When he saw the shimmering of the familiar golden armour, his heart skipped a bit.
For centuries, he had dreamed of this moment, to finally see him again. He never had abandoned the hope that the dragon slayer would one day understand and come searching him out. And this time he was real, not some kind of mirage, he could see the sun reflecting upon the armour.
But when the former prince had arrived at the position of the glimmering armour, his joy instantly turned into deep worry, cause Ornstein had collapsed on the ground and wasn't moving at all.
"Ornstein?", Gwynfor asked. "It is really you, isn't it? Are you hurt?" He quickly stripped Ornstein from his armour, every move was spot on, he had removed this armour so many times. As soon as the armour was completely removed, Gwynfor took Ornstein into his arms, searching for any injuries, only that he couldn't find any. He noticed a few new scars and the face of the dragon slayer was unusually pale.
"Ornstein, why haven't you woken up yet?", Gwynfor murmured and carried Ornstein into the temple, intending to laying him down on a bed to further investigate and find out how to help him. But while he was carrying him, Gwynfor noticed how cold Ornstein's body felt. No, that couldn't be... until he finally made it up here. His body hopefully was just feeling cold because of the harsh conditions on Arch Dragon Peak.
Gwynfor carefully laid Ornstein down on the bed and looked at him, noticing that his eyes were half open. And he noticed how devoid of any life they were. Ornstein looked like he was staring into a void. Gwynfor slowly reached for his wrist and felt it.
There was no pulse.
"Ornstein, please, no, tell me this isn't true.", Gwynfor said, gently stroking the long red curly ponytail, he still had it after all these years. "Don't tell me you made it all the way up here and then died before I could see you. Before you could see that I was indeed here." Thick drops of tears started to form and fell on Ornstein's pale face. He hugged the lifeless and limp body of his first knight, the one they called dragon slayer, the one he had calles his boyfriend, tears freely streaming out of his eyes.
He needed a good while to calm down, finally the tears stopped. He laid Ornstein back down on the bed, folded his arms and closed his eyes before covering him with a blanket. And suddenly he felt guilty, really really guilty.
If he hadn't been out on this day to watch over some of his sunlight warriors, Ornstein would have been able to meet him before he passed. He might have been able to help him. He shuddered at the thought of how long Ornstein may have laid out there, desperately hoping for him to come, or anybody, somebody to help him. Gwynfor decided to take a look around outside, where he had found him.
The first thing he noticed was, that the signature weapon was missing, it were just the pieces of armour he had removed earlier. Following some scrapes in the stone floor of the temple grounds, Gwynfor followed them to a gate where the dragon slayer spear was lying around. It was pretty clear now what happened to him.
Ornstein had made it to the gate, collapsed there and dropped his weapon. He managed to make it to the place where Gwynfor had found him and there all strength must have left his body. Gwynfor hoped that at least he had passed away quickly and not laid there for hours without anyone coming to his aid. But regardless how guilty Gwynfor felt, he couldn't do anything to undo what happened. He had missed his one chance at meeting Ornstein again and it had been the last he had ever gotten.
Gwynfor returned to the bed where he had left Ornstein's... corpse. It felt wrong to think of him like that. He sat down next to the it, just trying to wrap his head around what happened. Ornstein hadn't been hurt, he had checked for injuries thoroughly. That probably meant... that Ornstein passed away because of sickness or exhaustion.
"How long have you traveled?", Gwynfor asked, even though he knew he wouldn't get an answer. "I mean, I wanted to see you too, badly, but I could never return... I am overjoyed that you actually came searching for me, but... I didn't want to meet you like this."
Gwynfor thought he had already shed all his tears, so he was slightly surprised when he felt new ones well up in his eyes.
"Why?", he shouted out. "Why haven't you taken care of yourself? Why did you decide to come up here in such a bad state?! Just answer me, why!" Gwynfor suddenly realized that he had shook the limp form of the dragon slayer.
"I am sorry, I know you can't answer me anymore.", he sniffled, slowly laying Ornstein back on the bed. "I should at least honour you and give you a nice resting place..."
It had gotten dark in the meantime, so Gwynfor decided to search for a nice place the next day and head to bed. He couldn't really sleep though. The thoughts of what Ornstein had faced at his travels, to which length he must have gone to find him, how alone he probably had felt and then his body failing him right before his destination... It just wasn't fair. When the first sunlight aired through the window of his room, Gwynfor decided it was no use and he got up.
Gwynfor spend a good portion of the morning searching for a nice place for Ornstein to rest. It wasn't exactly easy, cause Arch Dragon Peak was a very rocky area. Eventually he found an area with enough loose ground, near one of the altars where people would try and ascend to dragon form. He briefly noticed how ironic it was to bury the dragon slayer there, but he didn't care. Gwynfor started to dig a hole with the shovel he had brought along.
After he was satisfied, he returned to the temple to get Ornstein, his body had gotten stiff over the night already, but Gwynfor was sure he couldn't have passed away more than a day ago. He gently lowered Ornstein's body in the dug up hole.
"I am so sorry, Ornstein.", he said. "You probably regret it the most. That your body failed you before you even could see if I was there... and yet, you were so close..." He stroked Ornstein's hair, the hair he had loved so much.
"I am just... sorry that you had to die alone... I wish I could have been by your side at least."
Gwynfor spent a few more minutes in silence, just stroking Ornstein's hair when it hit him. Ornstein surely had died full of regret, that had to mean... Gwynfor hovered his hand above Ornstein's chest, trying to feel it and really... it was still there. His soul hadn't moved on yet. Channeling the power of his own soul of light, it was no trouble for Gwynfor to separate the soul from Ornstein's body. It gently floated in his hand, a bright glimpse of light, not as powerful as his own, but beautiful to look at. Gwynfor felt almost hypnotized, just looking at this beauty. How after all these years and hardships it could still be so pure...
He teared his eyes away from the sight, gently setting the soul down on the altar. He grabbed the shovel and made sure to bury Ornstein's body until it was completely gone under the dirt. He didn't mark the grave, this grave should only be known to him.
Gwynfor took in the usual prayer stance and spoke a short few words, all he could think of, but mostly again that he was sorry. Then he picked up the soul.
"I am sure you would have wanted that.", he said and shoved the soul into his own. Soul absorption or drawing power from your fallen comrades was a common practice for the ancient gods anyway. Gwynfor gasped as he felt the warmth of the soul adding to his own. He knew that souls weren't conscious anymore, but he could swore that he could feel an embrace and hear the voice of the dragon slayer saying "Thank you, master."
After the absorption was done, he was laying a hand on his chest: "Ornstein, I promise you, you will never be alone again."
(Author's note: This was a completely random idea I suddenly had. It is angsty and horrible and made me cry while writing and I feel sooo sorry for actually having written it and crushed NK's heart so much. It is kinda the idea of "What if Ornstein made it to Arch Dragon Peak but died right away?" Anyway, I am sorry.)