Good day to thee. I didn't see an Fanfic for this series, so I thought I add one. If this makes no sense, sorry, I tried. It's a one shot for sure. This was more of a gift for a friend.
I like comments and reviews and such. Everything belongs to the author of the story, who isn't me.
The sun was shining down on Rolencia with a determined fierceness, the birds were singing, the breeze cool enough to ward off the heat of the day and there wasn't a cloud to be seen for miles. It was a beautiful day, though Byren Kingsson did not find it so.
"Orrade. Orrie. Please, wake up." The kingsson shook his friend slightly. It had been more than seventy two hours since Orrade had last awoken. "Damn it Orrade!" Byren shouted, "Get up!"
He knew it was pointless, venting his frustration on someone he knew couldn't hear him, but that didn't stop Byren. It had been almost four days since the surprise attack, and Orrade still hadn't woken. Byren picked up the Dove's hand, this must have been the fifth time since Byren had woken, and checked his pulse. It was still there, strong as it had ever been, but Byren knew that only a dozen hours ago, that same pulse had almost stopped.
It had been renegade spar warriors, a band of sell-swords that fought under no banner and answered to no lord, that had attacked them. Byren and Orrade had been on a routine scouting expedition among the spars as a favor for the spar lords, looking for warriors just like the ones they had battled. Somehow, the warriors had been expecting the two of them, as if they had been told. Byren scowled- a traitor was among the messengers that the lords and the King used, he would have to tell his father. Not that it really mattered so much any more- the damage had been done.
The sell-swords, in their usual fashion, had used poisoned weapons; their swords and arrow tips had been drenched in a powerful toxin. Neither Byren nor Orrade had noticed, so they both ignored the small scratch Orrie had gotten half way through the fight. It was when Byren realized he was fighting the last brigand alone, and that his friend had collapsed, he figured something was wrong.
Orrade had still been conscious, but barley able to move or speak. Byrne, not knowing the amount of toxin that had entered his friend's bloodstream, or even what the poison was its self, had done what he was able. He had cleaned the wound, a thin red line on his upper arm, and had kept doing so every hour, for a day and a half. The Kingsson had even stayed up through the night, doing whatever he could, drawing on the information his mother had taught him about healing. Whatever the poison was, though, had been more then Byrne could have handled on his own. Halcyon's luck was with both Orrade and Byrne though, as nun of Sylion had been on a pilgrimage near by, and, on hearing the fighting, had come by to see if she could help him. Byrne knew Orrade would die if the nun hadn't showed up. He thought of the way Orrie's pulse had been so faint and slow, the way the beats seemed to be counting down the moments until Orrie died, and Bryen shuttered.
As if he was reaching out to comfort his friend, the motionless form of Orrade twitched towards the Kingsson, and Byrne froze. Was Orrade about to wake? The nun had warned him that the Dove might not awake for a time yet; if he did wake before his body was ready, he would be in excruciating pain from the poison. According to the nun, it wasn't the poison that had rendered Orrade unconscious, but the amount of pain he had been in: the toxin was designed to but the opponent in so much agony, they couldn't fight any longer.
"The longer he stays unconscious the better." she had told Byrne as she was leaving, "I know you want your friend to wake up, but it is better if you let him rest. A few more hours only, and he will wake on his own without any pain at all."
But that had been yesterday, and Byrne, still holding Orrade's hand, was unsure if he should push his friend into waking. The nun had made no comment on if Orrade might have to be forced awake, but Byrne was getting impatient. They still had to report their findings to the King and spar Lords, a journey that would take a week, as the horses they had ridden out here were now dead, killed by the sell-swords.
Hoping for another movement by his friend, Byrne let go of Orrade's hand and brushed the lank hair away from his friend's forehead. 'Come one Orrade. I know you're just doing this to annoy me now. We have to report back to the King. If we wait any longer they'll say we died.' He paused. 'How would your father feel?'
Another twitch! Byrne's heartbeat quickened as he smiled. He wondered what the first thing out of Orrie's mouth would be. An insult perhaps, or maybe a harsh comment on Byrne's fighting. The kingsson didn't care what it was really, as long as Orrade woke, and had no lasting effects. The emotional toll on Bryen was monumental; when Bryen had been by himself and had felt Orrie's pulse fading, little by little, it had been too much. He hadn't exactly started to cry, but Lence would have found it shameful nonetheless.
