’s taste – they noticed that Bryn and Rumina seemed to be waiting for them.
Rumina welcomed them with a smile that was everything but friendly as she took a step forward. Bryn remained behind, her face expressionless. “Well, well. If it isn’t the little family of the Nomad. Without the wench of course.” She spitted the words out, her smile leaving her face at the thought of the red-head. “It’s been awhile.”
“Got ashamed of your defeat against us at our last meeting and ran away?” Doubar asked, a touch of anger in his voice.
Rumina started to laugh. “Don’t be ridiculous. I had…other things to do, like getting more powerful. But I don’t think you came here to ask where and what I was doing during the previous year.” She turned to look at Bryn who hasn’t moved since Sinbad and the others arrived. Smiling, she turned back to Sinbad. “The Bryn that you once knew is gone forever. She never really existed. Just the creation of memory loss. The sooner you’ll accept it, the better.”
“Bryn is a good person,” Sinbad defended.
Rumina shrugged. “Because she couldn’t remember anything. You sound like you’re trying to convince yourself more than me.”
“You’re talking about something you don’t understand. You don’t even know Bryn,” Sinbad told her, starting to feel angry.
Rumina laughed, her eyes gleaming with satisfaction. She walked back to Bryn and stood next to her. “I’ve known Bryn longer than you have, dear Sinbad. We are, after all, sisters.”
Shocked at first, Firouz slowly nodded. “I can see the physical resemblance now that I see them next to each other.”
Sinbad couldn’t speak. Even if he could, he wouldn’t know what to say. Firouz was right. They did look a lot alike. He never realized before, probably because Bryn was so different from Rumina. He looked in Bryn’s eyes. She acted more like Rumina now. What Rumina said, could it be true? He didn’t want to believe it. No, not yet.
“Not only are we sisters,” Rumina continued, a little smile playing on her lips. “But we’re also twins. Linked.” She glanced at Sinbad, her eyes hard. “How do you feel, dear Sinbad, knowing you killed Bryn’s daddy?” She turned to Bryn. “Because he’s the one who killed daddy, you know. Cut his head with his sword.”
When Bryn’s eyes remained expressionless, Rumina shrugged. She had been in the company of Sinbad and his little crew long enough for one day. “It’s time for me to leave now.” She faced Sinbad. “You better watch your back, Sinbad dear, because Scratch doesn’t give up easily.” She winked at him before waving her hand.
And she was gone.
Doubar let out the breath he had been holding. He felt better now that Rumina left. His eyes moved to Bryn. She was Rumina’s sister. Turok’s daughter. They used to know nothing about her past and now, they found pieces of it. Doubar wasn’t sure he wanted to know the rest. In fact, he would have rather not known at all. He hated to admit it, but Rumina might have been right. They didn’t know the real Bryn. Still, he felt the same friendship for the woman standing in front of them.
He glanced at his brother. Would he feel guilty because he killed Bryn’s father? And what would she do? Would she want revenge?
Finally, after what seemed like hours, Sinbad talked. “Will you help us?”
Bryn stared at him, her eyes as blank as before. “Help you?”
“Two friends are locked in some dimension and we were told you are the only one who can free them,” Sinbad explained softly. Everything Rumina said…he would think about it later. What mattered now were Maeve and Lea.
“Why would I help you? I’d get nothing from it,” Bryn said, still unmoving. “I don’t help people. When will you understand it?” She then turned away. “Now go away before I get angry.”
Maeve let out a frustrated sigh and sat up. She had been lying on the ground for an hour or two, wondering what was happening in the other world. Lea was watching, thanks to their small pool, but Maeve had refused to join her. Now, she started to regret it.
She was bored.
Maeve glanced at Lea, a few feet away from where she was currently sitting and tried to read the expression on her face, but even after all that time, she still couldn’t do it. Lea’s eyes were fixed on the pool, completely taken by what she saw.
She still complained from time to time that she felt cold. That bothered Maeve. She didn’t feel the cold, why did Lea felt it? Something was wrong, but she didn’t know what. Her brain had been trying to find the reason, but nothing made sense.
Lea kept telling her not to worry about it, but Maeve wasn’t fooled. She kept a watchful eye on her, just in case.
