Chapter 25: Sticking Stones, Unbreaking Bones, and Too Many Words.

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Yet today, I feel...different. I feel like the pain of a thousand worlds has descended upon us, threatening to break us, to shatter us. But we held fast. We have survived the tribulation God had sent our way. Every race has reached their lowest point. We can only get stronger.

***

Indra was rushing into the main room when Thaen's secret was revealed.

The five of them were sitting on the benches in front of the fire. Skaria and Kyra were striking up a conversation about how Skaria got into the business (after taking out two serial killers and burning down half a city), and Laidu was making sure that Thaen and Karik'ar weren't about to kill each other. They settled, for the moment, on glaring at each other.

Thaen looked at Laidu. "Why are we still here? And where were you guys going?"

Laidu sighed. "We're taking Kyra home. To Caeldar."

Thaen paused. "Okay, start from the beginning."

Laidu nodded. "That might be best." He stretched his neck. "I was patrolling the Redleaf Forest when I stopped some slavers. I found Kyra inside, and we went to a tiny village called Three Pines. There we met Skaria, Indra, and Karik'ar. And then we ventured here, but I ripped my pants somehow." Of course, he was leaving out the voices, or that monster. He didn't like to think of that monster.

"And we can't leave because of..."Thaen began to ask.

"Indra."

Indra was still working on an alchemy project, or so she had been telling everyone. So when she barged in, Laidu wasn't surprised. However, what did surprise Laidu was the way she fell. He didn't know what she tripped over, but the second she began to tip, Laidu knew this was not just your run of the mill tumble. No, this was the big one. The fall every prankster and mischief-maker prayed for. The Big Crash.

The pile of stuff she was carrying ejected from her hands at the speed of a panicked horse, flying into the air and scattering. It was mostly paper, but a vial of something flew past Laidu, nearly hitting him on the horns. It landed in the fireplace, and with a pop, exploded. The flames sputtered, before bursting with new energy. The scrolls and papers flew all over the floor as Indra slammed, facefirst, down into the hardowood floor.

"Indra!" Skaria said, stunned. "Are you alright?"

"Yes, I decided to just take a nap on the ground," Indra said, annoyed. "Does it look like I'm alright?" Thaen got up and began to help her. "Thank you, Thaen. You're a very nice young man." Kyra joined him, bending down on her knees, scooping up papers.

"I'm not a man." Thaen kept picking some of the papers, stacking them up. "The ears are a dead giveaway. And these aren't in any particular order," Thaen said, indicating the papers."

"I know you're not human," Indra said. "And it doesn't matter. The individual pages are the notes." She frowned. "But where is that vial?"

Laidu cleared his throat. "Um, Indra, I think it burned up." He pointed to the glass shards in the fireplace.

"Well, then," Indra said. "I'll just check my theory tomorrow," she said.

"Theory?" Kyra asked.

"That it's flammable."

"Trust me," Laidu said. "It is."

"Well, I need to see how much." Indra picked up the papers, but something tumbled out. A stone. It hit the ground, and oddly enough, it bounced, landed on Thaen's forearm, and stuck there.

"Oi!" Thaen said, alarmed, staring at the stone with wide red eyes. "There's a stone sticking to me. Should it be sticking to me?" He eyed the stone, before moving to brush it off. Except then it stuck to his hands.

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