"Byr-Byren?' Orrade's voice was rough and dry from lack of use. "What happened?"
Byrne scrambled closer to his friend and offered him some water. "The weapons were poisoned Orrie." He spoke as he helped Orrade with the canteen. The brigands may have killed their horses, but everything had still been attached to their mounts at the end of the battle. "You got cut and-" The kingsson struggled slightly with his words. "You almost died."
Orrade frowned. "I can't remember a blasted thing. I don't even remember coming out here." He looked around. "Where are we anyway?"
"Somewhere just passed the Foenix Spar Lord's castle. I didn't want to risk moving you, so we stayed here." Byren frowned at his friend. "Are you sure you're alright? No pain or anything?"
Orrade smiled, but his eyes betrayed him. "No, I'm fine." He struggled to sit up for a moment, but collapsed back down, his face clenched tight in pain.
Byren reached out and placed his hand on Orrade's, as if that could help, but jerked his arm back like had been burned, which wasn't so far from the truth: his friend was burning up. Cautiously, Byren laid his palm on the Dove's forehead. It was even hotter than his arm.
"That feels so good." Orrade sighed, "Do you mind just leaving your hand there for a bit?"
Byren stayed silent, but obeyed. Orrie hadn't been hot a few moments ago. Had the poison reared its head again? The nun hadn't said a word about that happening. Byren wasn't sure if he could handle more nights of Orrade alternating between lying so still, he might have well been dead, and writhing in pain. Orrade shifted uncomfortably and made to get up.
"Don't move; you'll hurt more." Byren paused, then continued. "But please Orrade." The Kingsson begged. "Tell me the truth. Are you hurting?"
Orrade hesitated. "The truth, huh?" Neither of them said a word. Eventually, the Dovecoat heir spoke again.
"The truth, Byren, is that I am in so much pain, I can't move, even if I wanted to." Orrade's voice was light and easy, trying to lessen the blow. Byren gasped anyway, though he had been expecting it.
"The nun- she left some dreamless sleep for you, in case you awoke and was still in pain." Byren started slowly. "But she said to give it to you only if the situation was dire."
"Why not?" Orrade asked. The stress of keeping his voice calm and even was beginning to show. "Will it kill me?"
"Yes." there was no time to mince words or give his friend a half-truth. "The dreamless sleep might react badly with the poison, if there's any left in your system. And judging by the fact you're in pain, there is some left."
"Give it to me." There was no hesitation in Orrade's voice. "I'll take that chance."
Byren nodded slowly. Orrade wasn't one to take risks. He must have been in unbearable pain. "If- if you..." Byren couldn't say it.
"If I die, you mean?"
"Yeah." The kingsson nodded awkwardly, and an uncomfortable lump appeared in his throat as he tried to swallow. "Is there anything you want me to tell your father? Or Garzik and Elina?"
Orrade closed his eyes and frowned. "Yes there is."
Byren's heart dropped to his toes. The fact that Orrie was even entertaining the thought of dying was so unthinkable, so horrible, that it forced Byren to think about things he'd had rather leave alone. Maybe it was best that he said something now...
"Byren." Orrade whispered, his eyes tearing up, though the kingsson wasn't sure if it was from the pain, or the emotion attached with what he was about to do. "Tell me something. A secret, trivial gossip, anything. I want your voice to be the last thing I hear."
Byren tried to speak, but nothing came out. His mind refused to accept that fact that Orrade was about to join the Goddess. After all they had done together, it felt unreal. Like a joke was being played on them.
Finally, Byren found his voice. "I've never told anyone this, but..." He took a deep breath and prepared to leap into the dark abyss that his secret would cause if anyone found it out. "I- You are more... You are more then a friend to me Orrie." The confession flew out from his mouth like a gust of wind. He felt lighter, more at ease now that his friend knew. Now, if Orrie did survive, Byren wouldn't have to worry about touching the Dovecoat heir accidentally, and hoping it wasn't too much. And the suffocating sensation that came with spending nights, pressed against his friend, and hoping no one would notice anything, would disappear. Byren was sure. Now, Orrade had to live past tomorrow.
