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Bhaqrin’s Struggle

( The second weekly story prompt is writing a story about a character rising to the challenge. I decided to write about one of my OC’s in my own fantasy world of Naren. My first nanowrimo book is set there, and hopefully it will be published sometime this year. There’s lots of editing to do yet. Bhaqrin, the OC I’ve chosen for this week, isn’t in that novel, but will be in a future one. This is part of his backstory. )

Bhaqrin’s eyes fluttered open. He groaned upon realizing where he was, and silenced himself just as quickly as he caught sight of movement from the corner of his eye. He was in the pit, and a gracxul was watching over him. He must have impressed the masters quite well to be personally watched this time. His tail flicked as he tried to recall exactly what he had done to cause their ire, but it didn’t come to him. He turned his attention to assessing how dire the situation was as he heard the shuffling footsteps of the gracxul crossing the chamber to where he was imprisoned.

He had been placed in a small cell. His hands and feet had been shackled, and his wings were wrapped with rope. The cell had been cut into the rock and was only about three feet deep, three feet wide and four feet high. It was a small space, and Bhaqrin struggled to turn over to get his feet underneath him.

“Filthy lucaja.” the gracxul growled as Bhaqrin righted himself in his small space. “You refuse the master’s will, and now you will be marked as undesired!” The gracxul laughed as he held up two clawed fingers and made a snipping motion.

Bhaqrin frowned, but remained silent. He knew what the gracxul meant, but speaking to any of the masters was a grave offense, no matter the reason. Bhaqrin was not allowed to make any sort of plea to keep his wings, even if the gracxul weren’t as important as the greater dragons. Their wingless lizard-like forms were never to take to the skies, thus it was their job to handle the slaves, most of which were lucaja, like Bhaqrin. Even though the gracxul were lesser dragons, the same set of rules applied. Lucaja were not allowed to talk, and must always obey the masters.

The gracxul sneered and leaned towards the bars. “You have to wait for the big event. Your owner is petitioning the royal lair to bring your mother to watch. According to the records, she still serves our queen.” His mouth turned upward into a grin as he watched Bhaqrin’s reaction.

Panic overtook him. They couldn’t bring his mother to watch. He hadn’t seen her in so long. It wouldn’t be good for her to see him like that. He grabbed the bars with his clawed hands and shook them in protest. They couldn’t do that to her. She had been the only one who had ever shown him any kindness. He recalled the day that he was sold and taken from her. She had told him to be strong, and do what he was told. It wasn’t fair to disappoint her so.

The gracxul laughed as Bhaqrin shook the bars once more. “Ah, now you wish you had obeyed! If you keep this up, they’ll seal you in the torukil caves. There you will have much more to worry about.”

Bhaqrin paused. The gracxul was right. He had heard tales told of disobedient lucaja being abandoned deep within the caves, and he had heard stories of the torukil as well. He had never seen one, even in his time in the pit caves, but according to the stories, they resided deeper underground, and never came to the surface. Some of the stories told tales of them hunting the gracxul who wandered too far into the pit caves. He wondered if the gracxul in front of him had ever seen one.

He went back to his first thought on the subject. The gracxul was right. They absolutely would seal him in the torukil caves, and that sounded better than having his wings chopped off in front of his mother. His eyes narrowed into a hateful glare. He spit at the lizard’s grinning face. “Let me out, low-life gracxul.”

 

###

 

Bhaqrin woke in pitch black, noticing no difference between having his eyes closed or open. Lucaja had good night vision, but with no light source at all, he was as blind as anyone else. His head was sore, and it took him a few moments to get his bearings. He remembered that he had been in the pit and had spit on the gracxul watching him. His body ached all over. His hands and feet were still shackled. He was relieved that his wings were still tied. He still had them. He felt intact, though badly bruised.

