“I know we’re not on Temsevar anymore,” Durban said. “If I played the dance tune there it was only because I knew the place much better than you and sometimes it would’ve taken too long to convince you that I was right.”
Avilon inclined her head very slightly as if acknowledging at least part of his point.
“Although there is the minor issue that you weren’t always right. Either on Temsevar or since.”
“Maybe we have both learned a little humility in recent times,” Durban suggested, his tone pitched to be modestly rueful. “I’m a very different person than I was when we first met. You’ve said as much yourself, more than once. You aren’t the only one who has changed. Maybe you should allow me that.”
“Maybe,” Avilon conceded, “but, I’m still waiting on your answers to my questions: what are you really trying to achieve, and why did you go to such extremes to restore me to life?”
Durban summoned a smile.
“I don’t see why you should find it so hard to believe that my motive wasn’t simple human friendship. Especially as I felt very responsible for you being in that place.”
“Except you’re not simply human,” Avilon observed, her tone growing acidic. “And you seem to forget, I know you were willing to literally trade your life for mine. I saw the state you were in after, and I helped bring you out of it. I didn’t really think much about it at the time. I had too much else going on with this new body, and then I had two years with just one thought driving me— getting back to the Legacy. But, these last three cycles I’ve had a bit more leisure to think it through. And when I did, a lot of things I noticed just didn’t add up. I started wondering why you even went through what you did trying to get me restored. That wasn’t just paying a debt or some kind of guilt thing. It went way beyond any degree of friendship you and I ever had. You were literally throwing your life away.”
Avilon stopped talking and Durban let the breath he had drawn in escape in a sigh. It was a scene that had played out in his mind only in nightmares and for once, he had no idea what to say. For a frozen moment the sea-blue eyes held his gaze, acute with accusation. Durban gave the smallest nod of acknowledgment.
“I hear and understand,” he said, simply.
“But you’re not going to say anything to it?” Avilon made a contemptuous sound and shook her head. “Why am I not even slightly surprised? It’s always been the same with you, Durban, from the first day we met on Temsevar. A one way street on trust and information. Well, maybe I’ve got to the point of no longer caring enough to even force it out of you. You saved my life on Temsevar at great personal cost and I’ve saved yours on Skapandir at great personal cost. And now, again, on Dyfrax. I think that seems a very good place to call it quits and end our association.”
You can snag your copy of Iconoclast: Not To Be now!