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Tales of Adventure: Julian and Anotonia

Created On Monday, 12 March 2018 01:41 By Chris Taylor

Character's Name:  Julian Benedict Aemilia

Title of Adventure: Julian and Anotonia

Month: 01-Peonus

Date: 08

Year: 956


Julian wasn’t nervous around women, hadn’t been since he was fourteen and had his first intimate interaction with a member of what his father called the fairer sex. But Anotina was different. He wasn’t trying to woo her, not even impress her. He just needed to talk to her, to explain himself  But he was hesitant, not because he was scared, or so he told himself. He was going to put the conversation off until things got to the point that it began to affect the group.


Then one evening, two days after Leif’s ship had left the dock headed up the river, he was out on the deck near the bow of his boat getting ready to set up his sleeping bag for the night when he saw her coming towards him.



The introduction to Julian in the pub hadn’t surprised her, but it had put her off. She’s only heard of him, she’d never met him before. She honestly never expected to ever meet him. Now she was forced to pal around with him because she’d accepted a job. She’d thought about backing out of the job. There were plenty of ships, plenty of jobs. But Antonia was a woman of her word and she’d given it. Besides, how would she explain her leaving?



Antonia had no intention of talking to him, definitely wasn’t going to “pal around” with Julian. It didn’t matter how handsome he thought he was or, smooth he thought he could be. And for the first few days of the trip, she’d managed to stay clear of him. She worked the riggings with the crew and stayed as far away from him as she could. But there are only so many places on Leif’s boat and sooner or later interaction was going to have to happen. He was setting up his bags and she was heading aft. She didn’t intend to talk to him, push him into his things maybe but not talk.



He saw the expression on her face and the small urge to give his side of the story, to explain himself suddenly left him.  He turned abruptly and moved to the edge of the boat. The sun was slowly descending the sky and it would soon be dark. But just at that moment, it had turned a fiery red and the rays were playing off of the water’s surface.



Good, she thought, maybe he’ll fall in. Antonia continued to walk towards aft but then stopped. She let out a sigh, the rest of the group seemed to like him. He had gotten the writ from his grandmother. “If you fall in, I’m not going in after you.” She said. It was the nicest warning she could possibly give him.



He turned then and looked at her, “I learned to swim a long time ago, I can take care of myself, besides it’s not like we’re out in the ocean where some giant squid is going to drag me to the bottom of the ocean and drown me.  Though I have a feeling you’d rather enjoy seeing that happen.”



She turned to look at him. “We’re moving pretty fast, can you swim that fast?” She took a step towards him. “That’s assuming you don’t hit your head after being drug under the boat by the current of the river since we’re going upstream.” She kept coming towards him. “Squid no, but there are river crocs.” She folded her arms. “But you’re probably right, you can take care of yourself. When the going gets rough you just cut and run anyways, right?”



He looked down at the deck then slowly brought his eyes back up her frame before he forced himself to look in her eyes. He avoided answering her directly. Instead, he said, “She wasn’t like the others, she meant something to me. I loved her. You may not believe that, but it’s true.”



There was a sour sounding laughter that escaped her lips. “Right.” Antonia retorted. “So much that you abandoned her without a word. Left her not knowing what happened to you, what she might have done wrong.” Antonia found her hand on the hilt of her saber. Squeezing it.



He was a pretty observant man, in his profession he had to be, but he would have had to have been blind not to notice her hand on her sword. He let out a long breath. “No,” he said in a low voice, “it wasn’t her fault. You’re right I did cut and run, I was a coward, I should have stood up to my father. But I’ve changed since then, at least I hope I have.”



A father’s displeasure, Antonia could understand. It was obvious that he’d struck a nerve with that comment. Her hand came off her weapon, her face relaxed some and she moved to stand next to the railing of the boat looking out at the setting sun. “She cried for weeks over you,” Antonia admitted. “You must have been something special to her.”



