“Where did you go just now?” Moses Redmoon asked his sister with a sideways tilt of his head and probing squint of his eyes. He tried to conceal it but he was undoubtedly pleased with himself for capturing Ester in a strangely out of character introspective vulnerable moment.
Ester snapped out of her inner reprieve and brought her attention back to the interior of the coach and her smug older brother sitting across from her. She gave Moses one of the scowls that her sickly pale face was so naturally practiced at exhibiting. “It was nothing,” Ester said with bitter poison on her lips.
“Oh, come now you have been staring out the window like that since midday. The wilds of Lighthouse Bay can not be that interesting. There must be something going on in your head that has you so distant,” pressed Moses as he helped himself to the collection of crystal beverage containers and decanters that filled the bar area of the coach.
“Why do you care what I have rattling around in my mind?” retorted Ester as she also liberated a tall container of red wine form the coach’s bar and poured herself a heavy serving of spirits.
“Clearly whatever it is you have going on up there is of some great import. You have not said a word let alone looked in my direction since morning meal,” responded Moses between sips from a simple chalice that contained a passable but wanting red vintage.
Esters coy serpent’s smile was instantly returned to her deadly lip and her eye’s alit with the sparkle of a predator that sensed wounded prey. “Oh, it that all. You are feeling lonely and starved for my attention. How flattering,” Ester said with playful vanity.
“I would slay hundred for the attention of my darling sister,” Moses said as he joined Ester in her prideful game. “I have slain hundreds…” he continued under his breath in an introspective moment of nostalgic indulgence.
“Only hundreds?” Ester responded as she let a droplet of red wine drip from the corner of her mouth and streak her face like blood caking a wolf’s muzzle as it feasted upon a fallen deer.
“I am not about to spoil you with every one of your heart’s desires. Your self-reliance is one of your best qualities,” retorted Moses with a duelist’s precision and execution.
“My self-reliance?” Ester echoed with an unimpressed measure as her seeming moment of power over her older brother came to a dreadful end. She downed the remaining bitter contents of her chalice with an unrefined greedy gulp. “And what can you tell me of my heart’s desires?” she continued while pouring herself another excessive cup of distraction.
Moses took Ester’s words and let them simmer within as he decided if he wanted to further indulge his sister’s need to be the center of attention. As the threat of unbearable silence seeped in to fill the coach once again, Moses quickly decided that some vainglorious enablement was a small price to pay to keep the remaining travel to Lighthouse Bay free of miserable quiet. “I am confident that I know at least one or two of the secret wishes you have warming that block of ice you have in the center of your chest,” responded Moses with a manufactured air of disinterest that failed to convey a sufficient level of indifference.
“Oh you know me so well do you? I am not so sure. Why do you not tell me what I have keeping the ice in my blood warm then?” Ester challenged with a stormy flicker of mischief in her gaze.
Moses gave out a huff while he chewed on the words of his sister. After a few moments and a reluctant shake of his head he once again dove into the twisted game laid out by Ester. “The destruction of the chimera never fails to put a smile on your lips and flush that pale skin of your with a colorful hint of life,” Moses said as he defensively folded his arms across his chest.
“Oh my, you are truly a clairvoyant wonder. I never would have thought that anyone could have pulled such a deep repressed desire from the confines of my psyche,” Ester said with full sarcastic mockery.
“Oh you do not wish for the annihilation the beasts that plague our world?” Moses responded flatly with a deep scowl breaking across his face as Esters feigned hysterics cut at him like an assassin’s knife.
Ester let out a belt of laughter that sounded more like a tormented ghostly wail than an expression of joy and levity. “Of course I wish to see the chimera laid to rest but I would hardly call such a desire any great secret,” said Ester after her laughter had quieted enough to get proper words past her lips.
“More than the destruction of the chimera I would say you long to sit and reign over Viros as rightful sovereign,” Moses said with a probing quality that tried to entice his sister’s power hungry appetites.
Ester’s face softened and she let her wicked laughter die down but still kept a playful quality about herself. “But that is a desire that all Redmoon’s share,” Ester started but stopped abruptly as she seemed to access the full weight of the words only after she had spoken them. “Again I do not feel it could really be called a secret,” Ester said with a peculiar measure of lamentation in her speech.
The strange tone of his sisters voice as she spoke of the intended destiny of the Redmoon’s was all that Moses needed to decipher the mystery behind his sisters more than unusual melancholy. “Ah, so that is it? Our suddenly estranged brother is what has gotten you so withdrawn?” asked Moses.
“That harpy form Lighthouse Bay has her talons dug deep into Noah. He is making himself a fool over her,” Ester said with jealous venom on her tongue.
“Noah knows what family means. He had had his past indiscretions and such but he always comes back to us. We three are all that matter. Always has been that way and always will,” Moses said with a far reaching confidence.
“I wish I could share your assured confidence,” Ester said as she fished her second cup of red wine.
“Saria Guidman can not give Noah what he needs. He will stray but he will come back to us in his own time,” Moses said but noted his words falling on deaf ears.
“Suddenly all thoughts of our little wayward brother are the farthest thing from mind,” said Ester as she looked out the coach window at the outline of Lighthouse Bay’s seal wall forming in the distance.
Moses Redmoon was swept into the vision that had similarly enraptured his sister. The pair had seen every seal wall of each of Argaia’s great cities more times than they could count. The grandeur of the towering monoliths had long since lost its potency and mystique. What had dumbstruck both the age old Virosborn siblings was not the seal wall itself but the catastrophic breach in the wall. The gap in the sky high protective barrier could be seen for leagues.
“I think perhaps the Father Abbot might have underestimated the volume of work that will be needed to make the seal wall whole once more. I wonder if we brought enough able bodies.” Ester mused.
“That is indeed a question on my mind but by no means the greatest one I have,” said Moses.
“What puzzles you now?” responded Ester quizzically.
“Back at the Grand Abby, they said it was a storm that was responsible for this destruction. Farfetched as it sounded, at the time I might have believed it. Now that I have seen the damage for myself, I can not fathom any force of nature that could be reasonable for this,” Moses responded warily.
“So what do you think could have done this?” Ester asked with eager anticipation of an answer to the mystery she was also contemplating.
“That my dear sister, is the question,” said Moses while he used every spare measure of his considerable volumes of courage to conceal the lucking fear he felt in his bones.