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Abruptly, he stood up, threw a few coins on the table, and stalked out of the tavern.
What the hell was he doing? It was all so pointless. He was just marking time; there was no reason for any of this. He stopped in the middle of the path, silently admitting to himself just how sterile his existence was. He had no hopes, no dreams, no goals. What was it all for? He answered his own question: Nothing. It was all for nothing.
He lifted his head and looked at the sky above, dark and foreboding with storm clouds gathering. He smiled grimly. Well, if he wanted confirmation...
He made the decision on that dark street and felt the pressure melt away. He knew what he had to do, what he needed to do. Go back to where it all began so very long ago, before he became the worldly Nic Volenz; to when he was the poor foundling Nicolo d'Volenzkya, named for the street and city where he had been abandoned. It would be spring now in Volenzkya, and he needed to see home, to feel its familiarity, its warmth, one last time before he bid a final farewell to his existence. It was probably maudlin, but he didn't care. Nic had been struggling with himself over this for months, years, even; another few weeks or so wouldn't matter.
Swiftly changing direction, he headed for the docks. It didn't matter that it was the middle of the night; there was always a watch on the ships, and he could find out which vessel was heading for Volenzkya. It was only a four-day journey by sea to the capital city, and he could comfortably stay in his cabin for that short period of time without arousing suspicion, claiming to be a poor sailor.
He was back at the house where hewas staying an hour before dawn, having arranged passage on a ship leaving the next evening. Nic had taken the precaution of feeding on his way back from the docks; he didn't wish to risk needing to feed on board ship. He hadn't had an attendant for the last few months and he soon packed his own bag. Traveling light was a habit of his now.
Standing by the window, he watched the sun slowly lift above the horizon and knew he had made the right choice. He would go home, say goodbye to the places that meant something to him, and then let everything go. He was almost surprised to find that he wasn't afraid; he felt at peace for the first time in one hundred and eighty years.