Warning: Big blocks of text
Credit to the amazing Livvielove for Kit’s dialogue ❤
Lawnmower with wings, what an understatement! That was five long hours of being absolutely convinced we were going to die every five seconds. How was that plane even allowed to take the air?
Anyway, yes it took us five hours to cross the ocean and land on some abandoned strip in the middle of nowhere. Five hours of me gripping my seat and Kit laughing maniacally the whole time. I’m not going to forget the experience any time soon that’s for sure.
Oh god we’re probably going to have to take it again when we leave. Why do people fly?
I shook the remaining plane jitters off. Either way, that’s done for now. Now…now we’re heading to the talent troupe. That small beastie. Small being another understatement.
And apparently the talent troupe spent all their cash on the carriage from hell cause we have to hitchhike.
“How long does it usually take for cars to pass here?” I asked, looking down the very empty road.
She flashed me a smirk, which I’ve come to associate with a malicious intention. “Whenever the folks decide to drive by? What? Can’t ye see how populated it be?” She said, gesturing at the uneven dirt road.
“You’re right, I gotta say. The action here rivals that of Ridgevalley! And that place has bad traffic, especially at this hour.” I exclaimed. “Still somehow, no one’s been kind enough to stop their invisible car for us.” I shook my head, tsking. “Rude really.”
A sign caught my eye, hidden by a few low hanging branches farther down the road. It read Hazelwood 78 km. My shoulders drooped a bit at the sight. That’s another hour of transport at least.
“Why did the Talent Troupe decide to park themselves so far from civilization anyway?” I groaned.
Kit shrugged leaving me on the side of the road to sit on a log. “Well it’s not like prior to the Hans’ takeover that all the world loved us odd folks…” She stated. It definitely wasn’t false. The Talent Troupe were seen as a group of clowns really. For entertainment more than anything else. And for some, it was considered a disturbing indulgence. Eh, it’s just, you know, a talent troupe to me.
She picked up again. “Besides, being straight with ye lad, they’ve not been themselves for quite some time. It all started with that orb.” She grew somber at the last part – which in the solid five life threatening hours I’ve known her is unusual. “The troupe traveled quite regularly, and for a long time I was travelin’ with ‘em. They were paranoid something fierce ‘bout traveling to the right continent, so ol’ Hag kept us circlin’ round the lower towns and circuits.” She recounted, dropping her bag on the ground.
Feeling a little awkward standing up, I moved to join her on the log.
“‘Bout three or so years ago I started doin’ me own thing, only stoppin’ back in since they were me home. At first it was just me doin’ a bit of scoutin’ for ‘em. I’d run out by the right continent and get a lay of the land, determine if it was safe or not. We got little ones in the troupe, so we were always cautious with the growin’ tension.” Yeah, fits with what I’d heard. There were lots of rumors that the Talent Troupe were staying on the left continent because of all the crap going down with schools exploding and all that fun jazz. It was a pretty decent decision in the end.
Though, you know, maybe they could’ve helped.
“Eventually I started to stick more to the right continent to give some aid ‘ere and there, but durin’ that time, Hag found this… orb in the middle of the freakin’ wastes and decided she’d park her bum right on it. Truthfully, she ‘asn’t been in her right mind since… says it’s some religious thing and that I just don’t understand. Damn right I don’t. She used to put her people first… now…?” She shook her head, visibly frustrated over this.
“Now I don’t even think tellin’ her about the Hans movement will even concern her. In any other circumstance I’d count me losses and cut ties, but I got someone who needs me there, and I need them, too. Really that’s the reason we’re ‘ere now.” She finished.
“Half a day of travelling just to come see someone?” I said, and regretted it almost as soon as it came out. I’ve got such a way with words really. “Not that I’m saying it’s a bad thing! I just haven’t met a lot of people who care enough about someone to go out of their way to…check up on them. Who is it?”
There was a slight pause before she replied.
“Aye, I’d travel longer for ‘em. Hag and me found ‘em when they were just a wee one off the banks of the river in Fallcreek some six years back. I was ‘bout your age, lad. I ain’t ever knew I needed someone ‘til then. Hag smelled some powers or what have ye on ‘em and I got my chance to keep ‘em with me. Named ‘em Mouse, as what might go better with a ‘Kitty Cat’ than a ‘Mouse, right?” She grinned and I did the same.
“The world’s a messed up place, lad, and it had done a number on both Mouse and I, so we stuck together.” She said, shaking her head with a frown. Her attention focused back to me then. “Important note for ye: Mouse don’t like being gendered, or labeled, or talked at in any conforming way, so mind yourself when we’re there, lest I need to remind ye how I handled them guards back in Legacy Island, clear? I won’t tolerate it.” I nodded. That’s simple enough.
“Mouse has been through enough with me leavin’ ‘em… but I just assumed it’d be safer for ‘em with the troupe. Now with the orb twistin’ Hag’s mind and that resurrecting-piss-for-brains woman free from her box, I’m wondering if I was wrong to believe that.” She said, looking at the dense forest.
