Then Alvis woke up. Not in blinding pain where Tyrfing had cut open his gut, but hale and whole and bothered by a great din that could only be made by a great gathering of people in one room.
Opening his eyes, the Velthomer sage found himself reclining on a bench in the midst of a riotous banquet! Countless strangers moved around him, talking and feasting and laughing and some engaged in what appeared to be friendly brawls. A few of them looked vaguely familiar, like he’d seem their likeness but never met them in person…as strange as that idea was.
However, it wasn’t as strange as the familiar face which leaned in to hover of him. “Welcome, son of Vala and Maira, to the Afterlife!” shouted down the blunette who was the last man on Jugdral that Alvis wanted to see.
“Sigurd.” There was no denying it. Sigurd of Chalphy stood over him, the blue of his hair the same as his son’s. “Then I’m dead. Seliph killed me–”
“Did he ever! My boy tanked Valflame like a champ.” His grin made Alvis wonder if the dead could feel pain. But when he reached for Vala’s Holy Tome, he found it missing and sat up in alarm.
“Whoa there, Alvis!” Sigurd stepped back and waved in what might supposed to have been a placating manner. “I didn’t mean to offend, just showing some fatherly pride! You’ve got kids, so you understand.”
His heart ached at the thought of Julia and Julius and how he was now gone from their lives, so the dead could apparently still feel pain. Yet another thought quickly replaced it and made him rise to his feet. “If we’re both here, does that mean Deirdre...?”
“Oh! Uh…” Sigurd’s grin abruptly vanished and his eyes started darting from side to side. “Yeah…I guess she’ll want to see you. Um…wait right here.” His blue head of hair and white uniform then vanished into the milling crowd.
Alvis stood there waiting for a while, then sat waiting for a longer while. Finally he realized Sigurd likely wasn’t going to lead Deirdre back, and more likely didn’t want the love of their lives to see her second husband. Resolved to find her Alvis set to search through the banquet, excusing himself and elbowing the more stubborn crowd members.
Just when his search began to reach infuriating levels, Alvis spied two other familiar faces who might know where Sigurd, and more importantly, Deirdre was. Gathering his composure, he approached the blond and brunette men.
“Greetings.” He scantly nodded with deferred as their gazes turned to him. “Do you know where I could find your friend, Sigurd?”
The two men glanced at each other, then the Leonster dukeknight shrugged. “Last we saw he said ‘Me and the wife get to visit our boy!’ and he’d left to go buy a souvenir to give Seliph.”
“Seems unfair that they got a haunt just cause you died.” Eldigan sighed, “Sigurd can be a real pain in the neck.”
“At least he won’t stab you in the back.” Quan countered.
Ignoring the responding touché and their ongoing prattle, Alvis glanced over the crowd again. Then he saw her! There by the boar being roasted on a spit over a fire pit, he spied long, silvery waves of hair glinting with the dancing flames. His feet couldn’t carry him to her fast enough.
Soon enough there he stood behind her. Uncharacteristically nervous, Alvis cleared his throat, “Deirdre…” His breath caught as her big, dark eyes looked over her shoulder. “I-”
“Alvis, you dastard!” Sigurd’s cry split the air before he tackled the redhead away from their wife and the unfriendly brawl that started the surrounding crowd met with a cheer.