Title: The Northland
Disclaimer: Wholly original work.
Summary: For a tale about the South, it certainly has a strange name. Early-Agassia, before the boredom, before the corruption, and as much about Daryn as it is about a great future king.
Laughing, Night splashed through the Palace's inner courtyard fountains, dunking his head under spitting stone statues as an escape from the blistering heat of the day. His long, dark hair stuck to his body, unbound from its ties just before he'd tossed off his slippers and shirt.
All of the priests studying magic under High Priest Kysenn had been excused from their lessons that afternoon when the heat in the tower classrooms made learning impossible. But only Night found himself thinking of the cool fountains for relief. But he was not as dignified as the rest of the priests, perhaps because despite studying amongst them, he wasn't one of them.
Flopping back to float in the shallow pool, Night closed his eyes, pretending he wasn't at the Palace, but instead elsewhere, away from sweltering south and his mock-servitude to the Lifegod Dayn. He knew it was his own unwanted privilege at work in his mind, but he really thought the Palace priests to be somewhat pathetic. The magic they wielded was insanely powerful and useful, but it was all learned in an effort to win Dayn's favor and eventually be gifted with some prize like immortality.
That didn't explain why Kysenn did it, though - whatever hold the lifegod had on his servant must be some great thing. It was just the sort of thing that Night didn't want in his life, much as he didn't want his birthright and eventual fate.
He could feel the sun on his face, drying it slowly as he relaxed. There was only the sound of the water pouring into the pool some feet away, pulling at him, reminding him that while eventually he would study with those serving the Ocean, at some point he would also get a break and time of his own. For years he had lived in the far north with his brothers and their elder sister Tormika. He had learned the world as she saw it, and he had grown to love the savage north.
His chest was warm now, dried from the sun and beginning to bake again. Water had gathered at his eyes and he didn't much want to open them, not yet, though he really needed to move.
"And what do we have here?"
Startled, Night flailed his arms, unable to right himself properly and instead dunking beneath the surface of the pool, sliding as he tried to find his footing and inhaling water. He came up sputtering and coughing, not registering another splash until arms were wrapped around him, pulling his hair from his face.
"Are you okay?" Night was being held rather tightly, despite having managed to be upright in less than four feet of water. He'd been rescued, apparently, by someone wearing the uniform of... an officer of the Northland Army? Night knew the basics of the militia that hunted the bandits and thieves in the dense forests of the north, but that was weeks' travel from the deep south of the Palace.
"I'm very sorry, priest. I didn't mean to startle you," his rescuer continued, finally letting Night take a step back. "I'm used to only children playing in the fountains."
Finally clearing his eyes of water, Night could finally see who had been holding him.
"Lord Daryn!" Night attempted to bow as he'd been instructed on his first day at the Palace when the Lifegod's eldest child had been pointed out to him from high in the tower. The water kept him from bowing however, so he just looked downward, growing more and more embarrassed as seconds ticked by without a response from the demigod - the demigod who had saved him from less than four feet of water while wearing a full uniform.
Perhaps, Night thought, drowning might have been better.
"You aren't marked as a priest," Daryn noted, making no attempt to leave the pool and instead reaching to pull Night back upright, tucking back wet chunks of hair and settling a hand to cup Night's chin, examining the spot where an ever-fading tattoo should have been, counting the days until servitude was finished. "Yet you were wearing a priest's shirt and slippers. So who are you?"
Night could feel himself blushing. Daryn's hand was lingering and Night was not at all used to such attention.
"My name is Night," he stammered. "I am the son of..."
"And you call me 'Lord'," Daryn interrupted, chuckling as he pulled his hand away, finally taking a step towards the edge of the pool. "I should be half-drowning myself while bowing to you."
"While I am here," Night said quickly, shaking his head, "I am to be treated as a priest. I am learning that magic and you would be correct to make any demands of me that you would a priest."
Despite the scorching sun, he was shivering anyway, completely confused and wanting nothing more than to sneak away back to Tormika, back to a place where his future didn't matter.
Daryn was staring a hole through him, waiting for something.
"Then would you come with me, priest?" he asked finally, grinning. "My uniform is soaked thanks to you."
"I'm sorry," Night muttered, trying to look away as he reached for Daryn's hand. Daryn had a strong grip and Night almost stumbled again as he tried to keep up as he was pulled across the pool to where it shallowed enough for the pair to step out almost normally. Water poured from Daryn's uniform and Night felt thoroughly water-logged as well, still shivering a bit. As Daryn let his hand drop, Night looked up and realized why the sun didn't seem quite so warm.
