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    Yeoldebard
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Stolen Dreams - 17. Fey Lessons

SEILENOS

 

“What is it about you that drives me so wild?”

The faun stared at the covered body in the stables. They were hidden from the humans, his magic weak but still enough to misdirect any who glanced their way. Seilenos didn’t feel like arguing with the owners of the trading post about how he wasn’t out to steal from them.

Okay, yes, he’d stolen a bit of grain to feed Elias’ horse. What was her name? Fedha? But he himself went hungry, tucked in the back of the hay loft with the body he would guard until death took him. Or until the others returned with their priest.

The faun braided a bit of rosemary and marigold into the blanket covering the amurrun, a bowl of vinegar mixing with lavender sprigs nearby. Every so often, Seilenos would paint the wood around them with vinegar. The eyes were easy to fool. The nose was a little more complicated. He needed to keep anyone from smelling his companion, at least until Amethyst returned with the priest.

This connection he felt with the amurrun… Seilenos was no stranger to the Material Plane, though he was not a native either. He’d had his trysts, his romances, even if none of them had ever trusted the fey enough to sleep with them. But he’d never been one to follow them beyond death. This want, this aching need, to be with the amurrun was frightening. Seilenos was no stranger to death either; he’d met his end in the First World more than once at the hands of spurned lovers or adventurers, only to be resurrected by the fey magic of the plane. But here, his soul was mortal, and subject to Pharasma’s rules. He couldn’t risk dying on the Material Plane. And it made this connection to Elias even more dangerous.

Dusk fell swiftly over the barn he was in. Seilenos descended silently, the ladder creaking as his hooves balanced easily on the rungs. How often had Queen Callitropsia joked that he must have been an actual goat who had been left in the First World? That dexterity served him well as he stepped down the wooden beams.

Landing softly in the dirt, the faun grimaced at the manure that was piling up in the stalls. The mercenaries were leaving their horses here, and it meant far too much work for any one person to deal with. Eyes sought out a rake, shining briefly in the dark as a beam of moonlight struck Seilenos. He found the tool easily, and slipped into a paddock where nearly a dozen horses were dozing.

Soft nickers greeted the fey as he got to work. He stepped carefully through the pen, his eyes watching the barn warily as he cleaned. It wasn’t just Elias he was worried about; Seilenos’ estoc and pipes were in the loft with his companion. He could not lose his pipes, they were as much a part of him as his tail.

And he couldn’t just let the horses suffer because their owners were negligent. Silently, stealthily, the faun moved from pen to pen, leaving the results of his work in the composting pile near a small garden. At the last pen, the fey paused, before filling a bucket of manure.

He slipped through the mercenary camp, his magic serving well in avoiding the sentries. A piece of dung was left on each bedroll, a silent reminder the mortals would do well to remember. It would cause untold confusion when discovered, and that made his heart soar at the thought.

Escaping the small camp was as easy as infiltrating. He just ran past the sentries, invisible and silent. Ducking behind a wall as the invisibility spell wore off, the fey crept through the shadows of the post, his eyes picking out a distant flame.

Seilenos let out a relieved breath as Hope came into sight, the tiefling scouting ahead for the four behind him. An old man in robes approached the post beside Amethyst and Ramiel, and a horn blew out a warning as the mercenaries finally saw something out of the ordinary.

The faun slipped back into the post in the confusion that followed. A hood over his head prevented anyone from recognizing him as fey, and everyone was too busy to notice his hooves.

He made his way back to the stables, allowing a grin to cross his face as several startled yelps came from the direction of the mercenary camp. They had found his gifts already. Good; hopefully they’d take the warning to heart. Next time he would not be so generous.

Scrambling back up the ladder, Seilenos dug through his bag for his last scroll, taken from a transmuter before he’d met the group. The faun unfurled the scroll, reading out loud in a quiet, yet firm voice.

“Origato sia uraci qe mitne lae thrae.”

