No matter how often you say it, nor how hard you try to believe your own falsities, whether others buy into it or not, you just cannot lie to yourself. Furthermore, when-attempting to deceive oneself, ones subconscious will often find a way of betraying you. Nobody likes being lied to, not even the liar themself, I know. But not for lack of effort, trust me.
I had repeated my statement three times now whilst stood in the vacant space at the table. My seat, however, was messily taken by the blood and gore of the last fool who tried to sneak up on me.
Claric was dead. Gone. And I had the pleasure of sailing in his absence, alone with despondency. Well not alone, depression and desolation came along too.
Good blood had been spilled and now I had been called to account for every drop given. More to the point, I had given these bastards my word…yet still they persisted, probing, with only slightly varied shades of the same damned question, over and fucking over.
Elbows on tables and squeaking chair legs fidgeting across fastidiously polished wooden floors, all added to the overall haze and general fucking annoyance that plagued me.
Someone was smoking a menthal, another was drooling his way through my personal inquisition, totally oblivious and in a drugged-stupor while his esteemed colleagues waffled obliviously at my persons.
Only the young one watched me with the same appreciation that one predator watches another.
He recognised me for what I am and for that I at least afforded him my singular attentions.
And if we were both predators, and I was a Lion, he’d be a Sparrow and little more than a tweeting on the backdrop of my hunt. Still, better to be careful amongst the aware, even the zebra packs a hell of a kick if you’re stupid enough to test it.
The Crown was in full debate, all the while me and the young one locked stares and had ourselves a private dialogue in the ancient tongue of body language. I wondered if he knew the real truth and was just toying with me on this.
The trick to fabricating plausible mis-truth dwells, ironically, within a diluted version of ones perceived truth. Insofar to which a logicical process can be clearly identified, that also typifies the characteristics of the teller. And thus, herein lies the complexity of the fib. Or at least a useful one.
Alas, I did not believe my own tales. So naturally, neither did they.
The young one was the one who wasn’t convinced. I realised this as I struggled to find purchase amongst them and decided that He was the reason my fibs floundered. The young one had power. He also had an unusually pale complexion, I observed.
I pondered my fierce reputation currently being tamed. Henry Game answers to nobody, but still they hammered on. Hammered and hammered and hammered.
I could fucking hammer their heads against the shiny fucking table-top. The prick who thought to sneak up on me had left a sickly-sweet trail all the way out of the doors. Did they need another reminder of my prowess?
‘Lord Game, can you confirm that the Claricaun perished – conversely stated: did you see his rotting corpse with your own eyes?’ He showed no fear. No hesitation.
Truth is I wasn’t even slightly intimidated…
‘I have already told you that he is dead. Blown to fucking bits fighting your fucking trade war!’ I ground my teeth so hard I worried they’d smash.
‘And you actually saw his…body pieces, then?’
This young fucker sure had some balls, talking to me like that.
‘For the last time, yes, you-disrespectful-little twat. In fact, I’ve half a mind to show you exactly how-
‘You see the thing is, Lord Game, our spies over the Atlantic say otherwise. They say that former Admiral Claric is as healthy as a damned drunken egg.’
I was stuck for words.
‘Claric has turned traitor,’ he said. ‘We need you to bring him back home.’ Now he smiled, his teeth a little on the pointy side.
I was still stuck for words. They watched me, bated.
I fumbled through my recent memories, searching for a clue as to Claric’s supposed betrayal. I had no, what you may call, ‘friends’. But if I did, Claric would probably be the closest thing to it.
I mean, he was someone who I didn’t want to kill. Someone who I thought fondly of. We’d had each others back and knowing that he’s out there, on the other side, plotting against me…them, these bastards before me now. Not me. Not me…
I had no home. No allegiance. No anything.
‘I’ll find him for you, for a fee.’
The young spooky bastard grinned again. ‘Of course. We can be very generous to our allies, Lord Game.’
I flinched at the use of my archaic title. ‘Just Game will suffice.’ I sat, fuck the gore. I was already in a filthy mood and blooding my trousers was merely an appetiser in what would be a feast of carnage.
Blood for gold: these were the terms that built my empire.