"Rain," Daryn commented, glancing upward at the dark clouds that were now casting shadows over them both. "Cold rain. We should get inside, priest."
"Of course," Night replied, quickly running back to grab his slippers and shirt, for all the good they'd do him. His feet were used to the rough underbrush of young forests and the stone of the Palace didn't bother him at all. Still, for fear of seeming improper, Night pulled his slippers onto his feet and his shirt over his head, thankful to get the order correct on the first try.
"Come with me. Though I'm just visiting at the moment, I do have a suite of rooms here," Daryn explained, gesturing for Night to follow across the courtyard and into a part of the Palace he'd never thought to venture into.
"So you are from the Northland Army," Night said, stepping quickly to catch up to Daryn's fast stride. He could see the movements of a soldier in Daryn's solid body and couldn't help but be curious about the muscle under the uniform. As the smallest of three brothers, Night had stayed willowy as he grew, envious of the sculpted bodies around him that he couldn't manage to develop.
"And what do you know of the Northland?" Daryn asked, seemingly paying no attention to the squishing noise that his boots made on the stone floor.
"I was raised there," Night explained. "Well, the last few years at least, since it was time to leave mother and begin preparing."
Daryn stopped, turning to look Night squarely in the face. "You aren't happy about it, are you?"
"About being born with a set destiny?" Night asked, raising his voice. This was the only thing that he couldn't handle. "I was never asked if I wanted to be a great king of this world. I was never asked if I there was anything I wanted in my life for... for me! What if I don't want to live for one purpose?"
"Shh..." Daryn brought a finger to Night's lips, hushing him. "Night... Perhaps things are not as futile as you think they are. Look at my father, the Lifegod. He does not spend every second concerned with who he happens to be, nor do any of the gods."
Night closed his eyes, knowing that Daryn was correct.
"But still," Night said suddenly, as he opened his eyes wide and stepped closer to Daryn, pushing away the hand that would silence him. And then he backed down. "You have choices. You can shape your future."
"And I can stand here dripping wet listening to a nobody priest complain like an idiot, but I choose not to," Daryn replied, turning and starting down the hallway. Thunder crashed outside the Palace and Night jumped.
"Wait up," he cried, suddenly amazed. He could still choose to do plenty of things, after all, and he would. Daryn was really making him think as opposed to coasting through the day, not bothering to want to wake up the next knowing it would be only the same as the previous. "Daryn!"
Running to catch up, Night could hear the rain start outside the Palace, hitting the tiles of the roof loudly.
"I'll speak to your mother," Daryn said once Night was at his side again. "If she'll allow me, I'll take you to the Northland, to train, to learn."
"Really?" Night asked, a smile finally threatening to form on his face. He wanted that. He wanted to join the Northland Army...
"I'll share you with Lady Daria if I have to," Daryn answered quickly, spinning to face Night and grab both his arms with his hands. "Allow me one moment where you are my lord and let me do this to serve you. Death herself would share you - I would make her."
Pulling away, Night was disgusted. "No. Do it because you like me, not because you wish my favor later. At this moment, I am just a priest..."
Not looking back, Night headed in the other direction, towards the courtyard. He listened for the telltale sound of Daryn's footfalls, but did not hear it. He was not being followed.
For just a moment, Night thought he had found a hole in the net of his fate, but no, he found himself tangled more than ever.
The rain hadn't lessened any when Night awoke the next morning. Usually the sun pouring through the high window of his room pulled him from sleep before Kysenn came though, clattering a large metal ladle down the hallway wall as a demented first call for breakfast.
He stretched, looking upward and wishing he could utilize the lost space of a room with a high ceiling but nothing else. In order for his wet clothing from the night before to not drip onto either his bed or his other clothing, he had ended up taking his small amount of other clothing to bed with him. Now it was tangled into a wrinkled mess, but no amount of chastisement would really affect him. Perhaps the wrinkles would annoy Kysenn into giving him another afternoon of free time.
The ladle came crashing along the wall a second time echoing in the chilly stone priests' quarters as Night pulled on a much warmer shirt than he'd needed the day before. As he stepped into the hall, he couldn't help noticing how many of the other priests, men he generally preferred to ignore, seemed reluctant.
