The Four Corners: Paths
Tiefling Magus (Bladebound Hexcrafter)
Another night at Bees. You recognize some regulars but no one you know. Looking around you briefly lock eyes with an old man near you at the bar and instantly know it was a mistake. He all but leaps out of his seat to move closer to you. Within minutes you know far too much about Mr. Goodson, who is nice but clearly very lonely.
As Mr. Goodson starts to tell you how he first came to The Four Corners, you are suddenly begin to fall. You grab the bar to catch yourself only to find yourself perfectly stable. You could have sworn…it was that very specific feeling you get when you are about to fall from a high place. Goodson’s hand on your arm draws your attention.
“First time around Akuma there I see,” he says as he gestures to the bar entrance. You see there a very pale man, with pitch black hair pulled into a pony tail, wearing strange dark blue robes. His oddly pale blue eyes meet yours only briefly before he is gone.
“You get used to it. Got something to do with him being a tiefling, can’t make no sense of it though. Lot of people say it feels like falling but to me it always makes me think of swimming. You know when you swim out over a drop off and you can just feel it in your soul that nothin’s under you for a long ways.”
Goodson briefly pauses to take a drink before continuing, “Odd thing is that it used to be that people felt like they were floating away, back before he lost his wife. Maybe it depends on his mood, his bother in-law once mentioned that when they first met it felt like you were get sucked into an abyss. I ain’t sure what that says about the man back then. Ain’t sure I want to know.”
“No real idea where he came from” he says in answer to a question never asked, “but I remember folks recalling that he just was here one day, staying at the Estmont’s home not far from here. I do know someone said that he was raised on some series of islands but that’s about all. Must have been a bad place though ’cause he was real jumpy back then. Seemed to be always angry, like he was about to attack everyone, so people mostly gave him some space.”
“The Estmont’s daughter, Talia, though took to him right off it seemed. She seemed to sooth the boy and if she were bothered by his strangeness, she never let on. No one really believed the Estmont’s story that he was a relative visiting, so weren’t no fuss when the romance between them was becoming obvious. Parents has no choice but to laugh about the cover story when those two finally married.”
“We aren’t close mind you but it suited him, being married,” he says a gravely. “By the time Eliza came around, that’s their daughter, he was a changed man. Calmer, less jumpy, quiet mostly…but happy. Not all of ’em but many around here came to look past the unpleasantness of his race and even grew to like him.”
“…but the gods can be cruel and they never ask no one’s permission before they take from us. Only been a year now since Talia passed. Fell down some stairs, slipped on one of Eliza’s toys as I hear it. Just a dump accident but sometimes that’s all it takes. "
“Not everyone knows this but Father Tillman, over at the water temple, is about a big a gossip as you’ll ever meet. Told some folks that Akuma come in the temple one night with a backpack full of gold, demanding they bring his wife back. Tillman took his money and cast the spells for him, ‘cept it didn’t work. As Ol’ Tillman tells it, when you try to revive the dead their spirit has to agree to it. If they don’t say yes, there’s nothing can be done. I’ll be damned but apparently Talia said no.”
He gives you pitying look before continuing, “Breaks the heart to hear it, right? Well that must have just about broke Akuma ‘cause everything thing changed with him then. He’s sullen now, you can just see it. His brother in-law forces him to come out regularly and he acts happy enough when you make him talk…but it’s just an act and he ain’t a very good actor. Still good with that girl of his though, that’s genuine enough.”
“So you asked and now you know why we all got to feel like we’re falling when he’s around. Eh, now I’m ‘bout to head home, hug my wife, and pass out ’cause I stay here any longer and it ain’t gonna happen in that order.”