He waited a few minutes to see if his surroundings would come into focus. They didn’t. The darkness could only mean one thing. They had sealed him in one of the torukil caves. As he recalled, that had been his goal, but now that he was here he wasn’t so sure. He reached over his head with his shackled hands and searched for the knot in the rope that bound his wings. He found it, almost too far to reach. He was able to grab it with one hand, and he worked a claw under one of the loops in the knot with his other hand. He gently pulled. If the loop of rope in the knot moved at all, it wasn’t enough to notice. Bhaqrin continued by selecting another loop to try to pull out. This time, he was sure the rope moved a little. He set about loosening the knot more, and slowly the knot unraveled. The rope fell down to the ground and Bhaqrin spread his wings. The edge of his left wing met with the wall, and the tops of both hit the ceiling, but despite being in a confining dark space, he felt a lot more freer for the moment. He began searching the ground for a rock both strong enough and big enough to break the locks on his shackles. He found one near the wall that his wing had found. He sat with his legs in front of himself, and positioned his feet so that the shackle lock rested on a larger rock underneath. He held the chain with one hand so that he would know better where it was and started hitting it with the rock in the darkness. It only needed two hits and the lock broke apart. Cheap gracxul craftsmanship worked in his favor. He hurriedly positioned his other foot near the larger rock and pounded that lock off as well. His feet were free.

His hands would be more difficult. He wouldn’t be able to hold the chain to steady it in one spot, but even then, it only took five extra tries to get the lock off his left wrist broken. He dropped the rock as the lock released, and he fumbled around in the dark looking for it. It hadn’t gone far. He found it on the other side of the larger rock and wrapped his free hand around it.

He stopped. There was a noise. It sounded like claws on rock, tapping and scratching as they scurried along. The noise stopped. Bhaqrin waited and listened, not daring to move. A hiss from the right caused him to turn his head that direction, but as soon as he did, a searing pain ripped through his left wing. The torukil had found him.

He reached back, grabbing the one that had sunk its claws and teeth into his wing and ripping it away. They were smaller, and much lighter than him, and this one thudded with a crack against the wall. More hissing filled the cave, and Bhaqrin realized there must be at least five others, probably more. Not that it mattered. They were at an advantage as he was a stranger in their hunting ground. Bhaqrin wanted to make a run for it, but not being able to see left him at even a greater disadvantage. He had a better chance if he stayed to fight.

A bite on his neck made him immediately question that decision. He grabbed the torukil by its throat and squeezed. While waiting for the torukil’s jaws to release, another torukil jumped on his injured wing. He extended his wing, slamming the small beast into the ceiling. Another bit at his arm, but the torukil at his neck loosened its grip and Bhaqrin was able to slam both against the wall at the same time. He heard another hiss followed by clicks, then the scratching of the claws on the rock again. It sounded as if they were retreating, for now. Bhaqrin knew that if he didn’t find a way out, and quickly, they would be back and in greater numbers.

He stumbled along in the darkness, his right wrist still shackled with an empty chain hanging from it and clanging in the dark. He felt along his neck. Luckily, his collar with his identification tags had wound up protecting him. Although the torukil’s teeth had broken the skin, the bleeding had stopped and there was very little pain. His wing was another story. The pain throbbed through it. Just as he was thinking about how long it would be before he could fly again, the bottom of the cave sloped at a dangerous angle. Bhaqrin lost his footing and slipped. He slowed himself by outstretching his wings, but it was not enough to stop him from sliding off an edge. He flapped both wings, fighting through the pain to stay aloft and land gently. He was failing at the staying aloft part, and felt the landing wasn’t going to be very gentle either. He spiraled downward, doing his best to at least slow his fall.

He landed with a splash. Water. He gasped as his head came back to the surface. He’d found an underground river. It carried him along as he struggled to stay afloat. He grasped for something to hold onto, but found nothing. He didn’t hear the roaring sound at first, and had little time to prepare by the time he did. He saw it before he heard it. The water seemingly disappeared just a short distance away.

Then he realized, he saw it. There was light. Where there was light, there must be an exit to the outside. He tried to push himself towards the waterfall while fighting the current to keep his head up. He needed to be able to break free of the river, otherwise the water would push him down, probably into rocks. He raised his wings up out of the water just as he reached the edge of the roaring water and flapped just once, pulling himself out away from the water and into a glide. The cold water had temporarily made his wing feel a little better, though it made the rest of his body numb. He landed, less gently than he would have liked, on the bank of the river, and near the exit of the cave. He looked outside to the glaring light. He had no idea where he would go, but he knew it had to be far from here. The masters would certainly kill him if he was found. He gave himself only a few minutes to catch his breath then hurried out into the open air.

