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A Journey to the East [Travel to Kou]

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Adamas Regas

Adamas Regas
The salty air was an assault on the nostrils, and they had yet to even leave port. Alcides took his star pupil aboard post haste to begin their journey east. The old master had turned his eyes to the country of Kou, the land he first began to cultivate his fist, to further develop his pupil’s. Yet, along the way, he had been duped— guilted and aggrieved by the widow of his late brother. So, with a heavy dose of skepticism, he had agreed to take his nephew with him, albeit not to train him. Adamas was to follow and provide additional income in the foreign land as the tragedy of capitalism decreed. At best, the boy could find time to train during the off hours of the day, but with his master's focus on his junior he would need to be entirely self-sufficient.

And, it was sufficient to say, that none of this sat well with Adamas. However, with little-to-no alternatives, he accepted their journey to head eastward.

The superior fighters went bottom side to scope their rooms, leaving Adamas and his Mother on the dock to bid their farewells.

“Did you get everything packed?” No matter how much time passes, the sweetness of her voice never fades.

Adamas shuffled his feet. This was set to be his first adventure outside of his homeland — outside his home — and, without intent, his Mother was laying into him with an overwhelming pressure. “Yes.” His dull words hid the storm of emotions which tossed his heart about.

“You packed extra clothes in case they get wet?”

“Spare shirt, shorts, and sandals.”

“And a snack?”

“I got hard bread in the sack.”

“What about your favorite blanket?”

“Mom, please. I’m 20 years old now,” her son asserted, “I’m not some baby anymore.”

“Oh, Addie, when will you learn?” Like a stray barb, she snares her son’s cheek in between her index and thumb. Her pinch lightly tugs on the flap of skin, stretching it like a sweater, much to her child’s dismay. “No matter how old you get, you’ll always be my baby boy.”

Adamas, with all politeness despite his irritation, pulls his mother’s hand away from his tender face. “Mom, please. The ship is about to set sail.”

“Alright - alright - try to take care now. Don’t cause too much trouble for your uncle, and remember to take in the sights. Not everything has to be about training, you know.”

A lackluster sigh leads him to the raised plank, “I know. I know.”

“Oh, and Adamas.”

He turned on his heels, ready to halt any further nagging from mother dearest. “What now, mom? I told you the boats about to—” A smile, so gentle and so tiny that a mere touch could wither it away tore him from any further scolding.

“Come home safe.”

Three words was all she spoke. Three simple words, yet his heartstrings ached against their pull. His smile, melancholic, was but a bravado to hold back the swelling storm in his eyes.

“... I will.”

It was a promise.

The sails drop to full mast and the sea breeze whispers sweet nothing into the ear of the ship tenants, for each holds a parcel of wonder for their own voyage. Personal or business; devotion or adventure, what be it makes no difference— the world was at large and their first steps, ever so small, had been made.

Yet, for one certain seafarer there was no revelry of freedom— of opportunities once thought impossible coming into reach. The burning wanderlust of life took no harbor in his eye, only the stalwart simmering of coal, and an oven left burning at home.

Neither Adamas, nor Alcides, nor any crew— any merchant — any traveler— knew the true price they paid for leaving that day.

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