I frowned slightly. “Resurrecting? As in quite literally coming back to life?” As in…wait where had Aleccas taken Assaria again? This was months ago now, but….he’d taken her to the Talent Troupe hadn’t he?
“Aye, lad. I keep me nose out of that stuff usually, but the New Jesus dropped off this blasted chest with her in it one day. I didn’t like it, but I figured it’d be tolerable so long as she stayed in there. Then that blasted whiny janitor New Jesus dropped off before that decided to unleash hell on everyone else by lettin’ her out and Hag did… nothin’.” She shook her head in annoyed disappointment. “I was of the mindset that we break her legs and lock her back up, but apparently I was the minority. A few others didn’t like her bein’ out either, but Hag couldn’t be arsed.”
I couldn’t resist it any longer, I snorted, loudly. “New jesus? Whiny janitor?” I laughed for real this time. “I’m sorry, I just…” I tried to stop laughing. “Aleccas Keeper being the new jesus huh, that fits.” And I’d bet whiny janitor is my dad, which means…my laughter quelled itself. “Wait, my dad let Assaria out? I mean Xavier, I mean after everything he let her out!?” That’s…he wouldn’t…he what?!
She rubbed her face and nodded. “Indeed, that’s what I said too. No one had been preachin’ louder than that whiny bastard about how she needed to stay in that damn box… maybe he was sayin’ it to himself?” She said with a shrug.
What the hell dad. Sounds like him. My hands found their way into fists.
Kit straightened, her eyes widening a bit. “Er, sorry if I offend, I suppose I should be careful talkin’ bout your pops. I don’t follow much news but I have heard the rumors about that trial. I should be careful assumin’ things about ye before I know ye. I just know I’d be pissed-stupid in your place if what I ‘eard is true. That and he don’t treat Mouse very nicely, so I admit he’s a bit under me skin.”
I felt my jaw clench on its own. “Yeah it’s…you’re not offending me. If anything, I’m more offended when people talk really highly of him.” I said, forcing my jaw to loosen. “The trial was supposed to be about how messed up it was to cast a coma spell on your own son, but everyone made it into a big deal about supernaturals and us having too much power, so that’s probably what you heard about it. I’ve been pissed at him because of what kind of dad he was, but I assumed he’d be a decent – Assaria did a lot of shit to my family.”
“I’ve only seen a bit, but I’ve heard a shit load of stories, mostly from my dad himself. That he’d willingly free her is so…I don’t get him! Or maybe I just keep expecting better! He’s supposed to be the strongest witch alive right now, he made a big show of it during the trial – he always reminded me while he tried to train me – but he does nothing? People are literally blowing up schools for teaching supernaturals and Mr. Most-powerful-man does nothing! I brought it up once during family reunions and I got scolded for it. Your dad’s gone through a lot. He deserves a break. He has no obligation to help. Yeah well fuck that, people are dying and he’s not doing crap about it because he had a hard time years ago before I was born. Part of which Assaria had a very active hand in!”
“Truth of the matter is, he’s a coward. He’s a coward who didn’t know how to talk to his son, so he decided to control him with spells instead. He’s a coward who was given a perfect excuse to hide away. I mean, Aleccas took him to the Talent Troupe right after the trial, that was over a year ago. My sister and I haven’t heard a peep from him. My pa died a month or so after, his husband, and nope, no sign of life from him. Captive or not by the talent troupe, there are so many ways he could’ve come into contact with us? He’s the most powerful witch alive.” I exasperatedly threw up my hands.
“But nope. My pa dying, his pas dying, our house exploding with us in it….he was nice and hidden away. That’s all that matters to him. So you know what, him freeing Assaria probably plays right into that. To get himself another reason to keep hiding.” I scowled, slowly blinking out of the rant I’d apparently been needing to impose on someone I’d just met.
“Aye, lad. Say more.” She said, filling the silence I’d made.
Say more. She wants me to keep going? She wants to keep listening to a 17 year old boy whine about his dad?
Well I’m nearly 18.
That’s not better self.
Man I haven’t properly talked about my dad in the last year and it shows.
“You’re the first person who’s told me to keep bitching about my dad. Ever. I swear, every time I’ve started someone else has told me not to exaggerate it, to stop being a brat, or just to move on. Because I’m a troublesome brat who can’t seem to listen.” I said, too much emotion spilling in that last phrase. “I don’t think I was that bad? But my dad sure seemed to think so. And if my dad thinks something, the whole family does too. I mean, yeah, I didn’t listen much. I didn’t care for his rules. I could’ve been a better son. There is indeed an endless list of things he told me not to do, that I did anyway. It’s to protect me. That’s what everyone said, and I’m sure it’s true. I mean he had a point.” I let out a humorless chuckle. “He told me not to go to an experiment thing, and I did anyway. I wasn’t going to, but – the point is I did and the whole thing went sideways and I completely lost control of my body for a few days. So he had a point, it was dangerous and I shouldn’t have gone, but if I hadn’t my friend Oscar wouldn’t be alive right now.”