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The Winter Ball

Aeramin glanced up as his father sat down at his table. He had chosen this table as it was out of the way and quiet. It wasn’t near the food tables nor was it near where other people had chosen to sit. Most importantly, it was far from Imralion. He flicked an ear as he resumed bouncing the baby on his knee, causing her to squeal in delight. She loved watching all the people dance. Aeramin watched as well, not moving his eyes back to his father.

“Not even going to say hello?”

Aeramin twitched an ear, remembering this time to continue bouncing the baby on his knee. “I’m a little angry with you right now.”

His father frowned, “Do you want to talk about it? I’m not even sure what you’re angry about this time. I can’t fix it if I don’t know what it is.”

Aeramin chose not to respond as he watched Imralion approach the table.

“Hi Aeramin, Arancon.”

Aeramin refrained from flicking an ear. He was doing his best to not remind Imralion that he was spending time with his daughter. He couldn’t do that if he was walking up on him like that. He scanned the room for Kavia. Shouldn’t he be with her?

Arancon turned around to face Imralion, “Oh, hi.”

“Enjoying the party?” Imralion asked.

Aeramin brought Lyorri back onto the bench beside him. It wouldn’t be best to flaunt how much she means to him in front of Im. Luckily, Lyorri was really good at sitting now, and only needed one hand on her to make sure she didn’t fall.

“Yes. Are you?” Arancon answered Imralion as Aeramin steadied Lyorri next to himself.

“Yeah. Just getting drinks.”

Aeramin glanced at his wine glass.

“They have juice too.” Arancon said.

“That’s good.”

Aeramin grabbed his glass with his free hand, and took a big sip. He was already on edge just having Lyorri in the same room as Imralion, but she really seemed to enjoy watching people dance. She loved the music too. Aeramin could tell by the way she was trying to sway to it on the bench next to him.

They both looked at him as he put his glass back down.

“There’s a lot of other babies.” Imralion said.

Aeramin looked at him. He wasn’t fooled for a moment. The next thing Imralion said proved it.

“If you want her to play or whatever.”

Of course. He wanted her off in the playroom set up for the babies so that he wouldn’t have to see her.

“Yeah, sorry. I’ll just take her to the other room.” Aeramin muttered.

“I just mean if she gets bored.”

Aeramin got up, balancing the baby in one arm, the bag with her diaper change and milk over his shoulder, and his wine glass in his free hand. He knew what he really meant. Thankfully, he didn’t say it in front of his father. “It’s fine.”

“I should– oh. Okay.”

Aeramin walked briskly to the door and down the hall to the room where the babies were supposed to be. There weren’t any in there. At least, not currently. It was just him and Lyorri for now, and Lyorri was not happy about leaving the ballroom. He placed his wine glass on the table and dropped the bag on the floor. He walked back and forth, bouncing the girl in his arms. “Don’t cry. Look, there’s toys here.” He stooped to pick up a stuffed animal. This one was a hawkstrider. He tried to distract Lyorri with it, putting it in front of her, but she only batted it away and cried louder.

He picked up his wine glass and took another big sip just as his father walked in. He saw the older elf twitch an ear as he passed through the doorway. “Do you have to keep following me?” Aeramin asked over the baby’s cries.

“I was hoping you would want to talk. Maybe it’ll be easier here away from the crowd.” Arancon frowned as he looked at Lyorri, “Why don’t you let me hold her for a bit? I think she knows you’re upset.”

“That’s not why she’s crying. She liked the music.”

“Then take her back to the ballroom.”

Aeramin turned to glare at his father, “No.” He turned back around to continue bouncing Lyorri in his arms as he walked around the room.

Arancon waited silently for a few minutes as Aeramin tried to calm Lyorri. She hadn’t stopped crying when he said, “Your glass is empty. Why don’t you go refill it. I’ll watch her while you’re gone.”

Aeramin hesitated. His father was telling him to go get a drink. This was the same guy who was drunk off his ass for almost 100 years. True he was sober now, but Aeramin didn’t think he had any business telling anyone when to drink. Still, another glass sounded relaxing. He handed over Lyorri and picked up his glass. He noted Lyorri stopped crying almost as soon as she left his arms. He frowned and stormed into the hall.

He almost dropped his glass as he bumped into Imralion and Kavia.

“Hi.” Imralion said.

“Hi.” Aeramin replied.

“Hi.” Kavia greeted him as well.

There was an awkward pause before Imralion said, “We’re going to the garden.”

Aeramin held up his glass. “I’m just getting a refill.”

