Emotional exhaustion took Kellach to bed fairly quickly after he broke down in the arms of the other knights. Moyra and Driskoll retreated out to the sofa again after he had fallen asleep to give him some space, as they didn't want to wake him with their conversations.
"I can't believe he went through all that." Driskoll broke the silence between them. "I knew it was bad from the scars, but I didn't know it was that bad…"
Moyra hummed her agreement. The two were cuddled up on the couch, Driskoll's arm around Moyra's shoulders. Had it been anyone else, the gesture might have been romantic, but between the two of them it just spoke of the deep trust and friendship between the two.
Driskoll had always kind of thought of Moyra as Kellach's girl anyway.
"There's no way he's handling this well," Moyra mused quietly. "He's as emotionally constipated as your dad."
Driskoll nodded. "Neither did you, at first," He pointed out, loathe to bring that up again.
Moyra stiffened, but tried to relax when Driskoll rubbed her shoulder. "No, I didn't," She admitted. "But you more than anyone know what it did to me."
"Yeah," Driskoll agreed, sighed as he tried to wipe away those memories.
There was a moment of comfortable silence.
"He'll never come to me of his own accord," Moyra pulled a knee up to her chest.
"I can… push him towards you," Driskoll offered, looking his friend in the eyes, "If… you feel comfortable talking about it."
"You know I'll never be comfortable talking about it," Moyra said sadly, and snuggled more into Driskoll's embrace. The two watched the fire as Moyra continued, "But… I do think it will help him to feel less alone…"
"He's been in and out for a while," A voice roused Kellach from a dark, dreamless sleep. He barely recognized this functional space. It had been so dark and peaceful for so long…
"Still no idea what happened to him?" Another voice asked.
"He was tortured within an inch of his life, that's for certain," The first voice continued. "Poor boy."
Were they talking about him? Where was he? As he started rejoining the waking world it suddenly hit him how dark it was, and how sore his whole body, especially his head was. He groaned at the sudden realization of pain, and the voices hushed.
He heard footsteps approach, and then there was a hand on his chest. "You back with me boy?" The first voice asked.
Kellach wasn't sure what the man meant. "'urt," He finally managed to mumble, "Wha…"
Kellach heard movement, and guessed the man must have knelt. Why didn't he just turn the light on? It was pitch black in here. "You're in a temple," The man filled him in. "My name is Gorges, I'm the cleric who found you and healed your wounds. You've been here for about two months."
Kellach moaned, turning his head slightly as he tried to wake up. "Wh-… dark…? Cn't see…"
If he had been more with it, he might have sensed the atmosphere in the room shift. "What do you mean, dear boy?" Gorges voice was apprehensive, but Kellach didn't understand.
"'s… dark in 'ere," Kellach opened his eyes, trying to find the cleric's face. "Why no ligh's?"
There was a pause. "It's full morning," The cleric said gently, a tone of horror dawning in his voice. "Can't you here the birds singing?"
Kellach awoke, gasping for breath. He blinked his eyes a few times, taking a few moments to remember why he couldn't see. "Gods…" He whispered, sighing and burying his head in his hands.
The nightmares last night had been awful, his mind reminding him of the interrogation that had resulted in his crushed fingers, but this time they were no just crushed, but cut off while he slowly bled out. And then to top it off, the memory of when he discovered what had been the physical cost of his escape…
He anxiously started trailing his fingers around his wrists again, but determined hands gripped them. "Kell, you gotta stop that," Driskoll's voice came from in front of him and Kellach did everything in his power not to flinch in alarm.
Kellach pulled his hands away, hating the sensation of something around his wrists. "Don't touch them," He said quietly, but put his hands down at his sides to quell the urge to begin rubbing them.
"Sorry," Driskoll apologized. He paused, fidgeting a little. Kellach guessed that he was kneeling at his brother's feet. "You feeling up for breakfast?"
Kellach turned his head towards where he thought he remembered the door being, already hearing sounds in the kitchen downstairs. "I don't think I get a choice," He said quietly. He stood up, tracing his fingers along the bed until he could find his dresser to grab a pair of pants and a shirt.
"You gonna tell them?" Driskoll asked from behind him.
Kellach knew what he was talking about. "I told you, I don't want to," He snapped, rather harshly, but then shook his head. "Sorry, that was uncalled for."
