He cursed softly, grunting as he gripped the banister of the stairs leading down from the front porch of the cabin, knuckles white with the effort it took to keep himself upright, muscles protesting his movement. He knew he should probably be taking it easier than he had been, but after two weeks of being laid up in bed while his body recovered from the strain of basically dying followed by the high stress induced by being on the run, not sleeping, fighting a battle, and then moving an entire cabin 60 leagues from its origin, he needed to get back to moving. He needed to work the kinks out of his muscles, needed to stretch and move around, regain his physical strength as much as he needed to regain his magickal. Still, it was annoying that he was struggling to do something so simple as walk a few feet to the hammock that Azriel had strung up between two sturdy oaks just outside the cabin near the river that flowed by, sweetly trickling over the rocks that spotted its length so that he could be outside and have fresh air but not have to stand or risk falling into the river and being unable to keep his head above water.
He couldn’t stand that he was this weak, that it was an effort and a half to move the three feet between the bed and the damned bathroom, let alone the sixty feet from the bedroom to the front door, the ten to cross the porch to the stairs, then the next ten from the porch to the hammock. Sure it had only been three days since he woke up from his exhaustion-induced coma but he didn’t have the luxury of “taking his time” as Azriel had told him he should do to recover. Not after he had finally accepted their qahllyn and had to make the plans for when he Oathed them and then everything that came with that.
Taking weeks or a month — or gods help him, months — to get past this too weak to walk without aid or falling over bullshit was not something he could abide doing. It just wasn’t. And Azriel could get the fuck over it.
“May I assist you?” Relyt asked suddenly at his side and Rhyshladlyn sucked in a breath, having been so focused on not falling down the five steps between the porch and the ground that he hadn’t felt the Soul Healer approaching.
“Yes, because you’re going to whether I say no or not,” Rhyshladlyn replied without any real bite.
Relyt just chuckled, draping the Qishir’s left arm over his shoulders and easily taking on at least half his weight but not all of it, allowing enough to be on Rhyshladlyn to carry so he could still achieve the purpose of this outing.
“You are always so surly in the mornings,” Relyt observed, mirth making his voice undulate in a way it usually only did whenever he was speaking Gretlök.
“That is because mornings fucking suck,” he retorted, sighing heavily as Relyt helped him lower himself onto the hammock, stretching out along it and letting out a soft hum, eyes closing briefly as he left his magick snick out and give him a push to start gently swaying before he looked at Relyt who was watching him with a maddeningly fond smile. Through the connection created by his Acceptance of their qahllyn, Rhyshladlyn was able to feel some of the emotion that the Soul Healer was feeling at that moment and it made him simultaneously more grumpy and less so. “What are you even doing out of bed this early?” He asked, squinting at the male who blinked rapidly, a sure sign he was guilty of something.
Sure enough his feet shuffled and his wings ruffled against his back before settling with what looked like a massive effort on the Soul Healer’s part and Rhyshladlyn couldn’t help but grin at it. Those grey wings of his always gave him away; though that was true for nearly all of the winged races. But Relyt’s seemed especially sensitive to his emotions and reflected them much more clearly than the wings of anyone else Rhyshladlyn had ever known almost as though they punished Relyt for their sensitivity.
“I… I heard you get up,” he said at length and Rhyshladlyn raised an eyebrow when Relyt didn’t continue.
It clicked when he got a flash of worry across their connection, faint but still distinguishable from the fondness that otherwise whisper-sang between them.
“You worried I was up because of a nightmare?”
Relyt shrugged in a way that equated to someone twisting their hand in a “so-so” gesture. “Not so much that. I know walking is still difficult and that Azriel sleeps as though he is tomb building and I did not want you to be without aid if you should need it.”
“I need not be coddled, Rel,” Rhyshladlyn muttered, eyes drifting shut as the forest around them came alive with the sounds of birds and other animals waking with the rising sun that hadn’t yet reached the treetops, but whose light and warmth nevertheless had begun to chase away the fog that had gathered low to the ground and the slight chill that thinned the air overnight as they drew closer to the Harvest and autumn’s beginning.
“I am well aware of that, my Qishir, but that does not mean that I will not worry about you. It also does not mean that I will not be here whenever, if ever, you have need of me,” Relyt replied, the sincerity in his voice rock solid and unmovable and Rhyshladlyn’s breath caught.
