belltrigger: (textfromEnoch)
[personal profile] belltrigger
Camp NaNoWriMo. Finally got the dreaded 'post too large' so I have started adding to this one.

But, even as he kept reminding himself that, his mind always wandered back to how nice falling asleep would be, how that plush moss might feel no different from his bed at home. He could see the lights of Silvermoon ahead of him, and while that perked him up just a bit, his steps didn't seem to bring him any closer to the grand city. A city that large, after all, loomed no matter how far away you were. The sight, however, began to blur as his eyes threatened to close.

And finally, Feliks wasn't able to force them open any longer, and the night became even blacker as he closed his eyes and fell.

Instead of being jolted back awake as he hit the ground, Feliks woke up the next morning in his own bed. As he sat up, he placed his hand against his face and winced at his tender forehead. However, his head throbbed not from a bruise, but a hangover. As he rubbed at his temples with one hand, he tried to recall just how he'd gotten from the road to Silvermoon to his bed. He was even changed from his robes to his sleepwear, with the blanket over him. There's no way he could have done that on his own, as out of it as he was. Never mind that he was certain he'd fallen asleep on the way here...

Before he'd had a chance to figure it out, a voice caught his attention. “I knew I shouldn't have let you go out,” mused Fahr as he stood in the doorway. “How fortunate that I followed you, hm?”

Ah. So that was how it was. Feliks looked down at his hands as they rested atop the blanket over his lap. Somehow, Fahr had managed to meet him just as he'd been falling? It seemed too strange, too convenient, but the fact that he didn't feel hurt from a fall implied that it had worked that exact way. He chanced a glance up at Fahr again. Or, perhaps Fahr had healed him, or had been watching him, only to show himself at just the perfect moment.

“I guess so,” was all Feliks could manage, clenching his hands in the blanket. He mentally cursed his weakness in being overcome by alcohol, and that he needed his elder brother to, for lack of a better description, save him. Clearly, he needed to spend some time focusing, so that he could fix his weakness. He didn't want to rely on Fahr for the rest of his life, and didn't like that Fahr seemed perfectly happy to encourage the situation.

His elder brother moved over to the bed, and sat down, hand on Feliks' knee. Feliks' blue eyes slid over to Fahr's hand, and through the strange calmness that the priest felt, an even stranger anger began to bubble through. He slapped Fahr's hand off his knee, accusatory glare leveled straight on his brother.

“Feliks, what is wrong with you?” Fahr frowned right back at Feliks, tone the same as if he were chastising a misbehaving puppy. Feliks glared even harder, if possible, and shifted in his bed further away from Fahr.

“Just get out, Fahr.”

The mage didn't get up, made no attempt to leave. Instead, he shifted closer to the priest, gaze intent. “And what would you do if I said no?” Feliks looked back at Fahr, surprised by the question.


“You should know that I don't do anything I don't want to. Not even at your request, Feliks.” There was no way around how threatening Fahr sounded, and Feliks was once again reminded how Fahr had not seen fit to differentiate Feliks from the rest of the world, deigned one of the 'enemies.' He shivered a bit at the ice in Fahr's words, and he wondered in the back of his mind if Fahr was perhaps actually using a bit of ice magic as he spoke.

“Fahr...” His throat was tight, feeling a pressure around it, as though wrapped in a tightening fist. He'd never really been afraid of Fahr before, even though he'd always been aware of just how powerful his brother was. But this time, there was danger in Fahr's presence, and it was directed exclusively at Feliks. His skills in healing would do him no assistance if Fahr decided to attack him right now.

“Luckily for you, I will step out for now,” Fahr said as he reached out to caress Feliks' cheek. “Only because you're my cute little brother, and I love you very much.” Feliks twitched slightly at the touch, and his stomach twisted at the conversely sweet tone Fahr was currently taking. He wasn't sure if he should thank Fahr for leaving, because it seemed to just be another way to be threatening. Or perhaps Fahr really was having these intense mood swings without any apparent rhyme or reason.


“Regardless of where I go, it is morning, Feliks. You should be getting up out of bed anyway.” He drew his hand away, drawing his fingertips along Feliks' jawline as he did. “Surely you must have something to do, yes?”

“I was... thinking of going to Stormwind for some more training.” Fahr's hand stalled, thumb resting on Feliks' chin.


Feliks nodded, all too aware of Fahr's hand as he did it. “Maybe going back with Kael'thunas so that I'm not traveling alone.” He leaned back a bit, hope strong that Fahr's hand would leave his face once he was out of reach. The mage did indeed let him go, lowered his arm slowly, but kept their blue eyes locked.

“I don't think that's a good idea. In fact, I'm not going to let you go.” Fahr straightened up, as if his word was final. As far as he was probably concerned, it was.

Feliks gave his brother his best flat stare. “And why not? Are you implying you don't want my skills to grow?”

“Or, and consider this, perhaps I don't like the idea of you traveling by yourself that far away.”

“I already told you I wouldn't be alone. Maybe even Antherion would go.” Feliks tried to remain calm, tried to keep his voice even, but the fact that his brother was once again treating him as a child was exasperating him. He felt irrational, and was sure he wasn't helping his cause by reacting this dramatically. But Light damn it, he'd had enough. He was an adult, and this constant coddling and belittling of him by his brother was finished.

“I don't want you going to Stormwind. If you wish to study more, we can figure something else out. But Stormwind is out of the question.” The mage stood up, then, and tossed his light red hair over his shoulder. The topic was finished, and if Feliks tried to go now, there would be consequences.

So, in the end, Feliks had made a fool of himself to his brother, again, and had not even gotten anything out of it. He clenched his eyes shut as Fahr left, felt as the tears of frustration dropped down his cheeks and fell. Some droplets fell on the back of his clenched fists, and he brought a hand up to scrub furiously at his eyes, teeth clenched as well.

Why was Fahr trying so hard to sabotage him? Why was Fahr working so hard to supress anything Feliks wished to do? Was he afraid Feliks would leave forever, like their father did? Did Fahr somehow think that Feliks would begin to badmouth him as they did their father? Feliks had no reason to dislike Fahr, except when he did this like this. And even then, Feliks acted out of frustration, not hatred.

It took a few moments to gather himself up, but he eventually did it, and headed into the bathroom to splash some cool, ever replenished water on his face. He glanced up into the silver, delicate swirl-framed mirror, and sighed at his reflection. “You're as much an idiot as the rest of them, Feliks.”

Perhaps today he would make an attempt to get out and 'commune' with the surrounding nature. Give himself some time to relax without interference from other beings besides the trees and maybe a few rabbits. Maybe a dragonhawk or two, since even the wild ones were so very docile. Maybe he would bring a book; not one of the books that droned on and on about the glory of the light. No, this time he would bring a novel about heroes and grand battles. Something that he could just read without trying to wrap his mind around foreign concepts.

