Torshael and Tayne's Story: Between Missions

Chapter Ten


"So?" Haiiro asked, gently kicking the door to their guest suite shut with a hoof.

"I'm not... completely against it," Torshael admitted, surprised at himself, as he flipped on the lights-- electricity, an unexpected but appreciated amenity at Nidus Ryslen.

"That's not the same as being completely for it, either," Haiiro pointed out.

"No, it's not." Torshael crossed the small room and tossed himself onto his back on the dragon-sized, well-padded ledge. "I still have a few misgivings, and I'm still nervous about it. But I don't see anyone who is here simply to indulge in a vice, sin, or addiction, and some of the ladies here already are quite nice."

"Albino Peace was sweet," Haiiro agreed, following, "and I rather liked that Saeneh Na'Carrah."

"What was it she told you?" Torshael chuckled. "Your excellent boredom conforms to the medieval lie?"

"No, I think it was my archaic boredom," Haiiro giggled.

"The heads are a bit much, though, I think. But Maohai was friendly, if a bit smug about the whole thing."

"Well," Haiiro said understandingly, "after everyone thinking she was cursed, and having this finally happen and validate her in such a spectacular way... I think anyone would be a little smug. She was nice, given the circumstances."

"I suppose you're right."

"So," Haiiro asked, "there are some dragons here who you wouldn't mind-- er, talking with?"

"Yes. Unfortunately, there is more than talking required." He sighed, curling his tail over his belly and pulling in the leading edges of his wings to give Haiiro more room on the ledge.

"Well, would you be willing?" the kirin-dragon asked, folding himself onto the ledge beside him.

"I don't know. Maybe. I just wish I knew if it was right."

"What, exactly, are you worried about being wrong about it?" Haiiro asked, scooting over as if in anticipation of his bond's growing restlessness. He never could sit still when he was worrying at something important like this.... Taking the opportunity, he rolled back off the ledge and onto his paws, starting across the small room-- shifting down a little so he could get more than a few paces before having to turn.

"Supernals aren't really supposed to have-- have flings," he began. "We get married, or we stay celibate. There are always a few odd ones out who live together without actually getting married, but those are few and far between, and they're exclusive, anyway, so it amounts to the same thing."

"Do you think someone will look down on you?"

"I think I will look down on me," Torshael explained, pacing still. "And possibly the High One."

"You told me yourself the High One leaves you to make your own decisions," Haiiro pointed out. "He didn't say no. And you're so worried about doing the wrong thing, maybe that counts for something."

"Even a wrong choice, done for the right reasons, can have positive consequences, even if just to learn from it," Torshael muttered, remembering when his departed father had told him that very thing.

"Besides," his bond added, a little more tartly than was his wont, "even if it's not what every other supernal does, that doesn't make it wrong. Maybe supernals have never done things this way just because they've never been out in the Nexus, before. There's nothing wrong with being a little different, or doing things a different way."

Torshael winced a little, forcibly reminded of Tayne-- which was probably Haiiro's intent. "No, you're right, of course. There isn't."

"Is there anything else about this Flurry that you don't like?" Haiiro asked, sounding mollified because he did mean it, at least a little, no matter how much he wanted to not be different. "Or is it just that?"

"Just some little things," he answered. "The half-infernal hoping to fly, for one. I met him when he was just a child, on the Destiny, and he didn't seem too bad, but I don't know whether that's changed now that he's grown up, or what he'll think of my being here. But that's almost more of a reason for me to stay and keep an eye on him than anything else."

"Anything else?"

"The sponsor of this whole event," he frowned, glancing upwards at the ceiling, wishing he could see through it to the mist-enshrouded castle Maohai swore was up there. "Something doesn't seem right about him, but I don't know what. Perhaps just because he's so powerful, and that he doesn't seem to be getting anything out of this so-called good deed, himself."

"Not everyone is concerned about that," Haiiro pointed out. "You're not, most of the time."

"From Maohai's description of what he said and did, I doubt he's angelic," Torshael said dryly. "But really, that kind of mistrust is another reason to stay, as well, and for the same reason. But not necessarily participate...."

"Can you think of any reasons why you should participate?" Haiiro asked, taking a different tact. "Any reasons why you'd want to?"

"Curiosity," Torshael said immediately, turning back his ears in embarrassment and turning on his path across the room again. "I am curious, as much as it shames me to be so.... But how is curiosity enough reason to do something like this? Haiiro, there will certainly be children, and I can't bring them home...."

"I thought Maohai was pretty clear on that. The purpose of the Flurry is as much to adopt the children out as to have them to begin with."

"I suppose," Torshael said doubtfully. "How do you know they are going to good homes?"

"They've been doing this for a long time now," Haiiro chuckled at him. "I expect they know what they're doing."

Torshael made a face at him, and continued pacing. "I do like how exclusive it's going to be this year," he admitted. "Maohai mentioned how huge it's been in the past-- but this seems much less intimidating than something like that. Certainly less intimidating than I'd imagined it would be." And, though he didn't want to admit this, being quite ashamed of it, he thought that being accepted into something so exclusive was only fitting, given his own rarity. "Of course," he said hastily, "I'll still have to be accepted, even if I do agree."

"You're pretty rare," Haiiro shrugged, echoing his own thoughts. "And very white. That might give you an edge. Vienel certainly thought you had a chance."

Trying not to feel flattered, Torshael changed the subject to one of his other worries. "What if I am accepted, but none of the females are interested?"

Haiiro laughed, making him pause and glare at him in confusion. "Torshael, you don't notice things when you don't want to, do you? There were several of them at Maohai's meeting who were looking at you like they were quite interested, didn't you see?"

Blushing under his fur-- his usual glow taking a slightly pinkish tinge; when did that start bleeding into his power?-- Torshael shook his head. "I wasn't really paying attention...."

"Torshael, you are beautiful and kind," his bond told him. "I don't think that will be much of a problem."

With a sigh, he came back to the sleeping ledge and heaved himself up. "So does that mean you've made a decision?" Haiiro asked. He knew him well enough by now to know that when he stopped moving, he'd stopped vacillating.

"I'll give them my name," he sighed. "And see what happens."

Haiiro nuzzled his ears fondly. "You'll do fine."

Smiling a bit at the confidence in him, he said, "Thanks."

"What are bonds for?" Haiiro replied. "Besides fielding difficult relatives, grooming tangles out of hard to reach spots, and killing undead mages, that is."

"You're good for anything you put your mind to," Torshael snorted, amused, and resolved not to worry about the Flurry anymore, at least until he found out of he was accepted.

Maybe he could even keep that resolution. Finding out whether he was accepted, however, would probably throw that right out the window.... 


Chapter Eleven

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