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The Heavy Weight of Empty Bones

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They get to Ikithon eventually. They finally confront Caleb’s demons from his past. But the fucker is so much more powerful than they thought, and he has other Scourgers backing him up. Beau gets up on him, punching him in his stupid face, really laying into him. But he speaks a word to Caleb and he collapses, and they all freak out because he's visibly dead.

Jester pops him up and Caduceus gets him back to not on the edge of death. But Beau has taken some hits from the fucker in the meantime, frantically trying to distract him. Some bolt of dark energy hits her and the lights go out. She comes to a few yards away, Jester frantic kneeling over her, diamond dust still settling around her. She feels like shit but Caduceus heals her a little and she jumps back in.

Trent is focusing hard on Caleb. He’s yelling as they fight, talking about how Caleb killed his parents, trying to throw the rest of them. Caleb looks panicked and terrified, but none of the rest of them give a single shit and Beau just hits him harder. Caleb goes down again, still so weak from the first time, and they can’t get there before one of the asshole Scourgers shanks him once, twice, and he’s dead. Jester is screaming they don’t have another diamond. Beau and Yasha lay into Trent and finally, finally he goes down and they keep hitting him. Jester, Fjord, Nott, and Cad get the Scourgers. Everything is quiet. Beau can now clearly hear Jester sobbing. They walk to Caleb lying on the ground in shock. He’s dead. Nott lets out a primal cry, shrill and agonized, and collapses over him, clutching on his shirt, shaking him, trying to wake him, before just burying her head in his chest, sobbing.

“We have to get another diamond. We have time, we have ten days,” Jester said.

“You can do that?” Beau asked, amazed. She knew that they could bring someone back up quickly, she’d just experienced it herself.

“Fuck, we’re so far from anywhere,” Jester said. They had gone to Trent’s private home where he took new Scourgers in training to ambush them. There was a teleportation circle in the basement and Caleb had slipped Frumpkin into Trent’s assistant’s pocket when they went through, and through him had seen the circle well enough to use it. According to what Caleb said the nearest village was two days journey on foot, maybe more.

“Search the house!” Beau directed. Caduceus picked up Caleb and they ran in, frantic, but there seemed to be a lot of wizard stuff but no diamonds. No horses either. Beau searched carefully and methodically, suppressing her panic. She found a whole bunch of components and shit and once she determined there were no diamonds she called Fjord over and raked all that shit into his bag of holding.

“Caleb will be happy to have these,” she said firmly. She refused to entertain the idea that he wasn’t coming back. Fjord nodded but there was a note of pessimism in his face. Beau also grabbed all the papers and Fjord just handed her the bag after the third time of her calling him over, and she stuffed every book and paper in the house in the bag, they could sort it later.

“Ok, we just have to walk, let’s go,” Beau said. She had to make up for it somehow. Caleb had taken charge when it had been Molly and they had to get the others back. Now it was her turn, as no one else seemed to be stepping up to do it.

Yasha, Jester, and Caduceus took turns carrying him, Caduceus was surprisingly sturdy when carrying things thanks to his giant heritage. They just set out walking in tense silence.

Beau was thinking about Molly, of course. She was sure they all had to be. They're all wondering if they'll put his nice purple coat on a stick over his grave or just bury him in it. Caduceus cast something on the body so it won’t get weird, according to him.

Nott has been drinking heavily the whole time. The second time she fell over Beau turned to her, angry.

“Nott! Keep it together, he’s going to be fine!” she growled.

“Fffuck you!” Nott yelled shrilly, bringing up the flask again. Beau snatched it from her but Nott bit her firmly on the hand.

“Ouch! Dammit!” she yelled.

“Give it back!” Nott said.

“No! If you don’t settle down I’ll knock you out and carry you!” Beau yelled. Nott grumbled but quieted.

Beau keeps running the fight over in her mind. If only she'd been quicker, if only she'd held out just a little longer, been a little less useless, then at the very least Jester would have had a choice about who to pick, and it would be obvious that she should pick Caleb, who was so much more useful to the group and could get them somewhere with a diamond for her super fast, no problem. Beau could just punch things real good and had stumbled into having a tiny amount of clout in the Empire. Wasn't doing anyone much good now.