“And shit happened to me, but I went so that I could be there in case something happened to a friend of mine. So who knows, if I hadn’t gone maybe something would’ve happened to her. Point is, he was right, but I don’t regret it and I’d do it again. And I did realize that, before the trial. I realized that maybe it wasn’t about my dad not listening to me, or me not listening to him. It’s just we had different approaches to life. He wanted to stay in his house and be cautious and avoid anything dangerous. But I want to learn, I want to help and I want to do things. And shit might hurt me, I might get beaten up in an alleyway, but fun thing about being human right, I can heal. I tried telling that to him but he didn’t care to listen to me. I was just sixteen and complaining and he clearly knew best. And best meant locking me up till some sense grew into me. Nikita, my sister, even joked about treating me like a rapunzel. It was one, big, joke.” My throat traitorously tightened on me.
“Hm, don’t sound like a funny joke to me.” She said. “‘Sides, don’t seem like you have the right hair length, lad.” I laughed, harder than I should’ve, but I think these emotions are getting the better of me. “Anyways, say more.”
It felt like a nice break to laugh though. It doesn’t feel as hard to keep going. “Yeah well they had a blast with it. Everyone in the family was down with taking whatever precautions needed to get me to shape up. Though they finally started to shake their heads at my dad’s methods before the trial when he, well did the stuff that required a trial. He got tired of telling me not to do things and watching me do them, you see. And I’d made it clear I was tired of giving him any kind of respect. He justified himself in a hundred different ways, and I mean it worked cause half the family sided with him during the trial. Half seems too generous to me. Only a handful of people were with me and most of them were people I’d met recently. The Dragons, Sebastien, Oscar, my grandpa…what was supposed to be my family were pretty much all on his side. Defending him, saying him taking away my free will was justified and that I should apologize to my dad actually for being such a horrible son.”
I passed my hands over my face, reliving the stress that’d been those three long days of trial. All for nothing really in the end. “He took away my free will. No one seemed to really catch on that. I’d just gone through not having control of my body with Oscar and then my dad came in and decided he needed to put this stupid restrictive spell on me. That I was so out of control, that I was clearly going to kill myself, so he put a leash on me while I was sleeping. When I woke up and realized it, that he’d put this spell on me that would prevent me from physically leaving the house without his permission, I wanted to…complain, I wanted to tell him to go fuck himself, to ask him why even though I knew the answer. But,” I chuckled with fake humor. “I couldn’t say a thing. Because I was about to bitch on him, the spell was preventing me to talk. I could not talk. Fuck, I just…” I partially hid my face inside my hand, clenching my jaw at the memory.
“It just sucked. And then to keep the trend going, he cast a sleeping spell on everyone and I got locked inside my own brain because of his spell. He made me a prisoner, because he felt that was the best choice. He took my…my…” I started to trail, partly because of the anger and the pain that was welling up now, and partly because there’s gotta be a better fucking term than free will.
“Your you-ness?” She said with that same passive expression. She was actually listening to everything I said and it showed.
I smiled. “Yeah, that. My me-ness. I mean, after all it was being me that annoyed and bothered him the most. I was the problem. Everything about me needed a real change-up fast and was dangerous to society. And basically everyone else pretty much agrees all the time, consistently.” I raised my eyebrows at the dirt road in front of me.
She grinned with determination. “Aye, people do agree on things like that, don’t they? Just like they agree to keep their noses out of problems like the Hans, but not ye. Maybe ye are a problem, lad… but maybe that’s a good thing. If I wasn’t “bein’ a problem” in Legacy Island – someone could’ve gotten shot.” She snorted. “Well, someone other than me. So maybe you’re a problem… and maybe I’m one too, but if that’s your you-ness and my me-ness, then why should we stop to make others more comfortable, especially if it costs the lives of others? Don’t make sense to me.” She said, shifting on the log.
That used to be exactly how I thought…with some more self-centered aspects. Well okay, beating up dumb people in high school isn’t really the same thing.
“Ye told me when ye asked me to train ye that ye hated how everyone ‘in society’ kept to themselves… so why let these folks tell ye how to be… you?” Kit said, vaguely gesturing at all of me. “In me not-so-humble opinion, lad, you being you is more important than you making someone else happy. ‘Cause if they cared about ye lad, you being you would make ‘em happy.”
The last words repeated themselves in my head. I knew, no I know, that I shouldn’t change everything about who I am because people dislike it. I know this, but after months and months of everyone telling me to – the reason to not…doesn’t make sense anymore.
Hearing someone confirm it though, validate that it’s okay if I want to be who I am… that you know, on the contrary, you don’t ask people to change. Just like I don’t want my dad to change really, I just want him to get it.
Dead or alive, these people don’t control my life. Not anymore.
“Given that… what do ye want to say to your pops? What would ye like to say?” She asked.
The anxiety over the idea of just seeing my dad made my chest clench. I hadn’t thought about the next step. What would I like to say? What do I want him to know? What do I need him to hear and what does he have the right to know?
“I’m not sure.” I admitted.
“Alright, why don’t we practice on me, eh?”
I let out a sigh of relief. “That’d be great.”
I like being able to do things on my own, but I hadn’t realized how scared I was of seeing him. So the help is more than appreciated.
It doesn’t have to be the scariest shit I’ve ever gone through.