politestpirate: (Endless Path)
[personal profile] politestpirate
To the right was the ocean, stretching to the horizon.

To the left was sand dunes, as far as he could see.

(The sky, blazing and blue, spread all around without a cloud to relieve the monotony.)

The only thing that could be kept track of, to follow, was the shore line winding its way out in front of him.

He lost track of how long it had been since he arrived here- there really was not any way to keep track of the time aside from the relentless crashing of the waves.

(Wellard glanced behind him, once, to see his footsteps washed away by the water, leaving no trace that he had ever been there. He did not look back again.)

There was not any place to go but forwards.

Date: 2007-07-05 04:48 am (UTC)
bringmethatnpc: (in the locker)
From: [personal profile] bringmethatnpc
Backwards or forwards...even that simple distinction may blur, in time.

There is nothing around him but sea and sand and sky. And there is nothing to hear, save the muffled sound of feet on sand and the harsh rhythm of his own breathing and the never-ending wash of waves against the shore. There is no tide on this beach, either -- at least, there is no low-water mark or high-water mark to suggest that there might be a tide, or might have ever been a tide.

Nothing.

And no one, except himself.






Or so Henry Wellard, formerly a midshipman on the HMS Renown, might think.

Date: 2007-07-06 03:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] politestpirate.livejournal.com
No one but himself, or so he sees, and so Wellard would think-

("... Its not hell then, sir?")

There is little here but himself and his thoughts, afterall. And those keep circling around, even as he keeps trudging along the sand.

("Only two things that really matter, son. What a man CAN do, and what a man CAN'T do.")





"If there was anything to do, I would."

His voice fades away on the air, and he resolves not to speak again-

Even if he had before, and had forgotten. Again.

Date: 2007-07-06 03:38 am (UTC)
bringmethatnpc: (in the locker)
From: [personal profile] bringmethatnpc
He may have. There is something in the air that deadens sound, making it difficult to distinguish between things said aloud and things only thought and left unspoken.

After a long enough period of time, it would be very easy to become so confused by the difference (is there a difference?) that one would start talking to oneself.

Very easy indeed.




Or perhaps to start imagining that there is someone else to talk to, after all?

Date: 2007-07-06 04:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] politestpirate.livejournal.com
But there is no one else here. One single set of footprints are the only ones washed away by the waves behind him- not that he has looked back in some time. He keeps his eyes on the line of the horizon ahead of him, looking for any sign of anything that might be new and provide some sort of insight-

("You get into trouble and you do not ever stop and you keep on getting hurt and you do not do anything about it-")

But there was nothing. Nothing but the sand, sea and line of waves.

Maybe he should have listened to Jack.

("And even if you are prepared to face the consequences of your actions, you have no guarantee that the consequences will be what you expect. No guarantee whatsoever.")

He frowns, hands clenching at his sides-

Date: 2007-07-06 04:55 am (UTC)
bringmethatnpc: (in the locker)
From: [personal profile] bringmethatnpc
-- and in the space between one crash of wave and the next, between one step and the next, between one breath and the next, a dry and incisive voice shatters the oppressive emptiness like the sudden crack of a pistol.

"Mr Wellard is sulky."

Date: 2007-07-06 05:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] politestpirate.livejournal.com
It would be nice to think it was just a mental echo. The wind twisting sounds around until you could not tell what was thought and what was said.

... Somehow, as Wellard freezes in his tracks, he hardly thinks that this is the case, this time.

Slowly, he turns around.

Date: 2007-07-06 05:49 am (UTC)
bringmethatnpc: (Captain of the Renown)
From: [personal profile] bringmethatnpc
He is being watched through slightly narrowed eyes -- a flat, calculating, distrustful gaze. There's something not quite right about it, if you look long enough or carefully enough. Most do not.

"And I see that Mr Wellard is out of uniform as well. Perhaps Mr Wellard thinks that there is no need for such niceties as proper attire, let alone due deference to his commanding officer?"

James Sawyer, formerly the captain of the HMS Renown, takes a step closer to the young man who was once under his command.

Date: 2007-07-09 01:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] politestpirate.livejournal.com
Wellard does not have to look long, or carefully. He knows that look, and knows it is not right-

And has a better idea than most as to what exactly lays beneath.





He cannot help it- he steps back, quickly.

Date: 2007-07-09 01:15 am (UTC)
bringmethatnpc: (Captain of the Renown)
From: [personal profile] bringmethatnpc
Sawyer's eyes narrow still further -- even as his mouth curls in a thin smile.