Decided on his daily goal, to just unwind, Feliks gathered himself up and plucked a random novel from his book case. He wandered down to the kitchen, book tucked under his arm. If he put the conversation with Fahr earlier out of his mind, he could carry on without issue. He would, if he felt like it, slowly pick apart the conversation at a later time.

But he didn't feel like it at the moment, and didn't even engage Fahr on his way to the front door. The mage didn't say anything this time, merely let Feliks pass. It suited Feliks just fine; he didn't like the thought of trying to converse with Fahr after the awkward conversation they'd just had.

Once outside, Feliks let out his breath that he hadn't even realized he'd been holding. Back against the door, Feliks' head thunked against the wood, and he shut his eyes. Hopefully, the awkward aura that had suddenly risen up between them would disperse with a little bit of time. Feliks would spend the day out in the woods reading, and Fahr would putter around the house doing his own thing. Then, later, Feliks would return home, make dinner, and everything would be right again. He'd still have the strange conversation bouncing around in his head, but the stiff separation would dissipate as it faded more into his memory.

He pushed against the door, which propelled him forward to stand straight. The first step in getting Fahr's odd statements out of his head was to get away from the building where Fahr was. Feliks was feeling much better than he should have after a night of drinking so much that he apparently passed out. He would use it to his advantage, using his clarity and lack of definitive location to wander into a nice spot that was fully covered with trees.

As he headed towards the front gate of the grand city, he wondered idly if Antherion and Kael'thunas had made it home alright. Belatedly, he recalled that they'd been all over each other the night prior, and he scoffed out loud. “I hope Bertrand actually let them fall into the river.”

Though, there was no malice in his statement, merely frustration at the idea that he'd run across his two friends being so, well, shameless. Stupid parties. He was never going to them again. Let Antherion be the one dragged to the events with his boyfriend; he was practically obligated by deciding he had fallen for the troublesome ranger. It's not like Kael was suddenly going to stop being a jewel-crafting, hard-drinking, party-goer just because he'd realized his romantic partner had always been right there for him.

Feliks was happy for his friends. Really. He just didn't want to see them make out was all. He didn't want to see anyone do it, as a matter of fact. There was enough of that sort of thing when he was dealing with Fahr; he didn't need it in his social life too.

He'd made over the short bridge at the entrance of Silvermoon before he'd even realized it, the gardener's assitant attempting to slink under the bridge to nap with the seedlings stored under there. If he headed to the left, he could pass the stables where the hawkstriders were bred and trained for riding. Farstrider's Retreat was also in that direction, though, and the chances of running into Kael'thunas were higher than if he stayed clear of it.

If he headed to the right, he would be heading in the direction of Saltheril's Haven again. He'd already traveled that way yesterday, and he still held annoyance for the fact that he'd passed out drunk on his way back home. So to the left was really the only option. If he ran into Kael'thunas, then fine. He wouldn't have to worry, then, if the ranger had drowned in the river. And it wasn't as though he couldn't avoid his obnoxious friend with great ease. If Kael'thunas was actually at the Retreat, then he was technically working, and wouldn't be able to chat up Feliks for too long.

With that in mind, Feliks turned to the left. As an afterthought, he tucked the book into his long sleeve, away from prying eyes that would probably have something to say about his choice in literature. And he would have a free hand to greet Merrith with, allowing him to pet her feathers and stroke her beak.

He made his way along the path towards the ranger's gathering area, continuing just far enough past the turn in the road to come into the land where the stables were. They were fairly small as far as stables probably went, though Feliks had only seen bigger by the areas near Stormwind's castle, where the knights kept their horses in top condition. Merrith was already at the edge of the grazing pen, and she let out a squawk as Feliks neared her.

“Hey Merrith. Knew I was coming?” He thought they matched so well, and that was partially why he'd always liked her. Her red and purple feathers, with a bit of gold hints at the tips was so like his own coloring that he had, in his flights of fancy as a child, thought that maybe she was his twin, turned into a hawkstrider by his elder brother's magic.

Feliks knew, now, that it was ridiculous. Although Fahr certainly had the capabilities to turn others into animals, Fahr had assured him that they'd never had a sister. And even if they had, Fahr would never have left her at a stable where Feliks could have found her. It would have been too easy to track! Feliks chalked that particular conversation up to Fahr's really weird way of saying 'no.'

The hawkstrider nuzzled his cheek with her beak, and he patted her cheek with his hand. “If you were my sister, though, I wouldn't mind. You're certainly as affectionate as Fahr, but way less threatening.” He paused and sighed. “But he's only been threatening lately, you know? I'm not sure what's going on with him.” Merrith let out what could only be described as a coo, a trill that he'd only ever heard a hawkstrider make. It was cuter than their normal squawk, and he'd always encouraged Merrith to make that sound when he was younger.

“I'm sure you're probably right. Just stress on everyone's part. Maybe even a bit of nerves.” Feliks leaned back and gave Merrith one last pat on the beak. “I should get going though. I'll stop by on my way back home, okay?” Merrith let out a drawn out squawk, as if demanding he promise. “I definitely will.”

The red hawkstrider seemed to accept Feliks' promise, and the redheaded elf was back on his way. He headed up the slope towards the Farstrider Retreat, and saw there was quite a bit of a commotion going on. There were rangers perched up on little platforms high towards the top of their building, dipping the heads of their arrows into giant braziers that were placed on the platforms. It didn't seem to be a drill, but with the increasing dangers from the Amani trolls, it was hard to tell anymore.

Feliks neared one of the towers that held one of the platforms, and hailed one of the rangers. She kneeled in response, and peeked over the edge. “I'd suggest you not go this way,” she called to him. “There have been some travelers attacked on their return from Tranquillien.”

A concerned sound rumbled in the back of his throat as he lowered his gaze from the ranger to the area past the open gates of the ranger's building. The walls on all four sides were open, with curved slopes leading up to the platforms on two of the four sides. He never felt the need to mention how terrible it was for defense... at least, not after Kael'thunas had elbowed him in the ribs for mentioning it to one of the higher ranking rangers. Something about the Ranger General or something.

In any case, he ignored the warning from the ranger, and stepped up the short run of stairs that lead him to the interior of the Retreat. There were many rangers moving about, and one even knocked right into Feliks, their shoulders colliding which caused him to stumble. Rather than give them an earful, Feliks just pushed through, skimming the crowd for Kael'thunas. He was vaguely surprised to not see the long, dark hair of his friend.

