“You can rest here for a time. I will watch over you.”
Chesed bit down on his tongue at those words. The giantess, the mother of their enemy, was offering a safe haven to his group. Why? The thought didn’t sit well with him. Not with his past, not with everything he had been taught. Letting the giant go in Sandpoint had ruffled more than a couple feathers, but…. but he trusted his allies. His friends.
The decision was up to them.
A nod passed between Tomlin and Da’Karu, though the latter didn’t look convinced of the giantess’s words. Erin shrugged as he plopped down against a wall, “Sure, why not?”
That was it then? Chesed’s gaze turned to Shalelu. The elf cupped his face gently, “I’ll watch over you. Get some rest.”
That was it then. They would trust their lives in the hands of a possible enemy and Shalelu. Chesed knew Shalelu would be capable of alerting them if something happened, but would they be fast enough to act on it if things soured?
“All right,” he murmured, even though the words made his gut twist. Chesed took Shalelu’s hand and kissed her palm before moving to find a place along the wall, closest to the door of course. He would be on point if anything dangerous came through.
Shalelu sat next to him as Chesed curled up on the bedroll. Her fingers trailed through his hair softly. The touch calmed his initial worries. They would be fine…. If not, they would fight through it and win. Anything was possible as long as their group stayed together…
But a feeling pulled at Chesed’s heart as he tried to quiet his mind for sleep. It was the ever present thoughts and worries of his family… What had happened? Where were they? Would he find them? Were they… gone?
They were all questions that the giantess could possibly answer. But the rager couldn’t ask.
Chesed shifted as he heard heavy footsteps pass by. He followed the sound of shifting fabric over stone, and barely glanced up to find the giantess sitting on the other side of Shalelu. Silence fell in the darkened chamber… as silent as it could get with the noise of roaring dragons and fighting in the far distance.
“Why are you helping us?” Shalelu’s quiet question drifted under the noise up above.
“It is as I told you,” the giantess returned in the same hushed tone, “As it grieves me to say it, my son must be stopped.”
“A hard burden for a mother carry,” Shalelu sighed.
“Believe me, if there was any other way, I would beg of you to do it.”
“I believe you,” Shalelu replied, “We will do what we must…”
And they would. Chesed ground his teeth together as the overwhelming urge to cut something in half hit. He would personally see to it that Mokmurian was ended.
An ebbing and waning silence filled the room as the two spoke quietly of other, less interesting things. Chesed’s mind slipped a little further into an uncomfortable doze. It wasn’t restful and he was still on edge for anything. What he didn’t expect was a simple question from his love that brought his mind sharply back into wakefulness.
“You know of what happened to the people on the plateau? The ones in the way of this… expansion?” Shalelu stated.
Chesed tensed under her hand, unable to say anything, dreading and hoping for an answer of clarity. The yes or no.
“Yes… I witnessed some of the fighting,” the giantess replied after a long, painful pause, “Many were driven off the land. Some fought back.”
Shalelu carefully brushed fingers through his hair again. She knew he was awake, and she knew it was an important moment, “And the Starfist clan?”
“The Starfist clan…” the giantess repeated, “Yes… their village retaliated with the most impetuosity. Their leader, Avniel the Winged-Terror, fell in the last battle.”
It was something Chesed expected, something that he knew was most likely the outcome, but the words sliced into his chest like a thousand daggers. Avniel, his father, was dead. The rager struggled to contain the overwhelming urge to strangle the nearest thing he could get his hands on. His hands closed over the edge of the sword lying next to him on the floor. The metal was cold and the pain cut sharply enough through the turmoil to ground his mind. He had to stay calm here… the fight…. the revenge would come soon enough…
“And the rest?” Shalelu pressed the question firmly.
“From my knowledge, most escaped into the lower lands,” the giantess responded, “Avniel’s bloodline lives on in his children.”
“Then there is hope,” Shalelu left the open statement in the air as relief flooded Chesed’s body. The rager let go of the sword blade in his hands and relaxed for the first time in days. His sisters were out there… He just needed to find them. Determination flared in his chest. They would finish here and then he could take some time to search. He would find his siblings. Whether during or after everything was over, Chesed wouldn’t stop until he found them. It was a promise he would keep.
And that was the best night of sleep he had gotten in a long while.