Evening drops and they don’t want to stop but they’re exhausted. They make camp and realize that no dome means watches for sure, and a fire to keep them warm. Beau takes first and Yasha joins her. They all arrange themselves in their little cuddle pile and Caduceus has set Caleb’s body right in the middle and arranged him like he’s asleep. Nott is curled up by his legs and Jester is back to back with him, with Caduceus curled around them like Caleb needs to be kept warm. He’s not feeling the cold. Beau is listening out but her eyes kept drifting to Caleb. His hair is undone and is covering his face haphazardly, but Beau had seen him. His eyes were wide and staring, and his face still held fear in it, when they’d first gotten to him. Caduceus had closed his eyes and after a while his face had relaxed, going blank and utterly inanimate.

“I’m thinking about him,” Yasha said.

“Me too. If we can’t get him back I don’t want to bury him by the side of the road. We had to with Molly, we had no time.”

“Where would we put him?” Yasha asked.

“Maybe Caduceus’s graveyard? You never saw it but it’s very nice,” she said hesitantly.

“I think that’s a good idea,” Caduceus rumbled quietly.

“Sorry Cad,” Beau said.

“We bury heroes there. I think he qualifies. He’ll grow some interesting tea,” Cad said, sleepily, and eventually he seemed to doze off.

“I don’t want him to be fucking tea, I want him alive,” Beau snarled quietly under her breath.

“Yeah,” Yasha whispered back, looking at him.

They began their relentless march in the morning, trudging on to the road as fast as they could maintain the pace.

“Look, he’s gonna be fine! If Caleb wants to come back he’ll come back, ok!” Jester said suddenly.

“But does he want to come back?” Caduceus asked quietly. Caleb was slung over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes, all of his books and stuff were in the bag to make carrying him more comfortable.

“Of course he does!” Jester yelled.

“He definitely wants to come back!” Nott added in at the same time.

“The other side is tempting. He’s lost people, we know,” Cad said.

Beau snarled, remembering how Trent had tried to drive a wedge between them by telling them what Caleb had done. They all knew about his parents, now. Beau had heard Nott quietly giving the truth about what had happened to the others, telling a version that was was much more sympathetic towards Caleb than how Caleb had told it, but which was, in Beau’s opinion, much closer to the truth, unfiltered through Caleb’s blatant self hatred.

“I would not want to die. But if it happened. I think it would be very tempting to stay,” Yasha said quietly.

“Oh no, Caleb,” Jester said, on the edge of tears again.

“He gets to see his parents again, if he stays,” Beau said.

“He hasn’t seen them since he was a teenager,” Nott said.

“He must miss them,” Caduceus said, cutting his eyes to Caleb slung over his shoulder. Beau was behind him as they were walking, looking at Caleb’s stupid orange head lolling against Cad’s back. She kept wanting to tell Cad to carry him more gently, being carried like that must hurt, but of course nothing was hurting him right now. He was beyond pain, beyond sorrow.

“I know he does,” Beau said quietly.

“But we’ll miss him too!” Jester wailed. “I want to carry him! It’s my turn!” she demanded. Cad helped to position him over both her shoulders, flung over so she was holding one of his arms and one of his legs. Beau was suddenly reminded of when Capeleb had worried over her in the basement and had held her, how he was so much freer with physical affection when he was an animal. How he had stood in between the rest of them and the Laughing Hand as an ape and roared in the face of something so terrifying.

That day fell into evening with no people in sight. They were camped by a slow mid-sized stream. Beau looked at Caleb’s body. He was absolutely brutalized, his clothes were covered in blood and so was his face, up into his hair from a head wound.

“We should clean him up, we don’t want him coming back to a gross body,” Beau said.

“That’s a good point,” Caduceus said. “I’ll help you.”

Fjord stood silently and accompanied them to the stream. Beau and Cad started silently removing his clothes. There was a grim, almost reverent atmosphere. They handled him with care, now, even though he couldn’t feel it. Beau noted that Cad seemed weirdly good at this and then remembered that he worked in a graveyard.

“How many times have you done this?”

“Oh, quite a few, at least a couple dozen. We don’t get a ton of people in the Grove. I’ve helped to prepare many bodies for burial.”

“We’re not gonna bury him, though.”

“No, no, not yet. I think he still has business in this world.”

“I think so too,” Beau said, remembering his ‘I want to bend reality to my will’ comments.

