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



Haiiro woke up in the middle of the night. Again. He didn't know what woke him up, or why, but quite suddenly he simply could no longer sleep-- despite the fact that his bond was still fast asleep, which would normally make it difficult to even keep his eyes open. Soul-bonds were, after all, powerful things. Just as he had the night before-- and the night before that-- he subsequently stayed up until morning, as much because he was trying to figure out what the problem was as because some strange restlessness was keeping him awake.

Still, there was no point in waking the others. The first time this happened, he'd written it off as just an odd fancy or poorly settled bit of dinner, or being unused to sleeping with the supernals since he'd only just returned to their company after his month-long reconnaissance. He had plenty of things he could do that didn't require he be mobile to accomplish, most notably practicing the magic that extended his senses and helped keep him warm. Last night, he hadn't been so sure, but he still didn't bring it up to them, just in case it went away on its own. Now, however, for the third night running he was awake when he should be sleeping, and from the position of the world's twin moons hadn't been asleep for very long at all. Something was wrong. But he'd tell Torshael in the morning, rather than bother him and Tayne right now. Might as well let them get enough sleep, after all.

So, Haiiro considered what the problem might be-- and stayed awake-- with his head still pillowed on Tayne's flank, and his tail flung over Torshael's neck. The three of them made a warm pile of fur and feathers, the fluffy supernals sheltering the scaled kirin-dragon between them, keeping off the chill of their current locale. On this world, they didn't even have a real room, just a hole in a mountain where they sheltered during the frigid night. The infernal here hadn't been particularly hospitable, and dragons weren't exactly natives, and while Haiiro could keep himself warm if he needed to, he tended to wake up half-frozen as the ability failed him sometime during the night.

At least they were almost finished here, just waiting now on a lead for their next journey-- when they'd exhausted what locales they could from Dark's list and those individuals from that list had been able or willing to offer, Torshael's High One had started offering them places to investigate-- and then could move on to somewhere a little warmer. Haiiro had no qualms about sleeping out in the open, but if he did so, he preferred to at least be warm.

At least he was with the brothers again. After a long month of moving secretly among the people of this world in search of the infernal they'd been told had hidden itself here, all he could ask for was to be settled comfortably between them again.

By the time dawn came and Torshael woke-- he was always first to wake, unless something woke Tayne other than his own instincts-- Haiiro thought he had an idea. Also, by then, he'd given up on pretending to be asleep and was watching the sunrise, quite as if he'd been awake all night. Since, after all, he had.

::How long have you been awake?:: the white supernal asked sleepily, blinking at him after he'd lifted his own head from under his wing. His mane stuck up at a wild angle, from where he'd slept with it pressed up against his shoulder. Haiiro nickered a soft laugh and reached up with his teeth to groom it back into place.

Though he couldn't answer in kind, being only gifted with empathic projection and not telepathic, he just thought his answer and let Torshael find it, himself. It made silent conversation difficult, sometimes, but it was a handicap Haiiro had learned to live with. This time, he thought up an image of the world's moons, the position they'd been in when he woke, and a feeling of resignation-- it had been a long, wakeful night. 

::That long...?:: Torshael frowned at him. ::Why didn't you tell me you've been sleeping poorly?::

Haiiro rustled his wings in a shrug. It wasn't important, then. Now... he thought it might be. 

"You two can stop thinking at each other now," Tayne's muffled voice said from underneath one large, brown paw: the darker supernal had buried his muzzle in his forepaws as he slept. Obviously, however, he was no longer asleep, and he'd somehow picked up that there was a conversation going on.

"Sorry, brother," Torshael smiled. "Why don't you explain, then, Haiiro?"

Haiiro freed his mouth from fixing his bond's mane so he could answer, and Torshael took over the job, licking his paw and rubbing it over the fur like a giant cat. "I don't know what you heard, Tayne, but... I haven't been sleeping."

"That's obvious enough," Tayne commented, lifting his head and dropping his mouth open in a gaping, toothy yawn. Haiiro couldn't help it: he echoed with a jaw-popping yawn, toothy of his own. He was tired.

Unfortunately, he was also still restless with that sleepless energy that had kept him up the past few nights. And he was running out of things to do with it that didn't involve going somewhere. He just wished he knew where to go to make it go away.... 

"Why?" Torshael pressed.

Haiiro was getting to it. "Don't laugh," he warned, "but... I think I need to go someplace."

For a moment both of them looked at him blankly. Torshael answered first: "Where do you need to go?"

Now came the fuzzy part. "Home."

"Where's home?" Tayne asked. "We haven't exactly been stationary the whole time you've been alive."

"Not-- our home?" Torshael suggested, frowning. "Is the High One trying to call you?"

"I don't know."

"No, I think the High One would just talk to him, not keep him awake," Tayne said skeptically. "I bet your 'grandfather' would do the same, he doesn't seem like the cryptic type if he wants something."

"No, he's not," Haiiro agreed.

"But that's it? Just 'home'?"

Haiiro nodded, a little miserably, wishing he knew more.

"What about your home-world?" Torshael tried again, slowly. "That would count as 'home', and it sounds a lot more like your various types of kin to send something wordless to get your attention, don't you think?"

The idea hadn't even occurred to Haiiro, but now that Torshael mentioned it, the restless feeling did remind him a little of his father. Well, one of his fathers, anyway: Yulaan, a Guardian Kirin of the planet Kynn. If his father were confined to empathy like he was, it might feel quite a bit like this to get called. Or maybe summoned-- wouldn't near-gods just summon when they wanted someone? Just why Yulaan would want him was completely beyond him, just then, but if it was true, maybe he should answer the summoning. However he managed it, having never so much as seen Kynn, much less seen the places where the gods lived. 

"I think you may be right," he admitted at last. "But we've not been there yet; I don't know how to get there. Do you?"

"We can always ask for help," Tayne assured him. "I just hope the High One doesn't have other plans."

Torshael didn't look particularly pleased-- in fact, he looked a little troubled, but he didn't deign to share his thoughts with his bond just then. Instead, he gave Tayne a meaningful look, which the smaller supernal answered with a shrug. There were obviously silent words exchanged, as well. Though he was perfectly capable of doing so, Haiiro had never intentionally eavesdropped on a conversation strictly between the two of them, which he'd been purposefully left out of.

Until now, that is.

::Do you think there will be a problem, brother? We'd be entering another pantheon's domain, doing the bidding, however temporarily, of another deity....::

::If you want to pick nits, we've done the former every time we move to a different world. We've even consorted with deities-- or have you forgotten Dark and Myrror already?::

::I don't think that's quite the same.::

::Maybe not, but it's not us doing Haiiro's god-father's bidding, it's Haiiro. We're just along for the ride:: The brown supernal gave a blink and shook his feathers lightly. ::Besides, I don't know about you, but I just got a very convenient picture dropped into my skull. Answer enough for you?::

:: ... I guess so.::

Haiiro retreated from his "listening", irrationally pleased that his bond's deity had not only tacitly approved of the journey, but had helped. He'd never actually exchanged words with the High One, but at least now he knew he had the supernal god's approval, at least for now.

Tayne coughed lightly. "Well, apparently the High One's plans are yours, Haiiro. When would you like to leave?"

As his stomach chose that moment to rumble noisily, he answered with an embarrassed laugh, "After breakfast."


Chapter One

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