I stood on the porch of my cabin in Winterspring. Little did I care for company. The incessant ramblings of the voices coming through my com would normally have driven me to turn it off.
I merely tuned it out instead.
The snow drifted down from the sky lazily, as if it didn't care about anything, as if it weren't in a rush at all. I felt like the snow. I had no cares. My hands rested on the railing of the porch, looking out over the woods. They were blanketed in white. I never really noticed the quiet that comes with snow. As if it sedates and drowns out everything it touches.
Kharris' voice, panicked and tense boomed across the com, "What the FUCK happened? Gods dammit. Did you actually fucking FIND her?"
I would have sighed, had I the inclination to care. "Yes."
"Jericho? What the hell happened? Aelberyn is fit to be tied. I take it Iloam did something as well." She still sounded riled up.
"Don't lie. If you're not going to tell me? Whatever. But don't lie." Her voice had grown slightly softer, but she was still angry. "Nothing I care to disclose." Peristent as always, she continued, "Tell me what Iloam did?" "He showed up." Her sigh was full of irritation, "Jericho. Are you alright? You sound...off." "Fine." "I didn't tell him, if that's what you think." So quick to defend herself when I didn't care. I informed her of this fact. "I don't care." Flat, unmoving and monotone was how all my words came out. I should've been worried, but I wasn't. "Where are you? Come meet me?" Persistent Kharris. Always persistent. "Out, and no." I looked at the snow, now even more appreciative of its silence. My name followed another sigh on her lips, "Jericho..." "What." "Why not come meet me?" Always with the whys. Who cares why? If she wanted to play this game I'd merely accomodate her. "Why should I?" "Because I won't stop pestering you until you do." "I can turn off this com." I thought I actually heard her making a 'huffing' sound. "But you won't." "I can." After a brief pause where I thought she'd actually given up, she tried one last time, "Let me come to you." "I don't see the point." "Doesn't matter. Humor me, hon?" As if that little informal term of affection would change my mind. "No. There's no reason to." "There's no reason -not- to, either, yeah?"
This time I merely didn't respond. She would just continue like the incorrigible elf that she was.
I lifted the glass of whiskey to my lips in a movement more out of habit than motivation to drink. The familiar burn that should have spread through my chest was nothing more than a ghost of sensation.
My eyes caught the movement of something through the snow, a wolf stalked through the shadows of the massive trees that surrounded the cabin. I watched it hunt with cold, emotionless efficiency. That was why it survived. It was built by nature to be a predator, nothing else. It disappeared beyond where my corpselit eyes could see and the snow seemed to fall heavier, thicker. It even seemed to thicken the silence.
The respite was to be brief, however as Lilliana's voice crackled through the speaker of my com. Even at normal volume it seemed so...loud.
"Jericho?" It was that soft, timid tone she favored in recent talks with me.
My reply was flat, emotionless. "What." I didn't care enough to even put an inflection to the word.
"Can I see you? Sometime soon?" She sounded tired. I should have laughed at the irony that she actually wanted to see me now and I had no desire to see her...or anyone for that matter. But I didn't care enough to.
"I don't see the point." Again my voice held no emotion.
"Look, Jericho. I'm not inclined to take no as an answer this time." There she went again, sounding all determined. As if she or anyone could coerce me to do anything. I idly wondered if she flipped a switch between her timidness and her brashness. My thoughts were interrupted by her persistence, "Besides, you said you'd help me. Going back on your word already?"
If she could have seen my face, she would have realized that not a single thing changed. My lips didn't quirk up in irritation or amusement; no crease appeared between my brows; no dragging my hands through my hair. Instead my reply remained flat, "You assume my word ever meant anything."
I heard a soft sigh drift through the com, "You assume I never took your word seriously."
"No. I simply do not care." It was the truth. I didn't care, about anyone or anything. The only thing I sought was solitude and I had it here. I had no plans to leave this place. No plans to see anyone. No plans at all. I was simply going through the motions.