Still Waters Run the Deepest
Pairing: original non-canon characters and Tharmifex
Summary: I love Tharmifex and I just know he is neither as bland nor as uptight as he seems in meetings and at public functions. This story is recounted by somehar who has known Tharmifex Calvel for years.
Disclaimer: All the pretty Wraeththu, as well as the world they live in, were created by, and belong to, Storm Constantine, who (bless her!) is gracious enough to allow fans like me to take them out and play with them occasionally. No copyright infringement is intended, and I promise to wash them off and put them away neatly when I’m done.
Warnings: nothing spoilery – but with references to underwear. While underwear (or lack thereof) already played a part in this story, their role was exaggerated precipitant to the serious academic discussions about the state of underwear in Wraeththudom which can be found in camile_sinensis‘s journal.
BETA’d by: bigunen!!! (The patience of a saint…)
The afternoon sun was casting long shadows into the centre of the old stadium. Most of the assembled people were down where, in the good old days, sports teams had done battle. Now a would-be messiah was trying to whip the assembled group of ragtag humans into an ‘army of righteousness’ to do battle against the evil menace. I sat in the stands, or what was left of them. Trumble, I thought angrily was way more likely to lead these people to death than to victory. Trumble was feeding them false hopes of dispatching the Wraeththu menace, and while they were at it they’d deal with “The Others” – a new group of nomadic humans who were moving into our area and stealing what meager resources we still had. Trumble was an idiot, I repeated to myself, but he was turning out to be a very charismatic idiot.
I had travelled down to this gathering with my older brother Doug and a couple of our cousins – Doug had wanted a firsthand look at the so-called saviour of humanity. Doug had tried to argue with Trumble – but no one wanted the truth; they wanted hope, even false hopes. Little Stevie, Doug’s oldest son, had arrived mid-morning accompanied by another young cousin with the news that Kari, Doug’s woman, was in labour and that Doug was to come immediately. I was chosen to stay for the remainder of the rally and return home in the morning with news.
I emerged from the stadium’s dark maze of corridors into what once had been a parking lot. The pavement was now cracked and broken, with grass, weeds, and young saplings pushing their way through – nature was reclaiming her own. The sun was setting and the shadows were long. Across from the stadium were mostly deserted storefronts boarded up – looted long ago of anything of value.
My teeth were clenched and I felt like screaming. Humanity was dying. Those of us who were left had split into smaller family or neighbourhood tribes. We were scattered, we had no power – we were subsisting, barely existing. And yet, a madman had convinced them that they could reclaim the past and they believed him. Pure madness! I let out a low growl in frustration.
“Russ, go outside and walk once around the block” – that’s what my Nana would have said to me; if you had a problem or you were going to lose your temper – a walk ‘once around the block’ would help put things into perspective. So I adjusted my belt and set off.
I looked down the wide empty street, set the three tall apartment buildings in the distance as my target and began walking. Human cities were now eerily quiet – no bustle, no cars, no music, and no people.