Chapter 17: Candle
“What in the name of every demonic divine are you?!” the man yelled out.
“I am a Chimera, same as the others here,” Scout said calmly.
“Is that what you monsters are called?!”
“Fayne, that’s enough,” one of the armored women said.
“Are you kidding me, Safiena?! We’re pretty much locked in a room with these things that we don’t even know what in the name of the light they are and I’m the only one who doesn’t think they’re going to kill us all in our sleep?!”
“If you want to leave, we can always shut the door behind you to save our own asses,” I growled. Storm tightened his wing around my shoulders, and Scout gave me a hard glare. I glanced at Rune, who was in the part of the shelter that was dug out of the mountain with the first human man we had met and the girl who hadn’t gone with us. They were all watching in silence.
“Fayne, don’t you dare,” the girl with the glowing fingers said, closing her eyes and leaning against the indoor wall, sliding to the ground. “I have a bad feeling about that dust. And even if you’re not willing to trust them, you should know better than to ignore me.”
“Even you could be wrong, Princess. With all due respect, you’re… not exactly the most talented of your bloodline.”
“And you’re far from the most tactful in ours,” the armored woman said. I noticed that she looked a lot like the armored man, with light blue hair, dark blue eyes, and dark brown skin. The other armored woman had dark green hair and matching eyes, and her skin was a little lighter, almost more golden, than them. Harold had darker skin than anyone else, and curly black hair and light brown eyes; the girl who had stayed behind with Rune and Scout looked like him, but younger, and her eyes were a light, misty green. And the girl who had come with us had much lighter skin than any of them, with a light bronze tone in her skin, and a much darker bronze in her hair and eyes. They all had more pointed ears than anyone I had seen, and Harold, the girl who hadn’t come with us, and the girl with the glowing hand all had metals and jewels on their ears. The light from the girl’s hand shined off of the jewels in her ears like a candle. I noticed that she was looking up at me and she smiled a little bit. I looked away from her, back at the armored man as the wind started to pick up, and we began to hear the dust hitting the sides of our shelter.
“What is even happening out there that is so terrifying to you people?” the armored man asked.
“You don’t want to know,” Scout said.
“It can’t be that bad.”
I growled. “You can’t even imagine, alright?”
“And you, you can’t even imagine the types of battles I’ve fought in my lifetime. Nothing is worse than that, alright, woman?”
I stared at him with my eyes narrowed for a moment.
“Fayne, you need to stop this. Now.” Harold spoke up. “If you don’t trust them, then trust me, and our princess, on this.”
There was a large crack from outside, from the ocean. Suddenly, the humans’ faces all seemed to pale.
“...Our boat.” One of the armored women said. “We didn’t secure it for this.”
The armored man shot towards the door and quickly opened the cloth… and was in the doorway enough to block most of the dust from getting inside. Scout pushed the door closed as I grabbed him and forced him back. His eyes were wide in shock, and he started coughing.
“Damn you, Fayne!” The armored woman who looked like him said. She and the girl with the glowing hand rushed to his side. I loosened my grip on him and watched Scout secure the door again before glancing around to see if there was any cloth that wasn’t being used. There was dust all over his face. It needed to be cleaned off… desperately. His nose had started to bleed, and he was still coughing.
The girl with the glowing hand held her hand over the man’s chest, and tendrils of light seemed to reach towards him. Then, they seemed to bounce off of the dust away from him, and the girl panicked.
“My magic isn’t helping,” she said quickly. She looked around at Scout, and Storm, and then me. “Please help him, I know he was rude but- he’s not a bad person.” She breathed in deeply and coughed, and the other humans seemed to get even more worried.
“If you have any clean cloth get it out,” Rune said. “We have a bucket of water that we can use to clean the dust off of him. Try not to breathe it in, it can get you sick. It’s already getting him sick, that can’t be avoided now, but we can try to lessen the pain.”
Rune carried the bucket of water over to the armored man. Harold knelt next to Rune, and handed him a thin square of cloth that seemed to be folded. Rune took it and started to clean the armored man’s face quickly. When it was mostly clean- enough to be safer- Rune handed the cloth to Scout. “We need to get rid of that.”
The girl with the glowing hand coughed again, worse this time.
“I feel like my throat’s starting to close,” one of the armored women said. Rune’s ears went back, and I saw the fur on his back raise in fear.
“It doesn’t normally take effect this quickly,” Rune whined. “I- We have some blackberry leaves, they may help if we burn them, we don’t have enough water to make the tea or anything that would help more, we need to wait out the storm…”
I closed my eyes, and leaned against the wall. Storm sank to the ground next to me as another of the humans started to cough.
“I- perhaps it’s because we’re not used to it,” Harold said. His voice was getting rough. “Perhaps given some time our bodies will learn to fight it off, like any other sickness.”
“Maybe, but you have to survive that long,” Scout said. Harold nodded at him.
“Of course, is there anything else anyone can do…?”
“Rest,” I said, narrowing my eyes at them. “Lie down and try to sleep, and get some rest. We’ll do what we can to keep the dust out, and keep an ear out for when it dies down and we can get food. None of you will be in any shape to go out for anything for a while.”
Rune nodded. “She’s right. That’s… pretty much all we can do. I’ll gather some blackberry leaves and a bowl we can burn them in, that’ll clean the air enough and help you all feel a little better hopefully…”
As the sickness began to set into them all more, there was little any of them could do to stop themselves from following my advice, and the rest of us stayed awake, watching the small flames dance across the blackberry leaves.