Like Lea was keeping an eye on the pool…
Finally, Maeve couldn’t resist anymore and she walked toward her. She took a look at the pool, but she only saw the image of Bryn, her back turned, so she couldn’t see her face.
Lea slowly moved her eyes away from the pool to look at Maeve. “Rumina was there a moment ago,” she finally said, carefully. Maeve had told her about Rumina and what all she did. Lea wasn’t sure how she would react to those news.
Maeve narrowed her eyes and felt the anger building in her. Rumina. The name only brought the strongest reactions from her. Never she had hated a person in her life as much as she hated Rumina. What she did to her village…to her brother…unforgivable. But she had had revenge to make her to go on.
She clenched her fists and took a deep breath to control her temper. When she felt calmer, she spoke. “What did she want?”
Lea hesitated. “She…didn’t say much to Sinbad and the others, but it seems that…she said that Bryn and her are…sisters.”
Maeve blinked. Lea’s words took some time before she registered them. Bryn and Rumina. Sisters? She frowned. “When Rumina gets mix in something, it’s never a good sign. She’s up to something, she always is.” She stopped, chewing on her lower lip, lost in her thoughts.
Rumina and Bryn. Bryn and Rumina. Sisters.
Lea sighed and turned away from the pool. With Rumina back in the picture, she was sure Sinbad had fewer chances to convince Bryn to help them. And what about Bryn? How did she feel about Rumina? Were they close? Would they team up?
What would happen now?
She felt frustrated, unable to do anything. She kicked a small rock. She hated feeling so helpless. She wanted to help. But she couldn’t. She couldn’t do anything.
“Do not feel so frustrated, child.”
Both Lea and Maeve jumped at the sound of the new voice. The image of an older woman stood in front of them. A woman neither of them ever knew, but still, she was familiar to them. After all, they had asked Sinbad to find her…Shanna.
“How…how can you…”
Shanna smiled. “It is among my ability to travel from different dimensions. Of course, it is not my real body, just an image.” She looked at them both. “I wanted to meet you before the ritual, which will free you from this Plane, that will take place in two weeks.”
“If Bryn agrees to help,” Maeve pointed.
Lea nodded. “Why would she help us? She doesn’t know us and she isn’t on Sinbad’s side anymore.”
“That is true yes, but right now, she is confused more than anything else,” Shanna answered. “There is an ongoing battle inside her, a very important one.” Shanna sighed. “I will try to talk to her. Maybe I could convince her to help you.”
Maeve smiled weakly. “Thank you. Lea and I appreciate everything you and Sinbad are doing for us.”
Shanna bowed her head slightly. “It is nothing. I would not wish for anyone to be stuck in this plane forever. Before I leave, let me ask you a question. How did you know about me? Because I think you were the one who asked your friends to seek me, no?”
“That right,” Maeve answered. “I heard about you from Dim Dim…I learned everything I know about magic from him…He was a great sorcerer…”
Shanna nodded. “I heard of him. A great figure among us. You are lucky to have studied with him. Not many get this chance.”
“I must take my leave now. Try not to worry and have faith in your friends.”
Her image disappeared on those words, leaving Maeve and Lea alone again.
They still stood behind her, Bryn could feel them. They didn’t go away, like she asked them. ‘Arrogant fools. I have waited too long to get rid of them. They think me weak, unable to slaughter them. They stand in my way. Now. Now more than ever I need to destroy them once and for all.’
She turned to face the Nomad crew.
And memories flashed in her mind. Memories of a ship, of a crew, of friends, adventures, monsters, victories, defeat. Memories of happy moments, surrounded by those friends, almost as close as family. Memories of a kiss…only one kiss, but so beautiful, so passionate…Memories of herself…
Bryn tried to keep her face blank as the memories overwhelmed her. She finally blocked them, emptying her mind. She had grown to hate those memories flash. They always came to her at the worst possible time and she didn’t need them. Didn’t want them. She would need to find a way to block them completely before they could drive her past the point of insanity.
But before she could snap at the Nomad crew, a woman appeared on the hill, near Sinbad. Bryn narrowed her eyes at her. Powerful sorceress, no doubt. Bryn could feel her powers.
“Hello. You must be Bryn,” the woman said, speaking to Bryn. “And you must be Sinbad. I’m Shanna.”
