If the Eight feed on cruelty, then there is but a simple remedy to their existence: starvation. Starving the Eight of cruelty might not hurt them, but it will heal their victims. While we wouldn't be slaying the Eight, we'd be healing their scars, bringing joy to their darkened world. And I say that every life restored from the Eight, from their horrid Progenitor, from the darkness of evil itself, every life saved is a victory achieved.
-The Necromancer's Notes, Codex 33a, Memoirs collection
Thaen grimaced as Skaria pulled the comb through his hair. "Ow! I'd like to keep my scalp!" She growled, held him steady by the scruff of his neck, and pulled the comb through his hair. Thaen had to brace himself on the frame of his bed. Those tangles in his hair needed a lot of force to get out.
"Then don't struggle so much!" the mercenary said. "You got too many bloody tangles. It would be easier to just cut off most of the hair and let it grow back."
"No!" Thaen glared at Skaria. The mercenary, while not being an expert in fashion, had long hair. Thaen, now he had long hair, ran into a bit of a snag: mainly, snags in his hair. "Long hair like this is the sign of a warrior."
"And you don't leave it loose, because...?" Skaria asked.
"It's crude, obscene, and immodest," Thaen said. "It's not proper, and in warriors' cases, it's better to keep it bound up."
"I get that," Skaria said. "And I'm guessing once these braids get long enough, you'll tie them? Kind of like a ponytail?"
"That's right," Thaen said. "Besides, long hair looks cool, and it can be useful."
"Useful?" Karik'ar asked. He sat in his bed, reading a book and playing with a loose thread on the collar of his shirt, winding it around and around his finger, over and over, more interested in that book.
"I can tuck lock picks in the fold of my braids," Thaen said. "Ow!" There went another snag (and probably part of his scalp too).
"Huh. Never thought of that." Karik'ar arched an eyebrow, and the piercings in his brow clacked together.
"Stick it in the bottom part, where it's not supposed to bend. It'll either make the braid base stick out, if the braid is small enough, or the lock pick would stick out. That would probably be your problem, if your braid is too heavy."
"Duly noted," the Kai'Draen said. "Though I don't know how to pick a lock."
"I can teach you," Thaen said, before yelping as Skaria kept untangling his hair. It was nice of her to help him get ready for his date with Mirsari, but she could be more gentle. A lot more gentle.
"Is that some sort of brotherly thing? Teaching me a skill?" Karik'ar asked.
"Not really," Thaen said. "Besides, usually it's the older brother teaching the younger. And you're a good five years older than I am." He paused as Skaria ran the comb through his hair. No tangles snagged on the teeth of the comb. Well, for half of his hair. "Why do you ask?"
"I read a bit on some of the cultures of the different strongholds of the Vesperati. And one thing I came across," he said, "was the idea of extreme familial exclusivity." He paused. "Just calling someone a 'brother' is frowned upon."
"Well," Thaen said, "I was going to talk to you about that." Something had been bothering him, but he had forgotten what that was. "Technically, it's a thing called horizontal adoption."
"Horizontal adoption?" Karik'ar asked.
"You know how adoption means you take someone as your offspring?" Thaen grimaced as Skaria viciously combed through the other half of his hair.
YOU ARE READING
When Laidu, a half-human, half-dragon Ranger, rescues a mysterious girl from slavers, he doesn't know it but he's in for a world of trouble. Teaming up with an insane scholar, a chatty assassin, and two mercenaries, they go to take the girl -Kyra- h...