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

Chapter Forty-Eight

Written in Collaboration with Dragonflight


When Tayne woke up, he felt surprisingly good, considering the last thing he remembered was laying on paving stone with a hole in his belly and, if he had to guess, a hole or two in his lungs, too. Not to mention a broken wing, a useless arm, and numerous cuts and bruises in numerous places.

That wasn't to say he felt great-- his middle still ached dully, as did his head and shoulder, and he thought he might have been a little nauseous, though that just could have been hunger-- but still. He felt better than he'd expected. Either he'd been out long enough for his wounds to heal up nicely, Torshael and Haiiro had more power left than he'd anticipated, or he'd had the benefit of an excellent healer or two. Or maybe a little of each.

He was definitely somewhere other than paving-stones, however, which argued for more than a few minutes of lost consciousness. He thought he recognized the smell of Thaddius's rooms-- probably even the one he had been staying in, judging from how much it smelled like him, unless he'd been out for more than a day or two-- though it was hard to tell, with a human nose. Opening his eyes briefly proved his guess correct; it was the same room he'd been staying in, though it looked a little cleaner than he remembered leaving it.

Opening his eyes briefly also told him what he'd suspected, that he wasn't alone. Torshael was dozing in a chair beside the bed, and he could hear someone else rustling around on his other side. Rather than move his head, he just asked-- or rather, cleared his throat when he found it dry and a little rough, and then asked-- "How long was I out?"

It made him grin weakly to see Torshael start awake, blinking blankly at him.

It was the "someone else" in the room who answered, while Torshael got his bearings again. "About a day," said Tekasynos, and Tayne rolled his head around to blink at him, himself. The infernal was folding clean clothing quite calmly on the other side of the bed. "Welcome back, by the way. How are you feeling?"

"Uh," Tayne took a minute to get his thoughts back in order. He hadn't expected to see Tekas here. "Better than expected. A little sore. What did I miss?"

"A lot of clean-up and a couple healers," Torshael answered, smiling.

"Need anything, now that you're awake?" Tekas asked, looking blithely oblivious to his surprise.

"Something to eat," he said immediately, pushing himself up onto his elbows and noting absently that sometime while he was out the healers, or someone, had taken off his shirt. There was a bandage around his waist, which led him to believe he wasn't entirely healed. "I think I'm starving."

"You think?" Torshael said, brows raised.

"Either that or sick," Tayne grinned at him, then winced a little as a sore muscle and even more sore skin in his stomach pulled uncomfortably when he attempted to get a pillow behind his back. Before he could pull too much, though, Tekas moved his hand aside and moved the pillow where he wanted it, himself. "Thanks," Tayne said with a bit of a grin, not sure whether he ought to be embarrassed or not. He settled for not; much better to just enjoy being looked after by handsome men. "I bet this is going to be quite a scar," he muttered, eying the bandage as Tekas went off, presumably in search of food.

"We were worried for a while," Torshael told him, smiling with obvious relief. "About you."

Tayne settled carefully back into the pillow, prodding at the bandage with a kind of morbid curiosity, wishing he could see how he fared beneath it. "In a city full of mages and healers? Ha, I wasn't."

"You didn't have to see yourself white as my feathers from blood loss," Torshael countered, swatting his hand away from his midsection. "Why did you do that?"

"Do what, tackle Zu? You know that's what I'm trained for, brother. Get in the distraction so you, or your bond, or whoever, can get the kill."

"From what I hear, you did your fair share of killing out there."

Grinning a little, remembering, Tayne said, "Well, hey, I've gotta get my glory somehow, right?" Before Torshael could protest the cynicism, Tayne waved him off. "I've told you before, I don't mind. Someone else can be the hero, not me. Means I'll get less people bothering me in the street, and all."

"You're just as much the hero as Haiiro or I," Torshael told him warmly. "To us, and certainly to the people here. The Order was glad to have you, and everyone's well aware that Haiiro couldn't have defeated Ishtar or Zu without you."

