While Ganis avoided the lunch gathering of her comrades by skulking in the lower decks pretending to look for a misplaced object, she came across Pertinax’s second in command, Hephaestion.
The brown haired man was lying on his hammock reading a scroll when Ganis approached. When he noticed her heading his way, Hephaestion turned his head to face the Moroi. The light revealed his chestnut colored eyes once he gazed at the intruder, expecting her to commence a series of questions regarding her misplaced object.
Realizing that the man awaited her speech, Ganis slurred, “Hail, I am Ganis.”
“And I am Hephaestion. Pertinax told me everything about you, but there is one thing that continues to intrigue me. We set sail a day ago and you have not eaten since. There is no need for you to refrain from informing us about your seasickness. Ninazu can quickly prepare a remedy for you to deal with that.”
“Thank you. I will head to Ninazu after he is done with his lunch. There is one more thing though.”
“What is it?” putting down the scroll in a crevice near his hammock, one designed specifically to hold down scrolls and other cylindrical objects, Hephaestion asked.
“I spoke to Commander Pertinax, and he informed me of the importance of getting to know your comrades. I was hoping that you would share with me some of your history.”
“That is an excellent idea. Normally I would ask you to start with your history, but we have all been made aware of it by Pertinax,” the Parthan spoke. He then took a moment to structure his story before telling it to Ganis, “My story begins after traveling the known lands in search of knowledge from various different sources. When I was fifteen, I decided that my learning had reached a level where there was no need for me to rely on others to gain knowledge. Once I had attained this level of education, I sought a way to apply it in a practical manner and joined the Peacekeeper Core where I met Thane. Although Thane was my age back then, he was already a Commander of a small scouting Peacekeeper group. Impressed by my qualifications and tactical savvy, Thane immediately promoted me to be his second in command. Back then, the Peacekeeper Core was a minor entity which had just been established by the Gallecian authorities to maintain peace in its surrounding lands. It was a group of glorified law enforcers who were about to undergo an identity change. The escalating civil war altered our role to one of bloodshed, and used us as soldiers instead of law enforcers. When the war was over, and Partha was exiled, the Gallecian Council attempted to consolidate their power and be formally named as rulers of Gallecia and protectors of the peace. Although a seemingly fitting reward for the noble Council, Thane and I saw beyond their lies. We knew that the Council was planning something sinister, but we could not identify their intent and prove it. Eventually, Thane conspired with a group of Peacekeepers opposing the Council’s rule, and I willingly followed. One day, however, we were betrayed by one of our comrades and handed over to the Gallecian authorities as rebels and enemies to the peace; we were quickly exiled and sent to Partha. Within the exiled kingdom, Thane and I had to start a new life where survival was based on careful planning as well as avoiding stirring trouble with the hostile gangs. These days were hard, but they made us stronger. It started with Thane and me looking out for each other, and then grew to become a full grown gang of over a hundred members. We managed to gain status among the exiled and survived long enough to attend the arrival of lady Lyra and the Demigod Servak. As a former Peacekeeper officer who had rebelled against the Council, Thane did not need to prove his loyalties to Servak and managed to convince him to allow me to join Lyra’s Ona. However, the true purpose of my task was to spy on the Emperor and confirm the nature of his intentions. Once I learnt that the Emperor was indeed pure of heart, I confessed my role to Lyra who, to my surprise, admired my honesty and insisted that I remain as one of the members of her Ona. That concludes my story so far.”
“What a rather concise and elaborate way of informing me about your eventful history. You are indeed a man of detail, Hephaestion.”
“My past may be eventful, but I never served under the command of a hero such as Asclepius. I look forward to knowing more about this man,” Hephaestion indirectly requested. Before Ganis got a chance to reply to her comrade, he added, “Unfortunately, this story will have to wait, for I am starving and am in desperate need of sustenance. They are serving fish today, again; I guess that I should have my fill before it turns stale as the days come to pass.”
Hephaestion held his right hand out for Ganis to hold and support him while he stood up. Before stepping away from his hammock towards the stairs leading to the upper decks, he looked back and made sure that his reading material was properly secured. With a serene motion, Hephaestion exited the chambers.
Once the man was well out of sight, Ganis walked towards her own hammock and decided to grab some sleep. After all, she wanted to waste time during lunch.