Imralion nodded.

“Have fun!” Aeramin tried to put on a smile, but he was certain the corners of his mouth twitched. He was far from being in a smiling mood.

“Okay.” Imralion replied.

Aeramin quickly moved past them and back into the ballroom where he made his way to the table with the wine. He refilled his glass, and returned to the other room where his father and daughter were. He sat on the floor next to them. While he was gone, his father had gotten out the blocks, and was building towers of three to four blocks tall. Lyorri’s part was to knock them over. Aeramin joined in on helping with the tower construction.

“Are you ready to talk now?”

“About what?”

“Anything. You could start with why you’re angry with me, if you want.”

“Why shouldn’t I be angry with you?” Aeramin looked up with an eyebrow raised for a moment before restacking the blocks that Lyorri knocked over.

“I’m trying my best now. I’m sorry I wasn’t a good father to you in the past.”

“That’s not what I mean.” Aeramin twitched an ear.

Arancon stacked up another three blocks, “Did I do something more recent?”

Aeramin twitched an ear. Did he really not know? “You can stop talking about my ex’s around Imralion for starters.”

“I figured he knew you’ve been with other people.”

Aeramin looked at his father. He looked at his daughter, then back at his father, raising a brow.

“See, he does know.”

“And I’d rather not remind him.”

“Okay.” Arancon nodded. “I see.”

Aeramin stacked the blocks again with one hand while picking up his wine in the other. He took a long sip from the glass before putting it back down on the floor behind himself.

“Is that why you try to keep her away from him?” Arancon asked.

“What?”

“Lyorri.”

“He doesn’t want to be around her. She reminds him.” Aeramin twitched an ear.

Arancon waited a few minutes before speaking again, “That bothers you.”

“Of course it does. I feel like I have to hide her from him like some shameful secret, but she’s not– I’m not ashamed of her. I’m proud of her, but with him, I feel like I can’t be. She hurts him.”

“Have you talked to him about it?” Arancon asked.

“Yes, multiple times. I just really don’t want to bring it up anymore. She’s a reminder, and talking about her is a reminder she exists. I feel like I have to live some crazy double life because I love her, and I love him, but the two can’t be together. I thought I was okay with it, but there’s just so many things I want to share, but I can’t. Not with him.”

“I’d advise trying to talk to him again.” Arancon said as he put up a few more blocks. Lyorri laughed as she knocked them over.

Aeramin shook his head. “This is my problem. I just need to get better at dealing with it.”

“Does this have anything to do with Kavia?”

“No. Not really. I mean, I’m upset and I’d like to be with him now, but that couldn’t happen tonight anyways. I have to watch Lyorri. I can’t be with both. I’m afraid I’ll have to choose for real some day.”

Arancon placed another block on a new tower. “Who would you choose?”

Aeramin glared at his father again. “I won’t tell you.” He reached back for his wine and took another big sip.

“Fair enough. Do you want me to watch her for a bit for you?”

“No, they went to the garden.”

“I mean just so you can have a little room to breathe and relax. Maybe you could go out front. I’ll take her back to the ballroom so she can enjoy the music a little longer.”

Aeramin hesitated a moment before nodding, “Yeah, sure. Thanks.”

Arancon smiled, “She’ll be fine with me. Go get some air.”

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Crystalsong Forest

It had been a week since Hethurin had first woke up in the strange room at a high elven outpost in Crystalsong Forest. The only person he had seen during that time was Zayel. She spent much of her day with him in the room, though usually she was at her desk when she wasn’t tending his wounds. She tried speaking to him each time she washed him with the herb-infused water, but he usually declined to answer her questions. When he did respond, it was usually short, one-word answers. He spent most of his time staring out the window at the crystallized tree tops while thinking about home.

Zayel was much more talkative than he was. She shared stories of her training as a priestess, of her trips to Dalaran, and about the guard who had helped her bring him to the outpost. He’d heard enough to figure out the guard liked her, but Zayel didn’t seem to notice. Hethurin didn’t point it out.

He’d also learned that his leg injury was severe. His lower right leg had a gash in it that cut almost down to the bone, and his thigh on the same leg also had a deep gash. The wound on his thigh was lengthwise, and while not as deep as the one on his calf, it was long, and just as painful. Both had swelled up around the edges and looked awful during the first couple of days at the outpost, but now the swelling had gone down. Zayel said he was on the mend, but still wouldn’t let him leave. His wrists were still firmly held by the arcane shackles.