They got him into just his underwear and he looked so small and sad. There was no trace of the powerful mage who could kill half a dozen people with a spell. No trace of the quiet soul who joined her in study. This was just a bag of flesh and bone. Empty. There were stab wounds along his abdomen and chest, bloodless and slightly grey. Beau also noted that he was so thin, he really needed to eat more.

They picked him up and moved toward the creek. He felt so heavy and yet light at the same time. Fjord, who had been silently watching the proceedings, raised his hand and the creek slowed to a crawl, pooling near them to give them a nice deep section. They waded to about hip deep and they made sure to keep his face above the water. Caduceus supported his body, and he looked so small in Cad’s arms, as Beau gently washed the blood from his hair and his face. She washed his wounds, one stab wound in his side, and a little stagnant blood washed out, maybe even some poison, she wasn’t sure. His skin was soft, his belly was almost concave, he was really thin. She felt all his ribs as she washed the jagged knife wound that had penetrated between them to hit precious lung. She noted the other scars, some from their adventures, some earlier. She washed his arms and felt the multitudes of thin, catscratch-like scars all over them. She washed his hands, also stained in blood, it looked like he had been holding pressure on one of the stab wounds, there was blood all in between his fingers, sunken into the small cracks in his skin. There was a stab wound in one palm, it looked like he’d tried to ward off an attack. Beau washed it out as best she could.

“Can you heal a dead person? Will he just immediately bleed out when you bring him back?”

“I think that, like the Revivify, the magic heals the deadly wounds. I’ve never tried to heal a dead body.”

Beau nodded, holding his head cupped in both her hands, washing the back of his skull under the water. There were several wounds on his head, some on one side from where he had fallen on the ground the first time he had been killed in that fight, it looked like he had cut it on the rocks, Beau picked some dirt out and tiny pebbles. There were further pinpricks on his forehead going across in a line almost, less bloody, presumably from the second time when he had fallen face down.

She looked down into his vacant face and her breath shuddered. She sniffed and kept going, looking at the way his hair fanned out in the water like a halo. The water around her was rather cold but she didn’t care. She moved around to wash his feet, which were stained rusty brown from where the blood had pooled in his boots from the wounds he’d taken while he was still standing. Beau knew from long experience that blood was hard to get off, so she had to scrub his feet well to get the blood off. There was a puncture in one of his ankles where he'd been hit with a crossbow bolt and she washed that out too.

She determined that he was clean enough, and splashed a bit of water on her face and then exited the stream. Cad followed and they got some spare cloth to dry them all off. They took him back to camp to see Jester working on Mending his shirt and the rest of his clothes. She then went silently with Nott to the stream to wash them, coming back after a while to hang them all in a tree. They wrapped him up in someone’s bedroll to preserve his dignity or keep him warm.

After a bit of thought over logistics and advice from Cad they sat him with Beau sitting beside him holding his torso up and Nott standing in front of him holding his head up while Jester carefully knelt behind and brushed his hair. Then she switched with Nott, kneeling in front of him holding his face and sniffing. Nott very carefully wove flowers in his hair and tied it up in a ponytail. They laid him down in the bedroll and settled around him into their customary sleeping pile and Beau sat up to take first watch, this time Fjord sitting with her.

“We’re gonna get him back,” Fjord said.

“Yeah,” Beau said.

They rose and set out again. They knew they were coming to a town so they made some cursory attempt to make it look like Caleb wasn’t a dead body. Naturally their solution was to put Caleb on Caduceus like he was just clinging to his back and subtly tie his wrists together so he would “hold on”. It was incredibly obvious but Beau couldn’t care less, she’d just punch anyone who said something, she was done.

“So is this ritual just like a more expensive revivify?” Fjord asked.

“No, it’s much more involved,” Caduceus said.

“Yeah, the Traveller described it to me, it’s kinda intense you guys,” Jester said, pulling a worried face.

“I’ve seen it done. We will each have to make petitions to draw his soul back from the other side.”

“Like, we talk to him? And he’ll hear?” Nott asked. Jester nodded.

“All of us?” Beau asked.

“There can only be three. And if we can’t convince him…” Jester trailed off, looking distraught.

“Who should do it?” Fjord asked.

“Nott,” Jester said.

“I think you should, Jester,” Nott replied.

“I also think both of you,” Beau said.

“I’m not a good talker and Caleb and I aren’t real close, so I’ll take myself out of it,” Caduceus. Yasha quickly nodded as well.

