He wasn't cold anymore. In fact he was rather warm, the air stuffy around him. The blankets were heavy on top of him and he wished he had the strength to move them. There was something odd about being warm and under blankets but he couldn't quite place what was wrong. He decided not to worry about it.
He floated in a calm stream, distance sounds streaming past him. There were voices discussing... something. They sounded concerned but it probably wasn't important. He heard the sound of horses in the stable and rain on the window. Rain. That sparked a memory. Soaked to the skin in a sudden storm. And a flash flood heading right at them.
He jerked awake at the return of the memory and sat up suddenly. That turned out to be a mistake as pain assailed him. He lay back with a groan as lights flashed in front of his vision and his body protested. When they cleared he could see that he was in his room in the chapterhouse, propped up on some pillows. The fire was roaring and the lights were low.
"Hey know none of that. We didn't go to all that effort just to see you undo it." Said a familiar voice: Khalad.
Berit tried to take shallow breath, but which each movement of his chest his ribs screamed at him anyway. Maybe it would be better if I just gave up on this breathing thing he thought. He found a gentle hand trying to ease him up and a cup was held out in front of him, but he hesitated to take it.
"Don't worry" Khalad gave a low chuckle, the face that Berit realised was attached to those hands. "This will taste better than the last stuff I gave you."
Berit took the cup and downed it in one anyway, just in case.
"Good. Now your knee, hip and shoulder are bandaged and splinted to stop them moving. There's nothing really I can do for your ribs except to tell you to stay still. The less you move over the next couple of weeks the better. Your wrist was a clean break thankfully so you should get full movement back, though that's going to take time."
Berit gave a yawn as he processed that information – broken bones were by far the most common injury that the church knights suffered, and Berit thought himself lucky that he had escaped one so far. He had seemed to make up for that lack now though. The journey down the mountain was a blur of pain and darkness – he vaguely remembered being on a horse, and Khalad talking to him. Then there were other people as well and he remembered once waking up on a litter. Khalad continued talking.
"You're the talk of the order you know – the first knight to successfully move three times his own body weight." Khalad said leaning back, for all the world as though they were having a conversation in a tavern.
"They have an interesting definition of successful" Berit managed to gasp out. Whatever had been in that cup seemed to be working, as the fire in his left side was receding slightly.
"From what I understand trying what you did should have boiled your insides, so that fact that you're going to make a full recovery apart from a few aches in cold weather looks like a success to me." Khalad's tome was conversational, but there was an edge to it that Berit hadn't heard before.
"Maybe" he muttered. In truth he hadn't expected to survive but it had been the only way to get his friends out of danger. He yawned again.
"Now they're just trying to work out how to make sure the novices don't try to repeat it."
"Have them come and have a look at the consequences."
Khalad snorted at that. "I don't think putting them within reach of their hero would help any of you right now.' He paused, and when he continued was more serious. "Did you know? When you did it? What you were doing to yourself? Of course you did!" Khalad was now shouting: that edge had turned to anger. Khalad had never been angry at him before. "We had to have someone explain it to us – how lucky you were not to have died instantly, or to have disappeared in a puff of smoke, or to become a mindless lump! You knew all that already, smartass that you are and you went and did it anyway! What were you thinking?"
"I was thinking that any of that was better than the three of us being drowned, or thrown off the mountain, or buried in the dirt or crushed under a boulder! I'm sorry that I didn't have time to come up with a less worrysome way of saving your life!" Berit didn't have the strength to shout back, so that all came out in a fierce hiss, low but clear. "I'll remember that for next time."
"There is not going to be a next time – I'm going to drum some sense into you before you are allowed to step out this building again." Was Khalad's retort.
"You don't get to make those sort of decisions Khalad, and to be clear I would make the same choice again. Putting the life of your brothers is part of the bedrock of being a Church Knight. You two may not be knighted yet but you are still my brothers and I'll be damned if there's anything you can do to let me stand and watch you die." Berit's outburst had caused his breathing to speed up, and now he had to stop in order to prevent the pain overwhelming him.
"I thought it was going to be worse. I was very surprised that it didn't kill me instantly." He admitted. That moment of decision – to know the spell would kill him and do it anyway – was going to haunt him for a while. "I didn't get a chance to ask, are you too ok? I didn't hurt you did I?" He was suddenly concerned, despite the fact they seemed to be in the middle of an argument.
"You're an idiot!" But Khalad's tone did not match his words. Instead of anger his face showed his understanding. "Idiot for worrying about us while you were doing something so dangerous and idiot for doing It in the first place. We're fine, but maybe this will have knocked some sense into that noble head of yours." Khalad was always insulting the nobility, but he didn't sound like he meant it this time.
Berit gave a snort of amusement at that, his eyes drifting closed. "What did you put in that drink?" He murmured, realising that he was unnaturally tired.
"Just something to help you rest, take this opportunity while you can."
"Sneaky bastard" Berit managed to get out as sleep started to creep over him. Before he drifted off the door opened and Talen slipped in carrying a tray.
"Khalad, eat this... " he started, before realising that Berit was awake. When he did his face broke out into a wide smile, and he hastily put the tray down.
"It's so good to see you awake Berit, how do you feel?" The young man asked.
"Like I've been put through the wringer to be honest." Berit replied.
"Ha! I bet! Don't worry we'll keep the others off you for a while yet, give you a chance at least."
"What do you mean?" Berit asked as he struggled to keep his eyes open.
Khalad shot a warning glance at Talen, but the younger man either didn't see it or chose to ignore it.
"Of course it's all round the order by now! Berit, who can Move three times his own bodyweight and survive. You know there's nothing a knight likes more than a good gossip and as soon as word got round about what you did – why they're lining up to come and see the man who did the impossible!"
"What? That's stupid. I got lucky, that's all."
"We know you got lucky Berit" Khalad said, "But surely you know that nobles are in fact stupid?" He raised a quizzical eyebrow. "Netherless, you have gained some notoriety around here."
Berit gave a groan that had nothing to do with injuries. "Sparhawk is going to kill me if anyone else gets any bright ideas because of this." He managed to mutter, voice thick and slurring as he started to succumb to Khalad's concoction.
"Don't worry we'll stand guard." Cool and calm Khalad was back, obviously his earlier yelling had helped get whatever it was out of his system.
"No, thank you my friend."
And Berit drifted into a restful sleep.
Thank you for reading - if you want to share your thoughts I am happy to read your review :0)