Kellach heard Driskoll sit back on his own bed. "Kell, right now I'm giving you a pass for anything you say after what we heard last night."
Kellach's lips tightened. Choosing not to comment, he asked instead, "Is Moyra here?"
There was a pause, and Kellach guessed Driskoll must have nodded, because his tone was awkward when he said, "Yeah, she spent the night on the couch last night."
"She didn't have to do that," Kellach mumbled, feeling for the front of his shirt and pulling it on.
"She wanted to," Driskoll clarified, hovering behind Kellach. He paused as Kellach struggled into pants he couldn't see, then he said, "You know, if you ever want to talk about… you know, how you're mentally handling this, she's probably the best one."
Kellach gave a short, sardonic laugh. "Why's that?"
"Hey," Driskoll's tone was slightly reproachful. "She just… she'd probably understand best what you've been through."
Kellach didn't try to keep the bitterness out of his voice. "Why, was she kidnapped and tortured too?"
There was silence from Driskoll. Kellach paused, worried that he was missing something. He turned towards his brother, wishing desperately he could see the boy's face. "Driskoll, what aren't you telling me?"
"Driskoll, what happened to Moyra?"
Tension knotted in Kellach's chest with every second that passed that his brother did not respond.
Driskoll responded quietly and evenly, "You should talk to Moyra about that in private."
"By the Gods, Driskoll, what…?"
"Boys, breakfast is ready," Moyra's voice came with a knock to their door. Kellach tried to stare Driskoll down, but was sure the effect was ruined by the fact that he couldn't truly lock eyes with his brother.
"Ask her later," Driskoll said, gripping Kellach's shoulder before raising his voice as he pushed past his brother. "We're coming Moyra!"
Hearing the door open and the sounds from downstairs flood the room, Kellach was forced to let the matter drop.
Driskoll thought it was merciful that Kellach was spared the looks of pity from his parents as he came downstairs. Kellach could probably sense them though, as his shoulders tightened the further he went down the stairs.
"Come on slowpoke," Moyra called, walking swiftly over to Kellach and grabbing his arm. Driskoll was a caught a bit off guard at her actions, but as she proceeded to lead him to his chair, he realized what she was doing- helping him find his chair in a way his parents wouldn't suspect.
Kellach, too, seemed to have realized that she was trying to help, although Driskoll didn't miss the flinch as he was grabbed. Judging by the look on Moyra's face, she hadn't either.
Once they were all finally seated and eating (although Jourdain poked at her food and Kellach was trying to eat his food without appearing blind and the process was slow), Jourdain cleared her throat.
"So… Torin and I have had some discussion," She prefaced, and the mood at the table immediately tensed. Moyra set her food down to look at the two adults, and Driskoll tried to slow the rate of his eating a little. "We think we know who the people might have been."
She continued quickly, looking at her son as he froze and clenched his fists. "The human man I am not exactly sure of, but his association with the half elf leads us to believe he was once one of the leaders of the Order of the Shadows, an organization that formed in response to the success of the Knights of the Silver Dragon. It was some fifty years ago that the organization fell to pieces over conflicts in leadership, but is an order we have been conscious of."
"The half elf… I know much of," She closed her eyes, body posture mimicking her son's. Tight. On edge. "Lovenza, who was one of the founders of the Order, and an old enemy of Zendric's." She cast her eyes around the table. "Our guess is that they are attempting to rise to power again, and are looking for information of the organizations that lead to their downfall in the past." She seemed unable to continue on to the next part, looking at her tortured son in silence.
Torin spoke up. Casting a look at Kellach, he continued, "Believing this now, it is incredibly important that the information regarding our order stay secret. And knowing this," His voice broke. He took a moment, before whispering, "Kellach, we are so proud of you for standing up and not falling to these people. You may have just saved Promise."
"We are so, so proud of you," Jourdain whispered, putting a hand on her son's shoulder.
Kellach didn't even fake looking at his parents. He smiled faintly, but it never reached his eyes. He seemed to be fighting with something in his mind.
"Knowing this now, we need to prepare Promise," Torin carried on. "Our city may come under attack, especially as the Order was unable to get information out of Kellach." Driskoll could see his dad was already running through options in his head.
"They may try to get to you kids again," Jourdain said softly, and all of the younger knights tensed. "We need you all to be prepared at all times. Kellach, I can teach you some magic that might help if… if something happens. I have old spellbooks you can study, and-"
"Mom, Dad, I'm blind," Kellach suddenly interjected, pulling back into himself.