"Come now, Mr Wellard," he says, in what is apparently meant to be a soothing tone of voice. "As I have told you before, I really have no appetite for midshipmen."

His head tilts a little to one side.

"And we are old friends, you and I."

Date: 2007-07-09 01:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] politestpirate.livejournal.com
".... no. No, sir."

He swallows hard, past the lump in his throat, and takes a deep breath.

"You died- you're dead. You cannot be here."

Date: 2007-07-09 05:36 am (UTC)
bringmethatnpc: (Captain of the Renown)
From: [personal profile] bringmethatnpc
"If memory serves me rightly, Mr Wellard" -- and is there a slight inflection on the word memory? -- "then I would say that you are greatly mistaken in where you think we are at the moment."

The thin smile vanishes.

"And I have been waiting for you."

Date: 2007-07-09 06:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] politestpirate.livejournal.com
Wellard blinks, and then shakes his head quickly.

"How can you have been waiting for me? I'm not even supposed to be here- I've been gone from the Renown for months, years even. You couldn't have been waiting for me, and you cannot-"

Date: 2007-07-09 12:31 pm (UTC)
bringmethatnpc: (Captain of the Renown)
From: [personal profile] bringmethatnpc
Sawyer frowns, and the flatly distrustful look is back. "Months? Years? What manner of idle nonsense is this, sir? And indeed, where I am meant to believe that you have been in the meantime? There is no place but here."

The sheer monotony of the surrounding landscape does much to confirm his statement. In a place where time seems to have no meaning, where distances are impossible to judge and where the air hangs heavy and still, the difference between one moment and the next is blurred out of all recognition.

Date: 2007-07-10 03:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] politestpirate.livejournal.com
"I've been-"

Somewhere, hasn't he? But the air and sea echo with vague emptiness that blurs and pushes aside any possibility of anywhere else. He glances along the horizons quickly, then looks back at Sawyer, face pale.

Date: 2007-07-10 03:09 pm (UTC)
bringmethatnpc: (Captain of the Renown)
From: [personal profile] bringmethatnpc
Sawyer gives him a hard, long look, the sort that aboard the Renown usually led to one of his more inventive punishments.

"Well, sir? What excuse am I to hear from you this time?"

Date: 2007-07-11 02:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] politestpirate.livejournal.com
There had to have been more than this. Wellard looks down at his hands for a long moment, ignoring the wave toying with the sand at his feet. There had been the Renown, and now the Locker. But between there-


("This is not Hell, Mr Wellard, though it comes perilous close sometimes, others though it is as close to Heaven as I can imagine.")




"... the End of the Universe."

Date: 2007-07-11 04:13 am (UTC)
bringmethatnpc: (Captain of the Renown)
From: [personal profile] bringmethatnpc
Wellard's words, however quietly said, seem to hang suspended in the air between them. Even the sound of the next wave seems oddly muted in comparison.

"The End of the Universe." Sawyer repeats the words slowly.

The expression on his face hasn't changed.

"That is where you have been, Mr Wellard?"

Date: 2007-07-12 03:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] politestpirate.livejournal.com
Anything beyond that seems as vague and as ill-defined as the shifting sands under his feet, but Wellard manages a nod.

"Yes, sir."

He takes a deep breath, and looks up at Sawyer.

"The End of the Universe."

Date: 2007-07-12 05:20 am (UTC)
bringmethatnpc: (Captain of the Renown)
From: [personal profile] bringmethatnpc
Another silence, just for a moment, and then Sawyer lets out a faint chuckle.

"Under most any other circumstances, Mr Wellard" -- and the soothing tone is back, suddenly -- "I would suggest that you have a touch of the sun. Or is it something else that ails you so?"

Judging by the way he is studying Wellard, taking in the lad's pale skin and anxious expression and apparent inability to form a coherent thought, he knows perfectly well what might be ailing his young midshipman.

Date: 2007-07-13 12:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] politestpirate.livejournal.com
...Why would that be easier to remember than anything else? Wellard shudders, closing his eyes.

"That's not- that is not the case, sir. It isn't."

It cannot be, not now, not after everything that happened-

Did not it all happen?

Date: 2007-07-13 02:32 am (UTC)
bringmethatnpc: (Captain of the Renown)
From: [personal profile] bringmethatnpc
"I may not have a surgeon's eye, sir, but I am by no means ignorant of such matters." His gaze rakes Wellard from head to toe. "Though not many are given to such...flights of poetic fancy as yours. Beyond the moon and above the stars, is it, then?"

