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

Chapter Forty

Written in Collaboration with Dragonflight


"You're looking better," Tayne grunted at Haiiro when Torshael brought him downstairs-- after sharing the terrible news about Cirni, as well as how broken up about it the kid had been. Tayne wasn't quite as broken up-- most of the city had gotten out, and the things lost could be replaced, especially with the Order's help-- and though he did feel badly about it, from Torshael's description, Haiiro had thought the blame rested solely on him and was really beating himself up about it.

But now he looked composed, at least. Given the look he bestowed on Tayne, though, he didn't look the same. "You're not," Haiiro frowned.

Tayne supposed it was true. He hadn't been out drinking in... years. Not since school, and even then, it had been with a group of supernals, who didn't tend to get happily, roaringly, singingly drunk when they went out. Certainly not the way the knights of the Sentinels, the local Order branch, did. He probably looked the way he felt: like he'd been out too late, slept too little, and drank too much. At least he'd had a bath and a change of clothes, and was on his way to treat his pounding head now.

It had been fun, though.

"I just need to eat something and drink a few gallons of water," Tayne waved the comment off. "What turned you around?"

"Chi," Haiiro said succinctly, shrugging. "And a very funny story about a druid." Since the little dragon was on his heels again, and looking quite pleased with himself, Tayne could believe it. "How late were you out?"

"False dawn," Tayne managed around a yawn. "Are we going out to the bar, or not?"

With an apology for keeping him from his breakfast, Haiiro let Torshael lead them all out to said bar-- and said breakfast-- and Soul Catcher and Irithin, who were already there. The former looked rather better than Torshael had said-- maybe she had enjoyed a few drinks, too-- but Irithin had... a bandage wrapped around his head and over one eye. Well, that was strange.

"What happened to you?" Tayne asked, eying the seer as he sat down.

"Are you okay?" Haiiro added, sounding vaguely concerned.

Irithin just grunted and sipped his tea, apparently not wanting to talk about it, but Soul Catcher looked both amused and smug at the same time. Tayne had a feeling either she made good on her offer to punch him for his meddling, or someone else did. Sure enough: "We ran into your other friend down at the harbor. You should be proud, Irithin even apologized to him-- and earned a punch in the face for his efforts."

Tayne was hard pressed not to laugh. Instead, he hid his grin behind the large glass of water Thaddius set before him-- and promptly forgot being amused in preference of guzzling down at much of that heavenly liquid as he could manage. Torshael was less amused, though he was probably battling a bit of smug satisfaction, himself. His concern, though, was with that "other friend". "Tekas? He's here?"

"Not sure," Soul Catcher shrugged. "Looked like he was overseeing one of the loading crews on the docks, but I don't know when that ship leaves or if he'd have gone with it."

Haiiro put a restraining hand on Torshael's hand before he could bounce up out of his own chair and rush out to find him. "Saving the world comes first," he said sternly. "We need to deal with Ishtar and Zu."

The Favored sank back down, looking unhappy but in agreement.

"Well, really, we can't do anything until tomorrow," Tayne pointed out, emerging from his water glass.

"Why's that?" Torshael asked, surprised.

"Because I won't be in any shape to be defeating anything except maybe a good meal or two until then," Tayne said. Torshael just made a sour face at him. "But Haiiro's right; get the details out of Soul Catcher there about the phylactery before you go haring off after Tekas. He might well not want to see you, anyway." Torshael's expression got even more unhappy, but Tayne ignored it and promptly disappeared into his water again. High One, he was thirsty.

"So how do we destroy the phylactery?" Haiiro asked.

Soul Catcher pulled a note from a pocket and scanned it. "Ixin said that the nature of the object makes it pretty much indestructible under normal circumstances--"

"Of course," Torshael grumbled.

"--but that if you take it to a hallowed area, like a temple or shrine, you should be able to amplify your holy magic enough to destroy it."

"I guess that means it's all yours, brother," Tayne said with a grin.

"Did he, or do you, have any suggestions as to where that might be?" Torshael asked, ignoring Tayne for the moment. "I don't know many holy places on this world...."

"I know there's at least one in this city," Soul Catcher answered, putting the note away. "It's actually why the whole city was built here."

"Well," Torshael blinked. "That's good to know."

"What about that underwater tunnel?" Haiiro asked. "Father wanted us to follow it-- before or after we deal with the phylactery?"

"Maybe at the same time," Tayne suggested. "Tor' stays here with the phylactery, we go down to do whatever it is we're supposed to do there. Negotiate, clean out, kill her current body... whatever. --Thaddius, you are a saint," he added heartfeltly before falling on the very hearty breakfast he'd just been given.

"I'll try to see what Father thinks is best," Haiiro said. "Since we're going to have to stay here overnight, anyway."

Tayne didn't even bother to feel sheepish at the glance both the kid and his brother gave him. He just wanted to make that hollow feeling in his middle go away. Torshael looked away first, at Soul Catcher. "Why don't you show me that holy place you mentioned. The older and purer it is, the better."

"Sure," Soul Catcher said with a nod and a smile, and the group parted ways.

Well, most of the group. While Soul Catcher and Torshael went out the door, and Haiiro drifted back upstairs to his room with little Chi still glued to his side, Irithin continued to nurse his tea and Tayne continued to eat his breakfast. Tayne gave the seer a sidelong look and asked between bites, "So how was Tekas? Aside from violent."

"Fine," Irithin commented, sounding entirely as if he hadn't just been punched in the face by the subject of the conversation. "And he only hit me because I told him what I did."

"Well, I would've, too, I expect," Tayne shrugged. He wasn't angry about the manipulation anymore, but he it had been him, finding out for the first time that he'd been manipulated in such an intimate fashion-- well, he couldn't vouch for his own temper and violent tendencies. "I guess he's back to work, then.... You don't think he'd hit me if I tried to apologize for losing my temper with him, do you?"

"I doubt he would react with negativity to such a gesture."

Tayne snorted lightly, amused. "Do you ever talk normally?"

"I suppose I could manage such a task, if it were necessary."

Tayne laughed. "Maybe I need to take you out drinking instead of the knights of the Order. Get you to relax a bit."

Irithin looked at him with that solemnly confused expression he had. " ... I am relaxed."

"You're talking like a Fallen-cursed thesaurus, and you say you're relaxed," Tayne chuckled.

"I suppose so, yes...." Irithin trailed off, and Tayne shook his head, letting the poor kid be and applying himself to finishing his meal.


Chapter Forty-One

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