“Caleb and I have an understanding, and I’d like to think we’re close enough, but I’m not sure if we’re… call him back from the afterlife… close…” Fjord said awkwardly.

“But you’re so persuasive Fjord!” Jester said.

“Yeah, I guess, but I don’t know if I’m that persuasive.”

“I think Beau should do it,” Caduceus said.

“What? No, that’s a terrible idea,” Beau said immediately.

“No, Beau, you and Caleb are like super close,” Jester said.

“You are the one he told all his shit to, along with me,” Nott said.

“Yeah because I fuckin’ blackmailed him!”

“He didn’t have to tell you the truth. He didn’t have to tell you the whole story. I think he wanted to tell someone, then, probably just anyone. But after, you two have been close. I think it should be you,” Nott said.

“No, it really should be Fjord,” Beau said.

“No, I don’t think so,” Fjord said, shaking his head.

“It’s you, Beau, it has to be,” Jester said.

Conversation halted as they finally got to a town, Caduceus spotting it first. They frantically searched for a jewelry shop, but found none because it was literally a one-horse-village.

“What do we do?” Jester almost yelled. Beau snarled, grimly determined. She could not fuck this up too.

“Come on,” Beau said, taking charge. She walked off and once again she was surprised how they rest of them all fell in with her. She understood them letting her talk when she was the Expositor and thus would nominally be taken more seriously by Empire people, but they had also been listening to her in other moments as well. She liked being an Expositor but she had never had any dreams of trying to tell this chaotic group of fuckers what to do. Usually when people tried to tell the Nein what to do they ended up dead like Avantika, or Trent. The Bright Queen had been light on the orders and thus they liked her. But the idea that the others actually seemed to put enough trust in her to follow her was very heavy. She now understood much more clearly what Fjord had been feeling on the sea.

Thinking about the idea of weight drug her thoughts to how heavy Caleb had seemed when she and Cad were taking him into the stream. The weight of his life was one-third on her hands, apparently, as it seemed like the others were somehow convinced that a fuckup like her could bring him back. She wasn’t sure if she could handle the burden of their expectations, so different from the ones like what had been placed on her before, wrapped in ribbon and pretty yellow dresses. They expected her to be the best version of herself, and Beau was terrified that person didn’t exist.

Beau went to the local Steward’s house. It was predictably much larger and nicer than the squalid and impoverished houses around it. Beau knew how the Empire operated. She knocked on the door, and a halfling servant answered.

“Yes?”

“Hi. We’re envoys of the king, and we need to come inside,” she said, shoving past as the servant gasped in offense. The rest of them filed in, apparently letting her call the play. The servant’s eyes bugged out at seeing Caleb on Fjord’s back.

“Get the Steward. Now,” she said. The halfling ran off. They didn’t have to wait long before an already offended looking human came downstairs.

“What is the meaning-”

“Listen, we are on a mission for the king and we have neither the time nor the patience to explain to you what we’re doing. We need a fucking diamond, at least a 500 gold one, and no you don’t get to ask what it’s for. You will be properly reimbursed.”

He blinked. “Um. I- I’m not a jeweler-”

“Did I ask you if you were? Get me the largest diamonds you have in this house, and don’t you dare fucking hold back on me or my nice friends here will get testy,” she hissed, motioning to Fjord and Yasha. Yasha crossed her arms and glowered, while Fjord smiled widely, really utilizing his newly grown tusks.

“We wouldn’t want to have to have an... unfortunate incident here. Nobody wants to do all that paperwork,” he said. The Steward nodded and dashed off. He came back with a pair of earrings that Jester gauged to be too small, and a diamond set in a necklace that looked just right. She nodded and handed it to Nott, who whipped out a knife and pried it out of the setting. Beau took it from her and tossed it back to him.

“My advice, tell your wife or whoever this belongs to that you don’t know what happened to it, and you’ll get it repaired. Someone pay the man,” she said, snapping her fingers. Fjord casually stepped forward and put what looked like 500gp in his hands, which were shaking in stark contrast to Fjord’s steady ease. He clapped a hand on the guy’s shoulder, causing him to flinch.

“You made the right call today, friend.”

They exited the house and strode out of town, and they received many strange looks because they were very clearly walking around with a dead body. They went into the woods outside of town and made sure to go deep in. They had decided while they were walking that Caduceus would perform the ritual so that Jester could focus on her contribution, so they wanted to be deep in the Wildmother’s territory.

