Chapter 8

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Tier'ghan remained sat on the foot of the bed until Quenoor was fast asleep. He allowed himself the time to look at the Sidhe, the aloof, guarded expression now smoothed away. It made him appear younger, perhaps even closer to Tier'ghan's own 23 years. Was he doing the right thing? He'd told Quenoor more about himself than he'd ever told anyone before. Yet he didn't regret it, even if part of him was alarmed at how easily the words had come forth. He'd never trusted anyone enough to tell them about his parents. Only Magister Novi and the academy overseer knew the truth.

He looked down at his chest, pulling the shirt up to inspect where he remembered the cut being. He ran his fingers over the smooth skin. Not even a hint of the trauma. He shivered and let the hem of his shirt drop. Maybe he should let Magister Novi run the tests she'd been talking about. There was obviously a lot more going on here than he understood.

He glanced at Kellir who now lay flat on his side, which meant he took up a good deal of the room, his hooves only a foot or so from the bed. The bloody hand print on his shoulder almost seemed to shimmer in the low light from the windows. What had really happened in that knacker's yard? He still had a hard time believing what he'd been told. Pledged to a god. What did that even mean? He didn't feel any different. Outside of the oddly rapid healing, he didn't feel any different. No drain on his magic and he wasn't even that hungry when he should have been famished. It would have required a massive energy expenditure to heal such a grave wound. Quenoor seemed to believe that he'd done it to himself, though Tier'ghan was hesitant to believe that. It simply shouldn't have been possible.

He slid off the bed, careful not to jostle Quenoor. Maybe he should let Magister Novi run those tests. Rule out anything potentially dangerous. He came to stand at the side of the bed. Did he dare leave Quenoor alone though? It should be okay for a couple hours, and he couldn't see the tests taking any longer than that. Though he had no idea what kind they had in mind. How did you determine if someone had linked themselves to an Aethir? Whatever it was, it couldn't possibly be any more painful than what Narder's butcher had done.

First he needed clothes, not this loose shirt and pants they'd given him. A search of the room turned up a satchel holding his mage robes and his books. Picking up the robes he held them for a moment, fingers lingering over the darker patches of dried blood. How were they here? It had to have been Quenoor. No one else had been at the inn. But Narder had stripped him of everything. Quenoor must have found it at some point and brought it with him.

Strange. Welcome, but definitely unexpected. He slipped his robes on and tied the sash, the heavy wool more like a comforting blanket than anything. His gloves were in the pockets. The soft kidskin gloves protected those without magic from an accidental touch from a mage that could leave nasty burns. Unfortunately he didn't find his shoes, but that couldn't be helped. He could hardly expect Quenoor to have gathered up all his things. His boots had been ready for the rubbish heap as it was. He hadn't been able to afford decent boots in years. The pair he did find were clearly Quenoor's and might have fit him as a child. Tier'ghan was easily a foot taller than the slender Sidhe with feet to match.

The book by Vosithis lay at the bottom of the satchel, completely unassuming in a worn pale grey leather cover. Maybe it held some clues as to what had happened. It wouldn't hurt to show it to Magister Novi. He laid it to the side, carefully repacked Quenoor's things and put the satchel back where he found it. He then sat on the edge of the bed and opened the book. He clearly remembered finding it in a box of discarded books. Most texts on magic were thick enough to double as doorstops or step stools and were constantly being revised with new spells and techniques and boasted ornate leather covers with gold lettering. This one was barely larger than a child's reading primer, thin enough to easily be lost among the larger books, yet it also stood out because of the plain grey cover and lack of embossing. When he'd first found it he'd thought someone had accidentally tossed their private journal.

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