He was more awake now than he had been the first few days. She had told him he had a nasty bump on his head, but she wouldn’t fetch him a mirror. She did seem concerned about his head injury. To be honest, he was too, but just in the past day his headache had lessened. He took that as a good sign even if he couldn’t walk yet. He hoped to convince Zayel that he would be fine if he teleported home.

He waited until Zayel sat next to the bed with bowl of water. She started dabbing the damp cloth on his forehead. It stung a bit, but it wasn’t too bad. “How are you feeling this afternoon?”

Hethurin decided to get straight to the point, “Better. May I leave now?”

Zayel smiled, “I’m glad you’re feeling better, but I can tell you’re still weak. I would be responsible if I let you leave and you didn’t make it to your destination.”

Hethurin frowned as she dipped the cloth in the bowl of water , “I’ll make it.”

She pressed the cloth against his forehead again, causing him to wince. “You don’t know that. You’ll need at least a few weeks to recover your full magic ability.” She glanced at his leg, “And at least a few months to recovery physically. I may let you go once I have a better idea of your magic capabilities. If I know you can make it to somewhere you can continue to heal physically, I won’t have a problem seeing you off, but for now you are quite weak, both physically and magically.”

“I’m weak because you keep these arcane shackles on me constantly. I can’t cast anything with them on.”

“Those are there to make sure you don’t do anything stupid.”

“I’m not going to!”

“You’ll try to attempt to teleport home the moment I remove them.”

Hethurin glared at her. Of course he would, and it wasn’t a stupid idea.

She regarded him curiously, “I’d offer to help get you home, but you obviously won’t be able to walk from where my portal would be, and since I’ve never seen your home, I can’t open one directly there.” She picked up the bowl and stood, taking her time as she walked around to the other side of the bed. He felt her sit down on the bed behind him, and heard her wring the water out of the cloth. He felt the cloth against the wounds on his back. They still stung a bit, but not as much. She spoke again, “Besides, there’s something off about you, and I’d like to figure out what it is before I let you go.”

He almost let that go without a response, but curiosity got the best of him, “Off?”

“Off. It’s almost as if you don’t belong here.” She continued dabbing the cloth at the wounds on his back.

“No, a sin’dorei doesn’t have much business being at a quel’dorei outpost. I just want to go home.”

“It’s not that, nor does it have anything to do with the purge in Dalaran.”

“I don’t know what it is then.” Hethurin twitched an ear.

“I find it curious. That’s all.”

He refused to answer anymore of her questions, choosing instead to stare intently at the crystal tree tops out the window until she was done tending his wounds and had returned to her desk. Then he drifted off to sleep again.

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The Nurse

Hethurin Fairsong opened his eyes. Daylight shone on his face from the window near the bed. He squinted as his eyes adjusted to the light. Panic set in as he noticed someone else in the room, sitting next to the bed. He also noticed that he had been rolled over on his side. Both hands were restrained to the same side of the bed now. He pulled his hands against his restraints as he tried to free himself.

“Relax,” a soft female voice said, “I won’t hurt you.” She dabbed a cold wet cloth on his head with one hand.

Hethurin flinched away.

“You won’t get better if you move out of the way.” She frowned as he continued to hold his head as far from her reach as he could. “This water has been treated with special herbs to help speed your healing, and prevent infection. Judging by the look of your wounds you’ll need both.”

Hethurin hadn’t seen his wounds. He knew most of them must be on his back, though his leg burned at the reminder of his injuries. His head still hurt. He tried to relax and placed his head back on the pillow as the woman dipped the cloth into the bowl of water. One of her slender long ears twitched as she wrung out the cloth. She leaned towards him and held the back of his head with one hand as she dabbed the cloth at the wound on his forehead with the other.

He could see her better now that her body blocked the sun off of his face. Her long blond hair hung in front of him and her features were soft. Her blue eyes focused on cleaning his wound. He moved back away again, as far as he could. Even though she had put her hand behind his head, she didn’t try to keep him in place. He started trying to force his hands out of the arcane shackles again. She moved the bowl of water and herself back away from the bed. She frowned as she watched him struggle against the restraints.

