(Yeah that makes sense, I’m chill with that. I’m thinking that Kaylum would easily find Nik with his powers (cuz they have that little soul string) so maybe he knows where he is but it’s too risky to rescue him? I don’t really care when the guards find him, but that whole “we’re enemies with a common friend” dynamic sounds fun ^^)
(ooh i forgot the soul string lmao yeah. Maybe Seren knows it's easier for Kaylum to escape, so he guards Nik more heavily so that even if Kaylum does, he can't take Nik? That could work?)
(tbh I love Nik's guards, they all have such distinct personalities and I love them)
(Lol yeah. That works ^^ and I’m wondering if Seren might notice Kaylum’s vulnerability to Kevra’s climate as well, so he kinda relies on him being dehydrated and overheated to keep him too weak to escape himself, which also lessens the amount of soldiers Kaylum has guarding him?)
(ooh yeah perfect!)
(Do we wanna skip immediately?)
(i mean,,, I was kinda planning on it? unless you'd rather not?)
(Oh it’s fine, I’m just worried about skipping if it’s my turn just cuz it’s kinda difficult aha. Are we thinking like, a month or so?)
(Yeah probably. Want me to handle the skip?)
(If you don’t mind ^^;)
(sure! So skip like a month, to the guards finding Kaylum?)
(Yeah that works)
(i'll leave a description of what happened to Kaylum to you lol)
Kaylum and Nik had been split up shortly after their escape, taken to separate holding areas on separate sides of the camp. They didn't have any contact, though every now and again they would hear each other. Nikolas, it turned out, had a very loud scream.
Nikolas's guards had survived, and had been searching for their prince ever since. Ryker was the best tracker among them, and while it had taken a while, they had finally located the camp. Seren had moved every now and again, but they had found the princes. The only issue was that Kaylum had less guards, despite being the more powerful and in better shape of the two. Nikolas had more guards, ostensibly because of the monster, but also because Seren knew Kaylum wouldn't leave without him. So they could not get to Nik, but they could get to Kaylum.
They waited for night time, quiet and hidden in the brush near the camp, watching the guard rotations. Errol had to hold back Aron and Lieze from charging in when they heard a few muffled screams that they all recognized as Nik's voice. If they had, they all would have died. They knew that. But it didn't make it any easier to listen to. By the time night came, Aron was pacing like a caged tiger, and Lieze was almost obsessively sharpening her weapons, death in her eyes. Ryker was standing, silently staring into the camp with a gaze that would have melted steel. And Errol, the gentle healer, looked more dangerous than he possibly ever had before.
It was Ryker that led the way, stepping silently through the camp with Aron, Lieze, and Errol on his heels. They all knew that one wrong move resulted in all of them dying. So they were silent as they approached the cell Kaylum was being kept in, silently taking out the guards and slipping inside the tent.
"Kaylum." Errol's voice was whisper-soft and quiet as a breeze as Aron opened the door and the healer approached the dragon shifter.
Since being separated, Kaylum started spending nearly all of his time in dragon form, except, of course, whenever he was taken out of the cell to be tortured. And when he was, he rarely screamed; he refused to. The most that could be heard from him was an animalistic yowling or snarling most of the time. His human body carried him through those times, and his dragon body carried him through the rest. Though it required a greater amount of energy to function, it was also sturdier and more enduring. Not only that, he felt safer. None of the humans would even want to look at him this way. He had claws and sharp teeth, could use them whenever he felt the need.
And so that was how he spent this night, on the ground and his wings folded at his sides. He played with a feather, trying to practice moving it telekinetically. It rolled and hopped around, as though being tossed about by an indecisive wind. His powers had slowly but surely returned, and he made himself relearn using them as though he were a small child again. He hated it, but at least it kept him from getting bored.
But then, something felt off. He smelled something— humans, he quickly realized, but these humans were… familiar? He raised his head, his muscles tensing.
Figures entered his tent, and he was on his feet in a moment. He bared his teeth, but paused when he heard the soft voice.
“Oh— it’s you. You’re—“ he stopped himself from saying the obvious. They survived. A million thoughts passed through his mind, too fast for him to hold on to.
"Nik's guards." Errol said softly, coming over to Kaylum. The healer was missing a hand, and his expression, of the four, was the most open. The kindest. "Do you have any injuries that I can heal?" he reached out with his remaining hand, but did not touch Kaylum. Not without permission. Aron had his gaze turned towards the door, watching for someone else. Lieze stared straight into Kaylum, her expression somewhere between outright hatred and distaste. Ryker looked the calmest, though he moved throughout the tent to ensure there were no more guards, keeping a careful eye on Errol and Kaylum. There was a degree of protectiveness in his gaze, though it was more about Errol than about Kaylum.