It occurred that although the rangers probably had minor ways to care for themselves, he didn't see another priest in the area. And he hadn't seen any injured being carried back to Silvermoon on his way here. If someone actually had been hurt, there was the great chance that they'd need some actual healing done, instead of the not-quite-there skills that the rangers had, if Kael's abilities were any indication.

Feliks picked up the pace, heading all the way through the Retreat to the other side so that he could head to the front lines. True, there were probably trolls that still lingered, but that was the concern of the rangers, not of the priest's. Rangers fought, priests healed. It was just the way of things, and he'd be damned if the rangers could keep him from doing what he was supposed to.

One ranger tried to grab his shoulder, but he shrugged out of the hold quickly, not swayed from his path. There was a waterfall that filled a lake just up ahead, and it was there that Feliks finally saw Kael'thunas and Bertrand. The boar was valiantly keeping three large trolls at bay, goring one with his tusks. Kael'thunas was a few feet back, firing arrows with great accuracy.

One of the trolls brandished a tomahawk, with clear intent to take Bertrand down before the boar was able to injure any more of his comrades, but Kael was quicker, instantly sending an arrow through the troll's thick wrist. The large troll howled in anger, but dropped the tomahawk, unable to hold it with the pain. It gave Bertrand enough time to charge the injured troll, knocking it back into the lake behind them.

Feliks picked up his pace, and found a spot next to Kael'thunas where he had a good view of Bertrand, as well as his ranger friend's side, in case another troll was hidden nearby. After all, the Amani were masters of thrown weapons, according to Kael'thunas, and Feliks had never put such an act of treachery beyond them. The view was clear for the time being, with Kael and the boar doing remarkably well themselves. On the other side of the lake, Feliks could see another ranger taking on a set of trolls as well, that ranger was using a sword to cut a swath through the trolls that surrounded him.

A squeal caught Feliks' attention from the other ranger, and when Feliks had brought his gaze back to Bertrand, there were no more trolls around him, but the boar limped back to them pitifully. Feliks knelt when Bertrand drew near, and patted his snout with one hand, while he used the other to draw a roll of bandages from the pouch at his side. The boar had some pretty nasty cuts along his sides and snout, and must have injured his leg when he'd charged one of the trolls.

Kael'thunas stayed standing, but a green glow began to surround him. When Feliks looked up at the ranger, hand stilled, he noticed out of the corner of his eye that Bertrand had begun to glow as well, the exact same way as his partner. There was a pulse of energy, not exactly like the arcane magic Fahr used, then a second pulse, and finally the glow subsided.

“What was that?” Feliks asked bluntly, hand still on Bertrand's nose. However, the nose wiggled much more happily under his touch, and Bertrand's breathed more easily.

“We have a bond, like all rangers who take an animal comrade.” Kael'thunas knelt with Feliks and ran his hand through the ridge of hair along Bertrand's back. “It allows me to use some of my energy to heal him. It's not quite as strong as healing magic from a priest, sure, because I'm using my own energy. But it is easier to heal my wounds in battle; not everyone remembers to keep Bertrand healed up.”

Feliks had no idea that the rangers could do that. The way Kael'thunas spoke, all rangers with a pet... er, partner, could do it, but he'd never seen it done before. All he knew was that Kael was terrible at bandaging, and had therefore seemed completely inept at all things that involved healing. But if Kael was able to give his own energy to Bertrand, then maybe the ranger wasn't so completely useless. “Well, if we somehow ever managed to travel together where we'd need to fight, I won't forget you, Bertrand.”

Kael'thunas laughed at Feliks' statement, said with such determination. Bertrand nosed Feliks affectionately, as if in thanks. “Well, you'd be the first, then. Poor Bertrand just has to tough it out without the love of a healer most times.”

However, the light hearted scene was broken up by the warcry of a troll, and Bertrand whirled around, tail up from being startled. Another tomahawk flew at them, sailed over Bertrand and hit Kael'thunas directly in the shoulder. The ranger dropped to a knee with a held back grunt while Bertrand scrambled up the hill to engage the heavily painted troll. Kael held back his cry of pain rather well when Feliks tugged the rough stone from his shoulder, grit his teeth when Feliks pressed around to check for damage.

Complaining during a medical inspection by Feliks never got anyone anywhere. The priest was strictly literal in his procedures, and if you hurt from it, it wasn't a surprise! You were wounded, so you should have expected pain. The priest's job was to relieve it as soon as he was able, and to fix the wound. But pain happened, and if he couldn't determine the extent of damage just because you whined about some pain, any lasting conditions were your own fault. So, Kael'thunas had learned young that one just bore the pain while it lasted, because you were guaranteed recovery if you left it in Feliks' hands.

Most priests mended wounds through magic, repairing the torn flesh like a mage created things, using the strength of the magic to stitch the basic building blocks of nature together. Feliks, however, had never found use in it. Sure, he had magic, but it was shadow magic, stoked from the forces opposite of the life giving energies used to heal. Fahr had noticed the capabilities first, declaring the use of shadow magic the only saving grace for priests to be considered similar to mages. It was a simple manner of funneling the energy towards an enemy instead of towards a friend.

Feliks only used the shadow magic when he needed to, which was essentially never. He trained his powers on days that Fahr felt like teaching, when the mage was feeling generous with his knowledge of the arcane.

In any case, Feliks had no real healing magic. He had the access to it, technically, but without embracing the Light, or any form of higher power, he had no real skill in channeling the positive energy for healing. Which was fine. Feliks still didn't believe in the Light, and had never run into a wound that he couldn't fix with salves, bandages, and maybe even a needle.

In an attempt to create an outlet for the pain he was feeling as Feliks fixed up his shoulder, Kael'thunas picked up the thrown weapon that had caused him the pain. Feliks flicked his blue eyes to Kael's hand, and then up to Kael's face, as if to give him a warning against doing anything that would cause the wound to open further. Kael ignored him, and with a snap of his good arm, hurled the tomahawk straight into the forehead of the troll Bertrand was fighting. It dropped, killed instantly, and Bertrand prodded at it with his snout just to be sure before he scampered over to his partner and Feliks.

“Good job, Bertrand,” said Kael, even as he winced when Feliks put more pressure on his shoulder than necessary. “Hey, careful there.”

“Careful there yourself, idiot.” Feliks was practically on fire with anger. “I'm trying to fix your arm up, and you go and put stress on yourself like that? I should just leave your shoulder in the position it is, and see how that affects your skill with a bow.”

Kael leaned back, good humor on his face. “Think of it this way; you have no more distractions to keep you from fixing my arm up nice and tidy.”

That earned a very venomous glare from Feliks, and he purposefully cinched the bandage with just a little more force than necessary. Kael'thunas drew a breath in of pain. “Sorry, sorry. No need to be so rough.”