By the Scythe, Hourglass, and Scales. What position in my Triad does he serve? Rhyshladlyn wondered, holding his left arm out, fingers twitching at the Soul Healer until he felt the shimmer of the air as Relyt called in a chair and then his warmer fingers were sliding along his and their connection roared to life.
Relyt’s sharp breath made him chuckle and feel better about the way his heart skipped a beat and he grinned wide when he felt Azriel bolt awake with a purred gasp, body shaking.
“It’s been three days and I feel as though I shall never get used to this,” Relyt said breathlessly with a nod of his head at where their hands touched, his fingertips dancing over Rhyshladlyn’s palm before he angled his hand so they were palm to palm, fingers twined between each other.
“Neither will Azriel, I think,” Rhyshladlyn’s grin only got bigger, his fangs showing as he turned his head towards the cabin where his Anglëtinean stood on the porch at the top of the stairs breathing heavily, bare chest glistening with sweat. He’d pulled on a pair of loose cotton pants in deference to Relyt who, while not offended by nudity, was not used to casually engaging in it as the Anglëtinean and Rhyshladlyn, on the occasion, were. “Mornin’, angel, care to join us?” Rhyshladlyn called, waving his free hand to call in another chair and then motioned to it.
A muscle along Azriel’s jaw clenched but he nodded, unable to resist the sweet call of their connection. Sitting heavily in the chair, Azriel sighed softly and reached out to slip his hand along Rhyshladlyn’s bare foot and under the hem of his pant leg to touch more bare skin and the connection between the two of them came to life with a sound like an earthquake splitting a mountain down the center. But that didn’t surprise him as Rhyshladlyn already knew that when Oathed Azriel would stand in the position of Companion. Though he was as yet unsure of what position Relyt would stand in.
“Gods, and we aren’t even Blood Oathed to you,” Azriel remarked with a sort of reverence that sang along the connection like the soothing rush of cool water on a scorching summer day.
“It is rather awe-inspiring to consider the implications of how strong this will be if that were to happen,” Relyt agreed, sounding just as breathless as he had before.
“Speaking of…” Rhyshladlyn began and blocked the loop so that they could think clearly and watched as the two males blinked as though waking up from a deep sleep before he continued with a lazy smile twisting his lips. “I had thought by the Harvest to do the Oathing Ceremony?” He spoke it like a question, looking between the two of them.
“Would not the Festival of Flesh be more significant? It is also a more powerful time of the year as well as a Greywalker holy day,” Azriel countered.
“That is true,” Relyt added, “But the Festival of Flesh has a lot of things already going on during its celebrations and is often not a time for such things as Oathing Ceremonies, so the next most powerful holiday would be Midsummer, technically, but as it has passed, the third after that is the Harvest which comes in a month.”
“Fair enough,” Azriel agreed. “So, what all will we need to do to prepare for it?” He asked, turning those mismatched eyes to Rhyshladlyn.
“Nothing much, to be honest,” he replied with as much of a shrug as he could manage while laying down on the woven hammock. “I’ll send Shadi and Nully into town to get the necessary supplies on top of what will be needed for the Harvest Rites and such, but honestly, I will only require that you both be certain you wish to go through with this because once it is done, there is no going back.”
The two just stared at him as though he had insulted their ancestors and asked a stupid question all at the same time and he just rolled his eyes at them.
“You can make those faces at me all you want, I’m going to continue to say you don’t have to go through with the Oath unless you absolutely wish to up until the point that it is completed,” Rhyshladlyn remarked, uncaring that he sounded testy. It was still early morning and he hadn’t had coffee yet. He was entitled to some grumpiness especially when his males were being twits. “Also, you’ll need to work on your Oaths.”
They made identical hums of acknowledgement before the three of them lapsed into silence and Rhyshladlyn closed his eyes, just basking in the calm brought on by their touch and the slowly warming morning as the World awoke around them. Eventually their mornings would be filled with training again, but until then he was content to these easy mornings spent in his hammock with his males at his side, even if he still hated that he was only having them because he was too weak to do much else.
Especially given that he had the feeling these easy, lazy days spent recuperating weren’t going to last him very much longer, whether he was physically and magickally capable of handling their ending or not.