A lightness spread over him, and Seilenos let out a relieved breath. He had no idea what the spell was; all he knew was it would let him walk in the air. The fact that the scroll had worked like it was supposed to was a near miracle in his eyes.

Gathering his supplies, the faun lifted Elias in his arms and stepped off the loft. Instantly he sank an inch, his feet caught in an invisible web. Attempts to lift his legs failed, and it took Seilenos a moment to figure out how to move through the thick air that held him nearly ten feet off the ground.

Passing through the stable door proved to be another challenge. Descending slowly, Seilenos felt his hooves connect with the ground, and suddenly the spell was gone, its three minute duration used up.

“No, I haven’t seen a satyr anywhere,” a voice snapped as he emerged from the stables. “Nothing has gone through that gate in the last three days.”

Seilenos rolled his eyes. He wasn’t a damned satyr. If he was, there would be poisonous spiders crawling in the bedrolls right now, not horse dung.

“I know he’s here,” Hope said in exasperation. “And probably listening to us right now while plotting your murder for calling him a satyr.”

“Close enough,” Seilenos said, carrying Elias around the corner of a barn. “Where’s the priest?”

 

ELIAS

 

The River of Souls flowed ever onward, carrying the amurrun through the Astral Plane. Time held no meaning. Had he been dead for a day? A year? A century? Elias had no idea.

Depression washed over him as he trudged along with the rest of the dead. He had seen more than a few old friends here, dead long before his time. Many of them even seemed relieved to be in this place. Yet Elias still felt the pain of the Material Plane, an ache in a non beating heart, as he watched them vanish into the fog of the River.

Even now, he could see a fiery haired gnome moving through the souls around them. Elias couldn’t pause, the River’s flow was inexorable. But the amurrun slowed, calling out as the gnome reached him.

“Wulfrin? Fuck… what happened? Is Seilenos okay? I don’t see him around here.”

“The damned tiefling killed me,” Wulfrin sighed. “He’s a menace. You need to tell Amethyst to get rid of him.”

Elias frowned at the gnome, trying to match Wulfrin’s rushed pace through the River. It was like the paladin was hurrying toward the end.

“How do I talk to her? I’m dead,” the amurrun pointed out.

“They’re bringing you back. But there’s no body left for me to return to. Hope made sure of that,” the gnome scowled, drawing ahead of the catfolk. “Seilenos has your staff, and Amethyst is searching for a priest for you.”

The gnome’s voice raised as he left the amurrun behind, and again Elias watched one of his companions vanish into the mix of dead souls.

“The ones who have a goal rush on to judgement. He was holy; one of the gods was watching him,” someone said nearby.

Elias frowned at an old man walking nearby. His eyes followed a finger toward a strange sight. A large azata floated beyond the River, her watchful gaze sweeping over the souls as they passed. Around her, a host of creatures guarded the River; demons, devils, angels, all working together to protect the souls from the dangers of the plane.

A sudden pain slammed into Elias’ chest. Letting out a sudden cry, the amurrun faltered, his soul pulled in two opposite directions. Ahead lay judgement, and eternity, but the pain he felt, the hollow agony in his chest… if he followed it, eternity would have to wait.

It wasn’t much of a decision. He was going back to the Material Plane. Elias wasn’t ready to be dead yet, there was still so much to explore in life.

And the amurrun planted his feet in the silvery fog that held the river together. With that one act of rebellion, he felt his judgement slip away. His soul was yanked backward, and Elias felt himself falling from the Astral Plane.

Unimaginable pain flooded his senses, and then a soothing warmth as he felt the missing shards of his being piece together. Muffled voices filled his ears, the rush of blood sloshing through his head, and Elias took a deep breath of cold air.

Lips pressed into his, firm and demanding, and the amurrun opened his eyes to find Seilenos bent over him. Elias’ head raised, and an arm pulled the faun down, fighting the fey for dominance.

“Don’t ever leave me again…” Seilenos commanded, a breathless whimper escaping him.

“I don’t plan to.”

Copyright © 2021 Yeoldebard; All Rights Reserved.
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