“Keep saying and doing stupid things, and I'll keep being rough.” But, Feliks had finally finished setting the shoulder and making sure there was no chance for lasting damage. Both elves stood up, and Feliks brushed off the front of his robes where he'd been kneeling. Kael tentatively rolled his shoulder, and brought a hand up when the stiffness became a bit too much. “Don't use it too much for the rest of the day. Unless you like the idea of learning to shoot a bow with only one arm.”

Kael'thunas sighed, and gave a bit of a disappointed smile to Bertrand. “Guess we're out of the fight for today, buddy.” Bertrand didn't seem all that upset, though, wagging his tail. Perhaps he thought that meant they could go home and have something delicious to eat. “Good thing it seems we cleared the area already.”

“I guess that means I can't go further ahead to read,” Feliks said with great resignation. Although clearly the trolls were no longer a threat in the vicinity, Feliks was sure that the rangers, would clear the area of travelers and others who would possibly be threatened by the returning warbands.

“You're damn right that means you can't go further. You know that the trolls are everywhere nowadays.” Kael'thunas placed his bow on his back, next to his quiver, the bowstring across his chest. He hadn't even needed to unsheathe the sword at his side, the trolls had never gotten close enough to him.

A huff was the only response he got from Feliks, who turned to head back to the Retreat. Maybe he would go and read by the stables, where he could sit with Merrith and enjoy the quiet.

Chapter 2

The following month was relatively calm and peaceful, at least to the inhabitants of Silvermoon. The rangers were much more active than usual, lead by a particularly stern elven woman by the name of Sylvanas Windrunner. Kael'thunas was almost never in town, always residing at Farstrider's Retreat. Once in a while, though, he stopped in to see Antherion, always only the two of them, with only enough time to share a meal and a little private time in Antherion's home.

Despite the fact that nothing was occurring in town, Antherion worried, sure that the call-to-arms for the rangers was not merely because of an increasing number of attacks by the Amani trolls. There had never been a need, before, for the amount of rangers congregated at the Retreat, because most were trained to deal with a surprisingly large amount of enemies at a time. Even Feliks could agree to that, having witnessed Bertrand and Kael'thunas' ability to deal with those trolls the previous month.

Kael'thunas, for his part, never spoke of what was going on, merely shrugged in resignation to the fact that he was going to 'be busy for the next few weeks.' Saying that probably worried Antherion more than it helped, but it was all Kael'thunas could say. At least, that was what the ranger told them; that Lady Sylvanas had told them to not speak of the rangers military maneuvers, in case the word spread and their tactics compromised.

Antherion, who usually spent his time sewing or stitching, instead spent the entire month worrying, and only managed to hide it when Kael'thunas returned for the few hours every few days. He forced a smile, and relaxed banter for the sake of the ranger. He'd admitted to Feliks that he worried Kael would be distracted if he knew just how concerned Antherion had been the whole time. It wasn't as though Antherion was any sort of seer, but he'd been feeling the most oppressive weight of doubt on his chest. Sometimes, Feliks found him standing on the short bridge outside the gates of Silvermoon, eyes cast on the Farstrider Retreat in the distance.

Feliks spent the month alternating between sending messages to contacts in various locations around the world, some of which he didn't like to speak with at the best of times, and keeping Antherion from pacing a hole in whatever floor he happened to be on at the time. It was no small task, for his blonde friend was never calmed, never relaxed. In fact, Feliks thought he was personally showing a lot of patience, dealing with Antherion's nerves.

He couldn't say that he didn't feel like something was wrong, either. Actually, that had been part of the reason that Feliks was sending letters out to contacts he'd learned through Fahr. And slowly, some very disturbing news had been trickling back, in the form of oddly worded letters. Some congratulated Fahr through their letters with Feliks, but the priest had yet to determine just what they were congratulating him for. It probably had something to do with the package, which Fahr had continued to keep hidden from him.

Other letters, however, mentioned a backfire of a mission with the Prince of Lordaeron. It struck Feliks, after he'd reread the letters a few times, that it probably involved the mission his father had been part of, had lost his mind from. But what in the world had happened on that mission? It actually made Feliks want to actually go out to search for his father, to see if he could find out information on why suddenly the Prince of Lordaeron was suddenly so important that people were responding to his letters with news of Arthas.

Feliks kept the letters from any of his friends, and most definitely from Fahr. If Fahr had responded to the news of their father in such a negative way, clearly hearing more about that particular mission could only have resulted in a fight between the brothers. Besides that, Feliks still hadn't gotten any answers from his responses, where he insisted the contacts be more open in what they were saying. Something like that, dealing with the Prince of Lordaeron, a city which was so very close to Silvermoon, was not a topic you could be vague about!

As he was pouring over one of the letters, which he'd gotten when he'd made the mistake of sending a request for information from that disgusting Night Elf druid that was Fahr's best friend, there was a knocking on his door. He didn't even lift his eyes from the scroll to answer, “Come in.”

Rather than his brother, Antherion stepped into his room, hand on his opposite elbow. It was a somewhat timid pose, even for Antherion, and Feliks gave him a confused look as he turned in his seat. “... Are you alright?”

“Can I talk with you for a bit?” Antherion's voice was quiet, and Feliks found that he'd had to lean further towards the blond to hear what he'd said. “It's about Kael.”

Feliks placed his arm, from his hand to his elbow, on his desk, leaned back and sighed. “Did something happen between you two? I haven't threatened him about behaving himself lately; guess I should have.”

“No, it's nothing like that. It's just... Has he said anything to you? About, you know... what's going on?” Antherion wandered over to sit on Feliks' bed, clasped his hands together and placed them between his knees. His shoulders were hunched forward, dejected mood written all over his body language. Even Feliks, who was pretty good at ignoring that kind of thing, was unable to miss it.

“Of course he hasn't. But, I haven't exactly gone out of my way to visit the Retreat and ask him. And whenever he comes to the city, he's always with you.” As far as Feliks could see, Kael'thunas was distracted with the trolls, and nothing had proved otherwise. The information in the letters didn't have anything to do with the situation outside of Silvermoon, so Feliks and Kael'thunas weren't exactly in great need to compare notes.

“That's true, but whenever he's with me, he's … It's like he's in another world. I can't get through to him at all.” After a moment, Antherion raised his head. “Next time he comes into the city, can you talk with us? Maybe he'll finally say what's going on.”

Antherion could see the shift in Feliks' expression, the one that said Feliks was about to start his normal round of complaints. He had hoped that Feliks would see just how worried he was, and just how much it meant to have Feliks try and help. After a heavily pregnant pause where Antherion had begun to lose hope in convincing Feliks, the priest ran his other hand through his hair, from forehead to back. “Alright. When he comes back, you bring him to me. I'll get what needs to be said through his thick skull.”