"We haven't much time." Aron said softly, crouching to touch his fingers to the ground with an intent expression. "Get him moving. Anything else can be dealt with later."
"Or we can leave him here." Lieze said, mouth pinching. "Seren can have him."
"Lieze. We discussed this." Ryker's voice was the deepest, a low rumble that quieted the others. He was, in Nik's absence, clearly the leader of the four.
Kaylum did have injuries, plenty of them. One of the annoying things about being a shifter was that wounds and illnesses and such carried over between forms, so the wounds from Seren’s whip were there on his back, even though he had received them in human form. The more recent ones still stung painfully, but Kaylum shook his head. “Just scars. I’m fine.”
He let his muscles relax, just shaking his body a bit. He looked at all of the guards, many questions on his tongue, but he stopped himself. It had taken him a moment to fully process that they were breaking him out. He let himself shift to human form. He was shirtless, and his ribs could be made out, even in the dim light, as well as smaller scars and bruises. There was a hollowness in his mismatched eyes.
“Thank you. Truly,” he said quietly.
Errol jerked his chin in a faint nod. "You're welcome." he said softly, reaching out to gently pull Kaylum to his feet. "Now come. If we have to fight our way out, we will all die." the four guards moved Kaylum back out of the tent, keeping a loose formation around him. In the darkness, it was difficult to make out details, and they kept their weapons sheathed, lest the glint of metal catch the attention of any of Seren's guards.
Aron took the lead this time, leading the way back through camp. He was the tallest of the four, and had the broadest shoulders too.
(He was already on his feet but ok-)
Kaylum had to stretch for a moment before he could move with them. He had been kept isolated in his cell for the past few days and his muscles were quite stiff. Recently he had been afraid to move his body too, for fear of losing the water in his body that he desperately needed, and of hurting himself. Even as they walked out of the tent, he stretched his arms and neck, before putting his long locs into a bun.
Ryker and Errol were on either side of Kaylum, with Lieze at the back in a loose diamond formation as they crept out of camp. On the way out, Aron propped up the guards and closed the tent so that it would look, at a glance, as if everything was normal. It was not, but he needed to make it look like it was. The four Kevrans led Kaylum back to their own small camp, which was only just far enough to not be found by Seren's patrols.
"Sit down." Errol said, bringing out a cushion so Kaylum could sit on it. "I'll take care of some of your wounds. Unless you react negatively to magic?"
(Lol it’s fine!)
Kaylum walked with them, simultaneously dazed and anxious. Was this actually happening? Surely something would go wrong. His eyes drifted in the direction he knew where Nikolas was being guarded. He let out a shaky breath.
Well. Nothing happened. Kaylum was out of the camp, just like that. He hesitated, not sure why, when Errol brought out the cushion, but sat down. Had he forgotten what a soft seat felt like beneath him? This felt strange.
His ear twitched. “I don’t know. I’ve never been on the receiving end of human magic before. But I told you I was fine, there’s no need.”
Errol squinted. "You are injured, and I can heal it. We…cannot save Nikolas tonight." he glanced up at the other three guards, then back to Kaylum. "The better condition you are in, the more helpful you will be able to be when we are able to save him. Let me at least take care of the worst of your wounds." he crouched beside Kaylum, rolling back his sleeves, but did not move to touch the shifter to heal him just yet. The stump of his left hand was visible now, a gnarled scar on the tip of it.
Kaylum glanced away from him and shuddered when Nikolas was mentioned. He did not like the images that came to his mind. He let out a sigh. “Alright, fine.” Errol had a point. “I’ll let you heal me.”
Errol nodded, and gently reached out with his right hand, placing it lightly on Kaylum's shoulder. He took a deep breath, and his magic got to work. He focused mainly on the wounds that were the worst. The deepest, the oldest, the ones that needed the most assistance to heal. Once those were done, he began to work on the others.
He stiffened at the touch, but didn’t resist. But he wanted to. It reminded him of the guards that would touch him, force him to stand, force him to move. But this was the opposite of that, why was he being reminded? Kaylum found it difficult to relax at first. But he reminded himself to breathe, and soon he felt the wounds smoothing over, the skin and flesh knitting themselves back together. The aching that had settled in his body for the past few weeks slowly began to lift.
Errol continued to work until Kaylum's wounds were healed, then took a deep breath, stepping back. He looked more tired than he had before, and Ryker stepped over to take his husband's hand, kissing his forehead. "How do you feel now?" Errol asked Kaylum, giving him a faint, tired smile.