This belongs to you
Chapter 6: Desperate Times
Timeline: The morning after the attack on the Governor's office
Captain Daenelia Bradley was directing her deckhands as they readied the Steamhawke for departure. The events of last night were still ringing in her head, and she was finding it a little hard to concentrate. She'd slept only fitfully since she led her crew back to the Steamhawke. Rosita was right, it was about time for Daenelia to leave. She needed to have her wits about her for the journey ahead, so she decided to go for a stroll along the Seaport docks to clear her head.
"I believe this belongs to you" called Elias Ambrose to Daenelia as they spotted each other. Standing in front of Elias was Erm, the apprentice engineer, and the missionary had his hand on the young boy's shoulder. Recently, Erm had become a member of the Church of the Machine, a cult of troublemakers that had been spreading through Seaport. Daenelia was happy to see that Erm was out of his crimson robes. "Go on, boy" Elias said into Erm's ear, and the young man stumbled in front of the captain.
"Reporting for duty. Captain."
He walked off without another word, clutching a book under his arm. "I've given him a copy of the holy book," smiled Elias beneath his dark glasses, "he's a smart lad, and the allegories in the book should challenge him and help remind him not to sway down the wrong path. Best to keep an eye on him though, the cult did a lot of damage to the boy."
"And your work on him was harmless, of course," Daenelia said. The lesser of two evils, in her mind, didnt make the lesser evil good. Elias was still smiling, and to anyone else his smile might have looked benevolent. But Daenelia missed something she had known was there before. The absence of his fire and passion scared her more than she could explain. And there was that nagging, in the back of her mind, that wondered if she could bring that passion back, ever. It was just that she had no interest to rekindle anything that had ever been there, or so she told herself.
"Of course," Elias said softly after a pause, still smiling. "Let him heal, Daenelia. The world will damage him again soon enough." "You damage everyone around you," Elias had once written to her, "but how much damage can you take yourself before finally falling apart?" Daenelia's mind had a habit of wandering when Elias was nearby, and this meeting was no different. Once again she found herself standing closer to Elias than she had intended to, and her mind was clouded with memories of their times together from before the incident.
"Why don't you join us on our journey?" Daenelia blurted out. She couldn't believe her own ears, did she really just ask her ex-lover to join her? The man she nearly destroyed? If Elias was shocked, he didn't show it, instead his smile only grew wider. His gloved hand was at Daenelia's cheek, his fingers stroking it gently. "Now is not the time for me to leave Seaport. My work here is not done. But I know we will meet again. After all, I only loaned you that money. I will collect what you owe me."
Daenelia's smile, as she leaned into Elias's hand, was not completely genuine. Paying him back should be easy once she found that damned treasure. But if she could figure out a way to not pay him back, she'd go for that. And Elias's machine body might have given out before she ever got back here. "Hm-hm," she sighed. She looked up at him coyly through her thick eyelashes. Then she straightened up and slowly walked away from him, giving her hips that sway that she knew he liked.