|Session 10a: Forging Friendships?|
|Real World Date||October 5th, 2014|
|Game Date||March 26, Year 0|
|Location||A passenger ship to Sangor|
Session 10: A Punishing Past
Session 11: Diaries of the Dead
Isaac explains his past to Emilie in as much detail as he considers necessary. Emilie realizes that she misunderstood what Lizzy, Face, and Lady were saying in the Top Hat the previous night, and that Isaac has never been directly affiliated with Southpaw, nor has he every knowingly helped their progress. The two glory-seekers make amends and agree to work on their trust in one another. Emilie reveals a tiny bit about her own past regarding Southpaw. Isaac offers to foster her interest in woodworking, and she agrees. Emilie is still not sure if she can trust Isaac, but realizes that she has to for lack of a better alternative. She's weary from being alone, and now that she has left Enderland, the only home she's ever known, she has nowhere else to go.
"Hey, Emilie, listen..." he starts. "I know you walked out in the middle of everything last night. I understand that; those three were saying some pretty crazy stuff. But what they were saying? It wasn't the whole truth."
Emilie doesn't shift her gaze. "The partial truth told me what I needed to know. And I don't trust your word very much at this point, Isaac."
"No, I don't think it did [tell you what you needed to know]." Isaac refuses to back down until he gets closure. "They put the blame on me for Traps dying... but she was my closest friend. When I gave up the artifact, it was to save all of us, her especially. But, they betrayed us." Isaac looks away, forlorn.
"But you gave the artifact to Southpaw, didn't you?" Emilie turns to make eye contact.
Isaac blinks. That wasn't what he expected to be confronted about. "Yes... I did. It shattered during the fight that happened afterwards. ...Why?"
"So they don't have it then. What was it? Why did they want it?"
"No... they don't... and, they all died, anyway, so the Crown would have it even if they had survived. All I know is that it was a powerful orb. My contacts, both of them, didn't say anything more than 'it would be useful.'" Isaac pauses. "I... have to admit, these aren't the questions I was anticipating."
Emilie shakes her head. "Wait... Was the orb theirs to begin with? Or were both organizations going after it?"
Isaac cocks his head in confusion. "N-no? They had gotten wind of its presence in a temple my crew had visited before."
"That's exactly what I was afraid of." Emilie turns away from him again.
"Southpaw," Isaac continues, "and, I would like to note that I didn't know who they were until the end of it all, and the Crown were both going after it for their own reasons."
"You were in the perfect position to prevent THE terrorist group of Enderland from gaining power. And you just... gave it to them. You literally handed them what they were searching for."
"Okay, this definitely wasn't the conversation I was anticipating."
Emilie throws her hands up in aggravation. "Oh, you thought my feelings would be hurt because you wronged someone in the past? I already knew that, Isaac. I'm not an idiot."
"I, uh, yes? No one thinks you're an idiot, Emilie. And, I didn't 'just' give it to them. They were going to kill all of us. We were outnumbered. And I didn't even know who they were! I found out their names after I gave it to them, and didn't even find out who Southpaw was until after *that*!"
Emilie is quiet for a while. It's not clear if she's mulling this over or shutting Isaac out. "Who did you think they were then?"
"An employer. My mentor, Old Rayne, he gets jobs, he gave them to us."
"You... worked with them? And then they turned on you when you found the artifact?"
"That's the short of it."
Emilie stares at Isaac. "...That's a lot to think about. It's definitely not the situation I thought it was when I left the bar last night." She has trouble forming the next sentence. "I want to believe you. But your friends... they don't. At all. And they've known you much longer than I have."
Isaac likewise chooses his words carefully. "There... there was a lot of panic. I don't even know completely what happened. One of the traps activated somehow while I was walking over to them. Each side thought the other had done it. I tried stopping it before our side got hurt. But I couldn't. My closest friend died for that."
Emilie shakes her head slightly. "I don't know what to think, Isaac. Either I owe you a massive apology, or I need to get away from you, and I have nothing but your word to inform that decision."
"Can I ask you something?"
"I might not answer."
