Chapter III: Safe at Last
Selene awoke from a deep sleep, her memory fuzzy. Groggy, she blinked slowly as her eyes longed for the return to slumber.
She was in Jezran’s Tower, laying upon a rather comfortable bed. It was likely one of the beds arranged when they arrived in the Hollow that first night. The faint glow of hazy sunlight peeked through a nearby window.
Strange, I don’t recall a window… Selene rubbed her eyes as her muddled mind tried to process the situation. Guess I’m…in a different room?
The thought quickly faded as Selene seemed unable to rouse herself. No memory was available to explain her exhaustion, so she could not determine why she had such difficulty waking up. Shrugging, she decided it was better not to fight it. She fell back against the soft pillows and drifted off into sleep once more.
Then she remembered the nightmare.
All of it came flooding back to her: the Battle, confronting Lendrig, Argent and Ari drowned in an endless tide of water.
Fear and panic overtook fatigue as her eyes shot open.
I can’t be resting here, I have to…go! I need to…to see…if…
She felt the familiar sting as tears swelled, but she stopped herself. Tears would have their time, but only after she confirmed his fate with her own two eyes.
With great haste, she leapt from her bed. Only to crash against the hard floor as her legs gave out from underneath her. Unharmed, she scrambled back to the edge of the bed and pulled herself up. Her legs kept shaking as she tried to put her weight on them. It was all she could do to keep herself from falling down again.
While she waited for strength to return to her, she noticed she was no longer wearing her usual attire. Instead, it appeared she was wearing some kind of feminine night garment. It was surprisingly comfortable, though it was clearly designed for a much taller person.
Must be Ari’s. Selene concluded as her eyes travelled along the fine fabric, She’s the only one who would have something this nice just to sleep.
Looking around she could not find her adventurer’s gear, but that could wait until the strength returned to her legs.
A few minutes later, she found it much easier to stand on her legs. Slowly, she put more weight on them, until finally she was standing comfortably. She did not have long to appreciate the development as there were more important matters requiring her attention.
Hamish…where is Hamish? I need to find him. I need to see…to know if…
She swallowed the thought as she headed for the door. Though she felt no more weakness, Selene still felt a stiffness to her joints, causing a slight limp as she moved.
As she placed her hand on the door, she heard a deep intake of breath behind her.
Selene cursed herself, with her mind so muddled and her focus so narrow, she did not realize she was not alone in this room.
Spinning so fast she nearly fell off her feet again, Selene searched the room.
It did not take long for her eyes to fall to the other bed in the corner of the room. Her breath caught as she spied the motionless, hulking body resting in it.
“Hamish?” Selene whispered.
Her heart jumped as she received a grunt in response, but the body remained motionless. Part of her struggled with disbelief, convinced this was nothing but a dream, another part hoped this might be true.
Either way, the mixture of light and dark in the room made it difficult for her eyes to see in either setting. She crept closer to the bed to get a better look at him.
As she stepped in the shadows of the corner, details became clearer. The figure was sleeping, and a blanket covered his lower body, obscuring any damage or treatment. One of his arms was in splints, though both were wrapped tightly in some kind of cloth. That same cloth was bound tightly around his chest and much of his head, leaving only his face exposed.
Even so, it was enough to confirm his identity.
“Hamish…” she whispered, voice filled with disbelief.
The half-orc, hearing his name, began to stir. He grunted as he tried stretching his arms, huffing slightly at the immobilized one. A great yawn escaped his throat as he tried to stretch out as best he could in spite of the wrappings and splints.
All Selene could do was stand there, transfixed.
Is this…real? Do I really…? …am I…
Hot tears stained her cheeks as she struggled to find the words for this feeling welling up in her chest. Loss was not unfamiliar to her, but this was. Images of the fire and the dagger soaked in Arveene’s blood flashed through her mind.
All of the images and feelings mixed and flowed together until a single question remained.
I don’t have…to be alone this time?
“Hamish?” Selene whimpered, the salty taste of tears filling her mouth.
Hamish cut off mid-yawn and looked down, his auburn eyes meeting her gaze. He blinked, his expression softening as he gave her a weak smile, “Selene? Is everything okay?”
The dam broke as reality set in. She was at his side in moments, her arms wrapping tightly around him. He winced slightly at her enthusiasm, but made no move to push her away. Her hug was returned with his free hand.
“Y—you’re alive,” Selene stammered as her body shook from heavy sobs, “I thought I lost you.”
“Quite hard to lose me, my friend.” Hamish said in an attempt at a cheery tone, “With body so big, I fill most places quite easily.”
“I—I thought I was going to be alone again, Hamish.” she whispered into his chest, “I was so—so scared.”
His free hand tightened around her. He whispered softly into her ear, “I am sorry, Rieta. Did not mean to…”
“It’s fine,” Rieta said, cutting him off, “I’m just…so glad you’re okay.”
Hamish’s chest shook as chuckled, “Well, more or less, but I am glad you are well too. Was worried whole ceiling might fall on us.”
Rieta nodded, her sobs softening, “Yeah, it was close.”
“What happened after that?” Hamish asked.
Rieta thought for a moment, then realized she could not recall.