He takes a step forward, and then another, closing the distance between them.

Date: 2007-07-13 02:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] politestpirate.livejournal.com
He starts, eyes flying open, but barely manages to not step back.

"-it is not a flight of fancy, sir. You don't know-"

Date: 2007-07-13 03:00 am (UTC)
bringmethatnpc: (Captain of the Renown)
From: [personal profile] bringmethatnpc
And Sawyer stops dead in his tracks, as his face twists in barely controlled rage.

"Enough of this foolish babbling, Mr Wellard," he snaps, drawing himself up to his height. "I have heard enough nonsense from you. End of the Universe indeed -- did you ride there on a pair of magical sea turtles, perhaps?" Mocking scorn sharpens his tongue. "Accompanied by fairies and mermaids?"

Date: 2007-07-13 03:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] politestpirate.livejournal.com
Wellard takes a deep breath-

("What a man CAN do...")

And it explodes out in denial. "No."

"No sea turtles, no fairies or mermaids, even if you would have me believe that all that happened, what I remember is false and just a delusion brought on by the opiates your doctor drugged us both with. Real or fake, Captain Sawyer, there is one thing that remains true-"

He narrows his eyes, looking sharply at Sawyer.

"What I remember and how I am now. And that isn't false, and you cannot take it away from me."

Date: 2007-07-13 03:47 am (UTC)
bringmethatnpc: (Captain of the Renown)
From: [personal profile] bringmethatnpc
Sawyer seems to recoil at Wellard's outburst, drawing a sharp breath through his teeth with a sound like that of a snake that would like nothing better than to turn and strike.

"So." Almost hissed, as he lets out the tightly-held breath. "That is how it is to be."

A beat of silence, and then a second -- and then something in his gaze cracks, and the rising fury in his eyes is gone as if it had never existed. All is peace, and calmness, and tranquility.

"No matter," he says, with a slight shake of his head. "No matter. Justice shall be served, regardless."

The look he gives Wellard is utterly serene.

Date: 2007-07-13 04:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] politestpirate.livejournal.com
That does cause Wellard to step back- though not out of fear this time, but caution.

"You and I are both dead, and here- Where ever this place is. What justice is there to be served?"

Date: 2007-07-13 04:25 am (UTC)
bringmethatnpc: (Captain of the Renown)
From: [personal profile] bringmethatnpc
"You know so very little of justice, Mr Wellard."

Idly, one hand twitches aside the folds of his uniform coat.

"So very little indeed."

And then there is a pistol in his right hand, and that pistol is pointed directly at Wellard.

Date: 2007-07-13 04:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] politestpirate.livejournal.com
There is little point to bring up the fact that they are both already dead- Somehow, here, it does not matter. And somehow, Wellard feels little surprise as he looks at the pistol in Sawyer's hand.

("I've dealt with mortal men all my life before here- I know what they can do, enough to never think that mortal means harmless.")

"With respect- you're wrong about what I know, and do not know." He looks back up at Sawyer.

"Go ahead and shoot me if you like- there is no justice in that. No matter what my intentions had been, when I entered the cabin, I didn't kill you."

Date: 2007-07-13 04:44 am (UTC)
bringmethatnpc: (Captain of the Renown)
From: [personal profile] bringmethatnpc
"Indeed, you did not," Sawyer replies, as if Wellard had been voicing his own thoughts.

The serene look does not leave his face as he turns the pistol around, and holds it out to Wellard.

"Did you think I had forgotten?"

Date: 2007-07-13 05:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] politestpirate.livejournal.com
Wellard takes the pistol, looking down at it for a long moment that seems to stretch forever.

("Then you'd best use both hands if you want to pull the trigger.")

"That I did go there to kill you?"

Date: 2007-07-13 05:17 am (UTC)
bringmethatnpc: (Captain of the Renown)
From: [personal profile] bringmethatnpc
"That a midshipman came into my cabin with mutiny and murder in his eyes." There is a faint tic in the corner of his mouth. "And that quite a lot of things happened very quickly after that."

He spreads his hands wide, indicating the expanse of endless sea and sand around them. "But there are no Spaniards here, Mr Wellard. No lieutenants, no surgeons, no one but us. And so now you shall see, as you could not before, what justice truly is."