“I was a bastard the way I treated her, but if it makes you, or her feel any better I cried some too. And I so wanted to kill my father, but from what he told me your family didn’t approve either.”



She rolled her eyes. “I don’t care if you cried, Julian,” Antonia admitted. “I don’t know if my father would have approved of you or not. He doesn’t approve of me so what do I care for what he approves of or not.” She took in a deep breath of the river’s air and let it out slowly. “I think if you care about someone what your family does or doesn’t approve of shouldn’t matter.” She glanced at him. “But that’s easy for me to say, I’m pretty much disowned.”



He put his hand on her shoulder, then quickly withdrew it. “That’s what scared me,  I didn’t want to be disowned, I didn’t want to lose everything. Not then. Now, well like I said before now it would be different. How is she now, has she found someone, someone better than me?”



She shrugged her shoulder out from under his hand, as he was removing it. Antonia wasn’t entirely sure she should tell him the truth. If he really did care about Gabriela was it fair to hurt him again? She was betrothed, an arranged marriage set up by Justus. “No,” She finally said. “Not according to her anyway.”



There was a long pause before he finally spoke again, “Do you think she might give me a second chance? A chance to make things right?”



Antonia frowned, she opened her mouth to speak but didn’t. “Julian, she’s betrothed.” She admitted the truth. Against her better judgment, but she did it. “My brother set it up months ago. The last I heard she took the responsibility seriously.” She sighed. “Someone had to act like a responsible daughter.” Her sister’s letter had said.



He cursed then, low and vociferously taking server god’s names in vain as he did so. Shaking his head he said, “Then it really is too late. How could I have been so stupid?”



She let him vent. What was she going to say? She just kept watching the sunset. The sky turned from shades of red and orange to elaborate shades of pinks and purples. Antonia almost said that she was sorry for him. She knew how she felt being disowned, cut off from everyone she loved. Well, almost everyone she loved and cared about. “Sorry.” She finally caved and said it.



He gave her a long look. “How can you feel sorry for me after all I did to her?”



A good question. “I don’t feel sorry for you. You were stupid and we only really appreciate what we have once we’ve lost it.” Antonia turned to look at him again. “I’m sorry for what you’ve lost. I’m sorry I’m reopening an old wound for you. If your father is anything like mine then I can believe he threatened to cut you off. You are or were shallow and self-absorbed. You call it stupid, I call it spoiled and rich. I don’t feel sorry for what you’re going through, that you deserve.”



Her words had the sting of truth in them, so much so that he actually winced when she spoke them. You’re right I was shallow and self-centered. I probably did deserve it  I used to be a rake, but I uh haven’t, you know, since I left her.”



Laughter erupted from her again as she held up her hands. “I don’t need to know, I’m sure I don’t care.”  This time her laughter was genuine and almost pleasant sounding. “How you handle your... needs is your business.” She sighed. “Look, Julian. I don’t know if it will make a difference. Gabriela isn’t as strong-willed as I am. But, why don’t you write to her? I’ll mail your letter with mine so that it gets past my father and Justus.” She couldn’t believe she was suggesting this. “Who knows, maybe she’ll run away for you.”



He didn’t like being laughed at, even if she did have a rather pleasant laugh. But he got over that when she made her offer. “Th...thanks, I’ll get to that later tonight. I will write her. Are you and I going to be okay, working together?”



Antonia had to give that some thought. Where are they going to be able to work together? Yeah, probably. “Work yeah, but we’re not friends. All right?”



“Agreed, I’ll have your back in a fight and assume you’ll have mine as well. But we’re not friends and I doubt we ever will be.”


Antonia agreed to that. They weren’t drinking buddies, not sharing rooms in taverns. Nothing like that. It was strictly business, and once the job was over she wouldn’t have to deal with him anymore. “Fair enough.” She pushed off the railing and started back towards the aft of the boat.


Last Updated On Tuesday, 08 January 2019 21:14 By David Tannen
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