Doubar was surprised to see Shanna. Why was she here? When he, Firouz and Rongar spoke to her, she told them she would join them at Eratia for the ritual. He thought they wouldn’t see her until then.
“I came to try to convince you to help Sinbad,” she explained, answering Doubar’s silent question. “But there is more to it than helping Maeve and Lea from the Plane of Spirits.”
Bryn crossed her arms over her chest, waiting for Shanna to continue, a look or boredom on her face.
“This ritual could be the key to the answers you seek.” Shanna raised her hand before Bryn could speak. “I am aware of the…situation you are currently going through. You will see more clearly if you perform the ritual.”
Suspicion flashed in Bryn’s eyes. “Is that a trick to get me to do it?”
“No, I would never trick you, Bryn,” Shanna answered, a sad look passing in her eyes. But it was gone the next moment. “The ritual can help you complete the holes in your memories.”
Really? Could she trust her not to lie? No. Was it worth to try, if it could give her answers? Probably. Even if it meant helping Sinbad? She didn’t want to spend more time in his company. And she certainly didn’t want to do anything to help me. But if it could help her at the end…
“If I find out you are lying, do no doubt that I will kill you,” Bryn stated to Shanna as her answer.
Shanna nodded. “I know. You made the right decision.”
Bryn ignored her and her eyes moved to Sinbad. “Do not think I’m doing this for you. I’m doing this for myself.”
Sinbad only nodded. He didn’t care what she said, she had agreed to help them and that was what mattered. Maeve and Lea would finally be free from their prison. Then, he would concentrate on Bryn. He didn’t care she said she wasn’t the same anymore. He would bring the old Bryn back, even if it was the last thing he did.
“Would you like to do the trip to Eratia with us?” Doubar asked Shanna.
“That’s very kind of you. I’d be honored to travel on board of the Nomad,” she answered with a smile. “Tell me when you will depart and I’ll be there with everything needed for the ritual.”
“We’ll be leaving tomorrow morning,” Sinbad told her.
Shanna nodded and glanced at the people she would travel with. She decided it was going to be a very interesting trip.
The ship left the port a little after the rising of the sun and set sails on a calm sea toward the Island of Eratia, a strong wind fastening the pace of the ship.
Sinbad was at the tiller, Doubar at his side. A few crewmembers were on the deck, occupied with different tasks, but there were no one else. Except Shanna. She stood at the other side of the ship, inhaling the ocean scent.
“It’s good to be back on the sea,” Sinbad said, breaking the silence between the two brothers.
“Aye,” Doubar replied absently. Yes, his brother seemed happy to be back on the Nomad, but there was something in his eyes…sadness? He couldn’t tell. Reading his brother’s moods had never been an easy thing to do, even when they had been young.
He sighed. “About Bryn and Rumina being twins…how do you feel about that?”
Sinbad glanced at his brother, surprised it had taken him so long to ask the question. “I’m not sure,” he answered after a moment of silence. “It explains a lot of things. Turok being her father must mean she probably had a hard childhood. It also explains where her magic comes from.”
“But,” Sinbad continued, sighing. “I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to bring her back now that Rumina’s back in the picture. Maybe they were right all along and I was wrong…”
“You can’t give up now, little brother. She’s helping us, it’s already some sort of a start, even if it’s not really to help us she’s doing it. And…even if it’s true that the old Bryn is never coming back, the new one is still Bryn in my eyes. She not totally evil, not toward us. She could have killed us numerous of times, but she didn’t. Something held her back and it’s that something that we have to work on.”
Sinbad smiled at his brother’s passionate speech. But maybe he was right. And Sinbad was going to do exactly that.
Bryn stood in her old cabin, glancing around. She wasn’t happy to be there. Too many memories she wanted to forget.
‘You’re helping Sinbad. You’re helping him.’
Yes indirectly, she was helping him. She didn’t need the annoying voice to tell her that.
Yes, she also knew that. But to find answers…this small sacrifice was necessary.
‘So you say. There are other ways. Always are.’
Maybe, but that didn’t matter. This was the fastest way. She didn’t want to lose anymore time.
She tapped her foot on the cabin’s floor, wondering how to pass time. Join Sinbad and his little friends on deck wasn’t an option she ever wanted to consider. Neither did she want to meet with Shanna. The woman…there was something about her that Bryn didn’t like at all.
