Part Fourteen in the Blood and Lies series
Part One: Blood and Lies (pt. 1)
Part Two: Blood and Lies (pt. 2)
Part Three: Blood and Lies (pt. 3)
Part Four: Blood and Lies (pt. 4)
Part Five: Blood and Lies (pt. 5)
Part Six: Blood and Lies (pt. 6)
Part Seven: Blood and Lies (pt. 7)
Part Eight: Blood and Lies (pt. 8)
Part Nine: Blood and Lies (pt. 9)
Part Ten: Blood and Lies (pt. 10)
Part Eleven: Blood and Lies (pt. 11)
Part Twelve: Blood and Lies (pt. 12)
Part Thirteen: Blood and Lies (pt. 13)
“-idiot. What did you think would happen?” the angry shouts shoot pain through Telfor’s head. Pan’s voice furiously piercing the wall between them. Blinking to clear the fog of sleep from his eyes, he immediately recognises the unstable tone in Pan’s voice. When the revenant had learned of his resurrection, his voice had held the same quality.
“Not that the pair of you would assault me in defence of a necromancer!” Rubin’s voice cracks with intensity, a tone that was not familiar to Telfor and coming from the scholar caused him concern.
Convinced of the significance of this conflict, Telfor forces himself to rise despite the constant low level pain that makes up his body. He rolls onto his side and lifts himself up on stiff, aching limbs. The house is empty but for him he senses on his way out the door. Rounding the corner of the house approaching the sounds of arguing as quickly as he can manage, he winces as he jostles the hole in his shoulder.
Outside the sun has just barely started to brighten the horizon. Between the house and the stable-like structure Pan has Rubin shoved against the wall of the house, his blade drawn and threatening. Sprawled in the dirt is Vahkragg. Jacob, Aria and a simply dressed young woman are knelt down by him, hurriedly checking a sickly looking wound across his back. Wasting no time assessing the situation, Telfor growls with menace to the fighting companions.
“On god’s bloated corpse, there had better be a damned good reason for this behaviour or so help me…”
Their shouting immediately ceases as they notice him storming shakily towards them. Reacting to his approach Rubin attempts to shrug off Pan’s grip and is slammed cruelly against the wall in response. Keeping one eye and his blade fixed firmly on the scholar Pan says with venom directed towards Rubin, “Telfor, this goddamned moron released the prisoner to try and use the null magic bracelet to kidnap the woman who’s magic saved yours and Vahkragg’s life.”
“Because she is genuinely a necromancer. Oliver is merely a suspect and he would still be here if you and Vahkragg hadn’t tried to kill him!” Rubin fires back at the larger man.
Sensing the weakness in his body and the lack of responsiveness in his sword arm, Telfor can tell he doesn’t have the ability to separate the two physically. With Pan’s recent aggression towards him and the rage that has already overcome him, Telfor approaches the situation warily. The absence of Verumalleus during this argument is worrying, she would never have allowed this kind of group breakdown if she was around. He doesn’t want to consider why she isn’t here.
“Alright you two, it’s time to cool off. Pan, I need you to put away the knife and back up. Alright?” in a low and steady voice he says, trying to calmly talk down the conflict.
“I don’t think so, Tel.” Pan’s reply is stony and defiant, “This bastard’ll turn to mist and run for it the moment I let him go.”
Telfor raises an arm in a placating gesture, “Rubin’s not going anywhere, he’s contractually bound to me by the university. Right now, we’re in a bad way and fighting amongst ourselves is the last thing we need.”
Pan doesn’t lower his arm or take his eyes from Rubin for a long time. Deliberation drawn plainly on his face, a twitch in his expression marks the start of a shift. The hand holding the knife begins to tremble slightly and his face twists strangely like fighting back tears. Finally he lowers the blade half an inch and taking his eyes off Rubin showing them shining with tears he say, “She’s dead, Tel.”
He drops the knife on the ground, releasing Rubin who hurries over to stand behind Telfor. Stepping forward towards Pan who slumps noticeably, diminished with speaking those words, Telfor catches him on his shoulder propping him up. Pan’s revelation is a painful one for Telfor to swallow, he’d known Verumalleus for the longest out of any of them and had considered her a good friend. He’d known that Pan loved her, and had suspected her fate from her absence and Pan’s aggression towards Rubin. Right now he needed to be the strong one, to keep the group from imploding.
Patting Pan on the back with his good arm, Telfor speaks as kindly as his rough voice will allow, “Veru wasn’t scared of death, Pan. She’s been a loyal servant of Atyx for her whole life, if anyone is gone to a better place it’ll be her. She’ll be watching over us now and she’ll be wanting you to be strong.”
Pan nods at those words, the hatred and blame he’d built towards Telfor for her death turning to shame. Telfor was right, she’d be disappointed to see him acting like this. His temper often got the better of him when faced with insults to himself or his friends, but Veru never let him wallow in it like this.
Lifting himself from Telfor’s shoulder and stepping away to dry the tears from his cheek he takes his knife from the ground and returns it to it’s sheath. Bowing his head and without looking at Rubin he says, “I’ll forgive you for letting Oliver go. I’m sorry I drew a knife on you. Let’s work together to get him back.”
Behind Telfor, Rubin nods silently. Whether accepting the apology or simply wishing to avoid more violence, even he’s uncertain. The sun now fully above the horizon shines a glaring light upon the villagers tending Vahkragg. They have successfully stopped his convulsions, the young girl sends Aria running off across the village. She remains by the giant’s side, pointedly avoiding looking towards the people who had just prior been loudly arguing her fate.
The worst of the fighting over and the immediate danger having passed for Vahkragg, Jacob stands and approaches Telfor.
“Now you’re all here and awake, I think it would be best if we all went inside and I explained everything to you.”