Driskoll's eyes were wide. That was not how he had expected his parents to find out. Moyra too looked shocked.
But that was nothing compared to the looks of complete lack of comprehension on his parents' faces, mixed with dawning horror.
"When I fell out of the tower I hit my head really hard and when I woke up with the cleric I was blind," Kellach grit his teeth. "He couldn't heal it, I've been living with it for about nine months now."
The younger knights were silent as Jourdain and Torin digested the information. "Why didn't you tell us right away?" Torin's jaw was tight.
"I wasn't comfortable," Kellach said shortly. "I heard how you guys reacted last night. I wasn't going to tell you, but if there's something I can do to be more functional in case a threat comes to Promise I want to do it." He looked down at his lap, where his nervous habit was picking up again. "I'd sooner die than go back to being their captive."
Had Kellach still been sighted, he and Torin would be having one of their father/son glaring matches, but as it was, Kellach only stared into space, and Torin knew that.
"I have to get to work," He snapped, and quickly left the table.
Jourdain sent a frustrated look after her husband before turning back to the kids. "I'll pull out my spellbooks," She said reassuringly. "I think we can find some things that will make life a little easier for you."
Torin didn't speak to Kellach when he got home from work that night. Jourdain assured them that he just didn't like feeling helpless to protect his sons, but still the animosity lingered.
However, Jourdain did find a couple of spells that could help Kellach.
"Gods this is weird," Kellach muttered as he walked around the room, narrowly avoiding the table as he sensed it at the last moment. Jourdain had cast a spell on him that allowed Kellach to sense objects that came within a two-foot radius of his person. It wasn't perfect, but at least he had stopped stumbling into furniture.
"You'll get used to it," Jourdain tried to smile, but Moyra could see that she was still adjusting to the idea of Kellach's blindness. "We'll keep working on that reading one." The one that would read books and writing aloud when cast. The problem with it was that Kellach would have to cast it on his own, and locating and using the right spell components while blind would be difficult.
"I think I'm done trying new spells for the night," Kellach sighed, sinking down on the couch.
Jourdain nodded, seeming to agree.
Driskoll trudged into the house from outside, looking exhausted. He had been sparing with Torin. "Mom, Dad's upset," He said. "That practice was horrible."
Jourdain sighed. "I'll talk to him," She promised.
Driskoll nodded and headed up to bed.
Jourdain looked at the two remaining knights. "Sleep well you two," She said, following Torin in when he went into their bedroom.
This left Moyra and Kellach alone together in the sitting room. Moyra was already curled up on the couch, but closed her eyes when Jourdain left the room. They sat on opposite sides of the couch. There was an awkward silence for a moment. Moyra wondered if Driskoll had told Kellach about their discussion last night.
Her question was answered when Kellach spoke. "So… Driskoll told me I should talk to you about… you know, what's going on in my head. Because you might understand?" His hands went to rub his wrists, but he paused, as though consciously trying to halt himself.
Moyra sighed and looked down. Driskoll had mentioned it. "What did he tell you?" She asked.
Kellach turned his head towards her. "Just that you could relate," He said. "Moyra…" He moved closer to her, close enough that she could see the trembling in his hands as he struggled not to resume his nervous habit. "Moyra, what happened to you?" He asked.
Moyra took Kellach's hands, sliding close enough to him that their legs touched. She lifted his right hand to touch her face. "So you can read my expression," She explained, but didn't let go of his hands.
"It's not something I like to talk about," She murmured, "I'm sure you can relate." Kellach's face was twisted in worry for his best friend, but he waited for her to continue, shifting his fingers on her face ever so slightly.
"You see," Moyra started, paused, then continued, "About eight months ago, everything was falling apart… You had been gone, and everyone was kinda calling off the search at that point. Driskoll and I weren't talking at the time. We discussed it later and at the time we were both blaming each other for your disappearance."
She took deep breath. "So, one night, not having anything else to do and wanting to help my mom, I offered to close the shop while she went home early…"
Uh oh. Not where I planned to cut this off so the next chapter is gonna be interesting.
Hope y'all enjoyed! If you did, please just leave a "Hey, I liked it," or a "You write good." I promise, these chapter come out much faster when there are reviews urging me on.