As I stood, looking over the cliff and into the great ocean, I puffed on my pipe and reflected. The sun began to rise, casting the dark purples and blues of the night into light blues and greys. I stared into the waves of the ocean and shivered. Through the smoke of my pipe I could see a stream of smoke beginning to rise from a small town in the distance bordering the ocean. I tried to avert my gaze from that town. I'm not sure I ever wanted to be reminded of it again.
Through my pipe smoke I silently wished that town would burn. A small, port town shunned by the neighbors, inbred, and full of resentment and mistrust of outsiders. When I first arrived I thought nothing of them. A missing persons case with no leads. A poor sailor groveling to me at the station. The bearded stranger, solving crimes across Kuu. I thought it was a good cause. It was on my way out. I didn't think it would be a problem.
Now I stare into the waves and tell myself, over and over, that it's over. She's gone. She ran away. She's lost at sea. She was murdered. She's gone. Wherever she is, she is gone. I couldn't find her.
And what I did find...
A breeze stirs up my blazer. I look down at my attire. My right sleeve has been slashed. My suit pants are ripped. I am missing one shoe and I lost my coat. I would rather die walking to Baeru then attempt to go back to that small town and get re-clothed.
I reach into my pocket and fish by it and grasp the object. Past my change purse and bill clip, stuffed more full then they've been in years, was a large bar of valuable metal. It wasn't the metal that caused me to snag it. It was the strange markings on it. The terrible depictions of creatures and events yet to pass. I grabbed it expecting to study it but now I want nothing more but to hurl it in the sea. However, it was still an entire bar of valuable metal that could easily buy me a ticket home.
Home... Is it time to return? Is facing the land I left better then admitting to where I am? Would they even recognize me? I ran my fingers through my beard and thought about my travels. It was time to go home. I decided it was probably time to shave this beard, too. Leave everything behind. Leave this whole experience behind.
I hope the town burns. I hope all of it turns to ashes. All its secrets. All its horrors. May they be turned into black smoke, and hover over the town.
I turned and began to walk from the cliff. Turning my back on the scene and the ocean, I set my sights to the future. I uttered my first and last words of the day.
"Hail Leviadon," I uttered. And with that, I vowed to never again bring up, or think, of the town again.
And I never did.