Isaac looks intently at the girl. "Why all this about Southpaw? They're bad, I know that! Definitely wouldn't work with them again. But, this seems... personal. Most people are kind of have this apathetic outrage about terrorism. You know, 'Yeah, I hate them.' Yours is more than that. Why?"
Emilie looks out at the water past where Isaac is standing. "I don't remember if I told you why I'm a crusader. I don't think I ever did. For as long as I remember, all I've wanted is to fight for the crown. For the king, I mean. Not whatever it is you're talking about when you say The Crown."
Isaac tips his head in a question, but listens on.
"This country is my home, and it's a good one. I want to defend it with my life. I want to end this civil war by killing those who started it. And I believe that Southpaw is the guilty party. With all of my heart. Southpaw has taken many things from me, but I am something that they will never have."
"What was it they've taken from you, Emilie?"
"I still don't trust you." She stares intently into the night, but she's clearly not focusing on anything she sees.
"Whatever it was," Isaac tries to gently place a hand on her shoulder. "I'm sorry. You don't have to trust me. I'm on your side, though."
Something in Emilie breaks, and she pulls Isaac into a tight embrace, leaning her face into his shoulder. It is less an act of affection, and more one of taking shelter.
Isaac, surprised at first, holds her, comfortingly stroking her back. (People do that right when comforting?)
"I'll stay with you and the others," Emilie says at last. "Mostly because I have no idea what else I can do." She lets him go and stands tall again.
"Thank you, Emilie. I'm sorry that my actions in the past have hurt you. I'll work to regain your trust. And if there's anything I can do... you let me know."
Emilie bites her lip. "So you weren't just saving face last night at the Top Hat? You truly believe everything that you said?"
"It's not just what I believe. It's the truth. I tried to tell my friends, Lady and Face, what had really happened afterwards. But... well. tensions were understandably high when Traps died..."
Emilie looks down. "I'm sorry that you lost your friend. And I'm sorry that the people you were trying to defend blamed you for it. ...That's awful."
"Traps was my friend for 11 years," Isaac says. "Lady, 8. Face, 2. It's not what I expected when I took that job."
"...Southpaw set me up pretty bad too. I tell you in confidence that my family ended up somewhat involved with some of their operations. Not me personally. Never. But um... my dad."
Isaac looks over with caring concern.
Emilie continues. "I was afraid it would turn out you were just like him. But it's starting to look like you're much more like me. I'm glad." She smiles tensely at him.
"I-..." Isaac stammers. "I didn't have a good family life."
Emilie is surprised by this change of subject.
"I'm... glad that you think that..." he finishes.
Emilie shifts awkwardly. She's not used to moments like this and doesn't know what to do now.
"I made an axe," she says, producing the throwing axe from her bag of holding. "I don't know why I said that. Sorry. I'm... all over the place." She starts to put it away again. "I just... we had a lot of free time in Trapden."
Isaac tries to take it before she puts it away, wanting to get a closer look.
"It's cool what you do," Emilie says. "Building and enchanting. It's fun."
Isaac does a couple mock throws. "This is pretty good!" He gives it back. "Good woodworking. Yeah, I enjoy it too, to say the least. Creation is my life."
"Cool." A pause. "This is weird, I feel like I should say goodbye and go to my room but we're on the same piece of wood in the middle of the ocean."
"Ha!" Isaac smiles. "Yeah, that happens in conversations." He searches mentally for a moment. "Want to watch me finish your shield? I need to paint the front, but I don't know what to put."
"Yes!" Emilie says. "Maybe I could...! "Maybe I could help? A little? Just the parts that are hard to mess up."
"Absolutely! Do you have an emblem?"
"I can have one by the time you're ready to paint it," Emilie smiles.
Isaac nods. "Alright, Emilie. You go on ahead, I'm going to take in the breeze for a little longer before I get back to it."
"Thanks, Isaac. And, I'm sorry I left. I'm glad you're okay."
"Thank you... I'll see you down there." Isaac heaves a sigh of relief as Emilie walks away. He looks out to the sea with a sad half-smile.
End of Chapter One
- Transcript has been edited to improve readability.