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The glow of a single candle fought off the shadows of the darkness as it tried to devour the light sat upon the table, to consume it. Van had sat himself down in front of it with a sigh - his ageing bones now found even resting to become somewhat wearing on his joints - it seemed his 'crazy' lifestyle had surely caught up with him. The skin on his face was loose, his charming good looks faded, but he still had that deviant twist in his smirk and his customary dreadlocks despite their greying. He reached out for his esteemed branded bottle of rum but the shaking of his hand caused him to pause and ponder. It seems fitting for me to live on as the name on a bottle of rum he thought out loud as he resumed for the bottle, his rattling grip causing slight spillage as he filled his glass to the rim.

 

As the sweet nectar of the rum sweetened his lips, he sat still for a moment, savouring the taste as it lingered to the back of his throat. The rum had been a gift from Anna and Sioned, delightful girls. Anna had been an unlikely love late in his life, a woman he once despised and hated, he found himself feeling nothing but lust and admiration for the woman until she broke his heart and ground the shards into the dirt. He had experienced the joys of heartbreak before, but usually it was he doing the breaking. Foolish man he thought to himself, forgetting your age - as if such a young and beautiful woman would find you even remotely attractive in the state you're in now. And Sioned, the remaining remnant of Rebecca. Rebecca - she was the kind face that first welcomed him to Vesper all those years ago - sure, she was more interested in that buffoon Wesley, but Van could never had dreamt of Rebecca becoming like a sister to him.

 

He lifted one of the parchments scattered across the desk, a drawing of Rebecca. Her death had affected him the hardest, he wasn't prepared for it - nobody was. He closed his eyes and remembered, walking into that courtroom knowing Rebecca's life was as good as in his hands. He had relied on the cockiness he possessed and his confidence in speaking, his ability to bend and twist words to give them new meaning. It was the first time his charm had failed him, and the loss was huge. Van didn't know how to react to her death, instead he went back to working at sea, drowning his brain in rum until he could no longer walk or keep down his food, urging himself to die and let the pain disappear. He opened his eyes, placing the parchment down upon the pile with a smirk etched across his creased face. Rebecca lived on in Sioned. In fact, between herself and Anna, they probably saved him from a premature death. Sioned was like an adopted daughter to him now, he felt pride in seeing her run the establishment that her mother did. She'll be just fine.

 

He took another swig from his glass as his fingers clumsily shifted around some of the parchments, searching for one in particular. When they found it, he lifted it again to the candle light, inspecting a portrait. It was a portrait of his family. Van chuckled to himself reminiscing a time when family wasn't even on his agenda - children were birthed for profit in slavery, and their mothers butchered by his own hands. I was one cold son of a bitch back then.. what changed? He released his glass of rum and lifted his finger to run across the image - the twins, Dante and Ember, his prodigé son Van Junior, and.. Madeline.

 

No, she didn't change him - she accepted him. She knew Van was trouble, and she let him be as he was without showing judgement or disappointment. She loved him unconditionally, and he her. Leaving her back on Galilee was hard, but he never stopped loving her - he just missed Vesper. I missed home. He snorted at that thought. Home? This place is a shell of what it once was, war had ripped the lands apart for too long, Vesper being one of the biggest casualties. I should have stayed with Maddy.. I wonder how she's doing..

 

His thoughts went to his kids. The twins, Dante and Ember were something special. In each of them he saw the imperfect mixture of himself or Madeline. Dante was now his mothers apprentice, he stayed behind on Galilee and took up herbology and healing. He was a good kid, very much like his mother and very little of his father - Van often considered that was probably for the best. He never resented his son despite having little in common, he was blood, family, he loved him.

 

Van smiled as he looked to Ember's face, she had inherited his grin that always carried danger wherever it went. A total opposite to her twin, she was destined for the life at sea, inspired by her fathers stories she made the concious decision at a very early age that she was to be a Pirate - she even put together her very first crew of Covians at the tender age of six. As much as Van had hoped she would grow out of it and find a more appropriate job for a woman, she stayed true to her childhood dream and remains on target to be what she always wanted to be. Van shook his head. She was trouble the second she popped out.

 

His finger then lingered over his youngest son, the carbon copy of his own being, Junior. He was almost the perfect child in his eyes, with the good heart and intelligent brain of his mother, but the charm and sense of adventure that his father entailed. He spent most of his time growing up being tutored and directed by Van that it was no surprise he decided to rebel and do his own thing. I'd of done the same.. Van thought, placing the picture back onto the table.

 

A shot of pain suddenly shuddered through his chest, his hand balling into a fist though the pain was brief and passed in seconds. He grunted as he stood himself up and shuffled over towards his bed in the corner. It took him a while to fully undress himself before slipping beneath the sheets, his aching joints meant that he would never find himself in a comfy spot, so he just laid there, staring blankly into the ceiling. He closed his eyes and let his mind wander, thoughts of his children rushing through his mind, his loving wife Madeline, the most natural beauty he had ever had the pleasure of nailing. His mind lingered on Rebecca tonight though, she seemed almost vivid in his mind, as if she were stood before him at the end of his bed. She was naked, with her hair flowing long, covering her unmentionables. She darted out through the door, calling back to him "Come on Van, follow me!". Van glanced down at himself, when did I get out of the bed? Before he knew it he was running after her.

 

The pain in his bones were gone, and at great pace he rushed after her through the door and outside. The landscape of Vesper had been replaced with what could only be described as paradise. Hills stretching as far as Van could see, scattered with lakes and trees. It was beautiful, peaceful. He was at peace. He glanced down into a puddle upon the luscious grass, the reflection back was familiar like a distant memory - the face staring back was still him but.. but he looked around fifty years younger. Something dawned upon him as he turned to his left where Rebecca stood.

 

They didn't speak, but Van knew what had happened - where he was.

 

He smiled to himself.

 

He had passed.

 

 

Van-3.jpg

Edited by Van Cocidius
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