She suddenly felt a presence behind her and she was almost shock to find Scratch. Almost. She wasn’t surprised he managed to appear on board of the Nomad. She wasn’t even surprised he paid her a little visit. But she didn’t except it so soon.
“Bryn,” the demon mocked.
Bryn let a long suffering sigh out. “What do you want now? I hope you gave up this little idea of yours that we should be allies. My answer remains the same.”
Scratch waves his hand in dismissal. “Forget that, it’s all in the past. No, I came here with a proposal.”
“A proposal?” Bryn couldn’t keep the doubt from her voice.
“Hear me out. Surely you must know by now how much Karpan messed up when he gave you back your memory. The old fool wasn’t powerful enough. But I am. I can correct Karpan’s mistakes.”
“Really. And why would you do such a generous thing for me?” Bryn asked.
“I know of your trouble getting rid of the sailor. By correcting Karpan’s mistakes, that would not happen again. And I want him death as much as you do.”
Did everyone know about her problem killing Sinbad? Frustrated, she dug her fingernails in her palm. Pain always helped. Blasting Scratch wasn’t the smartest thing to do right now. And if there was one thing Turok always taught her and Rumina, it was to think smart. “That’s not what you said last time. Didn’t you wanted him on your side?” Bryn inquired when she felt calmer.
Scratch growled, showing his canines. He crossed his arms in a way that looked like posing to Bryn, making sure that she saw his handless arm. She rolled her eyes. “I get the message.”
He grinned. “Ah, Bryn. I knew there was a reason why I liked you so much. So? Do we have a deal?”
“You still haven’t told me why you don’t kill Sinbad yourself if you want him dead so much,” Bryn replied.
“Let’s see…if you’re the one killing him, he won’t defend himself as much as he would if it was me!” He let out a throaty laughter.
Bryn frowned in annoyance. He was starting to lower her reserve of patience. “I don’t do the dirty work of others. Not for anyone, certainly not for you. I thought we established that already.”
“But Bryn darling, I thought you wanted to kill him! I am merely offering you the chance to do so,” Scratch retorted. He stopped posing and took a few steps forward. “I will enjoy seeing him suffer as he dies by your hand. Seeing the pain and agony in his eyes just before they close…You will enjoy it too. He makes you…weaker than you are.”
“Do. Not. Call. Me. Weak,” Bryn said, in a low and dangerous voice. Her eyes gleamed, darkness filling her orbs as they fixed Scratch. Damn doing the smartest thing.
The door suddenly flung open, startling Bryn and Scratch and Sinbad stepped in the room, followed by Shanna. Scratch’s eyes widened as he saw the latter.
A fine rain fell upon the ruins of what once was Istole, a small village, South of Varia. It used to be beautiful and alive. It was now a devastated sight and lifeless. Not even animals or monsters lived near. They stayed away. The aura surrounding the village scared them. And it should. Because something bad happened to that village, forever scarring it.
And it still hung in the air. Even after all these years.
Rumina stood at the entrance, unaffected by the rain. Meeting with both Sinbad and Bryn today had brought the need to come back here, to the village where she grew up.
Where Bryn and she grew up.
How did she feel about Bryn, she wasn’t sure. When she had learned that Bryn was traveling with Sinbad, Rumina had been in a murderous mood. Her own sister, betraying their father’s memory like that! Betraying what he taught them. Betraying her.
But now that she was back to being evil Bryn, should she feel better, relieve? They had never been close, only their link stopped them from killing each other. There had been such competition between them that there had been no time for sister bonding, something Turok hadn’t been happy about.
Work together and no one could stop you. How many times had he told them that? They were just starting to do so when…when it happened.
Rumina clenched her fists angrily, wishing the memories could go away. She didn’t want to think about it. It was all in the past. She was another person now. Revenge was all she had left now.
‘But now there’s Bryn…and the question of what to do with her still remains.’ She couldn’t kill her, that would mean her own death. She could ignore her, but Turok wouldn’t want that. Even if he was dead, she needed to do what he wished. To make him proud. That had always been her ultimate goal.
Even when he was dead, she wanted to make him proud.
She hated herself because of it.
Rumina abruptly turned her back on her childhood village and walked away without a glance back. She couldn’t glance back now. Everything was ahead.
The future. And answers.