Present Day, October 30th, 4:16 AM
Tyreceus was sure that he was cursed. He truly believed, like all the others who lived in Hearth Castle that the des Regalis were cursed. They were cursed for taking something that was never theirs. They were cursed for their lies.
Tyreceus believed the curse had passed on to him, for his lies. He didn't know any other way to deal with the tragedies in his life, other than pretending it never happened. That was fine, when he was still Ta-Vet, when doing nothing was easy.
It was always easier to do nothing.
Yet when he became Ace's father he could no longer do nothing. He was dependent on him. Tyreceus couldn't stand by. When Tyreceus first left Hearth Castle with him, he didn't understand why he kept Ace. After years of consideration, the truth finally dawned upon him.
He didn't want to admit to himself that Ace was most likely his brother.
As the years passed by, the older he got, and the more Tyreceus saw his mother in Ace. His loud personality, his obliviousness to anything going around him, his eagerness to always prove he was the strongest one.
Aeris never had an inside voice, and was an easily excitable woman. She never listened to what anyone wanted, she always did as she pleased, because she believed she was the strongest.
His wild red hair and pale blue eyes were just like hers, and his personality was just like hers. Tyreceus believed the gods were being cruel to him, as every day he saw the face of a woman who had abondoned them on his son.
Tyreceus tried to fit all the pieces together, but still all these years later, he had no idea if Ace was his brother. All his years at the Hearth castle gave him an inside look the des Regalis' sordid lives. Aeris was never pregnant around that time, so he told himself that Ace could never be his brother.
Tyreceus wanted to know. He gazed into the flames, hoping that they would give him the answer he wanted. Tyreceus wanted to know, but he was afraid of what the truth would bring. If Ace was really the bastard of some negligent nobleman on Ionadis, then they no longer had to worry ever again. His parents would never follow them.
If he was the son of Aeris, as Tyreceus had long suspected, nothing in their lives would change. He would still be a parnoid mess.
He knew he could have just taken him to the doctor any time to check their paternity.
But he did nothing.
It was always easier, to do nothing.
Father Alvarez quickly led the parishioners out of the chapel. The fire was quickly spreading, and their haven was roaring in the flames. They all made it out alive, but now they had nowhere to hide.
They all looked to him for guidance, and he knew he had to find a safe place soon.
It’s only going to get worse. I have to keep them safe.
Mimi and Father Alvarez led the front of the group. They walked quickly through the forest, trying to go around the graveyard and avoid the main road. They finally got to the heart of the campus, but it was also on fire as well.
“This is it, isn’t it,” Mimi mumbled. “This is how I disappear.”
“No, it’s not,” Father Alvarez shouted. “You die when you stop trying!”
He felt the wind shift towards the west and he watched the fire move towards his left. “Move in the face of the wind,” he shouted. “Let’s go!”
The parishioners all followed him, clutching their children, their large church hats, and Bibles. They came out of the other side of another small group of trees at the southern parking lot.
It had a direct road to the train station and the Training Center for the military trainees.
“Let’s take a quick rest,” Father Alvarez sighed. He noticed that his followers couldn’t keep up with him. He was fast, and some of them were old or simply unable to walk as fast as him.
They tried to find empty cars in the parking lot to hide behind. Some people were hiding inside their cars, watching the fire spread, fearful of others and refusing to unlock their cars and give safe refuge.
Father Alvarez stood up, watching intently to see where the fire spread. It continued to go west, and he was relieved but knew that it was only a reprieve. Trying to figure out where they could go next, Father Alvarez walked to the edge of the parking lot and looked at the campus map.
A road here goes straight to the station and the Defense’s main building. If we really can’t leave we can at least stay with people who can protect us.
Father Alvarez got out his phone and his eyes went wide as he saw the time. Have we been up all night?. It only felt like two or three hours. He quickly turned off his phone, trying to save as much battery power as he could.
He found Mimi behind a bright yellow car and sat down next to her. She looked like a sad deflated balloon with her too-big clothes and frown on her face.
“We will survive,” Father Alvarez promised her. “We have made it this far. It’s almost morning. Someone should be coming.”
“If it’s almost morning and no one has come, then no one is coming at all,” Mimi wailed. She started to sob and covered her face as Father Alvarez tried to get her to stop crying.
“It’s okay, we-”
“It’s not okay,” she screamed.
“Mimi be quiet or else those monsters will tear you apart,” he said coolly.
