As Baharsh poured drinks for everyone, Yhgand gestured to a chair for her to take a seat. He and Meikosh sat on one of the couches, leaving Baharsh and blue eyes the other. Before he could sit there was a timid knock on the door and a female darminian came in, carrying a tray of meat, cheese, bread, butter and what appeared to be scrambled eggs. She, too, appeared timid around Aryna, but not scared per say. Setting the tray down, she looked at Baharsh intently, seemingly having a silent conversation with him.
As he sat, he made a sweeping motion with his hand, across his body and ending pointed in the Aryna's direction. The darminian nodded, turning to look at Aryna but refusing to make eye contact. She started to speak, stopped, seem to have a conversation with herself, then started again.
"Chryond is my brother. He told me you were very nice to him when asking for his clothes. I just wanted to say we appreciate it. So often, we are treated like dirt. It meant a lot to him that you did not. He may be rough around the edges and speak his mind a little too much, but he means well."
Before Aryna could respond she darted from the room. Meikosh shook his head and chuckled. Grabbing a plate from a table behind him, he filled it with a mix of everything and put it in front of her. "Little human you must be hungry. Let us drink to our health and success in the mission ahead. Something tells me you have a plan."
"Indeed I do, but lets not talk business over a meal. That exchange just now gives me questions. Darminian's historically have not been treated well, yet they all respect you, and I am given to believe that this company was the first to bring them on and treat them as capable warriors. What was the cause of that?"
Meikosh and Baharsh exchanged a look that could not be read before Meikosh spoke. "Baharsh and I were children together and trained together. We were rambunctious youngsters, and not always well-behaved. One of our pranks inadvertently led to the death of a darminian. While no one we trained with seemed affected by it, we were not entirely ok with no repercussions being brought down on us. We vowed then, we would treat all as equals."
Baharsh's silence made it clear to her he felt heavily responsible. "So why did you rescue me?"
He looked at her, clearly not startled she had asked. Her face had that inquisitive look again, and he once again felt like he was being pulled toward her. There was something about those ice-blue eyes that captivated his very essence.
"I felt then, as I do now, as if our destinies are entwined. I cannot fully explain or understand it. You should have been dead, your body looked so broken, but your eyes, they had the same fire I see now. Somehow, you survived what you were put through, and someday I hope to hear the full tale. Mental resilience like that speaks of a warrior made, a kindred soul as it were. I knew when I saw that, I could not kill you."
Silence followed as all ate I silence, thinking over what was said and what it would lead to.
"So basically, he's a big softy!"
Good old Meikosh, always breaking the silence with a joke. Baharsh was mortified, staring at his second before risking a glance at the little human. To his relief he caught the half smile he had come to adore and was relieved she saw the humor in the statement.
"You accuse him of being soft, but you made no effort to stop him from bringing me with you", Aryna observed.
Laughing as usual Meikosh looked at her intently. "I did not say it was a bad thing. We've all come to trust his judgment and in your case agreed. If The General wanted you dead, and you were not broken as he described you could have been, you are definitely special. We all sense that you will lead us to greatness and that you are worthy of our loyalty and protection."
"What does Reihnash think?"
The watcher's amused chuckle caught her attention. "He thinks you are a powerful ally and is thrilled to have you... he also thinks Baharsh is i..." before he could finish, the door flung open with a resounding boom.
An excited Tornica rushed into the room. Seeing her human friend awake and well she smiled and would have flung herself onto the human had the blue-eyed demon not stopped her. Scowling at him, but recalling the events a few nights before reeled in her excitement.
"BloodRaven, you are alive! I am pleased to see you regaining your strength."
"I am pleased to see you as well my dear Tornica. I have you to thank for being alive. Your lessons in demon culture and language helped me quite a bit upon arriving here."
"I knew when the fates brought us together you were destined for greatness. A happy accident we met the way we did. I did not know you were the famous Aryna though. You keep your secrets well."
"It is safer that way generally."
"I believe you. I must go before the High Commander arrives, but I had to see you were well for myself. When we deposited the clothing for you, I was worried you would die in your sleep. You were tossing and turning and muttering... I wanted to check you for a fever, but Yhgand would not allow it."
With that, she exited as suddenly as she had entered. A confused Yhgad addressed her. "I did not know she knew you personally. I checked on you regularly and was certain you had no fever. The High Commander did send a physician to check on you, but even if we had allowed him to enter, he really did not want to."
Aryna gave a slight nod with one eyebrow raised. She could understand that. While she had been exhausted, she remembered the fight, letting the blood rage consume her, and Reihnash's satisfied look when he saw her in action. Baharsh and his companions were commanding enough, what they had seen her do demanded its own form of respect.
The voice was unfamiliar to her. Startled out of her thoughts she looked at the blue-eyed demon whose name she had not yet learned. His voice was not as deep as the others, and he bore fewer scars. She realized then he was quite young by demon standards. She also realized only Baharsh knew of her familiarity with Tornica.
"Yes. When I met Tornica, I mistakenly called her into my magick circle. One of the first things the coven taught me was to use a different name. This name you save for your magick workings, so the deities know you are calling on them for magickal aid, but also to protect you in case you make a mistake. I was young, not yet good at the craft, and I was trying to cast a protection spell. I thought I was invoking the northern watchtower, but instead, a feisty demoness appeared. We formed a bond that later turned to kinship. Had she known my true name, we would have both been in danger. That is why she knows me better by my coven name."
"So that is how you know our language and our customs. I wondered."
Before they could get to know each other further, the demons twin entered carrying a long wooden box. Setting it on the table he looked expectantly at Baharsh, who stood and walked away from the group, bringing the other demon with him. They conversed quietly, though Aryna could see the black-eyed demon was excited.
As they rejoined the group the others stood and Meikosh cleared away the food. Not sure what was happening, Aryna stood as well. As the group of demons turned to look her she felt something would soon be expected of her.
"We felt a warrior should not be without weapons."
As Baharsh said this he raised the lid of the box and pushed it toward her. Inside sat a short sword and matching dagger. The blade of each was pure black with intricate demon carvings through the blade. The handles were metal, though not one she recognized, brassy yet coppery and smooth yet did not slide in her grip.
Picking up the dagger she tested the weight. It was heavy, yet balanced almost perfectly and felt good in her hand. Returning it to the box she pulled the short sword. It to felt amazing in her hands, and sent a pulse of power up her arm. Her eyes twinkled as she felt the demon energy in her body, quietly enhancing her already impressive power. These were not just weapons; these were gifts of the highest honor. She was officially welcomed as an honorary demon.
Looking up, Baharash held out a belt to her, scabbard on each side for the beautiful blades. As she put the belt on, ignoring the many eyes on her, she again questioned what the High Commander expected of her.
Sliding the blades into the belt and adjusting it one last time, she looked at those assembled. Each gave a small nod, clearly approving of her attire. Baharsh looked at her with a great intensity, and she held his eyes for a while, trying to decipher the silent conversation he was trying to have with her. Before she could, the door slammed open; the High Commander had arrived.