Sunday, September 23, 2007

Page 7

"How did you fare during the Environmental War?" Samson asked, believing he knew the answer, fighting to stifle a grin.

Azrael snickered. "You know me, rarely do I commit to any cause I can't believe in. Of course it's hard not to fight for something when they force you to."

"Amen, brother. Though how a war could possibly help the environment..." Samson shrugged. "Beats me."

"So, where are you headed?" Az asked, glancing around at the gathering storm clouds. The wind began to whip them, a little harder with each pass.

"Frankville. I hear it's the only free land left for those who only want to be. What about you?"

Azrael sighed. Frankville, created by Frank Novice and truly the only free land left in the world, spaned across the southern United States, or the country formerly known as the United States. Now it stood a divided country, one that had fallen and is now up on its knees again, struggling for the strength to stand. But can a country stand divided? Or is it truly what they say--united we stand, divided we fall?

"We are going to New Promise," He said, and held his breath, waiting for the screams of protest from his oldest and dearest comrade. Instead, Samson, squinting in the wind, just glanced around and nodded.

"Somehow I knew it wouldn't be an easy finish for you, my friend. You always did have the knack for finding trouble, especially behind enemy lines."

"If life was easy, would it be like this?" he asked angrily, spreading his arms wide and turning a circle. "Life is anything but easy, and if it's going to be hard I might as well go for brutal and really earn it."

Samson shook his head. "I think, after all we've endured, we owe it to ourselves to retire to Frankville. If you can't trust your brother, then who can you trust? There is a place waiting for me in Sunny Wallace. My own place, Man. I can't remember the last time I could say that. It can be your place, too. There is enough." He knew even as he offered this that Az would pass it by. Az had a mission, and that would be all he could see until it was over. Then, perhaps, if he still lived, he would consider it.

Azrael knew his friend was right. He knew it and that pissed him off. He should be going to Frankville, he should! He had found his share of wars and it was time for him to live his life for himself. He didn't choose this, this pilgrimage! This isn't his battle! This is some crazy little skinny psychic bitch's fight, and her flame-haired obstinate protector's. Not his. NOT HIS. And, it also wasn't his way to shirk his responsibility, whether he felt he earned it or had it thrust upon him. Lily listened to their conversation, and for the first time since this mission began, since they first met up with Azrael, she feared his response. She swallowed hard, afraid he would leave her and Mad and for once do his own thing simply because he wanted to. Simply because he could. He was not bound to them, he owed them nothing. Yes, the powers that be (whatever they were anymore, no one knew) guided them together, as their meeting was not by chance. But that doesn't mean a prophecy can't be broken, can't be re-written, can't be changed. And God or Satan or Allah help them all, after that, after Azrael discovered his own free will.