For Darryn, who had grown up in the enclosure of the mountains, standing on the edge of the ocean was dizzying in the worst way. It made him nervous, and it made him infinitely small. The mountains had dwarfed him too, but in making him feel small, they had decided to protect him, had stood like giant sentinels, turning away all of the evil of the world. The ocean boasted of its vastness. The waves even seemed to mock him, chuckling, and growling they tugged at him, tried to tear the land out from under his feet and drag him into the water. The ocean wanted to drown him, and Darryn took a step backward, sparking Aidan’s laughter.
He looked over at Aidan, standing with his toes bared in the sand and the surf and with a crooked, satisfied smile. Aidan had never seen the ocean either, but he’d grown up with dreams of it. He had had some idea of what to expect. Darryn had been overwhelmed by the expanse of the lake beside which Aidan had grown up. This—this was something else.
“How far does it go?” Darryn asked.
“It doesn’t end,” Aidan told him.
“It has to end.”
“This same water covers the whole of the earth. You could sail around the world and never leave the ocean. You could come right back to this point.”
“It’s fact. Still think you’re so important, Darryn?”
“I’ve never felt important.”
“Liar,” Aidan accused.
A sheepish smile slipped across Darryn’s face, not owning up to the lie but not repeating it a second time either. Yes, he had felt important in the worst ways sometimes. He had felt as if everything conspired against him. He felt hunted, unable to run anywhere without being followed. Now he felt as if he carried the world’s weight on his shoulders, doomed to fight or die.
He looked up at the castle on the cliff to his right. Somewhere in that castle—presumably—was the royal family, whom Darryn had promised to protect. Perhaps they looked too out over the ocean. Darryn wondered if it made them feel small too.
The Babbling Buzzard is a thief! She stole the first line of this piece and wrote a potentially more cohesive piece of her own, “Home Sweet Home.” Go check it out. All legal theft pieces are collected by our thief lord here.