The blond straightened up, relief having hit like a tidal wave. “You'll really talk to him?” Feliks shrugged noncommittally, even though he'd already answered that he would. In the end, it was always tough for Feliks to say no to Antherion, because they'd been friends for so long. And when he how Antherion had looked so defeated, it was even more difficult to say no. So he just had to draw an answer out of Kael'thunas. It couldn't have been as hard as Antherion had seemed to think.

Feliks had let Antherion stay for dinner, in an effort to cheer the tailor up. It had only marginally worked, keeping Antherion free from worry for the night at best. If it took more than a few days for Kael'thunas to come around to the city, Feliks had promised to go and drag Kael back for a little heart to heart.

The next morning, though, felt weird. Feliks woke up with the distinct feeling that something was off, and had become so in the middle of the night. He spent a few minutes, which stretched into ten, fifteen easily, merely listening. No Fahr. The missing presence of the mage coupled with the intense grip of unease Feliks felt, and he got out of bed with great caution. It was more unsettling than the last time it had happened, perhaps because of the increased tension in the woods outside Silvermoon.

Still, Feliks tried to talk himself down from the paranoia, sure it had been because of how worried Antherion had been. Surely, it had merely rubbed off on Feliks, and now he was worried just because he'd been unable to calm Antherion's fears. However, no matter how much he chided himself, that nervousness was still there, still clawed at the back of his mind.

He descended the stairs, hand on the guardrail as he took the steps slowly. “Fahr?” he called out, and then cursed quietly about how nervous he sounded. But Fahr didn't make a snide comment, wasn't anywhere he could have heard the slight tremor of ill ease in the priest's voice. “Hey, Fahr, if you're planning a trick, I'm not in the mood today.”

Continued silence made the frown on his face deepen, and he peeked into the kitchen. No smug mage there either. Feliks stood in the kitchen doorway for another ten minutes or so, making every attempt he could to dismiss the negative energy.

His bones practically jumped out of his skin when there was a brisk knock on the door. It took a moment to calm the erratic beating of his heart, and he gathered up enough energy to be completely pissed off at the person who'd startled him. Maybe they didn't know he was on edge, but they were about to.

He swung the door open with more force than necessary, but halted with his mouth open, prepared to lay into the person, when he came face to face with Kael'thunas. The ranger's normal good cheer was not visible at all on his face, and even Bertrand was still, as if in line for military role call.

“Kael? What the hell are you doing here? Antherion went home last night...” Feliks made to draw himself back in order to regain a bit of his dignity from having his mouth hang open, but Kael reached out to grab his shoulders with both hands.

“We need your brother. We need Fahr.” The ranger's voice was clipped, harsh, and only then did Feliks notice that there was blood trickling from Kael's mouth. Feliks pulled back quickly, running his eyes over the ranger's full body. His armor was frayed in a few places, cuts and gashes ripped clear through to skin. Kael'thunas was banged up more than just the blood from his mouth, a fresh bruise already obvious through the scuff marks across the ranger's face.

“You don't need a mage, you idiot, you need a healer! My brother can wait!” Feliks tugged at Kael'thunas, then, tried to get him to come into the house. But the ranger staunchly kept his ground, refused to budge even a little bit. Feliks didn't have time to be impressed, but he was anyway, and made a mental note to applaud Kael later, once he'd gotten the stubborn ranger patched up.

“A healer could help. But we need Fahr too. It's... We've been overrun. They're coming.” Kael'thunas said it with choked urgency, as if he'd put all his effort into making Feliks understand that he required a mage. As if he'd been prepared for Feliks' worry over his condition. “Where is Fahr?”

It was Feliks' turn to take Kael'thunas' shoulders, and he gave the brunette a violent shake. “Stop asking for Fahr! He's not here!” At the priest's words, Kael dropped to his knees, which caused Bertrand to fuss over him. The boar poked his nose at the ranger, shoved gently against him with his side. “Kael!”

“We need a powerful mage; he's the best... But he's not here...”

“Dammit, Kael! Are the others as hurt as you?” The healer tugged at Kael'thunas again, pulled him to his feet. After a moment, he slapped Kael with as much force as he could muster. “Pull yourself together! Take me to the fight!”

It was either Feliks' words, or the slap, but sudden awareness snapped into Kael'thunas' eyes. “That's right... Lor'themar and the Lady Sylvannas are still there...” His gaze then bore into Feliks, who returned the look with all the determination he had. “Alright. You come with us.” He must have meant Bertrand... “We'll get Fahr once more of the others are stabilized.”

Feliks couldn't believe the condition that Kael'thunas was in, nor could he believe how calm the ranger was keeping himself. Sure, the ranger seemed upset, urgent, but now that he'd gathered himself back up, he was focused, and spoke with the clarity of a war-torn veteran many years his elder. “So, let's go.”

“You have the supplies you'll need?”

“Yes, I have what's necessary.” Kael turned from the door way, began walking as if he wouldn't have stopped, even if Feliks hadn't said yes. Probably because he was aware that Feliks always had his healing gear with him if he was dressed. Not that Kael'thunas could have known Feliks had just gotten up out of bed.

Bertrand hurried along after his comrade, with Feliks close behind. No one else in the city seemed to have any sense of urgency to them, which implied that none had noticed Kael'thunas' wounds. Or perhaps, they had, but didn't feel the need to interfere with a ranger who'd straggled back to the city covered in wounds. It was unfortunate, but not everyone was eager to assist the rangers, thought them too wild for their own good or were convinced the rangers were always coming back hurt from constant fights, either amongst themselves for sport, or rampaging trolls.

Feliks kept his negative commentary to a minimum, and under his breath, and he sensed that Kael'thunas was grateful for it. The bedraggled elf was apparently in no mood to pull Feliks apart from an onlooker who had no idea what was going on. No, Kael'thunas needed Feliks focused for when he saw just what Kael had returned to the city from. They hurried out of the city, and cut across the lawns in front of the gates straight towards Farstrider's Retreat.

When they neared the Retreat, Feliks could see that there were an inordinate amount of rangers who were already working to patch each other up. Feliks followed Kael'thunas past them, assured by the ranger that the ones in the Retreat were okay, and not the ones who needed the most assistance. Feliks had only agreed because the wounds were not that bad, from what he'd seen, at least no worse than Kael'thunas himself was.

There seemed to be no end to the injured, and Feliks began to worry as they passed the wounded. There were no other healers. The rangers had given up any tactics that required being treated; they were going all out. Feliks drew his gaze to Kael'thunas' back, watching the stiff shoulders as his ranger friend weaved through the ranks. “Kael, what the hell is actually going on here.”

