Chapter 53: Bullies

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We found it shocking, ironic really, that the greatest threat to the Eight, were the wounded. The King of Joy, tormented by guilt for sins he never committed. The Tethyd magi, hurt and almost terrified of their power.

***

Maioran rolled his eyes at Finn. "I told you that food was bad. I told you the meat had spoiled."

"He had told you," Aoife noted.

Finn didn't answer. Instead, he clutched his stomach and groaned. "It didn't look like fleshrot," he moaned.

"But it reeked of it," the eel Tethyd snapped. "Why didn't you listen?" he asked the man.

Finn leaned against his pack, curled in a fetal position. Aoife was perched on a rock, sitting cross-legged, watching her guard suffer. Magnus glared at Finn, while Invidia began to carve something out of a knot of wood. Besides Finn's moaning and Invidia's whittling, the camp was quiet.

Callan was out with Tieoran, making him run more laps. Maioran's little brother was beginning to grow. Now, when Tieo curled up against Maioran when going to sleep, he wasn't just bones wrapped in fish scale. Finn had offered to teach him swordsmanship. After he suffered from that foul meat.

"Bloody Tethyd, I thought you'd hoard it for yourself." He groaned.

"Shush, Finn," Aoife said. "Let me work. I can do what we did in the Kai'Draeni provinces, when you are that salted rat. I can remove the-"

"No!" Finn said. "I'll not have your damnable sorcery inside me again! It made me sick!"

"It did upset his natural humors," Magnus said. "I expect that's a result of transpositioning the contents of his stomach outside this body."

"I believe that might be true," Aoife said, disaffectedly, seemingly unperturbed by the cries coming from her guard. Then again, fleshrot wasn't fatal. Just really, really uncomfortable.

Maioran paused, thinking for a second on his next move. Then he moved over to Tieoran's sleeping roll, grabbed his little brother's pack, and yanked out the salt box.

It was made of dark brown wood, inlaid with polished coral. Maioran opened it up, revealing scales, dozens of small bottles, and a small scoop.

He began to uncork a bottle, scattering dark sand in the scoop. He shoveled that into one of the scale weights, added a bit more sand, and then made sure the scoop was clear. And then he emptied that into a small pot.

"What are you doing?" Aoife asked, curious.

"Tieoran's magic is from his ability to make the salts work and his power over water. Any rube can mix the salt -if they know the formulae."

"And you know the formulae?" Aoife asked.

"Tieo can imbue the salts with power. He didn't know the formulae. And when he was taught, he practiced in our room. He needed a study buddy." Maioran finished scooping the sand in and sealed up the pot. And then he began to shake.

Two figures approached them. Callan was jogging towards them, his bark-like skin coated in a sheen of sweat. He wore a kilt-like garment made of colorful cloth, and for some reason, he smelled really nice. The scent was strong, like that of flowers, and even standing far away from him, Maioran could smell it.

He had changed, slowly but surely. His skin had softened, turning from hard bark to softer, more human-looking dark skin. Or it was on its way. The grass blades that acted like hair had begun to divide, looking like normal, green hair.

Tieoran also wore his kilt. He sat down on his bedroll. He looked over at his brother. "Salt of Healing?"

Maioran nodded. "Yep."

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