Torshael and Tayne's Story: A New God for a New Mission
Leaving Kynn behind was harder than any other world they'd visited so far. On no other world had they gotten so involved with locals, worked so closely with the authorities, been so noticeable and open in what they did. They'd made friends and acquaintances, comrades-in-arms and people who had helped them along the way that they were grateful to. People in Shu-Riin recognized them and knew who they were and at least some of what they'd done, and none of them knew that by the next morning they would be gone. There were so many people to say good-bye to and to thank, so many places to get one last look at to fix in memory, and suddenly they had no time left to do it in.
They each had people they needed to see before they left, and places they needed to visit. Haiiro managed to secure an appointment with the Lady Ashka, who he'd grown to like quite a bit over the past week in the City of the Sun, to say good-bye and wish her well. Chi somehow got wind of his departure on his own and was once again inseparable from him for the rest of the day, Soul Catcher and Jaliath following him long enough for tight hugs and promises that they'd take care of themselves, no matter how dangerous their adventuring became. He took the time to visit those members of the Order who had been the worst injured, or who had been particularly valiant, or who had just been kind to him, and offer a gentle hand or a grateful thanks. He let Tayne carry his farewells to Irithin, rather than intrude on Tayne's time with Tekas, but he thought that would probably suffice for the demoted seer.
The longest time he set aside for Vespacia, who had become a good friend who didn't try to thank him or defer to him, someone he could go to when Torshael and Tayne were busy and he needed a friend. She was alone in the rooms she and her bond had once shared, but at least not lonely because she at least had friends. Human formed, he held her face to his chest and stroked her mane, enjoying one last, wordless conversation with her. He wished her the best out of life to make up for everything she'd lost, thanking her for her bravery and friendship, while she told him in blues, violets, and grays that she'd be fine, not to worry about her, and she would miss him.
Then he walked the streets of Shu-Riin, full-sized and fully visible, for once accepting any stammered greetings, heartfelt thanks, and respectful smiles with a warm smile of his own. There were others of his kin on the planet, somewhere, but he was the one they knew, here and now, in this city, and the people deserved his farewell, even if he couldn't say the words to each one.
Torshael flew to Ein's tower for his farewells with the elder guardian, and thanks for all his efforts in the battle and every day, keeping his city safe. His own friends in the Order, particularly his "entourage" and the mages he'd worked with, he visited each in turn, briefly but for long enough that they knew he was grateful for their help and wished them well. He, too, made sure Soul Catcher and Jaliath got warm hugs and handshakes, respectively, and he sent letters to the Order in Cinri and Ixin, not having the time to actually teleport there.
Then he spent an hour sitting in the temple where he'd destroyed Ishtar's phylactery, sitting by the pond in silence and drinking in the holiness that, while not quite the holiness of home, was close enough to tide him over. He needed to fix the place in his mind, remember the work he'd done here and how it had supported him, even though he was a stranger to the world's gods, wielding unfamiliar magic. Being able to work together with a world's native power... he had enjoyed that, and he hoped someday to be able to do it again.
For Tayne, it was mostly the Order who he had good-byes to say to, and he wound up involved in "one last spar" with several of them before he got away. That was one part of Kynn he would miss, after fitting in so well with all the other fighters and soldiers and mages, and working so closely with them all. Soul Catcher and Jaliath found him, as well, for farewells of their own-- thankfully before the farewell-matches, so he didn't offend with sweat and smell when Soul Catcher tried to hug him.
And of course there was Tekasynos, who came with him to dinner with Torshael and Haiiro, both of whom who certainly counted him as their friend, as well. Torshael even managed to ignore the fact that Tayne would be leaving with him and act naturally and amiably, offering a warm handshake and a sad smile at the thought of leaving him. Haiiro caught him in a surprising-- to him, anyway; Tayne and Torshael merely smiled indulgently-- and tight embrace before he left, and told him he hoped to see him again in the future, often. And Tayne, of course, followed him home.
The next morning dawned too soon, but none of the three had any trouble waking up on time. Tayne and Haiiro even found themselves awake early. There was excitement there, alongside the sadness, and anxiety that made sleeping difficult.
Getting out of bed, though; that was harder. Haiiro ruffled Chi's mane as the little dragon, who had obligingly spent the night since neither was sure when he'd be back and Chi was adamant about how much he'd miss him, chirped a sleepy good morning to him. Tayne brushed blonde hair from Tekas's sleeping face, wishing he didn't have to leave so soon, and kissed him awake so he could say good-bye. Even Torshael, the most eager of them all to return home, stared around the little room he'd called his own for the past week and, for no reason he could imagine, hoped he'd see it again.
When they finally managed the act of getting up, Torshael was the first to make it to the tavern floor of the three. He sat at the bar and sipped hot tea while he waited. Thaddius was bustling around cheerfully, as usual, though he seemed busier than one might expect when expecting two, possibly three for breakfast. The rest of the tavern was empty.
Haiiro, predictably the second ready, had spent extra time picking his best clothes and making sure none of his hair was escaping its tie, fiddling with the angle of his sword in its brand new scabbard and wishing he didn't still have wings and horns. He doubted most supernal bonds had wings and horns. Chi told him more than once, sitting amidst the blankets of the bed and watching him frown at himself in the mirror, that he looked just fine and anyone who didn't think so was silly. When he finally threatened to come rip a hole in his nice new trousers if he didn't stop primping, Haiiro shook his head, smiled, and went downstairs.
Unsurprisingly, Tayne was the third and final of the three to get to the inn, and even then he was out of breath: he'd shifted lion and run the whole way, and missed breakfast on top of it all. A few more minutes with Tekas, a few more kisses and promises and assurances, was worth missing breakfast. He didn't even care, just then, what Torshael might say, or even what the High One might say, and it took Tekas finally shoving him out the door for him to actually leave.
"Ready, then?" Torshael said dryly as he slowed to a trot, mouth half-open in an attempt to get more air. Haiiro tried unsuccessfully not to smile at the picture he made. Chi had finally gone home to Soul Catcher.
"Give me a minute," Tayne panted, "and I will be."
"Jus' long enough for a treat fer the road!" Thaddius said, coming out to join them with three bags that smelled heavenly to someone who'd skipped a meal. "Make sure you tell those supernals back home 'bout th'Red Ferret's cooking," he said with a wink as Torshael and Haiiro accepted the packed lunches with relish.
"We will," Torshael laughed. "Thank you for everything, Thaddius."
The barkeep waved the thanks off, already on his way back inside.
Tayne looked at the nearest bag hungrily. "Think we can wait to leave long enough for...?"
Torshael sighed, tempted to remind him that it was likely his own fault he was hungry now... but at least he waited. The City, after all, wasn't going anywhere.