The moon sets in her perch, high above the sky. It is just the start of Halros’ turn of taking watch for the night. The forest slowly comes to life. Harlos furiously scrubs the blade of his sword, in an attempt to get it to shine. After about half a mark, he sits there satisfied with his reflection in the blade. Halros stands up and puts the blade back into its scabbard.
Halros walks around camp, making sure everything was in order. He begins to head back to the campfire’s embrace when he notice something odd. Odin’s bedroll is empty. Halros’ mind begins to race, wondering if the young Eladrin had wandered off, left, or was taken away against his will. His steps become a bit faster, hoping to find Odin somewhere in the campsite.
Checking everywhere for Odin, Harlos takes a sigh of relief when he spots Odin propped up against one of the rear wheels of the wagon. As he approaches the young Eladrin, Halros begins to hear him sobbing. Then he sees it. Several crimson lines are etched into Odin’s left forearm, dagger still in hand, Odin’s head hits the back of the wagon as he cast a new line.
Halros takes a deep breath before sitting next to Odin cautiously. “Hey, kid. You really shouldn’t do that sort of thing. What’s wrong?” Halros shifts a bit uncomfortably, seeming tensed to take action if needed.
Odin burst into tears. “I’m sor… I’m sor…. I’m sorry. I….I…. I…” The dagger falls to the earth.
Halros reaches over and flings the dagger not far away, and pulls Odin into a hug. “It’s okay. Breathe. Breathe. Let it out. You startled me is all. You can talk about this at your own pace.”
His breathing becomes ragged. “It’s started with a nightmare. I…. I … was in… back in that… cell… in Principum. I… I tried going back to sleep.” He sniffles, “but I couldn’t. Then I was thinking about what happened back in Vanhalen.”
Halros rocks gently with Odin in his arms.
“Odin, you’re never going to have to go back there. I swear to Durin, I will not let someone take you back there to hurt you as long as I breathe. And I know what happened in Vanhalen can’t be changed, and I’m sorry. I want you to know we care about you.” Halros sniffs as if containing tears. “I promise you, Odin, I will protect you. If you ever have another nightmare like that, if you ever feel like this again, you can come to me and I’ll do whatever you need.”
Odin sits there in silence and continues to sob. “I’m so… I’m sorry…. The pain use to help, but it didn’t seem to this time. Than… thank you for being there for me. I have been so scared.”
“Please don’t feel like you have to be sorry,” Halros says quietly. “You don’t have to be sorry, you’ve been trying to cope. I’m sorry you’ve been scared.”
“No… I know it’s wrong…. the headmaster use to punish us, if he saw the scars on our forearms.” Odin wipes his nose into his sleeve. “I didn’t… it seems… easier though… like the pain is flowing out… it’s selfish.”
Halros holds Odin a little tighter. “I understand you are hurting, though. Even if someone else punished you for it, I won’t. I only want to understand and help. Would you be okay with me healing you?”
He lifts his head up, “you would do that for me?”
“Odin, of course I would.” Halros moves his hands and gently places them on Odin’s wounded arm.
“This may sting a bit, I’m not sure.” A faint glow appears around Odin’s cuts and they being to stitch themselves together as they would have over time.
Odin looks at his arm in awe, where there was once crimson streaks, now only faint white lines remain.
“It didn’t hurt. It felt kinda weird.” He pulls a handkerchief out of his pocket and blows his nose into it. “Thank you.”
“Are you going to tell Xenareous?”
“Not unless you want me to. I don’t know how he would react.” Halros rubs the back of his neck.
“I don’t know if I want to,” Odin says as he rubs his right hand through his hopeless bedhead.
“Thanks, dad,” Odin’s eyes grow twice their size, “I mean Halros.”
A smile briefly flashes across Halros’ face. “You’re welcome, kiddo.” Halros gets up and offers a hand to Odin. “You may want to get some rest now. You know where I’m at if you need me.”
Co-Authored by: Max Corbin, Party’s Ardent