Night Reign: Revelations
Noir Entry iv
“You are sickened by the weakness of a heart that’s filled with fear,
And if the world won’t understand you, you can make it disappear.”
Anna Noir looked up at her son as he babbled something in his three year old approximation of the Cerian tongue. “What did you say, sweetie?” she asked the boy, who turned away from his father to face her. Her husband had not seemed to notice the disturbance, a fact for which Anna was deeply grateful. Though her husband had apparently done well since he’d left the city watch to take his current job, and had been promoted more than once, his temper had grown shorter over the last year and a half. He sat absorbed in reading something for work by the light of the everburning lamp, a luxury afforded by his position with the government. He did not look up from what he was doing, had not moved a muscle for the last several minutes.
“Papa shadow moo!” announced Willem Noir delightedly, pointing down at the floor near his father.
“That’s nice, luv,” she said distractedly. “Please don’t bother your papa while he’s working.” She turned back to the meal she was preparing for the small family’s dinner. She thought back to the time before her husband had taken this job, back when he’d been a simple city guard. He would have been helping her prepare the meal or taken Wil off her hands so that he wouldn’t be underfoot. He’d liked his work well enough, and more importantly he had never brought it home with him. She did like having the nice things that they could now afford, but she also longed for the earlier days of their marriage sometimes.
“Papa magic!” Willem squealed again, drawing an alarmed look from his mother. Still her husband sat stock still, apparently oblivious to his son’s voice. She frowned at that, then caught a bit of motion out of the corner of her eye as she began to scold the toddler. Her voice caught in her throat. The shadows on the floor seemed to be waving about, though the light was solid and nothing was moving except the boy. She looked closer and saw that it wasn’t all of the shadows. It was just the one belonging to her husband.
“Vincent!” she cried. “What is that?”
Coming out of his reverie with a scowl, Vincent Noir looked up at Anna and said, “What are you shouting about?” She pointed down at the floor to his flickering shadow, and she recognized the look that crossed his face when he was trying not to react to something. It meant he was annoyed with himself. It meant he knew something about the shadow. Her husband closed his eyes briefly and all of the shadows in the room returned to normal.
He apparently considered the matter closed and started to go back to his reading, but Anna was not quite finished with the subject. “What was that, Vincent?” Willem frowned up at his mother, confused by her tone.
Her husband didn’t quite glare at her over the page, but it was a near thing. “It was evidence that my meditation has been disturbed.”
“What is that supposed to mean?” she demanded, irritated by his vague answer.
“Nothing,” he said.
“It’s not nothing,” she growled. “Was it some kind of magic? I thought you were a soldier.”
“I am a soldier,” said Vincent blandly. “I have simply acquired more weapons.”
“Do it ‘gin, papa,” said Willem suddenly. His voice broke the argument, but it did not dispel Anna’s anger.
Vincent looked down at his son fondly for a moment, tousling his hair. “Maybe later, son. Right now, I don’t think your mother would appreciate it.” His gaze drifted up to catch his wife’s eyes once more, and her anger shone through, promising a continuation of the discussion.
. . .
“What haven’t you been telling me, Vincent,” Anna said in an angry whisper as they lay in their room after Willem had been put to bed. He sighed and rolled over to face her, knowing she wasn’t going to let it go without an explanation.
“I am not sure you would understand, but I will try to explain,” he said, not noticing the spike of rage his offhanded comment had inspired. “My training involved a kind of meditative technique that created a Link between…” he paused, apparently struggling for the right word for a moment before settling on “me…and Vorgard. The Link uses my shadow as a conduit, and I use the strength of that realm to excel at my work.”
Reigning in her fury for a moment as she tried to digest his words, Anna said, “What does that mean? Have you sold your soul?” She could not mask her fear at the notion.
“Of course not,” he said darkly. “I am not a fool.” She sensed him suppress a sigh as he rolled back over. “She said that you would not understand.”
Now Anna’s tone became dangerous. “She?”
“My commander,” Vincent said without emphasis.
“Well, she was right,” she snarled at her husband, flipping over in bed and tugging on the blankets. She felt her husband release the covers and rise from their bed. She glared at him in the dim light, “Where are you going?”
Without pausing or turning, he walked out the door. “I have work to do.”