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

Chapter Fifty

Written in Collaboration with Dragonflight


Haiiro came drifting into Tayne's room halfway through his bath, finally offering Torshael something to draw him out of the circle of confusion, concern, and shock he'd been looping through ever since he realized what his brother had been-- saying, doing, feeling, whatever. His bond was a welcome distraction. He looked up at his entrance, noting that he had a folded piece of parchment in his hand, and was looking at it oddly.

"What do you have, there?" Tayne asked, craning his neck around the doorjamb to see, leaning over the edge of the tub in the closet of a bathroom attached to the bedroom.

"A letter," Haiiro answered absently, still frowning at it, the door closing behind him of its own accord. "Addressed to all three of us."

"Who is it from?" Torshael asked curiously.

"I haven't opened it yet," Haiiro admitted, drifting over so Tayne didn't have to contort himself to see him through the bathroom door. "Thaddius had it at the bar for us."

"Well, open it, then," Tayne suggested, sitting up.

Haiiro nodded absently, came to sit beside his bond on the floor, and popped open the wax seal. From what Torshael could see, it was a remarkably unassuming sort of letter, but Haiiro frowned as he started reading, looking a little confused. "What is it?" Torshael asked, leaning to peer over his shoulder.

"It's from Hayate," Haiiro explained. "Congratulating us and thanking us for helping out-- with Ishtar and Zu, I assume."

"Hayate," Tayne frowned. "I've heard that name, who was it?"

"The malakym Lord who Ishtar wanted to kill," Torshael reminded him. "The one who had never been beaten in a fight."

"Oh, yeah, I remember Tekas mentioning him. Why in the world would he be writing us?"

"Maybe it has something to do with the malakym envoy," Torshael guessed.

"Who knows? Read it aloud, Haiiro? I don't want to get it wet."

Haiiro cleared his throat, squinted at the elegant writing-- not a language Torshael recognized, but which oddly enough he could understand anyway-- then read, skipping the introduction with their names and Haiiro's fancy title, "I extend my warmest regards to you, and wished to express not only my gratitude, but that of many from beyond this fair city." His furry ears pulled back and he blushed a little, but he continued, "Your wisdom and courage have smiled upon more souls than you might realize, and I hope you take this to heart, even if you have never met them."

"Complimentary, isn't he?" Tayne commented, sounding vaguely amused.

"I also wished," Haiiro read, "to express my appreciation for handling the matter as you did, as I was not forced to make my presence directly known. And that alone may serve us all well in the future. --And it's signed simply, Hayate, with a seal. I guess his seal."

"Make his presence known?" Tayne repeated blankly. "Why should he have, or shouldn't he have?"

"I wonder," Torshael mused. "The malakym priestess I spoke to; she told me a bit about the Blessed of the Kynnese gods... and implied that the champion of Yaashir, that Irithin told us of, was Yaashir's Blessed. I wonder if that was Hayate?"

"I suppose it's possible," Tayne agreed thoughtfully. "Well, I wonder if that means Zu still has some more years left, sword in the guts or no sword.... Since he's supposed to defeat her, at some point."

Haiiro gave a little shudder, the paper rustling in his hand, and Torshael leaned over to take it from him gently. Being reminded of Zu still made his bond nervous-- though Torshael still wasn't clear on whether it was because he'd nearly killed her, or because he was still afraid of her. Since Haiiro didn't want to talk about it, he didn't press the issue. It didn't really matter, anyway. He just wished Haiiro would relax a little, maybe smile a bit more, but maybe a day and a half after his first major battle was too soon to expect that of him....

Whether he caught his train of thought, or it was clear on his face, Haiiro glanced at him and smiled faintly. "I'm all right. I'm just tired."

"Where were you?" Tayne asked curiously.

"Helping at the infirmary," Haiiro answered. "I'm a good enough healer, and they can use extra hands...."

Tayne nodded. "Makes sense. Don't wear yourself out too badly, all right?"

"I won't."

That was a lie, though a small one, Torshael could tell. Haiiro was working too hard, probably to keep from having to think, or maybe so he could sleep better tonight. Last night he'd hardly slept at all, despite his exhaustion; Torshael had borne the lack of sleep, as well, and had finally given up on bed and joined Tekasynos in his vigil over Tayne. But lie or not, he didn't call him on it. He changed the subject, instead. "How long do you think we'll be needed here?"

"Who knows?" Tayne shrugged, settling back in the water. Despite having been sitting in it for a while now, soaking off the last of his sore muscles from the battle of yesterday morning, it was still steaming. Apparently he, at least, had enough magic left for small comforts.... "But I'm staying until we're summoned somewhere else. We deserve a little rest."

"Do you think he'll let us go home?" Torshael couldn't help the hopefulness in his voice. "For a little while, at least?"

"They'd better," Tayne grumbled, shutting his eyes. "I'm hoping for a few months off, after this. We've earned it."

That seemed to stir Haiiro to speak again. "What will happen, when you're called home?" he asked hesitantly.

"The High One, or more likely one of his usual Voices-- high ranked supernals with particularly good telepathy," Torshael interrupted himself to explain. "Not all of them are even Favored. Anyway, someone will contact us and let us know when we're expected. Usually there's plenty of notice, traditionally a night's rest worth. Then we'll all teleport to the gates of the High One's City, and... and go home," he sighed.

"All of us?"

Torshael blinked at his bond. "Well, of course. You're my bond, Haiiro. And honestly, who wouldn't agree that you're worthy?"

Haiiro didn't look convinced, but he nodded and spoke again before Torshael could try to encourage him further. "What's the City like?"

Well, that was something he could talk about for a while. Tayne groaned, albeit in a good-natured fashion. "Don't get him started, Haiiro," he warned amiably. "Tor' can go on for hours, if you let him."

"He asked, brother."

"And I want to hear it," Haiiro added firmly.

"Well, don't say I didn't warn you, if you get bored," Tayne said, settling further down until the water was up to his chin and closing his eyes again. Torshael smiled, shaking his head, and obligingly launched into a description of some of his favorite places, back home, while Haiiro listened attentively and Tayne added his own comments now and then. His brother remembered different things about their home, and sometimes it was interesting hearing about the familiar from someone else's mouth. Tayne didn't often talk about their home, itself, except vaguely as a backdrop for things he and Torshael had done there.

Talking about it just made him wish he were there, all the more. Their mission here was over, surely they'd be called home soon.... They just needed time to recover, rest, and be ready.

Torshael thought he was ready now... but he would be patient. As he watched Tayne and Haiiro, in the midst of one of Tayne's descriptions of a particular part of the City he used to escape from tedious lessons in as a child, he thought warmly that he had reason enough to be.


Chapter Fifty-One

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