Thursday, January 23, 2014

Day Six-Hundred-Nineteen: Broody prince is broody

Sigh. Why did I agree?

Everyone on the Dauphine has a job. I figured that out on the first day. No one's tried to foist a job onto me, not just yet, but I know they're itching to put me on duty. Nagi, too, but she's still too aloof to let it happen. Probably milking this free ride for all it's worth 'til we reach another town and she can disappear.

I didn't feel like waiting for a job to come to me, so this morning I voluntarily took up guard duty after Plato finished his shift. They call it 'watch' duty, mind, but I prefer thinking of myself as a guard.

Why? Because it's a job with value. It has worth. A guard's a guy you can trust to watch your back, and when you're a guard you feel the weight of the responsibility. You know your role. More, you make a demonstrable difference in people's lives. If you spot and stop a would-be murderer from killing an innocent bystander, you know who you saved. You're on the front lines, so to speak.

I like being on the front lines. Where the action is. Sitting in the back? On a throne? That job's shit, man. Get your hands dirty.

I can't say that I was getting my hands dirty when Dragomir found me on the observation deck of the Dauphine, considering they were clad in big, woolen mittens, but the metaphor stands.

"Howdy, Logan." He patted me on the back as he pulled his hat down over his ears. "Thanks for helpin' out. Appreciate it."

"Yeah, no sweat." I tossed him a two finger salute, but kept my eyes on the rolling countryside. Snow, snow, everywhere you look, from lowest glen to highest peak.

"Nice, isn't it?" He leaned up against the edge of the deck, inspecting the Dauphine's sails. "The weather, I mean. Pretty nice out. Not too cold."

"Stay out here for a few minutes, your opinion'll change." I pointed at the frozen boogers on my upper lip. "I need a thaw, pronto. This is gross."

"You've been up here a while. Can take a break, if you want."

I considered it. Going downstairs would mean entering Command. Entering Command would mean seeing my mom... and probably my dad.

"Nah. Not yet." I sighed and grabbed my blowgun from the frozen deck, using it as a mock spyglass. "All I see is white, cap'n. Might be we've strayed into the clouds. Consider firing your navigator."

"Can't. I'm pretty sure he delivered my boy. It'd be impolite of me."

"Oh yeah? Weird." I fidgeted. "So why's he black? Fynn, I mean."

Dragomir covered his eyes. "Haven't a clue, kid. Not a damned clue. Stopped askin' that a while ago."

"Ooookay." This is where I made my fatal mistake. "Must be rough. Father of three. Dunno how you get by, Drag."

"Yeah... yeah. Bein' a father's tough." He straightened, trying to catch my eye. "Real tough. Maybe tougher than a son would know. 'specially when the son won't even talk to the father. Yeah?"

The temptation to smack Dragomir in the face with a snowball flared. A snowball as a starter. I permitted a growl to percolate at the back of my throat. "Don't start with that. Just don't."

"I gotta, Logan. He asked me to."

I whirled around, furious. "He asked you to? The hell kind of spineless -"

To my surprise, Dragomir wasn't cowed by my princely aura. Sometime in the last two years he must've grown a pair of balls, because he stood up straight and jabbed a finger against my breastplate. "He asked me to talk to you because you keep avoiding him. He'd love to chat, but it's tough to catch up with a brat who can run faster than a gazelle. Don't think I've forgotten that crazy battle ya had with my daughter two years back. I know what you can do, Logan, 'n I know that you can avoid anyone you like. Your dad included."

I pulled away, cheeks red, staring moodily over the edge of the Dauphine. "Oh. Yeah. I guess that was a thing. My 'bride to be'. Great times those were."

Taking a breath, Dragomir draped an arm over my shoulder. "Look, Logan. He just wants you to give him a chance. Hell, he'd like you to express yourself. That's all. You can do that, can't ya? To his face?"

I pushed the arm away. "I can do whatever I want."

"So you can, then."

"... if I feel like it."

"Do you?"


"Ain't no answer there, son."

"Oh, shut up."

We argued an hour longer, though the heat left the conversation after a few minutes. Eventually, eventually, Dragomir convinced me to accompany him 'n my dad on a little hunting trip tomorrow. Just three guys, the open wilderness, and... uh... something. I can't remember what Dragomir said we'd be hunting, and I've no doubt the real reason to do it is...


Bonding. Ugh.

Yay. Killing animals with my bloodthirsty, self-loathing father. Sounds like a grand time.

I can't believe I agreed.


Logan the Thief

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