Shadowed Moon Chapter 26

Fiction By Kay J Fields // 9/6/2011

There was silence on the cliffs as I bent over Faylin’s body and gently, carefully rolled him to one side. His eyes were open, glowing brightly as ever.
            “Faylin!” I screamed. Don’t let him die, don’t let him die! Those words pounded in my head.
            His eyes blinked closed.
            “No, Faylin. Please, please, no Faylin.” I whispered.
            His chest rose a fraction, then fell again. A strangled cough escaped his lips.
            “Please, please, please.” I whispered. Why couldn’t Grinl have come? He could have helped. “Faylin, please.”
            “Lara.” he sighed.
            “I’m here.” I said, not daring to hope.
            “Kellen?” he choked on the word.
            I looked to where Enriad stood over the still sorcerer. “Is he…?”
Enriad nodded once, somberly.
“He’s dead Faylin, he’s dead.”
            Faylin smiled. “Good.”
            I let my eyes stray from his scarred face to his stomach. Blood matted his fur. “Oh, Faylin.” The dagger was gone.
            “You did well, Lara. But then, that doesn’t surprise me.” Faylin said in the barest of whispers. “You destroyed the sword. And that destroyed Kellen.”
            “But you, you…”
            “I know Lara. It’s alright.”
            Ditri landed, the scales around his eyes were ridged, like wrinkles. “Faylin?”
            “Lizard breath.” Faylin muttered.
            I smiled even as I stripped cloth fro the bottom of my skirt to wrap around the wound.
            “You found her.” Faylin said to Ditri.
            Ditri forced a smile through his own pain. “Yes, I did, I suppose.”
            “And both the sword and shield are gone now. You’ve done what was asked of you. Lara has what was asked of her.”
            “And you,” I said.
            Faylin rasped a chuckled which ended in coughing. He winced as he tried to regain his breath. “No. I filled in the blank spaces, that’s all.”
            I wasn’t sure what to say to that.
            “And I beat my demons.” Faylin added.
            I nodded and thought about beating my own. The darkness which had tried to overwhelm me had gone at last. Kellen was dead. We could go home now.
Faylin growled deep in his throat. “They’re going to call me a hero now, aren’t they?”
            I smiled again. “Of course. You are one.”
            “There will be no end to the bother I’ll have now. No peace. No quiet. Drat.” His eyes closed again.
            Behind me, I heard Phyletus whisper a question to Ditri, one I wished he would have kept to himself: “Will he live?”
            Ditri seemed to be struggling to control his emotions and I wondered briefly what this was like for him, even as my own eyes were hot and wet with tears. This was how Ditri had met Faylin. Surely this wasn’t how he was going to have to say farewell? “I don’t know.” he replied. “We’ll take him away from here and then we will see.”
            “We’re going to move you, Faylin.” I said softly.
            “By all means.” he growled. Sarcasm. I think I had almost forgotten what it was. “Just cart me away like a piece of baggage.”
            “Not baggage, Faylin.” I said. “You are a hero.”
            “Shut your mouth, human.”
            “Too late for that, friend.” I chuckled. “Too many days spent with you for that.”
            “Indeed.” He inhaled shallowly. “Lara.”
            “Yes?”
            “I don’t care what any of you think about my living or my dying. Just get me back to Karamin and forget your notions of heroism.”
            I looked to Ditri again. “Is he, is he strong enough?” I asked.
            Ditri shook his head. “I don’t know.” he repeated. “But, for his sake, I’m willing to try.”
            “Well, I’m not sure I am,” I protested.
            “Lara!” Faylin barked. “I’m not dead yet, you hear me? Just keep your opinions to yourself and—” He coughed for a long time, regained his breath, and went on. “Be quiet.”
            “Take your own advice and maybe you’ll feel better.” I replied. I was almost frustrated enough to leave him, but too worried to even look away.
            In a few minutes, we had made a sort of stretcher and managed to move Faylin’s heavy body onto it with little difficulty. But the movement sapped Faylin of all his remaining strength. He watched us while we worked and concentrated on breathing, not daring to speak.
We arrived back at with the others and the entire camp burst with the victory. Now we could all go home.
Morning dawned slowly and Faylin was worse. He stopped breathing twice, only to gasp again and continue. “Most will have to wait for the ships,” I decided finally. “But some of us will take Faylin home.”
I turned to look at Faylin, forcing another smile. “You get your wish, you old curmudgeon.”
Faylin smiled and a huff of laughter escaped him. “Don’t I always?” He opened his mouth to continue but closed it again and simply kept smiling. He stared at me with his burning yellow eyes and then they closed.
“Faylin,” I whispered, tears blurring my vision.
He breathed out and lay still.

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