And then it struck him - these men had not chosen to become priests either; that choice had not been theirs. Yet they all kept going, around him, even though they weren't happy with their situation. Night knew then that he needed to go find Daryn and apologize for being so selfish. His situation was different, yes, than the common butcher or baker's child who would grow up to take the same task, but not so much that Night couldn't see the similarities.
Pausing in the hall, Night slumped against a wall, sliding down until he was sitting, arms wrapped around his legs. Apologizing wasn't really going to be the easiest thing, though. He had already proven an ineptitude with words around the demigod and besides that, he had no idea where Daryn would be.
Night looked up to see Kysenn standing beside him, metal ladle in hand, face twisted in some sort of concern.
"Yes, master Kysenn?" Night asked, suddenly realizing his position. Sitting down in the hallway at meal time probably would raise a few questions.
"As you know, on occasion a priest may be summoned for small tasks around the Palace," Kysenn began, gripping the ladle tightly as though it would escape as he spoke. "Often these tasks are simple, such as guiding around a visiting dignitary. This has been requested of you, Night, so please be on your best behavior."
Night scrambled to his feet. Dare he assume that his presence had been requested by...
"If you would follow me, Lord General Daryn, son of the Life-giver Dayn, waits for you in our meal room," Kysenn continued. "This is rather unusual for him, so please, please do whatever it is that he asks."
"Of course," Night said. That was what he had told Daryn the night before, after all. He was a priest; he would serve until the day when he would be the one served. Quite curious but not willing to mention that fact to Kysenn, Night followed the high priest through the rest of the hallway, wishing he had bothered to comb the tangles from his hair.
On the far side of the meal room, Night spotted Daryn instantly. While the clothing he wore was not so different in cut from the priests' outfits, the darkness of the color stood out. But if not for that, Daryn could have easily passed for any normal man, not a demigod, not a General.
Walking away from a rather confused Kysenn, Night took a seat across from Daryn, smiling as Daryn looked up from his meal.
"Lord Daryn," Night offered in response. It was greeting enough.
"I return to the Northland this evening," Daryn said. "But until then, let me find a way to apologize for upsetting you last night."
Night shook his head. "I should be apologizing. I shouldn't look at my fate as a curse and I am going to have to learn that I'll be treated differently because of it."
And then it hit him - Daryn would be leaving that evening. Night did not want the demigod to go. Certainly a half-day's worth of questions would not begin to sate his curiosity about a world he wanted to know.
"I promise to treat you like any other priest," Daryn stated as he pushed his nearly-empty plate across the table. "And since I believe I've eaten your breakfast, I request you come with me that I might feed you proper."
"Yes, Lord Daryn," Night said, bowing his head in gratitude, hoping that Kysenn saw him behaving so well.
The rain had finally stopped just before evening, clearing enough that Night could see the sun beginning to sink towards the horizon. He sat in Daryn's sitting room, sprawled ungracefully on a half-sofa as he watched Daryn gather the things he needed to return to the Northland.
Night was exhausted but sated. He could not remember a time he'd been both so well-fed and well-worked. He knew bruises were forming where he'd been knocked around by Daryn's wooden practice sword and also his own, having no clue how to handle the weapon. Daryn was a patient teacher though, offering a hand each time Night found himself on the floor.
"It's time, priest," Daryn said finally, closing his bag and looking over at Night. "Don't tell me you're tired. That was just play."
Pulling himself to his feet, Night nodded as he crossed the room, not wanting to speak for fear of saying something truly stupid. He didn't understand any of the feelings that were pulling at him, making him want to run to Daryn and beg him not to go.
But instead of heading out of the Palace, Daryn seemed to lead Night deeper into the labyrinthine building.
"Lord Daryn, where are we going?" Night asked after following silently as the entered a dark hallway whose torches lit only as Daryn approached them. It was not a place where anyone commonly went, and Night was beginning to get nervous.
Daryn dropped a step to let Night catch up and walk alongside him.
"We're almost there," Daryn said. "You'll see."
Without thinking, Night reached out and grabbed Daryn's hand, much as he used to do with his sister Tormika when walking through the woods at night. As soon as he realized what he had done, he tried to let go, but Daryn held firmly, looking straight ahead.
At the end of the corridor was a simple, small wooden door that wouldn't have been out of place in the priests' quarters. But as they approached it, Daryn started chanting a complex spell that Night couldn't really understand until he heard locks clicking within the wall. Whatever was beyond the door certainly had to be something under careful guard.