She continued to cry, but this time silently. Father Alvarez waited until he was sure the fire would continue to spread in the west and he took them towards the train station. They all walked on the main road to make sure they wouldn’t get lost.
It was a long walk to the other side of the campus, and people were starting to fall behind. Several said they wanted to go their own way, and one person simply ran off, not saying a word.
“You don’t have to follow me if you don’t want to,” Father Alvarez told them. “I think we’re stronger together, but if you think otherwise that’s fine.”
They all whispered among themselves, and then a small older woman, Margaret approached him.
“It’s not that we want to go our own way,” she explained. “We’re just afraid of you.”
Father Alvarez tried to hide his discomfort. They chose this old feeble woman thinking that I wouldn’t do anything to her. They’re sick. “There is nothing to be afraid of,” Father Alvarez said with a smile, his sharp teeth protruding.
This just made everyone more fearful.
“You told us you’re not a man,” Margaret whispered. “Are you one of them?”
“Oh no, I am not,” Father Alvarez reassured her. “I am just a priest.”
Margaret sighed and made a small tsk noise. “You’re the only one here who isn’t tired,” she said. “You haven’t tried to stay awake, and the others are afraid that you’re simply leading us to somewhere worse.”
They all nodded along, agreeing with her, like bobbleheads on a car dashboard.
“Don’t talk about him like that,” Mimi mumbled. “He’s a good person.”
“Young lady you should come with us,” Margaret said. “You shouldn’t be alone with a man.”
“You’re leaving him here to die,” Mimi screamed.
“No,” Margaret mumbled. “He’s one of them. He’ll be fine.”
Mimi clutched her bag of candy corn and started to wheeze.
“Go with them if you want,” Father Alvarez sighed. “I cannot force you to come with me, but I want you all to.”
“We won’t,” Margaret declared. “We want to walk with God, and not you.”
Father Alvarez let out a chuckle and ran his hands through his short black hair, sighing in exasperation.
“You meatsuits are so ungrateful,” he whispered to himself. “You never learn.”
Margaret heard him, and that was all the confirmation she needed.
They all left into the forest, and Mimi went with them.
“Ungrateful,” Father Alvarez whispered. “I don’t know why I keep thinking that if I try things will change.”
He waited at the side of the road, waiting for at least one person to return but nobody did. The sky was starting to look bright, not from approaching daylight but from the fire spreading around. He looked up at the sky, thinking that after a few hundred years that this was a good way to go.
Go out with a bang instead of a spark. Maybe I will make it to Heaven, even if I’m unworthy.
Mimi came stumbling out of the woods and Father Alvarez looked at her, jaded and angry.
“I-I’m sorry,” she stammered. “I came back. They, they started saying horrible things about you, and, and I couldn’t listen.”
Father Alvarez smiled wide, happy that someone ignored his appearance and truly saw his good soul. “You are a good woman Mimi,” Father Alvarez said. “I am sorry I thought you were a whore.”
“That… that’s fine,” she grumbled. Some things you shouldn’t tell people, Mimi thought. He’s too honest.
She ran up to him, and they walked down the road. He slowed down so she would be able to keep up, happy to meet her pace. “I will miss you, Mimi,” Father Alvarez told her.
“I’m not going anywhere,” Mimi said. “I promise. I made a mistake.”
“Not that,” Father Alvarez sighed. “You all are here for such a short time. I miss each and every one of you.”
“I’m not going to die anytime soon,” Mimi pouted.
“No you won’t,” he smiled. “I will make sure of that. You will die old, and I will still be young, wishing that I could go as well.”
Mimi pouted and started to get angry with him. “Don’t say things like that,” she whined. “No matter what they say, you’re nice!”
“No, I’m not,” Father Alvarez admitted. “I only do good things hoping I will be forgiven. I’m not a good person at all.”
“There’s nothing wrong with doing good things so good things will happen,” Mimi mumbled. “I just think it's bad if that's your only reason to do good things.”
“I don’t think it is,” Father Alvarez wondered aloud. “I’m not sure.”
“Then don’t think about it,” Mimi giggled. “Life is too short to worry about that kind of stuff.”
He laughed, knowing he had all the time in the world to worry about that kind of stuff.
I shouldn’t worry even if I have more time. It’s a horrible use of my time.
For the first time in the day, Mimi started to feel better even as the world was on fire.