Friday, March 12, 2010

Pitch: An Afternoon With Lark

Pitch blinked down at the note in his hands. Shaurria peered over his shoulder, trying to see, but he let the hand holding it fall to his side. "Uh, Shaur?" he said. "I think I'm gonna go out this afternoon. You'll be all right by yourself?" She looked disappointed, but nodded. "Okay." He grinned at her and ruffled her hair, making the normal tangle much worse. "I'll see you tonight then, okay?" he told her, then walked off, leaving her trying to straighten her hair out as best as she could. She idly wondered where he was going and what had put him in such a good mood.

* * * * * *

Pitch stepped inside the little Eastvale inn and tavern and looked around, quickly spotting his target. Lark was sitting near the rear of the building, her back to the door. It was no trouble to move up silently behind her, and he was rewarded by her starting slightly when he dropped into the seat next to her. "Hey," he said in greeting, and she gave him a welcoming smile. "Hey yourself," she replied. "Didn't anyone tell you it's not polite to sneak up on people?" He smirked. "They probably did, but I wasn't listening," he retorted, then ducked as she swatted at him.

They bantered back and forth for several minutes before gradually growing more serious, with Lark asking Pitch several questions about his past. She seemed genuinely interested, so he told her a few tales of his life, including- to his surprise- the "bear story." Lark managed to keep from laughing, though it took obvious effort. As he finally ran out of things to say, she glanced at him curiously. "So what happened to your girl? Did you ever sort things out?" "Uh, yea," Pitch he replied. "For now anyway, we're staying just friends." She nodded, staring at her glass for awhile before looking back up at him. "So... would you be interested in another ear rub?" she asked, giving him a crooked grin. He grinned back. "I might."

* * * * * *

Evening was just starting to fall. Pitch lay in the winter-yellowed grass, his head in Lark's lap, as he fended off her attacks on his ears. He didn't mind, really, but the weather was quite nice for the tail-end of winter, and right now he simply wanted to enjoy the almost-warm day. And perhaps a little more conversation as well.

"I've told you some of my past," he said as he batted her hands away again. "Now how about something from yours?" Lark stopped, looking down at him with a suddenly serious expression. "Do you really want to know, or are you just trying to be polite?" she asked him. He just looked back at her, letting his own expression answer. Finally she shrugged. "Not so much to tell," she told him. "My brother was the hero in the family, until he died in the Shifting Sands. I was the... consolation, I guess, after his death." She tried to keep the bitterness out of her voice, succeeding mostly but not totally. Pitch raised an eyebrow at her, and she gave a half-shrug. "It really wasn't that bad. But to spend my whole life growing up hearing about all the things he did... It got kind of old after a while," she finished, a little sadly. "I always felt that I could never live up to his memory. So I left as soon as I could."

Pitch waited for a minute or two for her to go on. When she didn't, he gently prompted, "And then?" Lark shrugged again. "I had no money, so I wound up hiring myself out as a caravan guard, mostly. I've always been good with a bow." She paused, glancing at the black moonstalker lying nearby. "And then I found the first Tuah." She watched the cat affectionately for a few moments, then looked back as Pitch commented, "My sister did that too, she used the same name for her cats for a long time." Lark nodded absently, then shook her head a little and continued her tale. "Anyway, after several years I had saved enough that I could go wherever I wanted. I've been just wandering for the last five centuries, selling my bow when I needed the money."

"So, a mercenary?" Pitch asked. "I guess you'd call it that," she said. "Well, what about up north? Plenty of need for fighters there." Lark shook her head. "I haven't been to Northrend, and I have no intention of going there. I plan on staying as far from that fight as possible." Pitch cocked an eyebrow at her curiously. "Why, if I may ask?"

"Because....." Lark paused, searching for the right words. "Because if we win against the Lich King, what difference will it make? Will it really change anything? I don't see the point in throwing my life away in something that won't affect things in the long run." "But it will make a difference," Pitch cut in. "It will get rid of the Scourge, for one thing." "Will it?" Lark responded instantly. "Are you so sure about that?" Pitch sat up, turning around to look at her, then shrugged. "But why do you feel that way?" he asked her.

Lark sighed. "Because life is just one battle after another. If we finish off Arthas, another monster will take his place, and another after that. It never ends." She shrugged, not meeting his eyes. "You get tired of it after a while."

Pitch frowned, then pointed at her pet. "Well, what about him?" he asked. She gave him a puzzled look. "Tuah? What about him?" "Well, does he feel the same way? Would he rather live a life of peace and laziness, or one of adventure? Have you ever thought of that?" He paused, then added, "Not everyone dislikes a good fight, you know." Now she frowned, her face thoughtful. "No, I've never thought about that," she said slowly. Pitch gave her a small, tight smile. "Fighting isn't always a chore, you know. Sometimes we need a good battle, to remind us." "Remind us of what, Pitch?" she asked softly. His grin turned feral as he answered, "That we're alive."

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