The sigh that came from Orrade sounding so much like a sigh of disappointment and annoyance, that any feeling of euphoria vanished from Byren.
"Byren." Orrade struggled for a moment, then sat up, Byrne's hand sliding off his friend's forehead. Orrie pressed his friend's hand to his lips, and Byren felt a kiss like a midnight breeze, as light as it was dark, brush against his palm. Byren froze.
Something was whispered into the recess of the Kingsson's hand.
"What did you say?" Byren whispered. His body was frozen.
Orrade turned over the Kingsson's hand, revealing his wrist. As Byren clenched his fist, the bones lifting up, the veins peeking out through semi- translucent skin. A second kiss skimmed across the surface of his arm.
"I said 'I feel the same.'" Orrade's teeth grazed Byren's wrist as he spoke.
"No." A heat was moving up though his chest, and settled in his throat. "You're lying. You're just saying because you think you won't wake up."
"Maybe I am." Orrade gazed up at his friend, the pain cleared from his eyes. "But then again, maybe I'm not."
Byren thought through the times they had touched lately: was there more to those easy pats on the back and the contact their hands made when passed each other weapons? Byren knew that all the times they had slept together in the snow caves, back to back, that he had been forced to cover up. Orrade had also been wearing his long jerkin after nights like that. Had it been for the same reason?
"Do you really feel the same? No lies." Byren muttered.
'Yes. It's simple as that." Orrie nodded.
Byren smiled, but apprehension suddenly crippled his desires. After wanting to reach out to his friend for so long, the thought that he could now was frightening.
"Byren, there's no time for nervousness." Orrade insisted. "If you want anything, you have to do it now."
A moment. A single moment of absolute stillness, complete lack of movement. That was all it took for Byren to realize that what Orrie was saying was right; he would never get another chance like this. His friend started at him expectantly, waiting for his answer. Orrade was sitting up, his legs half covered with a blanket, leaning back on one hand. His hair stuck to his forehead and his tunic was ruined by sweat. Byren didn't care. He rushed forward and pressed his lips to his friend's. A flavor he's never expected on the Dove's lips, pine resin, was all he could taste. They moved independently of each other, but their body heat seemed to be forging them together.
With a deft movement, Orrade grabbed the Kingsson's collar and pulled Byren nearly on top of him. Orrie's skin was almost too hot to touch now- and that sparked a memory in Byren. If only what Orrade was doing wasn't so damn distracting...
"Wait." Byren broke off the kiss and rocked back on his heels into a low crouch.
Orrade laughed. "Come on Byren. Why wait? You've waited long enough, haven't you?"
"No, Orrie. You're not yourself." Byren pulled Orrade's face closer his own and peered in his friend's eyes. They were clouded and his pupils were dilated. "You're sick. You should be resting."
"No." Orrie whispered, smirking infuriatingly. "I refuse. What do you say to that?"
"I say there is something wrong with you!" Byren cried. The nun had not warned him of an altered state of mind in his friend. Nor had Byren been warned of a fever. What was happening to Orrade? "The poison, or the fever, is driving you mad!"
"So what if it is?' Orrade shouted right back, angry now. His moods were swinging back and forth faster then even King Rolen's. "Why should it matter?"
"Because it does! It would be like- like taking advantage of you!"
"No it doesn't, and no it isn't! You are-" Orrade broke off, his voice cracking and he fell back down.
"You idiot." Byren muttered angrily. "I told you not to move so much."
"I don't care." Orrie snarled. "Get over here and kiss me."
"What about the pain?"
"Gone. I feel great- up for anything." He winked suggestively.
"Fine then." The kingsson snapped, simply to shut his friend up. Only, not entirely; Byren wanted to kiss his friend, but he didn't want to have this be his last memory of Orrade. It would be torture if he had to spend the rest of his life with this single time with Orrie in his mind. It was better to simply clip the wings of Byren's desire, then to let the dreams soar.
They kissed, and Byren was moving away as soon as possible. Orrade had other ideas though, and weakly pulled on the collar of his friend's jerkin, forcing Byren on top of him again.