He never takes his eyes off Wellard, but he stoops, very slowly, until he is almost on one knee on the flat unending sands. One hand reaches down to clench a fistful of sand -- but as he straightens back up and stands, it is not sand that runs through his fingers. It is a length of rope.

Sawyer gives the rope a quick yank, and sand scatters everywhere as the rope jerks up and into his hands.

At one end of the rope is a simple knotted noose.

Date: 2007-07-13 05:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] politestpirate.livejournal.com
Wellard just stares at both Sawyer, and the rope, his own hands tight on the pistol.

Date: 2007-07-13 02:40 pm (UTC)
bringmethatnpc: (Captain of the Renown)
From: [personal profile] bringmethatnpc
The rope slides easily through Sawyer's hands as he gathers up the loose ends, until his fingers have closed around the knot of the noose.

"One choice is in your hands, Mr Wellard," he says calmly. "The other is in mine. One way or the other, we will see justice done."

His gaze is clear and bright -- and terrifyingly sane.

"Article Twenty-Two. If any officer, mariner, soldier or other person in the fleet, shall strike any of his superior officers, or draw, or offer to draw, or lift up any weapon against him, being in the execution of his office, on any pretence whatsoever, every such person being convicted of any such offense, by the sentence of a court martial, shall suffer death...."

Date: 2007-07-14 04:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] politestpirate.livejournal.com
("Indeed, Death.")

He takes another step back, and raises the pistol to aim it level with Sawyer's eyes.

The air is silent except for the dull roar of the waves and the vast emptiness surrounding them.

Wellard's hand is steady.

"Is that it, then? No one here but you and I, and nothing left but your notion of justice?"

Date: 2007-07-14 04:50 am (UTC)
bringmethatnpc: (Captain of the Renown)
From: [personal profile] bringmethatnpc
"It is not my notion of justice, Mr Wellard." Triumph rings in Sawyer's voice as he takes a step forward. "It is our notion of justice -- stripped to it essentials, reduced to its purest and most incorruptible form!"

Even dulled by the oppressive heaviness of the open sky, the roll of the waves bears an echoing resemblance to a drumroll beaten on a hundred thousand drums.

"If any person in the fleet shall conceal any traiterous or mutinous practice or design, being convicted thereof by the sentence of a court martial, he shall suffer death...."

Date: 2007-07-20 09:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] politestpirate.livejournal.com
("It makes things harder, to be the side that plays by the rules, doesn't it, sir?")

The rolling echo of the waves, the tension of the faint drum roll, and the hushed waiting stillness surrounding them both-

"You've little concept of what justice is supposed to be." Softly.

("You just have to make the decision- and it is a very important, difficult one-")





Wellard's finger squeezes the trigger.

Date: 2007-07-20 10:14 pm (UTC)
bringmethatnpc: (in the locker)
From: [personal profile] bringmethatnpc
The click of flint striking steel is all but inaudible.

The blast that follows not a split-second afterwards is anything but.




The shot seems to ring out for an interminable period of time, fragmented echoes sharp and jagged against the now-muted sound of the ocean. The acrid scent of burnt powder lingers even longer in the damp salty air.

Date: 2007-07-20 10:25 pm (UTC)
bringmethatnpc: (Captain of the Renown)
From: [personal profile] bringmethatnpc
Neither Wellard nor Sawyer have moved -- they stand facing each other in a frozen tableau.

The pistol is still in Wellard's hand, and a thin coil of smoke drifts upwards from the flash pan. But instead of being aimed at Sawyer's eyes, it is now aimed just slightly wide of the mark.

Sawyer's hands are empty.

Date: 2007-07-20 11:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] politestpirate.livejournal.com
Wellard lowers the pistol, the smoke wreathing around his hand and up his arm.

"Without honor or mercy, justice is nothing." Quietly, dark eyes looking straight at Sawyer. "I didn't kill you then, even when you had my hate- and I won't kill you now."

He takes a deep breath.

"It's not justice."

Date: 2007-07-21 09:24 pm (UTC)
bringmethatnpc: (in the locker)
From: [personal profile] bringmethatnpc
The atmosphere is no longer quite as oppressive as it had been merely moments before. Something has changed, however imperceptibly.



There is nothing in Sawyer's expression to give any hint of his thoughts. He merely gazes at Wellard, as Time seems to stretch --

(the hour is come)

-- and the air shivers, blurring like heat haze on a blistering day in high summer --

(but not the man)

-- and when it clears, Henry Wellard stands alone on the endless shore.

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Henry Wellard

January 2011

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