Kael had no chance to answer; as they stepped down the stairs on the other end of the retreat, Feliks' eyes widened. A large force, an army, was advancing on Silvermoon. There were creatures flying above the creatures marching towards them, flapping large, gray, grotesquely shaped wings. Feliks had never seen something like it before, the beasts in the air hanging low above .. whatever it was that advanced along the ground.

The priest fumbled with words; it was as though an entire graveyard had been unearthed and given life. There were huge creatures that seemed no more than sacks of flesh with legs, partially corroded metal rings holding an immense amount of organs inside the cobbled together body. Equally terrifying were the things that resembled spiders; or at least they did as far as Feliks could tell. The horde was filled with all manners of shambling corpses and grayed reanimated flesh. Feliks could both feel and smell the decay and death which preceded the monsters' march.

And in front of them all were a decreasing number of rangers, who fought with all of their strength. A few of the skeletons, who may have been more at the beginning of the march, had managed past the line of rangers that held the front, along with what seemed to be spirits. They were translucent, and their tattered gowns and finery fluttered with deceptive gentleness as they moved and attacked the defending rangers.

When a particularly intrepid ranger, who Feliks learned later was actually Lady Sylvanas, leapt over the oncoming horde and cut a swath straight forward when she landed, Kael'thunas finally made his move to reenter the fray. Another ranger had yelled when Sylvanas took to the air, and attempted to follow her, but found himself pulled back towards one of the hulking masses of flesh with a chain that had been ripped from within its folds of rotting skin. He was taller than most other elves Feliks had ever seen, but even he was no match for the strength of the abomination.

Feliks found his eyes drawn to the dark spot that Lady Sylvanas' cloak became in the mass of undead. He was only jolted out of being mesmerized when yet another ranger slammed into him, thrown by one of the spider like creatures. A clicking and hiss rattled out of the spider creature as it brought its claws down at Feliks and the ranger, and the priest only had enough time to drag the ranger with him out of the way. Behind him, Feliks could hear a gurgling sound, most likely from one of those hulking abominations, hopefully of the creature being taken out of the fight. The ranger that Feliks had pulled out of the way moaned in pain, and Feliks had to shake him to get him to open his eyes.

“Wake up!” Feliks bit out. When the ranger didn't respond quick enough, he kicked the ranger away from him, which provided a gap between them as the spider creature slashed down at them again. The ranger didn't react to the kick, and was then snatched up by the gnarled forelimb of the spider beast. Feliks cursed something awful under his breath, and struggled to his feet. He meant to grab at the arm that held the ranger in an attempt to send some shadow magic through it, but he was unable to get a grip before a large sword was shoved through his chest from behind.

Hollowly, he heard his name echo off somewhere, he couldn't tell from how far away the sound came, almost completely covered by the watery sound as he choked on his own blood. His vision faded in and out quickly, at the pace of his heartbeat, and he fell to his knees. The world around him swam, and distantly, he wondered if he would finally have a chance to see the Light. The sickening feeling of the blade pulling back out forced a gasp from his throat, and the blood that dribbled from his mouth bubbled.

But then, just as he was sure he was going to pass out from the excruciating pain, he saw a light he was sure no one else could see. It was so intense that it practically whited out his vision, and yet none around him winced from the brightness. He shut his eyes, and a warmth like he'd never felt before spread over his body. He could feel the presence of the spider-creature behind him fade away, as if it dissipated from existence, just as his pain began to completely subside. Feliks let out a breath he didn't realize he had been holding, and slowly cracked his eyes open. The ranger had sat up in front of him, looked amazed that Feliks still lived.

And the ranger was completely healed.

Feliks brought his hands down to gingerly feel his chest, unable to believe when he saw that there was no wound, only a large rip in the center of his robes. His fingertips tingled with power, and a light sparkle swirled around the length of his fingers to his palms.

He'd never seen it before, but he knew. He had been saved by a higher power. He'd read about it, about the previous deity that the elves had worshiped before they'd separated from the Night Elves, before they had become High Elves. Elune. The elves didn't really worship another deity now, but that didn't mean that they weren't being watched just the same. The priest couldn't tell if it had been Elune, or if it had been something else, but he knew it was the touch of someone infinitely more powerful than he was, someone who'd bestowed a piece of that power onto him.

Feliks stood up on slightly shaky legs. The wind had been knocked from him, both as a remnant of the impact of the sword through his lungs, and from the realization he'd just had. The ranger in front of him hastily stood as well with a murmured thanks. The redhead nodded in return, and took a deep breath as he turned to face the rest of the battlefield. He began to scan the crowd for injured and downed rangers; he could feel the magic building as he prepared a healing spell that he'd memorized from the scrolls he'd read as a child.

It was easier to heal, he found, when he didn't need to touch the wounded. The adrenaline pumped through his veins, coursed along through his body with the magic, and he experimented with his abilities, attempted to reach as far as he could without moving. He'd managed to extend his range the longer he channeled, and took a swig from a mana potion he'd always carried, in case he'd needed to heal a mage, or other magic user. The drink tasted sweeter than he'd imagined, and the taste allowed him to down the entire bottle. It invigorated him, and he felt the magic pulse, sending a wave of restorative energy into the few rangers that had managed to trace their steps back towards the priest.

Through the haze of blood and unimaginably terrible sounds, Feliks had made every attempt to find Kael'thunas, but he'd had hardly any time to differentiate the rangers from each other. It was a frenzy of swinging blades and flying arrows, and the roar of those that clashed in the crowd. The din of combat seemed endless, and finally, Feliks dropped to a knee, batted away from the path of death that had wilted around the feet of the stampede. He was flung against a tree, crumpled beneath it around the roots that gnarled up from the ground when it had come in contact with the evil that radiated from the marching undead.

He woke up several hours later, quite possibly the next day as the light of day began to grow stronger around him, and sat up with a hiss. His entire back ached, and he has completely battered, his ankle twisted from when he'd been flung. He pushed himself up, and his leg protested, even as he favored his good foot, hand pressed against the trunk of the tree. His throat felt raw, as if he'd yelled for hours. Hopefully, it was just a side-effect of the mana potion, or perhaps from exerting himself in the battle.

“K-Kael?” his voice cracked, felt as though it had been ripped from the very back of his throat, and was hard to hear, even by his own ears. Feliks licked his chapped lips, swallowed, and tried again. “Kael?” That time, his voice had been stronger, but still not enough. He pushed away from the tree, and stiffened when a jolt of pain sent a zigzag bolt straight up through his spine to the back of his neck.

