[[To read the first part of this story, follow this link to “The Night was Falling Fast“]]
Vazra returned with a makeshift travois from the woods. It barely looked sturdy enough to hold a log, let alone a body. It was being held together with large branches, scraps of soft bark, and long prairie grasses. The middle was made from white birch pieces and grasses. Vazra looked slummed, perturbed, and preoccupied, but his return was as timely as possible. I greeted him at the entrance to the outpost.
The Archmage, although preoccupied, helped transfer Faolan to the travois. We tried to situate him as balanced as possible for the ride through the mountains, for I was very unsure of the travois holding his weight. We started out our travels at daybreak of three, following Vazra’s trek in search of making a travois. We gathered enough mangled food scraps foraged from the remaining supplies of war, and began our journey toward the Spire.
The overcast skies of winter made for our journey to be relatively cool. Other than the exertion of carrying Faolan, and our remaining supplies, we didn’t overheat. But the nights became cold faster than we had time for. We had to make camp early. I was relieved though. I wanted to hold Faolan. I wanted to make sure he was still breathing. I didn’t want the vibration of the travois passing over the ground to rattle his soul from his body or render the travois useless.
Faolan was doing as best as he could be doing for having almost died. We laid the travois next to where our fire was to be. I stayed with Faolan and Vazra left to get some burning materials. I sat and talked with Faolan about how the Archmage was rambling about fish and doom. I spoke about how I felt Vazra seemed a bit preoccupied and perturbed, and how I enjoyed the nature traveling back to the Spire.
Night after night I talked to him, talking him asleep, listening to his shallow breathing.
Our fires made the cold nights bearable, and the mornings as eventful as they could get. The whole land seemed to be unbearably quiet. Except for our traveling noises, the sounds of nature was all I could hear. Vazra remained in his quiet, meditative thoughts. I tried to maintain positivity, but laying next to Faolan each night wasn’t helping. My worry was more apparent.
After a week, we finally traveled through the entrance to the Spire. We were greeted by the other Archons and the Guards. The Guards took the travois and supplies from us, offering their aide in bringing Faolan to the infirmary. When they transferred him to a bunk, the guards rattled something too much, probably re-iteration of the journey, and Faolan began to seize, his eyes rolled into the back of his head. His thrashing arms caught some of the daggers and one flew toward him, almost penetrating his chest. He stopped seizing, but stopped breathing as well. The Archmage quickly moved everyone out of the way and completed a spell that punched a restart to his heart. Faolan’s chest rose into the air, his head fell backwards as he let out a gasp of air. I was screaming the whole time, a guard holding me back, trying to keep me from escalating Faolon’s situation. I was relieved to hear his gasp for air. The guard noticed that Faolan had a broken rib that was sticking out of his abdomen. Blood was oozing out of the wound. Faolan had lost a large amount of blood. The Guard put a rag between Faolan’s teeth, poured some wine over the wound, and without hesitation or permission, he pushed the broken rib back into Faolan’s chest with his finger and set it into place. He wrapped Faolan’s torso with sticks and tourniquets to keep the rib from coming back out or falling out of place. Faolan screamed through the rag in agonizing pain, then passed out. Vazra excused everyone from the infirmary except for him and myself. “Sapphira, you can stay here. Let me know if he gets any worse. I need to go figure these fish out.” Vazra disappeared from the infirmary with no other explanation.
I stayed and laid my head lightly on Faolan’s chest so I could hear his heart beating.
It took weeks for Faolan to recover from his wounds. To pass the time, I began researching ingredients for different potions in hopes to speed up his healing time. I visited him everyday, and told him about my discoveries. I let Wylder lay beside Faolan to keep his spirits up. I walked the Spire day in and day out, but could not acquire new insight or ingredients for something stronger than the health potion, at least not yet. I feel I am close.
When Faolan did recover, the entire Spire had a celebration. Everyone brought food to share, Archon Cider, and some mead. There was dancing and music everywhere you turned. Everyone was joyous! Faolan sat next to me at a table near the fire. The fire was large and in the center of town next to the hot springs pool. We watched the townspeople celebrate the health of Faolan, wondering where Vazra had gone after leaving the infirmary so many weeks ago. As the night drew closer, the amount of townspeople started to diminish. After Faolan had something to eat, we brought him into the hot springs, signaling the night coming to an end and further healing of Faolan to begin. We took off our garb. I unclothed Faolan slowly, so as not to hurt him. We carefully entered the springs and I sat him down carefully on the stone seating. We sat in silence, captivated by the healing waters. The townspeople realized the celebration had drawn to a close and started to wander back to their tents. Some of them wandered over to the hot springs, taking their clothes off piece by piece on their way. “They are really drunk”, I whisper to Faolan. He smiles a little and grabs my thigh.
In the distance, we can hear a boisterous voice coming from the side of the mountain, but none of the guards are moving. “Who is that and why are the guards not moving?”, I say to Faolan. He turns his head to see. Turns back to me and says, “Vazra.”
Vazra sees us in the hot springs and walks over to join us. There is a woman trailing not too far behind him. A little Syndar woman. As Vazra draws closer, he greets us with pleasantries. “Vice Mage Faolan, Vice Mage Faolan, How are you feeling this fine evening? Sapphira”, as he nods his head in my direction. “I am doing alright”, Faolan replies. Vazra and the Syndar woman take off their clothes, “Sapphira, Faolan, This is the Beautiful Moivira”, Vazra speaks eloquently. They sit in the hot springs across from us, Moivira sits in Vazra’s lap. Vazra settles his hands on Moivira’s body, “Faolan, I’ve had a vision of awesome importance.”
“You see, in the aftermath of the battle, I soiled the outpost with my vomit, but from that vomit rose arcane messengers with a dire warning: the undead are upon us, we are all in grave danger.” Moivira seemed quite enamored, despite the topic, whatever her and the Archmage were doing over there was best kept beneath the steamy waters. Vazra continued, “From the contents of my stomach I saw fish whispering of danger, and then… they formed together into my old adversary, the death knight. Only now, it was like undead but also fishy barf so like… triple gross. It was also smelly.” Moivira was leaning back now, clearly preoccupied “the archmage is so wise…” she exclaimed while Vazra went on with his story.
“Is it possible there is some unforeseen threat of the undead in this land stemming from your arrival?” Faolan asked in a concerned tone.
“Well, we can’t say with certainty, I don’t actually know what became of my foe when I tried to drag it into the mana stream. Ideally it was simply ripped to pieces and consumed, but these sorts of visions must be considered carefully, their meanings tend to hold true in unexpected ways.”
The conversation was interrupted by Moivira’s vocalizations.
Faolan raised an eyebrow “What exactly are you doing over there?”
Without hesitiation the Archmage explained in graphic detail.