He tried pulling his hands out first without any luck. He managed to raise his good leg and get his foot on the shackle and tried to push it off, but it didn’t budge. Lastly, he managed to get the lower half of his body off the opposite side of the bed and tried to dislodge them using his own weight to pull. Neither the shackles nor the bed frame broke. He did learn just how bad his injured leg was. He couldn’t put weight on it at all, and the pain was immense. He started to cry, burying his face in the blankets while still kneeling on the floor next to the bed. His arms were outstretched across the bed to the arcane shackles.

The high elven woman frowned and walked around the bed to stand next to him. “Are you ready to get back in bed? You need your rest. As I stated before, I won’t hurt you.”

He didn’t reply until she put her hand on his back.

“Terellion! Help me!” he shouted as he raised his head from the blankets.

“I don’t think you want to yell. The guards are unaware that I have a sin’dorei patient in this room. Well, most of them are. One of them helped me get you here, but he’s off duty now. You don’t want to meet the others. Trust me. I am glad to know you can talk. I was worried that your head injury was much worse than I thought it was.”

Hethurin lowered his head and continued crying.

She waited a minute then asked, “Do you want to get back into bed now so I can care for your injuries?”

Hethurin sobbed, “No. I want to go home. Let me go.”

“You lay perched on a mana-crystallized bush for almost two days, and you think you’re just fine to go home? That much exposure weakens you, and you got it in your blood. You’re lucky you didn’t go wretched before I found you. I insist that you rest here. If I take off those shackles and you try to teleport anywhere, you’re not going to get further than the front doorstep. I highly doubt you want to deliver yourself to our high elven guards. They do their jobs first and ask questions later. You will stay here until you are strong enough to go home, and I hope the home you’re speaking of is not Dalaran. I don’t agree with it, but that human mage ordered a purge. I assume that’s how you somehow wound up in the forest.”

She was right. He was weak. He felt like sleeping again already. He barely remembered what happened in Dalaran, but he remembered falling. That wasn’t home anyway. Home was with Terellion, Malwen and Narise. He had to get home to them, but if this high elf woman was being honest, then he had to get better first. He had no choice but to trust her. He lifted his head again, “Do you have some water?”

She walked away for a second and returned with a glass. She held it to his lips. “Will you be ready to get back into the bed after this? Your wounds need care.”

Hethurin nodded, not seeing any other way out of the situation.

“My name is Zayel. What should I call you?”

“Hethurin.”

“Well, Hethurin. Let’s get you back in bed then.”

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The Strange Room

Hethurin Fairsong opened his eyes. It was dark, but it wasn’t cold anymore. He was inside. He remembered being outside, stuck in a bush. How did he get inside? He looked around the room, taking note of things while trying to figure out where he was. There was a warm glow coming from the fireplace, providing the room with what little light there was. He was on a soft bed with lots of frilly blankets and pillows in light colors. He couldn’t tell which colors they were in the low lighting, but he doubted knowing the colors would help him figure out where he was anyway. There was a sofa nearer the fire place, and a desk against the further wall. There was an empty cloak hook next to the door.

The decor reminded him of Malwen’s room. There was even a doll on the small bedside table next to the bed. Still, this wasn’t home, and nothing he could see helped him know where he was other than some strange female’s room.

His head still hurt. He went to raise his hand to his forehead only to find his wrist had been secured to the bed frame. He tried his other hand, but it had also been secured. Panic swelled up inside him as he began to try to pull his hands through the restraints. He almost yelled, but thought better of it as he was in his captor’s home. The last thing he wanted was to call whoever it was to him.

Pulling his hands out wasn’t working. He decided that rather quickly as his head ached more as he struggled. He was also reminded that the bush he had been in before was thorny and very sharp as the thorns had turned to crystal. His back side felt like it was on fire, and the pain in one of his legs was almost too much to stand. Movement was not helping any of his pain. He tried to force himself to calm down, pulling once more on the restraints before resting his head back on the pillow and staring at the ceiling. That’s when he remembered he hadn’t tried magic yet.

He was still weak, and had just spent a great deal of the energy he did have trying to break free. That would have a great effect on how much he could cast and how good his spells were. He decided to try for just a small teleport, one that would get his hands free, but still leave him in the same room. He took a deep breath and cast the spell.

Nothing happened.

