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

Chapter Fifty-Five


Torshael woke from the best night's sleep he'd had in days-- since well before the battle-- feeling absolutely wonderful. It didn't take long to realize that only half of that wonderful feeling was actually his own-- but really, why not enjoy it, anyway? Bonding had to have perks, after all, especially after experiencing some of the less enjoyable aspects the past few nights. This morning, though, he'd slept well, he felt happy, and after a very comfortable bath, he was quite ready to face the world.

"Good morning!" Haiiro all but sang as he met his bond in the hall on his way down for some much-anticipated breakfast. He looked refreshed and very much awake, a heartening improvement from the night before.

"Someone's cheerful this morning," Torshael chuckled.

"I guess I am," Haiiro smiled at him.

"Any particular reason?"

"Good dreams," was the cryptic response. Torshael raised his brows meaningfully, but only got a slightly impish grin in reply.

"Well, since that means I had good dreams, I'm not about to complain," he shrugged, and followed Haiiro downstairs.

"It's not really a secret, I just don't want you laughing at me," Haiiro said, wrinkling his nose at him over his shoulder.

"I wouldn't laugh at you."

Haiiro looked at him sideways as they took seats at the bar. "Yes, you would, but I suppose it's all right. I dreamed about Father."

There was more surprise than amusement in Torshael's reaction, he thought. "I wouldn't laugh at you about that. What did he have to say?"

"Just that... he's proud of me." Haiiro looked ridiculously pleased, and though he wasn't tempted to laugh, Torshael did smile broadly. "See? I know you'd think it was funny."

"No, no, I don't," he hurried to assure him. "Good morning, Thaddius," he interrupted himself, smiling at the bartender-archmage as he set a mug of very welcome hot chocolate in front of him. He hadn't even thought about it, but hot chocolate sounded about perfect. "And thank you."

"Don't mention it," Thaddius grinned, setting another mug-- with decidedly more whipped cream on top-- in front of Haiiro.

"I wasn't laughing, Haiiro," he continued, explaining. "I'm glad for you, especially if it makes you this happy. I like seeing you happy."

Blushing a little, Haiiro hid in his chocolate. Smiling, Torshael elbowed him gently. "So what else did he say?"

"We just... talked." That sounded decidedly evasive, and Torshael eyed his bond curiously. "Oh, and Yaashir stopped by."

Well, that wasn't what he was thinking about, but interesting nonetheless. "In your dream."

"In my dream," Haiiro nodded. "He says thanks, by the way." He paused to grin. "And that he doesn't like seers."

"I'm starting to think that's universal," Torshael said dryly.

There was a pause, then Haiiro added softly, "And Zu's still alive...."

Torshael felt a moment of disappointment, but then he sighed. "Not surprising, really... it might take more than a god-killing sword through the middle to finish her. Maybe next time we can aim for her heart."

"High One, don't even talk about it," Haiiro shuddered, though with more theatricality than actual distress than he had in the past. "If I never see her again, it'll be too soon."

Torshael leaned over to put an arm around his bond's shoulders reassuringly. "I heartily agree."

For a moment Haiiro put his head on his shoulder, one of his little wings returning the impromptu hug and one backward-curving horn sliding through the hair beside his neck. "Torshael, what were you thinking?" he asked quietly, without moving. "When I was so... whatever I was... after the battle?"

"Just that I wished I could help you," Torshael answered truthfully, surprised he hadn't picked that up on his own. Haiiro, with his superior psionic ability and soul bond, could have heard that intention without even trying-- unless he was avoiding looking. Which, looking back, made sense: Haiiro hadn't even wanted to talk about things. Maybe he was afraid what he might have said.... "Haiiro, I know Tayne and I are old hands at this, but that doesn't mean I expected you to be. I just wish you'd let me try and help, or at least listen."

"I was afraid you wouldn't understand...."

Torshael smiled a bit and sent, as it was somewhat embarrassing now, ::The first few times I killed an infernal-- with my own claws, not my Purification-- I threw up afterwards, too.:: Haiiro made a little choking noise-- amusement and surprise and even a little disgust at the thought and memory of having done so, himself. "At least you waited until everything was finished to deal with the reaction. That's more than a lot of people can say."

"I suppose," Haiiro agreed, a little dubiously, but he sat back up again and, judging from the bond, felt at least somewhat reassured.

Right about then Thaddius set breakfast in front of them, and that effectively derailed any further talk about battle-reactions. Apparently being visited by deities and guardian kirins in one's dreams left one quite hungry, and that hunger was catching. After the obligatory thanks to their server, both of them spent the next quarter-hour demolishing the meal and hardly sharing a word. The silence was companionable, a nice change after so long where silence was full of unspoken worries.

By the time they were finished, though, Torshael's thoughts had moved on to other things. "So when did Tayne get in last night?" he asked Thaddius as he helpfully removed their empty plates.

"Eh? He didn't," Thaddius replied. "Never saw 'im come in."

Frowning, he looked over at Haiiro, who shrugged eloquently over the rim of his cocoa. "He's not in the inn," he answered the unspoken question.

Worried, Torshael glanced at the door. "I hope he's all right."

"He's fine," Haiiro said simply-- and without explanation.

"I take it you know where he is?" Torshael asked pointedly.

"Yes," Haiiro answered blandly-- still without explanation. The expression on his face was one that discouraged further asking, and Torshael frowned at him. "He'll come back soon enough, Torshael," he sighed. "He can look after himself."

This time it was Torshael who said dubiously, "I suppose." He'd still much rather know just where his brother was, and just what he thought he was doing. Because, given who he'd left with the night before-- and some of the things he'd seen between them before they left-- he had a few rather unhappy ideas about the where and the what....


Chapter Fifty-Six

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