Shifting uncomfortably at that subject, Tayne changed it. "So how long as our resident fire-boy been playing nursemaid?"

Looking vaguely amused, Torshael let him. "Ever since the all clear went out and he was allowed to leave the shelter. He found us almost immediately, and has been assisting your healers ever since."

He still wasn't quite sure what to make of that, given his last few encounters with the infernal had left the latter looking a little uncomfortable. "Huh. Not a job I'd have expected him to take, really."

"Me, neither, to be honest," Torshael agreed, puzzled. "But if he wanted to make sure you were all right, no one was about to stop him. It wasn't as if I could do much.... I've been all but empty of power. I don't think I could so much as heal a scratch right now."

"You'll recharge, I'm sure," Tayne smirked at him.

"Haiiro wanted to help, but Shamoor and Comitero-- your healers-- were there before he could really focus enough to be of much use, and after that it seemed most polite to let them carry on. They were doing a good enough job."

Good enough job, indeed. Tayne doubted he could have done better. "How's he doing?"

"Not as well as could be hoped," Torshael sighed, "but not altogether terrible. The city has kept him rather busy; he's helping out whenever he's not being stopped for impromptu thanks, congratulations, and interviews."

"He's never killed anyone before," Tayne shrugged. "And he didn't have the benefit of a lifetime of indoctrination that killing infernals and evil people is okay. I'd be surprised if he wasn't feeling rotten about it."

Torshael made a face at him, but didn't comment, which was just as well since Tekas pushed the door open a minute later, bearing a tray. He gave Torshael a bemused look at the expression, and though he didn't ask, Torshael explained, anyway. "Not even ten minutes awake, and already he's picking on me," he complained, though not without humor.

"Somebody has to, or you'll get too full of yourself," Tayne protested, eyes on the tray, filled with a wide variety of things that the magical barkeep somehow knew he loved. "High One, that smells good. So Thaddius was expecting you, I take it."

"I'd have been disappointed if he hadn't been," Tekas chuckled, setting the tray across Tayne's knees.

"Thanks, Tekas." Not only did it smell good, it looked good, and Tayne decided he'd much rather be hungry than nauseous, so he fell on it ravenously.

He did stop and swallow when it looked like his impromptu nursemaid was about to leave. "Hey, you got somewhere else to be?" he asked. He hadn't even had a chance to thank him.

Tekas shrugged at him. "I didn't want to interrupt you and Torshael."

"You keep watch over me while I'm out, but leave as soon as I'm conscious," Tayne commented airily. "One would think you didn't like my company."

He got a chuckle for his tease. "I can come back later, if you'd like."

"Sure," Tayne agreed with a chuckle. "Maybe they'll even let me out of bed, by then."

Tekas just waved and slipped out, and Tayne applied himself to his breakfast again. It wasn't for a minute that he realized the stunned silence that had been left in the infernal's wake. He looked up to look at his brother, who was staring at him like he'd grown a second head.

"What?" he asked.

"Tayne... were you... with Tekas...."

Staring, back, Tayne tried to figure out just what Torshael was getting at, what was making him go pink with embarrassment and confusion. When it hit him, he blushed, himself, and fixed his attention back on his food. High One, he'd been flirting again, and he hadn't even noticed. "Sorry," he muttered, and went back to eating.

Torshael still looked completely taken aback, and Tayne wished that, for once, his brother's obliviousness had actually held up when he wanted it to. Things would be so much easier if he hadn't noticed-- or, better, if he could just stop. It was stupid, really, anyway. Tekas wasn't likely to be interested, not after being spurned by the prettier of the pair, and even if he was, it would be as second place, and that wasn't what Tayne wanted to be for anyone. Finally, sick of being stared at like that, he just growled, "Torshael, forget about it, okay?"

His brother tore his gaze away, looking up to the ceiling. "All right, Tayne."

The patronizing tone didn't bode well, but at least after that he let him finish his breakfast in peace.


Chapter Forty-Nine

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