"Orrie." Byren muttered, trying to get off his friend. "Don't."
"No, I will." Orrade snarled and gave a pathetic attempt at holding Byren down, though the kingsson didn't try and resists.
Byren had never looked at the Dovecoat heir from this angle, slightly below his nose and above him, before and Byren found he liked what he saw. Long lashes, high cheek bones- all framed by dark hair. "I am about to die, and I want this." Orrade continued, "You owe it to me."
"You are dying, you won't die." Byren hissed back. He was confused as what exactly was happening, but Byren was sure it had to do with the poison. Orrade's speech was slurring and his temperature had dropped. "Make up your mind."
"My mind is made up." Orrade murmured back. Their faces were inches apart, bodies lined up perfectly one on top of the other. "On you."
The simple confession took Byren's breath away. The kingsson had never thought such a cliched line could make one feel so elated. It would have felt so much better if Orrade hadn't just been shouting. Or if his speech sound like he hadn't had drunk an entire barrel of ale.
"Well, that's news to me." Byren laughed. He was still lying awkwardly on top of his friend, making no move to get off. Byren did want this, but not when Orrade was... Like he was now.
"It shouldn't be." If he was uncomfortable, Orrade gave to sign of it. "I've hinted it at you enough."
"And here I thought it was Lence who was the thick one." Shaking his head, Byren kept the conversation going, mostly to keep Orrade busy. "So where do we go from here?"
"Well, I think I start with this." Orrade smiled, and pressed his lips against the kingsson's.
Well, thought Byren, That was a stupid question. The Kingsson allowed the kiss for a moment. It was ice cold- the Dove was about the same temperature as snow now. The nun had said something about that, hadn't she? But before Byren could think on it further. Byren's friend opened Byren's mouth slowly and Orrade took the royal lip between his teeth. The kingsson responded by entering his tongue into his friend's mouth, but then pulled away when his better sense took over. "Orrade, for Sylion's sake. Stop biting my lip. Look, you've made me bleed."
But Byren's lip wasn't bleeding. There wasn't even a small cut. Byren check his mouth, and Orrade coughed. It was a simple cough, one that might be from a tickle in the throat. The kingsson froze.
"Hot then cold, mood changes and coughing up blood." Byren whispered, horrified and feeling dazed. "That was what I was trying to remember."
"And what does that mean?" Orrade was no longer sarcastic, or angry. He sounded afraid. He coughed again, spraying flecks of scarlet everywhere.
"You still have poison in your system for sure. If I give you that dreamless sleep, you will die for sure." Byren rolled off Orrie and stood. "I'm not sure what I can do for you now. I could knock you out when the pain comes back- it will, you can count on it. But that is still dangerous."
"It can't be so bad." Orrie rationalized. "I'll just sit through it, and when I can walk, we can go."
Byren laughed bitterly. "Just a moment ago, you were in so much pain, you couldn't move, or so you said. I'm not sure you'll be able to 'Sit through' this one."
They were both silent as Byren thought of a way he could try and help his friend and Orrie steeled himself for what was ahead.
"It's starting." Orrade whispered.
It was an hour since they had last spoke, and they had both take an uneasy nap. Orrade had cried out in his nightmare-plagued sleep, though Byren had fallen sleep quickly, and exhaustion had denied dreams. Silence had ruled their small camp, even through a meal which usually would have been cheerful. This was the first interaction they'd had since Byren had told his friend of what was to come.
"Yes." Orrade breathed in sharply. "It's like someone's driving a knife in my back." the mood swings were gone, as was the temperature extremes, but Orrade still coughed now and again. His shirt was spotted with blood.
"Well, don't think about it"' Byren muttered, offhandedly. The kingsson was surprised by the venom in his own voice.
Orrade didn't miss it either. "I suppose I deserve that." He sighed. "For what it's worth, I am sorry."
"It wasn't only you." Byren apologized right back. 'I shouldn't have told you even. I was wrong of me."
"Yes, but... I was the one who- started it- as it were. I led you on. I hope this doesn't change anything."
"I doubt it will." Byren laughed cynically. "Let's hope it gets the chance to though."
"What do you mean by that?" Orrade asked quietly.
