Chapter XI: Spiritual Trickery (2/14)Mature

Morning came, and Will's first act was to tell Tayna all that had transpired that night. He was nervous to tell her his plans to run away, indeed she was hurt that he hadn't spoken to her, annoyed enough to slap him on the arm as she did with Andrel. However, her curiosity was evident, asking questions about Eirian and his experience through his memories - the contents of which he told her nothing of. She sensed his reluctance, and left the subject alone. 

As they discussed the matter after breakfast, during their free period instead ofAquatics class, Will was surprised when an unlikely person joined them.

Andrel had been off his crutches for a couple of days, he was clear of bandages, though he had a bald patch where stitches had been applied, something he had joked set him on the path to becoming a cleric. The image of Andrel with a tonsure haircut and sacred white robes had made Will chuckle, but it had not been his right to partake in the joke at the time. He had kept his humour to himself, extending the belief that Andrel would never speak to him again.

'Hey,' said Andrel, sounding nervous. His blazer sleeves were rolled up to his elbows and he slouched in his trousers, one would have been excused for thinking everything was normal. 'What's going on?'

Tayna looked at Will, indecisive whether to act severe given past events, or act casually. She opted for the latter, looking at Will permissively to fill Andrel in. 'The usual,' she said, smiling affectionately at Andrel, as she did. 'Will went on an astral adventure with that peryton last night, then wound up in the clutches of a cranky abarimon.'

Andrel's eyes widened with excitement as he sank onto the sofa beside Tayna. 'Whoa,really?' He met Will's eyes across the coffee table. 'What possessed you to do that? More importantly, without me?' He broke into his classic, childish smile, one that lit his face from the flush of his cheeks to the creases of his eyes.

'Well, I...' Will said, kneading his fingers together on his lap. 'I didn't think you were...I mean, I thought we weren't...'

Andrel's brow furrowed. 'You thought we weren't friends?' Will swallowed thickly, awaiting his reaction apprehensively. It wasn't as expected. 'Over that?'

Andrel chuckled with bewilderment . Will looked up with equal confusion, 'it's not just "that",' he argued in self-condemnation. 'You nearly died, because of me.' 

Andrel shrugged impassively. 'So?' He continued to smile as Will's eyes widened in incredulity. 'Look, the fact is, I'll probably nearly-die over a dozen times before I graduate. I'll consider it a failure of an education if I don't. The Sanctuary motto,"tueri somnians, somnio esse" - injuries, achievable, for you.'

The three of them laughed, Tayna beaming with the relief that the awkward week was ending and she was no longer caught in the middle. However, she seemed unable to resist correcting them intelligently. 'Just so you know, it doesn't mean that. It means,protect the dreamer, be the dream.'

Andrel rolled his eyes at her and pushed up his nose in a snobbish gesture, she shoved him playfully. 

'But,' said Will, 'I don't understand. This week, you've been...you ignored me.'

Andrel looked at him seriously. 'Truth is, I didn't know how to feel about everything. It wasn't what happened exactly, I know it was an accident, it was more about...you.' Will looked at him inquisitively, Andrel glanced at Tayna. 'With Tayna, it doesn't always dawn on me who...what she is. I know she can kick ass when she wants to -,' she grinned at him, clutching his hand, ' - but I push it from my mind that she's...royalty. You throwing me across the room reminded me, I haven't come to terms with it completely, but you are who you are, not what you are.'

'So...does that mean we're alright?' asked Tayna, sounding hopeful. 

Andrel nodded, 'it'll take more than a concussion to get rid of me. Besides, when you're both coronated, living in a palace with heaps of servants, I'll be asking for my mansion in payment for my invaluable years of friendship.'

They both chuckled and said, 'deal.' He and Will shook hands, imagining they were confirming a bigger promise than a property deal.

The End

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