Abby and Tristan moved away from the huge ship, sand whispering beneath their feet. So odd, Abby thought, to realize how his feelings had changed since he came to this reality. He didn't dare even glance back at the strange craft, because right then he would have willingly gone to the stars again. He would have done nearly anything, in fact, just to be with these people a little longer.
And Tristan shared his sorrow and loss that crowded in even before they had left... Always going somewhere else. Leaving the others behind.
He didn't want to leave his friends, and in that moment both of them nearly stopped as their emotions overwhelmed them.
But the need to end this madness propelled them forward as friends bade them farewell. Right then, though, Abby couldn't make sense of the journey anymore. He understood that he paid the price to save a life, but even so...
If we don't go on, what other friends would fall? Tristan wondered. Friends we don't even know yet, true--but there have been friends everywhere we passed.
These friends that they would soon leave behind said kind words, their faces showing bleakness that Abby hadn't expected. After all, they hadn't brought much joy to this group. There had been danger at every turn.
There always is, Abby. Even without us. But they had a chance to know that they truly fought on the side of good, and that counts in a lifetime of other uncertainties.
He agreed, silently and wordlessly with a sweep of bittersweet emotions. He was too tired to think more clearly just now, and afraid if he tried he would be bitter at their departure. They had to go on. He didn't want to go angrily, or part with their friends in such a mood.
"Rquana? Would you ward, please?" Tristan asked as he pulled a piece of the Kiya from the pouch. "Sometimes it is dangerous when we leave."
"I would be honored," Rquana replied, and both he and Etric came to help.
The two wove a ward around Abby and Tristan, magic enveloping them in light and warmth. Abby bowed his head a moment, not daring to look at the friends they would never see again. He urged Tristan to open the portal, to let them go quickly. Lingering would not help.
Tristan, magic surging through him, reached for somewhere else. Abby looked up to see--a city, a wide expanse of water... a castle. It seemed more like home than many other places they had been. He hoped that would help...
"Magic. Gods, Captain..." Banning whispered, a voice just beyond the ward. "Magic to go... anywhere."
Abby looked back at the others one final time. His hand tightened on Tristan's arm, and he bowed his head.
"May we meet again in some far port," Crystal said, kind words in parting, a whisper of longing, as though Crystal could hope for such a thing...
And then they were going elsewhere again. Abby watched behind for Gix, and saw the others grow farther away... disappear. Gone forever, except in his heart.