Rough, it needs scrubbing. I KNOW this…. Mikial’s nickname is Shaderunner fyi
The odd hut was divided into three small rooms with a large central fire-pit area. Mikial built up the fire as the women divided making it comfortable. He tried not to notice how closely they watched him, his injuries were still healing and he could feel their concern. On some level it was touching. On another, he couldn’t bring himself to care. He wanted to be healed, he wanted to be done. He wanted to go back to the caves, to confront Avari and demand an explanation.
He was going to get one. He’d given his existence to her. She’d better damn well give him one. Or else,
He hesitated, crouched in front of the fire, watching the flickering flames. Or else what? She was a goddess, what could he do, after all?
He stood, stretching sore muscles, testing the healing tissue. Years of life, of living, slowed his body’s healing. Velvet, despite her assistance, couldn’t counter that. And there was the damn monitor. It wouldn’t allow his body to heal faster than the algorithms programed years ago. He absently rubbed at it as he left the dome.
The fields of Tives stretched out before him and in the distance the broken and tumbled city walls of Tives itself stood, silent testament to the anger of the gods. He tightened the cloak around his shoulders, staring towards the rubble.
Gods, Goddesses. His life was caught up in a massive joke. What was the point? Time rolled past him, for a brief moment he could almost see the faces of his past lovers, lost friends. Dria would have raged, Savna counseled, Rinoa exploded, he shuddered. Too many. And now, with the bond he couldn’t rightfully seek solace of death. Velvet’s life lay on his shoulders.
He sensed her, before he heard her, old friend, one of the few who knew Dria, who fought in the goblin wars and managed the catacomb collapses. Emmalin stopped a little bit behind him, not saying anything though he felt her mind brush his, ever so gently, gauging, testing. Almost too light for even him to detect.
“You know, Vel feels awful about the whole binding issue.” She said softly.
Mikial couldn’t respond. How could he? What was there to say?
“It saved her life, repeatedly though.”
He half turned frowning at her. “How?”
“She’s never explained. But I’ll say this, if she’d died, when attacked, if she’d died way back when being tortured, she wouldn’t have been able to save Zin, or pull the unbound together.” Emm was staring at him, her overlarge dark eyes very serious. Mikial felt his stomach twist as she stepped closer, resting a hand on his shoulder.
“Avari betrayed you to your enemy, I see that, you’re in shock, I know. But when I see you I remember the man who faced down the dragons, who stood firm against the spider queen.” She glanced over her shoulder towards the dome, then back at him. “We’ve seen some crazy shit in our day, Mikial. She has no idea. And the man you were back then, got buried under bureaucracy.” She touched his face. “I miss that man.”
“Perhaps that man is dead.” He said softly.
Emm smiled sadly and shook her head. “No, I don’t think so.” She leaned forward hesitated and brushed a kiss against his lips. “There’s game a few miles south of here. You and Vel, you have some things you have to work out. I’ll get out of your hair,”
“So you can get that straightened out and,”
“Emm, she needs you here.” He wasn’t sure it was a good idea to be left alone with the little red-head, but Emm shook her head with a sad smile.
“No, because she’ll hide behind me, because you scare the ever-loving piss out of her.” She patted his arm, then squeezed gently. “She’s tough, yes, she’s had to be. But she’s as alone as you are, and the bond was the only thing that kept her sane.”
He nodded. Emm took a deep breath and grinned. “Have fun.” And was gone.
He swore under his breath. Typical. There were times, like then, that she reminded him so much of Dria it made him want to weep. It was why he’d cut off contact. He couldn’t handle the pain that welled up every time he thought of the lost free-spirit.
I will clean this up, I promise.