“I…don’t know,” she admitted sheepishly, “I…tried to dig you out, I think. But then…I don’t remember anything.”
Hamish grimaced, “Lendrig must have done something to you.”
She nodded, “I guess so. I wonder what happened?”
A familiar voice spoke from behind them, “If you don’t remember, that’s hard to say.”
Turning around, Selene saw Jezran standing by the door. He appeared tired, eyes gaunt and skin clammy, but still he tried to maintain composure and gave them both a weak smile.
“Jezran!” Selene said, grinning broadly, “I’m glad you’re okay.”
“Yes, never better…” the Acolyte chuckled, as if to hide any doubt, but Selene could not help but notice how he cradled his left hand, or how it was bound tightly in cloth. ”It’s good to see you both awake. I’m sure Argent and Ari will feel the sa—”
He was cut off by a voice from outside the room. A voice that was instantly recognized as Ari’s shouted, “SELENE’S AWAKE?!?”
The shout was soon followed by scrambling footsteps towards the door. Jezran was so surprised he did not have time to step aside before Ari rushed past him. She did not stop until she had Selene wrapped tightly in a bear hug.
“It’s so good to see that you’re okay,” she whispered as cool tears dampened Selene’s shoulder.
“Ari…” Selene said, taken aback by the sudden assault, but she quickly recovered and returned the hug, “Me too…I thought you both were…”
“We only survived thanks to Ari’s quick thinking,” Argent, who Selene had not heard approach, saw him now standing by the doorway behind Jezran. He appeared drained, but still far better than when they found him in Lendrig’s clutches.
“Argent, my friend!” Hamish cried out, wincing slightly as he did so, “…is good to see you on feet after rescue.”
The Elven warrior gave him a bemused look, then responded, “Yes, it’s good to see you’re feeling better, at least in spirit.”
Jezran moved past them to check on Hamish, inspecting the wrappings intently, “Yes yes, but please be careful. I’m no doctor, but half your body is still broken, you know.”
“Bah, is fine,” Hamish said as he waved Jezran off, nonchalantly, “Brackva training makes for speedy recovery. I will be back on feet before next week.”
“I swear you and Argent will be the death of me,” Jezran muttered as he continued his inspection until he was satisfied. Then he turned to Selene, “As for you, you need to be in bed as well.”
“What?” Selene said as Ari finally let her go, “Why me? I feel fine.”
“In body, maybe. I only saw a few scrapes and bruises, but your body isn’t used to magic yet and you used a lot of mana over the last few days. It’s gonna take some time for your body to recover.”
Before Selene could object, Hamish spoke up, “Jezran is right, my friend. Please take care of self.”
Part of her did not like the idea of being cooped up, but she was too relieved to see Hamish was alive to argue. She walked back toward the bed and sat down on the edge of it.
Ari joined her on the bed and put a hand on her shoulder consolingly.
“It’ll be okay, Selene,” Ari said softly, “Just a few days rest and you’ll be up before you know it. Once you’re better, we can practice your magic so this doesn’t happen again, okay?”
Selene huffed, but nodded, “Okay, but you guys better visit me and Hamish.”
Ari smiled and gave her another hug, which Selene returned.
“Of course, but we need to leave you to rest, for now,” Argent said, eyeing Ari as he spoke, “We can talk more when we bring dinner up for you both.”
Ari returned the look Selene could not see, but relented after a moment of non-verbal communication. She sighed, “He’s right, of course. We’ve got a few matters to tend to before dinner, but we’ll all be back after we’re done.”
Selene grabbed the sleeve of Ari’s dress as she began to depart, “Wait, can I at least know what happened, Ari? All I remember is Hamish…getting hurt.”
The warm smile from Ari’s face vanished, Argent’s softer expression hardened.
“I was hoping to ask about that, as well,” Jezran said, leaning against the frame of the doorway, “Seems like a lot happened down there.”
The two Elves shared a look, eventually Argent spoke in a calm, measured tone, “We found you both in the chamber, but Lendrig was dead by the time we arrived.”
Ari then added with a shrug, “Guess it will remain a mystery.”
Selene must have still suffered from brain fog up until this point, because this was news to her.
“Wait, so…Lendrig is dead?” Selene asked slowly, trying to find the right words, “As in dead…dead?”
“As best as we can tell,” Argent said, “There wasn’t much left by the time we got there.”
“So…that means it’s over…right?” Selene asked timidly, “We…we won?”
Hamish laughed, holding back a wince as he did so, “It appears so, my friend.”
For the first time in a long time, a weight lifted from her shoulders. A shy smile crept up her face as she whispered, “Good.”
Her smile was returned by her companions.
“Get some rest, you two,” Jezran said as he ushered the two out the door, “We’ll all be back in a few hours with supper.”
Selene nodded then crawled under the covers.
As Selene settled under the covers, Hamish yawned and said, “Sleep well, my friend.”
Before she could even respond, she could already hear soft snores coming from his bed.
“You too, Hamish,” Selene said softly as she closed her eyes and drifted off to a peaceful sleep.
You are now all caught up on the story so far! This is the final part of this 12 part arc in Tales of Tabletop, Ocean’s Heart. If you liked this Session please consider leaving a like, comment and share this story with your friends.
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