Fiel woke up on the slightly-too-small seat near the bed in the infirmary, a baby griffon curled up over his lap. His neck was stiff, and so was his back, but he didn’t dare stir the sleeping bird. Nor did he dare risking the chance of waking the recovering norn.
For days, had he been looking for that man. Thought him lost, then dead, and then, for a brief moment, lost to the vast mystery of the Mists. But no, he was alive, had been all along. And while the necromancer was frantically searching the gargantuan tangle of vines that was the Verdant Brink, the captain was slowly making his way to the Gilded Hollow. He would laugh, really, but he was still exhausted from the mad quest, still weak from tearing a hole between the worlds.
The man on the bed was no better. Worse, in fact. His eye mangled, covered with a bandage, his skin pallid, the soft breath that periodically escaped his lips ragged, sign of something else inside him still healing.
Locked on his seat, Fiel took the time to observe, and reflect.
When was the last time he was so scared?
He remembered the very first time he saw him, clinging to that wet boulder along the seashore near Lion’s Arch, his left arm literally hanging to his body by a thread of flesh. He was a stranger then, a castaway, a mystery and an opportunity. A snarling, wounded dog who vanished one day to lick his wounds elsewhere —borrowing some of his savings along the way, the mongrel.
How have things changed since that time.
Fiel’s eyes rested absentmindedly over the wound on his face.
He had tried to save his arm once, but he was a novice then. Still green and inexperienced. Maybe now, now that he had more practice with the molding of flesh…
The necromancer glanced about. Ambrosine and her friend were not in sight. Good.
He leaned forward, careful not to perturb Mercer, and reached out, his hand hovering over the captain’s face.
Oh, he did try. But the energy that gathered in him was fighting him. It was something new, something he never experienced before, yet still knew the cause and the implications of, like the refrains of a grim childhood song he thought he had forgotten. A dark, heavy song, a requiem which electric hum greedily sucked the warmth of his body and made his heart skip a beat.
He had spent himself to the brink of annihilation when he opened the gate to the Underworld. Maybe he had been too tired, or too focused to notice then, but now he couldn’t ignore it. His hand was shaking, his shoulder barely held the weight of his arm, and he nearly smacked the convalescent man in the face when he brought it down.
Fiel was dizzy. His head was swimming from fatigue, strain, and, as his suddenly growling stomach commented –waking the small griffon nestled against it– hunger.
Today was not the day he would try to regenerate the man’s dead eye. Not until he recovered himself.
Fiel would need to eat something…. right after another nap. Tiny uncomfortable chair or not. He was too tired to care.