Letting go of Night's hand, Daryn pushed the door open and stepped into the small room beyond. A single torch lit as he walked further into the room and Night couldn't help being a bit afraid yet again. Shadows danced beneath the torch-light, threatening to swallow the room. And the only thing in the room was a mirror on the wall, foggy and tilted at a strange angle as though it had been knocked into and never righted.
"What is this?" Night asked, louder than he had intended.
"This is a direct link between Palace and Temple," Daryn explained, walking over to the mirror and straightening it. "They were made by the Mother Goddess so that Life and Death could always be close."
"That goes straight to Daria's Temple..." Night said in disbelief. It certainly explained why Daryn could return to the south so easily, but it lit the fires of another thousand questions within him.
"Yes," Daryn said before touching the corners of the mirror and muttering words Night could again not understand. The image within the frame flared and settled down to something definitely not a reflection. Blue light shined from the other side, and smiling, Daryn raised a foot to step through.
"Wait!" Night cried, rushing forward. "I... um... thank you for today."
"Ah, priest, you'll see me again soon enough," Daryn replied, slinging his bag through and letting it the floor on the other side of the mirror. And then Daryn stepped the rest of the way through, watching Night carefully for a moment.
"When?" Night asked, stepping closer until he was just in front of the mirror. "There are so many things..."
Daryn reached back through the mirror, silencing Night, leaving his hand to trace Night's cheek and chin.
"Three weeks," Daryn replied. "As long as there are no attacks, I will be back in three weeks."
Night nodded, closing his eyes for a long moment.
"Night," Daryn said softly, reaching his other arm through the mirror to pull Night to him. Night thought the mirror would feel strange, but it didn't feel like anything. The connection was direct, and tight in Daryn's embrace, he gave up thinking about the principles of the magic at work. Then as Daryn shifted them both so that their lips met, Night stopped thinking altogether.
Grabbing at Daryn's shirt, he clung to Daryn, not entirely sure what he was supposed to be doing but instead letting Daryn lead a slowly deepening kiss. As Daryn's tongue touched his for the first time, Night tried to move forward but his feet hit stone. Already he'd forgotten they were on opposing sides of the mirror. A little shocked, Night pulled away, eyes wide as he brought a hand up to his slightly parted lips.
"Lord Daryn!" His mind was spinning, not entirely sure just what he was supposed to do now. But Daryn had it all under control. With a half-bow, Daryn smiled and turned to grab his pack.
"I'll see you soon, Lord Night," Daryn called, waving over his shoulder.
And as Night reached to the mirror, it crackled and his hand smacked into glass. Staring at his own disheveled reflection, Night sank to the floor. Certainly he knew these sorts of feelings existed, but he never thought they'd happen to him - somehow love and lust had never worked their way into his equation of fate.
For the next three weeks, Night worked himself to near-exhaustion, practicing physical combat and attempting to learn every spell and charm Kysenn could teach him. All the time he told himself that this was the right path, the path to being with Daryn and the heat Daryn had unlocked within him.
But it was not three weeks before Daryn returned from the north. It was three months.
Night ran along the edge of the fountain, absolutely sure of his footwork. He'd done this again and again until it was second nature - jump, kick off the pair of fish, land, run, jump again - despite bruises from each fault. His goal was in sight and with one last leap, he landed on the top of the middle fountain, a place large enough to sit and watch across the courtyard to where some of the other priests were darning socks. Thankfully he'd been excused from that task, however, for the first time in weeks by perfecting one of Kysenn's more difficult assignments.
As he started to sit, he thought he heard weak clapping coming from behind him. Turning, he saw the source of the applause and promptly lost his footing. Before he could consider casting a spell of any sort, he hit the water and sank beneath the surface before bouncing gently off the bottom and righting himself.
Gentle laughter met his ears as he stood up in the pool and reached to wipe the water from his eyes.
"At least you're easy to find," Daryn said, walking to the edge of the pool. "And other than that last step, your footwork has certainly improved."
"Lord Daryn!" Night crashed out of the pool, a small tide of water coming with him. He was absolutely soaked, light, thin clothing sticking to his frame. As much as he wanted to grab Daryn and not let go, he paused.
Daryn's hair was longer, threatening to get in his face and hide his ears. And his uniform had been traded for all black, death's color. But what really kept Night rooted in place was the sling on Daryn's left arm, bandages peeking out along Daryn's wrist and hand.
"You're hurt..." Night finally stepped forward, leaving a trail of water behind him.