They arrived in a spot that Cad deemed good, a gentle and pleasant looking clearing, the sunlight peeking through the trees to shine on soft grass and flowers, there were butterflies and shit, it was fucking beautiful. They untied Caleb from Cad and lay him down in the grass while Cad set up his ritual incense and whatnot. Jester knelt on one side of him with Nott and Beau was on the other. Cad started humming and chanting, and his deep voice reverberated through the clearing, almost seeming to be echoed by the trees, as he placed the diamond on Caleb’s chest. All the birds fell silent and the woods grew hushed and still as Caduceus chanted, his eyes closed, in a language Beau didn’t know. The wind seemed to carry the chant through the branches and it sang through them, humming in the air heavy and portent. He made a gesture towards them to start, and Jester begun.

“Caleb, I know that it’s probably super nice over there and stuff, but we’ll miss you like, super bad if you don’t come back. We need you Caleb, we need you so much, and not just because you’re useful with your spells and stuff, but you’re our friend and we all love you. I told Yasha that we could be her new tribe, and you probably thought I was just talking to her, but I meant it for all of you, but especially you, Caleb. You can call it whatever you like, a Den or a tribe, but we’re family. And you’ve never said it but I know you hate it when I’m sad, and I also know that you probably think that you don’t matter to us, but I just want to tell you that if you don’t come back I’ll be sad about it for the rest of my life, Caleb! I don’t want to lose any more people!” she sniffled and tried to collect herself.

“I drew you a picture, it’s of all of us together, so you can look at it and remember that even though you lost a family, which was totally not your fault, you have us. I know you must have been worried about how the rest of us would react, but I don’t care what you did, and I don’t care about whatever terrible things you think about yourself, I love you anyway, we all do,” she said, spreading a very nice drawing of all of them on his stomach. She sat back and wiped her eyes.

Nott cleared her throat. “Caleb. You promised me that you would get me back into my body. Well guess what, I’m still a fucking goblin, so your work isn’t done. All those nights we huddled for warmth, all the times you were catatonic for days and I had to make you eat food, the times I’ve saved your life, you owe me a debt. I fucking love you Caleb and you have no right to leave us, you have to come back. You might think you have no future, but you’re wrong, your future is right here with us, for better or for worse. You have to come back, Caleb, your life isn’t over, it just isn’t.”

Beau was sweating, she didn’t know what to say. A long pause held and then she just started talking, just to say anything.

“When we first met I thought you were just some dirty, sketchy weirdo. And when you told me all that you did, I was shocked. But I never blamed you, I didn’t. We’ve fought, a lot, but even though we’re such different people we have finally learned how to talk to each other. So I hope that you can hear me now. We got that fucker Trent. You don’t have to live with him looking over your shoulder anymore. You should at least come back just to feel what that’s like. What's over there will be waiting for you. We need you, and we love you. I love you. My blood family is super fucked up, and this one is way better. You’re my brother, Caleb. And siblings fight just like we do, but we still love each other. I know you care about us, you show it in all the little ways, in every spell you cast on us, every time you put yourself in between us and danger. This is your family, Caleb, please don’t abandon us. Please don’t leave. I don’t know if I could take it,” Beau said, sniffling. Tears fell down her face and she wiped them off. In a moment of inspiration she took his hand. “There, those are for you, you bastard. I’m crying over you. Not many people have that honor. I need you here to be a nerd with me, and help us all figure things out, you know that we’re smart but also dumbasses, we need your help. I need you here,” she finished quietly.

The diamond glowed brightly and shattered, the particles settling all over his body, she saw them concentrating where she knew the stab wounds were. They all waited with held breath, the forest around them seemed to be holding its breath too. In that moment Beau’s thoughts spiraled out, thinking about what they would do if this failed, how would they go on, how would they get back to Xorhas, how would they survive, how would they recover?

