Torshael and Tayne's Story: A New God for a New Mission

Chapter Eleven

Written in Collaboration with Dragonflight


Torshael was right. Within the space of an hour, after donning backpacks with magically preserved meat, hard traveling cheese and bread, and shepherds pies, and loading Haiiro with cooking gear enough to heat up anything they brought or caught, and being gifted with a last full meal to save for whenever they stopped to rest, Ghaurin was ready to point them in the right direction. Tayne insisted on making sure all four of them could call the Inuun if there was need, leaving instructions that a small group of dragon-bonded pairs be ready to teleport to their location if there was need. It took some convincing to get Tekasynos onto Haiiro's back with Torshael to conserve both energy and heat, but it helped that Tayne said he was content to walk, given his furry form and personal heat control. Torshael just wished his brother were a little less inclined to snipe at the infernal, no matter how well-behaved poor Tekasynos was being about it.

Even then, they were still away before the next hour began, leaving the city via its main gates and heading out into the dark, snowy nothingness that surrounded it. ::We'd better not get lost,:: Tayne grumbled from the ground, not bothering to shout up at everyone.

"We won't," Haiiro promised. His voice didn't have any trouble carrying to everyone. "Look-- it's not entirely cloudy." He opened a wing to point out, ahead of them, obvious patches of starry night sky among the snow-sprinkling clouds. Through the patches drifted moons-- not the same moons that had been visible from the City of the Sun. Apparently there were not just one or two moons, either, but several. These reflected only a little light, though certainly enough for someone like Haiiro to see perfectly well, but each one was a different color. One was light blue, another pale green, both just breaching the horizon.

The land was almost entirely flat around them, the monotony broken only by the occasional spiky shrub or club of fir trees that were adapted to the bitter cold. As they walked and the night and emptiness became more complete, the temperature steadily dropped. Thankfully, however, Torshael was not left to shiver: Haiiro lit himself and his two passengers with a touch of his fire magic, breathing a small bit into existence and shunting its heat around him in a faintly red-glowing halo. It melted the snow that kept drifting to land on their shoulders and heads. Tayne, below them, just bounded along in the kirin-dragon's tracks, taking to wing now and them whenever his paws got tired.

Torshael, uncomfortable with the long and heavy silence, finally broke it. "Tekasynos," he asked, "how did you wind up here, on Kynn?" They'd heard a few stories from the few infernals who deigned to answer them, but most of them had been along the lines of following the stream of others through that dimensional rift. If Tekasynos had been one of the first through, perhaps he would have something to add to the story, some motivation to leave the realm of his kind or insight into how the rift got there.

For a long moment, Torshael wasn't sure the infernal would answer. He was silent for a minute or two, and when Torshael turned slightly on Haiiro's shoulders he saw him looking fixedly down at his hands. "I was," he began, then hesitated. He shook his head at last. " ... it doesn't matter anymore."

"Why not?" Torshael asked, curious. "I promise, I won't hold it against you or anything. Or even make fun of you."

" ... running," Tekasynos answered at last, softly. "I was running. I just... I wanted out. I wanted out and gone and... I suppose I got what I wanted," he sighed.

Torshael blinked, reminded forcefully of Ahraosa and Hois. "Why would you want out?"

"I don't like being controlled," Tekasynos growled. "Especially not by females." Torshael thought that explained why he was so very determined to take part in this foray: to make sure he would no longer be controlled, or at least to get revenge for it. "That was the crux of the problem. When I got my 'wish', the end result landed me here."

"Do you like living on Kynn?" Torshael asked.

"I don't know why it matters to you," Tekasynos replied, "but yes, despite the current circumstances, I do like it here."

::Give him a break, Valar,:: Tayne interrupted. ::He's trying to be nice.::

Torshael flushed a bit. "Tayne, there's no need to jump down anyone's throat. He wasn't being rude or anything."

::I'm not. I'm informing that infernal you've got up there that you care because you're trying to be nice. He's got a weird soft spot for infernals, you know,:: he added for Tekasynos's benefit. Tekasynos just narrowed his eyes down at Tayne and stopped talking entirely, radiating sullenness. Tayne, apparently, took this as his cue to keep talking, much to Torshael's dismay. At least his tone was meditative rather than caustic. ::We met our first off-world pair in the EverRealms. A brother and a sister, Hois and Ahraosa. They were, apparently, the first two through the rent in the planes. Don't suppose you'd know them, though then again you might have heard of them: good-aligned infernals, one of them white?::

"So what if I did?" Tekasynos muttered, sounding unhappy. "I left them alone. They had enough of their own problems."

::Never said that you'd bothered 'em, just thought you might know of 'em,:: Tayne replied, a shrug in his voice. ::Anyway, we met them first among the true infernals, once we set off from the High One's City. Definitely an eye-opener, poor guys.::

"I didn't know anything about your people except what I'd seen in battle and learned in training," Torshael admitted quietly. "I'm just glad we did meet them."

"Then what do you know now, pray tell?" Tekasynos questioned, remarkably civilly for Tayne being involved in the conversation.

"That you're individuals," Torshael shrugged, looking over his shoulder to give the infernal a small smile. "Not all bad. Maybe that you deserve to be talked to, instead of Purified without question."

::Mind, the ones that torture innocents might not deserve more than a single offer of parlay before a good fight,:: Tayne added flippantly, ::but it's nice to know you're not all like that.::

Tekasynos's only response was a soft "hmph" that sounded rather like a restrained and muted laugh. Torshael caught the ghost of a smile before the infernal's expression went back to its careful neutral.

Well, it was a start.


Chapter Twelve

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