Knocking over pieces

This comes about 7 days after the last post, here:

Luke had been Kept for eight days, and he had spent 2 evenings with his Keeper. The rest of the time he had spent with Leo’s army, doing the job he’d been assigned to – or, at least, the way Leo had chosen to interpret the job Cya had given him.

The army was quite impressive, aside from the whole godhead issue, and there really was quite a bit Luke could do to help. He liked being out in the field again. He’d forgotten how much he enjoyed that: talking to troops, strategizing, scouting. He’d forgotten how much he’d enjoyed being a soldier.

Forgotten – or had the memories pulled out. He’d spend 2 evenings with his Keeper, and she’d spent both of them untangling memories locked up in his mind. Luke didn’t want to examine that too closely – or think too hard about why his crewmate, his friend had torn apart his memories and left him with a mind like Swiss cheese.

He glared at the map in front of him and indulged in an overblown wing-flap, knocking over a couple of the figures on the board.

“Why don’t you go home tonight?” Leo suggested cheerfully. “It’ll still be impossible in the morning.”

Luke shook his head. “I’m fine. If I just look at this a little bit longer, I’ll figure out what I’m missing.”

“No, you’re not fine.” Leo shook his head. “Come on, you know how this works.”

“How what works?” He made the effort to hold his wings in place and not flap, and very carefully put two of the pieces back upright. Pawns. Like Regine treated everyone; like Cya treated everyone.

“Being Kept. Go home, spend some time with your Keeper. You’re getting cranky.”

“What’s that got to do with anything?” This time, Luke didn’t control his flap. The little pieces went tumbling again. “These people…!” Leo’s order was already pressing at him, though. He fought against it to pick up the poor little pawns. “I’m supposed to be helping you,” he tried instead, and hoped it didn’t sound too much like a plea.

Leo was looking at him oddly. He cleared his throat and finished straightening the pieces on the board. “Something with the dry creek bed, here, I think that’s the solution.”

“Go home, Luke. Be with your Keeper before you’re unbearable to be around.” Leo’s voice sounded a little too perky. Luke looked around; there was nobody else in the tent. What…

“I’m just irritated with the map,” he lied. He was irritated with Regine, and with memories that he didn’t know what to do with, and the nagging sensation that he was doing something awful.

“You know how this works, Luke.” There was the briefest hesitation. “Right?”

“Keepers.” Luke folded his wings. “You need some sort of proximity.” He’d always figured that had a lot to do with the Kept and not so much with the Keeping itself. “I haven’t done this before,” he added, defensive and not knowing why he was feeling that way.

“You haven’t… been Kept before? Cya’s your first Keeper?” Leo signaled someone outside the tent.

“Yeah?” Luke shrugged. “I never expected to be in this sort of situation.”

Leo’s teleporter came in. “Sir?”

“Take Luke here back to Red Doomsday, then return to your normal duties.” Leo wasn’t looking at Luke. “Go home, Luke.”

“Sir.” Luke bowed stiffly and let the teleporter take him.

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