Morning came and Marek rose up with a spark in his step, he showered Miranda awake with kisses. She let the moisture from his lips sink into her cheeks. She was quite energetic herself. They dressed and decided to head toward the hospital area together after some breakfast. Marek stepped outside and almost ran into Trax who was standing directly outside the door.
“Trax, what are you doing here?”
“I thought you might like a report from the men this morning. I was informed by someone that you may have stayed near here. Sir, isn’t this Miranda’s quarters?”
“Yes, is that a problem.” Marek growled.
“Good morning Trax.” Miranda sang.
Slow on the uptake Trax finally understood and turned a deep shade of red. He continued.
“I thought you might like a report on what the men are doing today.”
“Can it wait until after breakfast?” Marek sighed loudly.
“I suppose so sir.” Trax hung his head.
“Good, we will meet at the hospital in one hour.”
Trax left with all due haste, and with a bright shade of red still flushed throughout his face.
“That man has the worst timing.” Marek said.
“He is only trying to serve his duty to you.”
“I know, but he can be a bit over zealous.”
“Perhaps that is a good quality, or do you forget your behavior last night.”
Now it was Marek who was blushing. “I did not hear complaints from you.”
“Nor will you now. Let us go and get nourishment, there is much to do today.”
They hurried to the food area and both had large meals. Their appetites were exacerbated by the long day before them and they did not want to part ways so quickly. But they both had their duty. Once they finished eating they walked with clasped hands to the hospital. Miranda still had a slight limp.
“Perhaps you should rest your leg today.” Marek looked at her in a concerned manner.
“Marek, you should know better by now that I will do no such thing. You are letting your emotions cloud your judgement. I do not need to be coddled.”
“I did not mean to…”
“Then don’t.” Miranda cut him off.
“I’m sorry, I will leave you to your work. I will see you before the lunch hour.” Marek searched her eyes.
“Of course.” Miranda whispered
Marek raised her hand and kissed it. She then reached out and kissed his forehead. He painfully let go of his grasp on her hand and turned to find Trax. He found him not far away. Barsheel was with him and so was the boy who found Mazen.
“Ahh Trax, how are things this morning?”
“They are well sir. I trust your breakfast was filling.”
“Indeed, now please tell me how things stand for the city’s recovery.”
“I have dispersed Xenon and Zamir with one of the council members for Avaxia. The council member took one of his advisors with him. Thorend and Slade are leading separate crews to begin burial of the dead. I believe they have already transported several bodies to a mass grave outside of the city. One of the council members is working with two other groups of men from the city to try to uncover the hidden bunkers where there may yet be more survivors. The final council member, the woman, is taking account of the families and leading efforts to record who is lost, confirmed dead, and which children have been orphaned. She has also taken it upon herself to inform those who may not know the fates of their kin. The bodies of both dragons are currently being taken care of by another team of about 12 people with various skill sets, healers, tanners, butchers, and others.”
Marek stopped Trax from going further. He was quite pleased with everything Trax was telling him and did not need him to say anymore. Remarkably his mood had gone from the somberness of leaving Miranda to downright cheery.
“It seems that you have the situation quite under control Trax. Thank you for your excellent leadership during this time.”
“There is one other matter sir.”
“Speak of it then.”
“This boy insists that he go with us.”
“Young man, what is your name?”
“My name Dynast.”
“How did you know that we were planning on leaving?”
“I was standing outside the tent last night eavesdropping on your meeting.”
“I sensed that someone was there, you hid yourself well. Tell me why do you think you should go with us?”
“I do not know, I only know that you will need my help.”
“I do not question your intuition, but what do you have to offer our party? I have many strong and clever warriors who can take care of themselves. But we will encounter many dangerous things when we leave and I cannot donate resources to protecting you.”
“I can find my own food and I can get into places that you cannot. I can go unnoticed if I have to.”
“Yes, but can you swing a sword?”
“I do not need a sword to protect myself. Clumsy items if you ask me. If I am in a bind I can wield a knife.”
“Very well I will consider the matter, for some reason I am in a good mood.”
The boy smirked at this for some reason. Marek continued.
“But do not get your hopes up, there are many more able bodied people here who I am considering. Now run along.”
The boy took off and was soon out of sight. Trax spoke next.
“Many of the city’s men awoke early and the temporary hospital is nearly complete. Many people are also opening their homes, if they are still standing and housing those who have lost their quarters. Should Avaxia lend aid, which I have no doubt they will, we can probably be on our way within the next two days.”
“Then I have only two days to convince Miranda to join us.”
“Do you think that she will?” Trax asked.
“I will have to make her see sense, since I feel we cannot be successful without her.”
“I trust you will find the words you need.”
“We’ll see. In the meantime I would like you and Barsheel to accompany me to Razoun’s corpse”
They rode swiftly to the remains of the giant dragon. When they arrived the body seemed untouched, but was looking slightly wilted. They got down from their horses and walked over to one of the giant claws. It was long and curved, with lines seemingly etched in a swirl pattern leading to a razor sharp point. The scales surrounding the massive paw were flawless and shimmering. Marek started talking.
“We should see if we can cut some blocks from the nail of the claw. If I understand correctly the material can be used to sharpen and coat a sword in such a way that it will not dull and keep sharp enough to cut through almost any substance. We should also try to secure some of the scales, when integrated into armor I believe that it increases the protective ability of steel by an incalculable factor. With these two items we could vastly increase the likelihood of our success and mitigate the chances of losing of anymore men.”
They worked together to secure the items. While they were doing this Barsheel spoke up for the first time that day.
“I think we should bring the boy.”
“Do you now, and why is that?” Replied Marek.
“He is no ordinary boy. There is a magic about him.”
“What kind of magic?”
“I do not know, but there is more to him than meets the eye. Have you not noticed how your feelings have increased around him?”
Marek thought back. He did now seem to notice a correlation between his attitude and the appearance of Dynast. It was odd but not completely impossible. Barsheel continued.
“I believe the boy has great power over the emotions of all around him. I also think there is a deeper ability within him that even he may not be aware of.”
“What kind of ability?”
“I do not know, but if he came with us I may be able to help him unlock it.”
“It seems rather risky.” Trax reminded Marek.
Barsheel quickly replied, “You asked me to join you because of my knowledge. My knowledge is telling me that there is something important about this boy. I will personally take charge of him and be fully accountable for all of his actions if you agree to bring him with us.”
“You have given me much to consider and I appreciate that Barsheel. I will take your words with serious advisement. Now let us finish the task at hand. I wish to get back before lunch.”
They secured ample quantities of all they wanted from the dragon and then prepared to depart. Before getting on their horses Barsheel pulled Marek aside.
“Have you attempted to reach Razoun with your mind.”
“I have not.”
“I think you should try.”
“I intend to. This afternoon I am going to find seclusion outside of the city and I will try to connect then.”
“Do you wish for my assistance?”
“I do not. I think it best if I do this on my own. I will let you know what transpires later on. If after several attempts I do not succeed, I will seek your council.”
“As you wish.”
They quickly returned to the hospital area where Miranda was speaking with some of the other healers. Marek waited patiently for her to finish and then escorted her to the lunch that was being served.