83

“Get them out of here!”

“We can only hold them off, there’s no way to kill them–”

“–not without being able to Balance the Worlds.”

He nodded to no one in particular. There wasn’t a point trying to keep track of all the Otherborn that filled the space within the retaining wall. For all that it was a large space it didn’t feel like it, not with the things that they were fighting and not after an entire host of his kind had arrived at the behest of his .

With a growl he tore the spine out of one creature and turned to wrap it around the throat of another before slingshotting it over the wall. Sliding his hands along the sharp vertebrae he made it steel-strong before sending it sliding through the air like a javelin, piercing five more of the things before he turned on his heel and made for Alaïs.

“No!” she hollered as her grabbed her arm and pulled her away from the pocket of fighting she’d been aiming for next, “put me the fuck–”

He blinked them through Thae’a’s wards and dropped the struggling Lord Queen to the carpet of the front room, dodging the punch she threw at him the second her feet had settled. Her fury sliced at his face like the talons her nails had become as she swung out at him again. But she wasn’t meaning to actually hurt him and even if she had he was still faster, was still the better fighter.

“Gods damn you, Xheshmaryú!” she hissed and tried to strike him again but he caught her fist and ducked beneath her other one before he caught it, too. “Bring me back! We cannot leave them!”

He gave her a shake by the hold he hand on her wrists.

“Give me more credit, Al,” he said as he released her. “I am not so cowardly or stupid as that.” Before she could do anything more than draw a hissing breath to no doubt yell at him some more, he blinked back to the cabin. So what she was furious he’d pulled her out first, it wasn’t his problem anymore. Her Qishir handle her. He had other shit to do.

He waded through the pieces of bodies that wriggled as they fought to find their other halves to reach Thae’a. He only went for her next because he didn’t want to face off against a furious Lupherinre if he failed to get her out before anything major happened. Well that and the host were busy protecting Azriel and Nhulynolyn by making an impenetrable wall around them. Nothing would get through to the Grey Companion and First Other unless it managed to kill the entire host. And that was virtually impossible, so Xheshmaryú wasn’t immediately worried for them.

He dodged a swing from a creature that was missing half its face, eye dangling by its optical nerve against the empty space where its cheek used to be. With a growl that trembled across the air, he delivered a roundhouse kick to that ruined face that snapped its neck. As it dropped limply to the ground, he moved by it, not even sparing it a second glance. He had one goal: get all of the Grey Court out and to safety. He fought three more creatures before he snapped Thae’a’s name, pulling her attention around to him. Thankfully when she saw him she just ran forward, hand outstretched for him to catch. She didn’t question that he was getting them out or why she was going before Azriel and Nhulynolyn.

“Motherfucker!” Alaïs snarled as soon as he landed. He tossed Thae’a towards Adïmshyl who was already waiting to catch the full weight of his mate, as though he’d sensed her coming long before the wards had reacted to their approach and turned to face of the Lord Queen. Her blue eyes were cloudy with her anger, face twisted with it so that her striking features were thrown into a stark relief that made her look every inch of the Sinner Demon she was with only the high cheekbones being more of a testament to the Ancient her mother had been. I do not have time for this. His own anger bubbled up to the surface as she took another breath and hissed out, “Take me back. We aren’t–”

No, Alaïs Ka’ahne,” he interrupted with a snarl, risking failure by taking precious time he knew none of them had to advance on her, uncaring of the fact that when it came down to it he was outnumbered by the Honorable Court. But by all the gods her refusal to see sense made him violent. “I am going to collect Nully and Az and then I’m coming back here. But we cannot try to take the cabin back now. It is suicide.”

“But–”

No.” His tone was hard, his native accent wrapping around the word, making it sound longer than it really was. “No,” he repeated. “You heard our kind, you know that there is no killing those things without being able to Balance the Worlds back out. They were made to kill our . So please stop being fucking battle-stupid and let me get everyone to safety.”

He left her staring at him like a startled fish and blinked into the circle of Otherborn around Azriel and Nhulynolyn. As the battle raged around him he let himself see the damage to his fellow for the first time. Let himself take in the fact that had Rhyshladlyn not somehow gotten to them and commanded Nhulynolyn to live just as he laid the barest of touches to his skin, that Nhulynolyn would have died. That he was still dying though the danger was more imminent now rather than immediate. Azriel was frantically trying to reknit muscles and bone while he watched, utterly uncaring of the fact that his legs lay twisted and useless behind him, that his body and the magick that powered it were trying to heal the damage without the bones being properly set. That’s going to suck so much later. 

“Azriel,” the Anglëtinean startled and looked up at him, mismatched eyes too wide, fear written plain and loud across his face but it didn’t cloud his eyes the way Alaïs’ fury had clouded hers. “We need to go. Let me take him to Thae’a’s place. I’ll come back for you shortly.”

Azriel never argued, just nodded and leaned back but Nhulynolyn’s hand shot out, blue eyes blinking open, unseeing for the pain that darkened them. But for all that he was blinded by the agony that was no doubt drowning him, Nhulynolyn looked first at Azriel then at him.

“Take us both…” Nhulynolyn coughed and made a high pitched keening sound that pulled the collective attention of every single creature around them to the fact that their targets were about to escape. “Take us… together… or n-no-not at… at all.”

“I cannot transport you both, Nul,” he replied, squatting down on the side opposite Azriel. “I’m not strong enough to carry you both across that distance.”

“Let me help.” Xheshmaryú looked up to see a Shadow step out from the Otherborn wall and bow low at the waist. “I can lend my energy and my strength to you, Xheshmaryú Otherborn, so that you may carry them both together as Nhulynolyn Otherborn wishes.”

He narrowed his eyes. “Forgive me but I do not know you. I believe you when you say you and the rest here were sent by my kè and I am grateful to the help you have provided for without it we would have surely died, but I cannot risk my ‘s entire Court on just those two things alone.”

The Shadow nodded. “I understand. Were our positions switched I would feel much the same.”

There was a snap of displaced air and he whirled around, hands up in a defensive position to find Alaïs rising to her feet, eyes blazing. She closed the distance and hoisted Azriel up and across her shoulders as though it wasn’t the first time, as though the male didn’t outweigh her by nearly one hundred pounds. The Anglëtinean didn’t do more than roll his eyes as he wrapped his arms around one of hers as she settled him more comfortably.

“You were taking too long,” was the only explanation she gave before she blinked back out.

He laughed. Surrounded by nightmares and the impossible sight of a literal host of Otherborn, with Nhulynolyn dying at his feet, he laughed. Because it was so very like Alaïs to lose herself then collect it and find the easiest, fastest solution that none of the rest of them would have figured out until it was too late. Some things never changed and he was grateful they didn’t.

“Come on, Nul,” he crouched down again and gripped the Other’s uninjured hand. “Thank you,” he said to the Shadow who still watched him. “I don’t know your name or the names of all the rest of you, but my thanks. Hopefully one day I… we… may find you all again so that we can make proper manners.”

“Get them to safety and keep them alive,” the Shadow answered with another bow. “That is all that matters.”

He didn’t argue. Just gripped Nhulynolyn’s hand and blinked them away.

5 thoughts on “83

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