"An ambush," Daryn said, frowning. "An ambush that turned into a siege. Two mages came at me at once and I'd have to say I came out of it better than either of them. Besides, it's not so bad. I only have the sling so I remember not to try to use it like normal."
"May I serve you?" Night asked, taking another step closer to Daryn. A thousand times he'd played this in his mind, rushing to Daryn and kissing him again, drinking in the fire of Daryn's body to fuel his own. Never had he imagined Daryn would be hurt.
"Priest," Daryn said as he grabbed Night and pulled their bodies together, apparently not exaggerating about his arm being close to healed. "You'd better."
Night let himself melt into Daryn's kiss, welcoming Daryn's tongue into his mouth and not thinking of breaking away. At least this part was exactly how he imagined, fire burning between them as Night tentatively reached to touch Daryn as well, not so sure what to do with hands, knowing only that he should be doing something.
Clinging tightly even as Daryn broke the kiss, Night suddenly realized he was still dripping wet. He jumped back, shaking his head.
"I've gotten you all wet again," Night said softly, sighing.
"It's okay," Daryn replied, offering Night his good hand. "Come to my rooms and change. I've already spoken with Kysenn on the matter of borrowing you for a few days."
Days? Night nearly stumbled over his own feet. He could only imagine what Daryn would do with him over the course of several days. Blushing red, he also knew that he wanted it.
Once inside Daryn's rooms, the sling was the first thing to go. Daryn flexed his arm slowly, wincing as he stretched it straight. Night stood back, wondering just what he was supposed to be doing next.
"You've been practicing that fountain dance," Daryn commented as he crossed over to a dark-colored armoire on the other side of the room. "Quite good, other than the dismount."
"I have the bruises to show for it," Night admitted. He lacked a god's body, he knew, leaving him quite vulnerable to injury. A few burns from magic gone awry also dotted one of his arms, but he wasn't going to mention anything he didn't have to.
Daryn pulled a pair of dark pants and a light tunic out and set them on a nearby table. The outfit would make him look quite like an ordinary villager, actually, and Night was quite amused by it.
"And Kysenn mentioned you were focusing more on your studies as well... Certainly I can't be the reason for your attitude shift." Daryn pulled his shirt off, showing muscle and a slight trace of dark fuzz that disappeared downward to areas still covered. Night knew he was blushing again, but he couldn't tear his eyes away.
"I want to be with you," Night admitted, finally tearing his eyes away as he went to sit on one of the half-sofas that Daryn seemed to favor. "Here... in the north too... I want to be with you!"
"Are you sure?" Daryn asked, catching Night with his eyes.
"Yes," Night replied, nodding. He was sure.
"Then kindly stop dripping on my furniture and come to my bed," Daryn said, offering Night his right hand. Again, Night had forgotten just how clumsy he'd been.
"I'm sorry!" Night said quickly, standing up and trying to brush the chair off as if it would help.
"It's warm here. It'll dry," Daryn reminded him, grabbing Night and pulling him into the other room. Quick fingers made short work of Night's shirt, leaving him gasping and shivering against the heat of Daryn's body.
"Daryn, I've never..." Night began before stopping when he realized he'd forgotten to address the demigod in the proper form.
"Don't worry," Daryn replied, apparently not noticing the slight. "If you're scared..."
"I'm not scared," Night interjected, leaning up to quickly kiss Daryn. "I'm just not sure what I should be doing."
"I'll show you." Letting himself be guided over to the bed, Night could only moan as Daryn kept touching him, pulling at the damp pants that clung to his body and slowly working them downward. He was a bit embarrassed at his arousal, especially at the way Daryn seemed to avoid it as he was finally stripped and directed to lie back on the bed.
Night could only watch as Daryn stepped back to finish removing his own clothing. The demigod held Night's attention absolute, chuckling when he realized just how closely he was being analyzed.
"Just relax," Daryn said as he eased onto the bed, quite obviously favoring his right arm before dropping onto his back and pulling Night to him. Night was overwhelmed as Daryn's mouth covered his, pulling him into a deep kiss as their bodies met. As his arousal crashed against the warmth of Daryn's body, Night moaned into the kiss, trying to move enough to sate the ache building deep in his stomach. Daryn's right hand grabbed at his buttocks, nearly forcing Night to thrust against Daryn's stomach. Their mouths stayed together a moment longer before both needed air, Night shaking and gasping for breath as he clung to Daryn.
"Daryn... I... need... something!" Night pleaded, burying his face against Daryn's neck and placing a quick kiss there.