He tried again. The spell was definitely being cast in a way that it drew magic away from him. He could feel it, but still, nothing happened. Using his leg that didn’t hurt as much, he held the blanket with his toes and pulled it down, then repeated the motion until he could see his wrists. That was the problem. Arcane shackles. No magic was going to get past those.

He sighed. He was far too weak to break out of them now and he hurt everywhere. He cried himself back to sleep.

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Dragonhawk Identification

Lilithel had finished bandaging the wound on the dragonhawk’s wing, and she and Tik were discussing how to get it out of the school and down to the stable without anyone noticing and asking about it. Tik felt going through the kitchen then around the side of the house would be best, but Lilithel thought the front door was just as close as the kitchen, and had the same risk of being seen.

“Maybe we could do it after I do my rounds for light’s out.” Tik suggested.

Their discussion was interrupted by a knock on the door. Tik moved to answer it, while Lilithel remained seated next to the dragonhawk on the floor.

“Theronil, come in. Thank you for coming in on the weekend. As you can see, we needed someone who knows a lot about dragonhawks.” Tik gestured towards the dragonhawk in the corner. “We were hoping you might know where it’s from.”

“He. It’s a male.” He said, approaching the dragonhawk to inspect it more closely. “What happened to him?” he asked, indicating the bandage.

“We’re not sure.”

Theronil raised a brow, but went back to inspecting the dragonhawk. “There’s only a couple of breeders in Eversong that I know of who have this…” His voice trailed off as he held out the good wing. He stopped to look more closely at the dragonhawk’s face. “Is Xyliah still staying somewhere on the estate?”

“I believe so. I don’t think they’ve left yet.”

“You may want to find her. Quickly.”

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The Dragonhawk

Lilithel wasn’t sure what to make of it when Tik had come to the stable the evening before, and inquired if the dragonhawks and hawkstriders were accounted for. At first she thought that elf would make any excuse just to see her, and while it might be true, she knew now there was another reason. He had come to the stable again this morning while she was moving the hawkstriders to the enclosed pen outside, and asked her to come up to the school. Once there, he led her down one of the hallways leading towards two of the classrooms and some of the practice rooms. She also knew the Head Master’s office was down the same hall. She had just uttered the question, “Did Magister Fairsong ask to see me?” when Tik stopped at the door next to the office. She wasn’t familiar with the house so she wasn’t sure what was behind it.

Tik took out his keys to unlock it. “No. There’s a bit of a problem though.” He opened the door, “Please, come inside. We’ll discuss it further in here.”

She followed him, and he closed the door behind her.

“The Magister is–”

“Oh! You poor thing! What are you doing inside? Tik, how did this dragonhawk get inside? It’s so big.” Lilithel had already sat down next to the animal who had curled up in the corner. “Oh, it’s wing is injured.” She looked to Tik for answers.

“Yes. We’ve made the same observations. I’m afraid I don’t know the hows or whys of it.”

“Someone put it in here, and you didn’t notice? What has the Magister said about it?”

“Nothing.”

“Nothing? He’s okay with it in one of the student’s practice rooms?” She assumed it was a practice room. It looked like a practice room to her, and she did have that much of it right.

“It’s not one of the student’s practice rooms. It’s the Magister’s, and he’s missing.”

“Missing? That’s why you were asking if I had seen him? Why didn’t you tell me last night?”

“We’re trying to keep it quiet as to not alarm the students or Malwen. He is a mage, and as such can teleport wherever he pleases. I assume he’ll be back at some point. Terellion is very worried though, and it is possible he needs help. It’s not like him to leave without telling Terellion.”

Lilithel nodded, “The dragonhawk being here is unusual too, I assume.”

“Can you do anything for its wing? I’m not sure it can fly very well. There were some very loud bangs from this room when it first showed up yesterday.”

“I can bandage it and make sure it heals okay. Have you asked the healers in town to come look at it?. I don’t understand why he would leave a dragonhawk here.”

“Nobody does. We haven’t sent for the healers because we don’t want to alarm them either. Vaildor did show up earlier this morning. He said he wanted to give the Magister a message. I told him he was running errands. I’m supposed to tell him to go see Lani in town as soon as he gets back. I’ll have to wait on it though. I’m pretty sure Terellion has priority when it comes to seeing him when he gets back.”

Lilithel nodded again as she inspected the wound on the dragonhawk’s wing.

“I’ll go get some water and bandages so you can clean and dress that.”

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