With a gasp, Caleb’s chest heaved upward and he coughed slightly. His breathing was ragged but easing and everyone exhaled at once, Jester and Nott bursting into tears, and Beau even saw Fjord sniffling. Beau collapsed back onto her hands on the ground, breathing deeply. Caleb didn’t wake up, but Caduceus dumped a healing spell into him, along with Jester, and he looked better. Beau couldn’t believe the difference in between the moment of life and death. She wasn’t Caduceus, she never really thought deeply on these things, but she had the thought that passing from life into death often was just a razor’s difference, she’d been on the edge, and she’d sent people over. But also the difference between life and death was a wide, wide chasm. Caleb’s body, which had seemed so small before, now had grown to take up more space just by being alive. The small animation of his chest moving, his muscles holding tension even slightly, it all contributed to making him Caleb and not just a body, a thing.

“We did it,” she said quietly.

“We did it!” Jester yelled. They heard something in the distance that sounded suspiciously like Crownsguard called by a Steward who had figured out that he probably just sort of got robbed. Caduceus gently picked up Caleb and they booked it through the woods until they were pretty sure they’d lost any pursuers. But they were snickering all the while, joyous that Caleb was back. Caduceus cradled him like a child, not like a sack of potatoes, because he was alive. They set up camp somewhere in the woods and tried to provide a somewhat safe area, since Caduceus had said it would take a while for him to rest. They cuddled around him at night and kept him comfortable as best they could. In the morning they sat him up and used a method that Cad knew to at least get him some water, according to him it was something used for babies or extremely sick people. Basically they stuck a wet rag in his mouth and poured water down it, and he instinctively sucked on it and swallowed the water.

“Huh, that’s amazing,” Beau said.

“I know this method too, actually. Suckling is like the first and most basic instinct most mammal type creatures have,” Nott said.

“Does this mean that Caleb is thinking about titties right now?” Jester asked, giggling.

“Don’t sexualize the sacred mother-child bond,” Nott said, but she clearly wasn’t offended. She was also blushing so Beau was kind of wondering if she maybe was projecting. Cad was holding him up while Nott gently held the rag and Beau poured water. She kind of spilled a little on him but she did pretty good.

He woke up groggily that evening, finally, and they all resisted the urge to crowd him with only Jester and Nott up by him, helping him slowly sit up. He blinked around at all of them owlishly.

“Oh, good, everyone’s ok.”

“Except you, dumbass! You weren’t ok!” Beau said.

“I know. I was dead.”

“Do you remember it?” Nott asked.

“I do. You said you died, too.”

“Yeah, but I don’t remember anything. You remember something?”

“I was alone in the dark, and there was a weave of golden threads. I think I was in the purview of the Matron of Ravens. I have heard some stories, legends. There was a man there, or something shaped vaguely like one. He was in a mask shaped like a raven’s face, or perhaps it was his face, and he had wings. There were bone antlers growing out of his shoulder. He spoke to me and said that I could wait to see if you could bring me back in time or move on. He showed me a door. And through it I saw golden fields. My home. As it was. But I said that I wanted to wait, so I did. Time moved strangely, so it was only moments before I heard you calling. I heard what you all said.”

“Oh, jeze,” Beau muttered, embarrassed.

“I… I feel. The same. All of you. And those who didn’t speak. I don’t like to admit it to myself at times but. I do. I have been reminded that life is short, and we may not be so lucky next time. So I should say what I want to say. That was advice given by the raven.”

“He said that?”

“He said that there is nothing in this life worth having except moments with each other. That I should cherish you while I have you, because it could always change. And he was right. I very nearly went through the door. I could almost see my parents in the distance. But I heard you calling and I couldn’t turn my back on you. I couldn’t betray another family,” he said quietly.

“You didn’t betray them, you were betrayed, by that Ikifuck, by your country, by the system!” Beau hissed.

“That is also true,” he said quietly.

“Either way, I’m glad you’re back,” Nott said.

"I asked the raven about Molly, he said that he went on to his goddess with some protest about wanting to wait for us, possibly with sexual favors offered."

They all cracked up.

"That sounds about right!" Jester said.

“We should celebrate once we get back somewhere!” Nott said. Caleb looked around.

“Why are we in the woods?”

“Well…” they explained, all talking at once, as was their way. After they finished Caleb blinked.

“Ah. I can take us somewhere.”

“Are you sure?” Jester asked.

“I’m sure. The Xhohaus?”

“I think so,” Beau agreed.

He drew his circle and they all rushed through, greeted as usual by the guards. Beau slung Caleb’s arm over her shoulder and Jester did the same, so they supported him but allowed him to walk. They got back to the house and bundled him into his bed to sleep of being dead some more. And Beau knew that, at least for now, they were ok.