It dropped him again, and he decided to stay put for a bit longer. He looked down at his leg, placed his hand on it. There was a weak pulse of energy in his palm, and he narrowed his eyes in concentration. He was still tired, even though he'd been unconscious for who knows how long. A flick of his eyes upward told him that he was still alone, that none had drawn near, and he continued to focus all of the energy he had into his hand. As he focused, the twist in his ankle began to relax, and he felt the soothing of his muscles.

Glowing blue eyes shut as he closed out all other distractions, all other senses in order to focus solely on healing his leg. It was going to be hard to heal those that were left on the battlefield, providing there were any. But, if he was still hurt, it would be even harder, so he needed to at least make himself mobile.

What felt like an hour was, in reality, only a few moments longer. However, that brief pulse of healing magic had managed to allow him to stand once more. There wasn't any more shooting pain through his leg, and he let out a sigh to loosen the tension in his shoulders. He rooted through his pack, and cursed a bit when he confirmed that he indeed didn't have another mana potion. The health poultices that he'd still kept would have to do for any survivors. Unless he managed to scrape together any more mana.

Oh. That's right.

A light of realization went off in his head, and he spread his arms. As he shut his eyes, there was a burst of blue light around him, and an intense 'whoosh' sound, as if Feliks had momentarily been caught in a vacuum. Once he opened his eyes again, the feeling of mana being drawn into him from the surroundings overcame him. He'd never had to do it before, pulling magical energy from the life forces around him, but it seemed that it would come in handy for his healing. Fahr had always told him to draw from the mana wyrmlings that floated lazily about the forest, but Feliks had never felt right doing that; the knowledge that he was indeed absorbing something else's energy made him a bit queasy. But when he drew it from the surroundings, it didn't cause anything to lose its life.

That act had provided him with a quicker influx of mana, should he need it. However, once he'd taken the time to look at the pathway the undead had carved, he could see nothing but a few shambling corpses here and there, the things every once in a while mauling at a dead ranger that had fallen some time before. Feliks had to turn his eyes when he'd spotted one of the risen corpses feeding on a former comrade in the battle.

He had to find Kael. He would have time for everything else later. Once he found Kael'thunas, they could return to Silvermoon, find Antherion. The priest had no time to consider what might have happened to the blond, because if he tried, he might not be able to focus on finding the ranger.

Feliks carefully picked his way along the 'bank' of the path, for it was like a deep river that had gone dry. What had before been sloping hills through the forest was now a deep trench that was easily as deep as Feliks was tall, perhaps even deeper. Luckily, none of the creatures that prowled the trench seemed to notice Feliks, and he had every intention of keeping it that way. He had to hide behind a tree at one point when one of the flying creatures, much like a gargoyle that had risen from the dead, swooped past the area Feliks was checking over.

There were many rangers along the scarred area, where the grass was as dead and grey as the beasts that had caused the trench, but none moved, even twitched. They could have been feigning, but it was too real, they were too still. There were scorched rocks, from some unholy fire of the warlocks of the undead, and trampled bones littered the path. At least some of the rangers had taken the dead again down with them to the grave.

However, amongst all the bodies that Feliks saw, none could be identified as his friend. Bertrand would have most certainly been nearby, but the priest couldn't see the boar anywhere either. Perhaps they'd both escaped? But that seemed unlikely. Kael wasn't the type to run from a battle, and Bertrand would have never left his comrade. And Kael would have tried to take Feliks with him, no doubt, if he'd tried to get away from the battle for some reason.

Any attempts to stray into the trench were made as discreetly as possible, though that was tough in and of itself when the entire trench was wide open, the width of about thirty feet visible for as far as Feliks could see. Still, Feliks crossed over it a few times, narrowly avoiding detection every time. Fahr's constant teasing when he was younger seemed to finally have found a purpose in real life, an actual application that Feliks could appreciate. And still, despite looking at the battlefield from different angles, Feliks couldn't find Kael'thunas anywhere.

Feliks wouldn't give up, though. He knew his friend would have looked for him until exhausted. He couldn't just leave when Kael'thunas was probably hurt somewhere. The ranger probably waited for the priest to find him so he could drag his sorry ass back to Antherion, being chided the entire trip back. Even if he had to search for several more hours, even if he had to fight some of those wandering corpses, he would find Kael'thunas.

Chapter 3

Antherion paced. He wrung his hands together, paced for hours. His legs ached, protested every time he turned to continue his pacing in the confined space he waited in. He hadn't slept for hours.

Early the night before, Antherion had been jolted awake by a neighbor and pulled out his bed. There were lights and torches, and yelling which carried on the wind all the way up into his bedroom. He'd had no time to gather any of his personal belongings beyond the small pocket watch Kael'thunas had given him. It was gilded and had a few gems embedded in the outside cover, dark blue gems with a white, four-pointed star shaped discoloration in the middle of each. Engraved on the inside was a declaration of love from the ranger, along with a note implying there had been magic laced into the watch to forever keep time, to match his love.

Even now, he kept it in his hands, no matter how furiously he wrung. The directions from his neighbor had been clear: get out of Silvermoon by any means necessary. Antherion had barely any time to register the older elf's words before he was pushed out of his house insistently. Many elves were gathering around a taller-than-most elf with pale blond hair, almost all were civilians. Around them, other elves who could fight had already gathered their weapons and were headed to the front gates of Silvermoon to face whatever it was that had riled up the populace.

Antherion had never gotten an answer until about an hour ago. Silvermoon had been attacked, and whatever had attacked had been fighting the rangers at the Retreat for weeks. Not many details were known, but the numbers that had escaped the city were few. Half of the escapees had gone with the tall elf, named Lor'themar, to Quel'thalas, which was another glorious elven city just across the bay to the north of Silvermoon. It was where the source of all High Elves' power, the Sunwell, was hidden away from any who would bring harm to it. According to Lor'themar, before he left, that was the most likely target of the attack. Those attacking merely had not cared enough for the city of Silvermoon to go around it. Or perhaps they had sought to run through those who'd stand in their way.

The other half... Well, Antherion was with them now, and they had stopped in a tiny settlement of traveling humans who'd originally been heading to Lordaeron. It seemed the march of the attackers had come from Lordaeron, and made a beeline through the areas between there and Silvermoon. The humans, however, had not known what exactly had come from Lordaeron. However, it was not something either of the small bands of travelers could have contended with, so they'd made camp with their sturdy tents as far from the path of death as they could.

Another thing that worried Antherion was that neither Feliks nor Fahr were with either groups. At least, not that he knew. Would Feliks have gone with those that headed to Quel'thalas? It seemed unlikely, but it might have given the priest a chance to either fight alongside his brother, or show Fahr that Feliks was brave enough to head into a fight.