"I mean," Byren explained, his words clipped and emotionless, "That you'd better survive."
That effectively quieted Orrade, except for the coughing. They both resumed laying on their blanket rolls, staring at the sky, the trees, anything but each other.
"Byren, are you sure that nun didn't give you something for me?" Orrade's voice was horse now, and his sentences were choppy. The coughing had stopped completely, but had been replaced with bouts of excruciating screams. He was huddled among all the blankets; as if hiding would lessen the amount he would suffer. The sun had descended a few minutes ago, and a cold wind had begun to blow. Byren wanted a blanket back, but if having all the covers would help his friend, then Byren would gladly sit through the cold.
"She did. But if you take it, you'll die." Byren sighed, explaining the situation for the tenth time. Byren knew he shouldn't be hard on his friend- the Goddess knows how many times Orrade had sat through Byren's hangovers. Though Byrne couldn't help feeling that was perhaps a little more extream then a hangover.
"Couldn't I take it in a small amount?" Orrade begged. The longing in his voice almost convincing the kingsson. Then Byren remembered that Orrade would die, and Byren found his resolve once more. "That would work." Orrie continued, "And I'm sure most of the poison is gone now anyway."
Byren stayed silent, working to ignore his friend. Orrie's begging had gotten more and more pitiful, but Byren wasn't really sure exactly how much pain Orrie was truly in. It had to be a monstrous amount though; the Dovecoat heir alternated moans, loud, primal screams and silence, in no decreeable pattern. Byren had rarely seen his friend grovel like that and Orrie detested drugs and what they did to people. Perhaps a small amount might help...
"No!" Byren insisted over Orrade's miserable pleading. "I can't! I will not risk your death!"
"Then let me risk it!" Orrade petitioned. His voice cracked as he tired to raise it enough to yell. Tears were running freely down his face and his palms were scored with lines from making fists. "You will be blameless!"
"I won't be an instrument in your death!" Byren snarled. A lack of sleep was putting him on edge. "I can't let you." Because I love you. The words were left unsaid, but they seemed to be whispered on the breeze.
Silence. Orrade must have heard the intended ending and retreated. For now.
The screams started up again in the darkness, and the kingsson did his best and tuned them out. Byren wondered how much more Orrade would take.
"Byren?" A raw, horrid sounding voice whispered.
"Yes Orrade?" Byren muttered sleepily. He had almost succeeded in falling asleep, but leave it Orrie to wake him up just now, just as it had become silent. The screams had escalated to the point where Orrie voice had worn out. They had passed regular human capabilities ages ago.
"Forgive me for this. I simply- cannot- take this any longer. Tell Garzik and Elina I love them. And tell Father I'm sorry." A scuffle, like someone was crawling, and dragging something behind them. Byren couldn't see anything in the dark- the stars were covered by clouds.
"Orrade what are yo- NO ORRADE ST-!"
"Lord Dovecoat, I am so sorry. A thousand apologizes can never make up for what happened, but please accept them nonetheless." Byren pleaded to his friend's father.
The sightless man nodded. "I understand you tried to stop him from committing such a foolish act. And I thank you for that. If only-" The man broke off, sighing. The sigh turned to sobs and Byren had to turn away, shamefaced.
Breaking the news to Elina and Garzik had been hard, but the tears had been expected. This was infinitely harder, for Byren had never thought Lord Dovecoat would cry over the death of his firstborn, but here was the man, shaking with grief.
"I'll take my leave, and let you make the funeral preparations." Byren mumbled and left. Orrade's screams, the ones he had eventually tuned out, echoed in his head. Every beat of Byren's heart ached with the lost love. The kingsson doubted he would ever recover, and the memories would ever still.
Byren bit his lip to stop the start of tears, wincing as he passed a small corpse lying out on the entranceway steps of the Dovecoat home.
It was a small dove that had flew into front door, trying to enter the house, seeking warmth from the cold nights. Byren shook his head. That wasn't the first dove to give in to a temptation and pay for it with his life.
Right. I know. I'm an ass. Oh well. I bet you didn't see it coming. What did you think anyway? REVIIIIIEEEEEWWWWWSSSSSSS!