"I know," Daryn whispered quickly, his left hand stroking the length of Night's hair as his right sought downward from where it had rested. Night tensed as Daryn's fingers circled his opening, but Daryn kept whispering reassurances and petting his hair. The words of the spell escaped Night completely, but he knew what it had done as a pair of slick fingers pressed into the tightness of his body. There wasn't pain, just a strange feeling. He didn't realize he was crying out until he had to wet his dry lips.
And then Night's dark eyes flew open as his body threatened to explode from sheer white pleasure burning through his body. He could feel it starting in his fingertips and tearing through him, centering at a spot inside where Daryn's fingers lingered, pressing and teasing for a few seconds more until bliss took hold of him and he spilled his seed against Daryn's stomach.
Night knew he was shaking, but he couldn't help himself. Daryn was still quite hard against him, but the demigod wasn't moving to continue just yet. Instead he just kept stroking Night's hair, not commenting at all when Night softly kissed his collarbone, working upward slowly but trying not to move too much and pull resting fingers from him.
Just as Night was about to place a soft, thankful kiss on Daryn's lips, Daryn spoke.
"Night..." Not 'priest', not 'Lord', just his name, something that his Night deep inside. "May I...?"
"Yes," Night answered, laying a kiss on Daryn's lips. "Please..."
As Daryn slowly rolled their bodies so that he was above Night, Night couldn't help but notice a brief rush of pain cross Daryn's face as he used his left arm to move them. But he couldn't help but let worry slip from his mind as Daryn shifted the pair of fingers on his right hand that were still inside Night, pulling them free and guiding his arousal to where they'd been.
"Just relax," Daryn instructed as he pushed forward. Night squeezed his eyes shut at the intrusion, grabbing at the blankets beneath him and at Daryn. He brought his legs up to give Daryn more room, trying to make it so Daryn could move without putting weight on that left arm.
Gasping for breath as Daryn thrust fully inside of his body, Night was surprised not to be in any pain. The sensation was different, but not bad in any way, not like Night was afraid it would be. In fact, what he really wanted was for Daryn to move. Gently, he pushed downward and opened his eyes, not at all surprised to see the blue of Daryn's just inches away.
Night could only think of the feeling as heat, liquid fire pulsing through him as Daryn thrust, picking up a steady rhythm. The feel of his arousal hard against Daryn did surprise him though. As Night tried to reach to wrap a hand around it, Daryn batted his hand away, instead using his own injured left to stroke Night in a counter-rhythm of his own thrusts.
The way he was being touched, both inside and out, was nearly too much for Night. He stopped trying to move, leaving himself to just feel. With Daryn moving within him, faster, harder, he could feel the beginning of the tingling bliss. And this time he had Daryn's name on his lips as he came, grabbing at Daryn's back and trying to hold Daryn as close as possible. Daryn moved faster, losing his rhythm finally as he thrust two last times into Night, moaning low as his own orgasm overtook him.
"Are you okay, priest?" Daryn asked sometime later, when both could finally remember how to speak.
"Yes, Lord Daryn," Night answered from where he was curled at Daryn's side. "I'm absolutely perfect."
"And if I told you that I'd made arrangements for you to join my unit of the Northland Army as a part of your training, you wouldn't be upset, would you?"
Night gasped, weighing that in his mind. Obviously he did need more physical skill, so really it would be a good set up. But he didn't want to let on that something else had caught him so unexpectedly.
"If that is my destiny," Night replied, yawning and hoping to finally be allowed to go to sleep.
Night ran along the edge of the fountain, arms out and laughing. He would have completely missed his lone spectator before, but he was stronger now and able to sense everything around him.
"Daryn!" he called, waving for the demigod to come over.
"Lord Night, it's a pleasure to see you making a visit to Palace," Daryn said as he approached, jumping up to stand equal to Night on the low ledge of the main fountain. "But what brings the King of the East from his castle after so many years?"
"Daryn... Lord Daryn..." Night didn't want to count the decades it had been since they'd last seen each other. But Daryn hadn't aged a day and Night knew he didn't appear any older than the gods who watched over the world.
"We both knew your fate," Daryn said, finally breaking the silence that had followed. "When I left the Northland, I had though to go to you, but..."
"Mmm. I'm here now," Night said as he reached to take Daryn's left hand in his and force Daryn to show the fading scar from that wound so many years ago.
"Yes, priest, I guess you are," Daryn answered, chuckling for just a second before he pushed Night into the water, jumping in on his own a moment later.
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