Still, the idea of Feliks getting involved was not one that settled well in Antherion's stomach. As much as Feliks could handle himself in an argument, except maybe against Fahr, the priest didn't exactly have an amazing fighting history. The only one of them that had ever been any good at actual combat had been Kael'thunas, even as a child. The brunette had even teased them that they were civilians that he would have to protect.

Antherion squeezed the pocketwatch. They'd only traveled for an hour or two, hardly enough in Antherion's mind, but the others weren't necessarily as strong as he. Antherion was not exactly good in combat, but he had good stamina, and had taken care of himself quite well. Having to deal with Kael had always demanded a certain level of fitness, after all. But the others were women and children, elders and men that held no skill, but probably had not grown up with a rambunctious hunter.

“Kael... Feliks... Please be okay.” He brought the pocket watch up to his face, pressed it against his forehead. He knew there was no use in praying with it, it was only an enchanted watch after all, but it was the last connection he had to Kael until he saw him again, and he couldn't help but keep his focus on it. If he didn't, his mind began to run away with him, and he could think of nothing but what had attacked Silvermoon, and what they could have done to his friends. Took them captive? Killed them? Torture?

He mentally slapped the thoughts away harshly, chastising himself. His own voice was fierce in his mind, demanding he not think of such dark things. No, Feliks and Kael'thunas would return in no time, and both would give him their own variations of a return greeting. Kael would be so so affectionate, probably sweep Antherion into his arms, and Feliks would go out of his way to say what a small deal it was. Feliks and Kael'thunas both always downplayed everything, but with such different ways, and Antherion missed them both so much that his chest ached.

One of the older women that had escaped with them poked her head into the tent, calling to Antherion. He turned, a little too quickly, and must have startled her, for she drew back just the tiniest bit. “Ah, I'm sorry. Was there something...?”

The woman nodded to him; she understood because they were all stressed, and Antherion was no different. As he trailed off, she pulled back one of the flaps. “There's someone here. He was asking for you, dear.” The woman was someone that he knew, the little old lady that he bought tailoring supplies from, though she wasn't too familiar with his friends. When she said that, though, he hoped against hope that she meant Kael'thunas, or Feliks, and not one of his neighbors who merely wished for his well-being.

Antherion left the tent, and his glowing eyes scanned the refugees. He caught sight of a tell-tale burst of red hair, and he pushed through the small crowd. A few of the refugees had gathered around the new arrival, but as Antherion neared, a couple glanced over their shoulders. They let Antherion through, possibly because of how excited he seemed, and he switched from excited to overjoyed when he saw it was indeed Feliks.

The redhead looked a bit worse for the wear, his clothing snagged and covered in blood. But he was whole, and he didn't have a hold on any part of his body as if in pain. He did, however, look positively exhausted, and even a bit defeated. He raised his eyes slightly when Antherion took his shoulders, and didn't protest when the blond pulled him into a hug.

“Antherion, I'm sorry...” It was whispered, right into his ear just before Feliks clutched the back of his robes by his hips. “I'm so sorry.” There was a wobble to the priest's voice that time, which caused Antherion to pull back and look at him. He caught sight of a wetness at the corner of Feliks' eyes before the redhead dipped his head, a few tears escaping and falling to the ground. Antherion only saw them drop past the line of Feliks' bangs, the light of the campfire glinting quickly on them before they disappeared.

“Sorry? I'm just glad you're here. I was so worried...” He went to pull Feliks tight into a hug again, but this time the priest stopped him, hands firmly against the tailor's shoulders. Feliks' arms were stiffly out in front of him, resistance strong.

“No.. no... I'm sorry.” Antherion could see as Feliks swallowed hard, and that nagging worry began to spark in the back of his mind again. “Kael...”

“.... Something happened to Kael?” That sparked worry became an out of control inferno as his eyes widened, and he blinked back tears as he attempted to reign his breathing back into a calmer state. “Feliks?! What happened to Kael?”

“I don't know.” Feliks looked up then, and Antherion stopped breathing. “I couldn't even find his body to bring him back.”

Antherion was pretty sure he fainted.

Because suddenly, he was on the ground, cool water being splashed onto his face. He sputtered and bolted upright, flailing his arms in every attempt to prevent more water being thrown on him. He coughed the liquid from his lungs, and wiped at his face. Feliks was kneeling on both knees next to him, and Antherion stared at him. There was no malice in his expression, just a deep loss that echoed in Feliks' eyes.

Feliks spoke first. “I looked... But I couldn't find him.” His voice was so burdened with guilt that Antherion couldn't help but reach out to him. Feliks flinched; maybe he expected to be hit. But instead, Antherion placed his hand on the priest's shoulder.

“Thank you for trying, Feliks.” It came out easier than Antherion had expected. He'd been sure he would have started crying as soon as he tried to open his mouth. But no, his voice was even, calm. He was pretty proud of himself, actually. In fact, Feliks looked up at him, as if he'd been inspired by how calm Antherion was. His cheeks were red from his subdued crying, and he looked so worn out. “You should rest for now. You can tell me everything then, maybe after you've eaten something.”

“Antherion...” Feliks looked bewildered, as if he was surprised that Antherion was so put together despite not knowing where Kael'thunas was. And while Antherion himself was rather surprised, he knew they would find Kael. Surely he was alright, because nothing could take him away. After all, Antherion still had the pocket watch, and if something had made them truly separated, he was sure something would have happened to the watch. It was a strange logic, but Kael'thunas had crafted the watch himself, and thus there was inherently Kael's energy in it. The face would have cracked, or the glow of the magic would have faded, or it would have stopped. Something would have happened, Antherion was sure of it.

Antherion stood up finally, brushed himself off, and turned to Feliks. “We should find a place to wait for him. He'll definitely come looking for us, and we should make sure it's easy for him.” The blond smiled to Feliks, then, and turned to head back to the tent he'd been in when Feliks arrived.

The priest followed after him, silent. He must have had a truly terrible night. As Antherion stepped into the tent, he called to Feliks over his shoulder. “Feliks, just what attacked Silvermoon, anyway? I never found out.”

Feliks stayed in the entryway of the tent, and he fiddled with the flap of the tent, rubbing his finger along the fabric. He stayed silent long enough to cause Antherion to turn to him, head tilted in curiosity. After being stared at for what was apparently too long, Feliks finally spoke. “The dead.” A shudder had run through the priest as he said it, and Antherion motioned for him to fully enter the tent and sit down.

“The dead?” Feliks finally stepped all the way inside, and moved over to sit on the high cot, though he remained firmly upright. Antherion had hoped the priest would have relaxed a little when he sat down, but he watched as Feliks gripped the metal frame so hard his knuckles turned white.
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