Nothing can’t last forever.
But it can most definitely make a good show of it.
He was having trouble focusing. Even the passing of time had faded into the nothingness surrounding him.
He had given up on talking when he realized he couldn’t actually hear himself.
He had given up on looking when there had been nothing to see for too long.
He had given up on breathing when he couldn’t feel his lungs.
What else was there?
He was still thinking at least. But how long could that last?
Maybe it would be okay to stop thinking? It couldn’t be any worse than having nothing to think about.
What was that? Why hadn’t he noticed it before? He felt himself drawing away from it, but that couldn’t be right. There wasn’t anything to run from here.
He pulled himself towards it. It was…different. There was no where it could come from, but he couldn’t have missed it.
It was huge. And it burned.
He reached out a hand he didn’t remember having and grasped it.
Fire flooded his veins.
Will hurried to the front of the group. He wasn’t sure if Burnout was really here, or what state he’d be in if he was. More importantly, the dragon had managed to give him powers after it had already died, and he didn’t want to know what else it could do.
“Dragon’s dead, Will. You don’t have to do worry so much.”
Will groaned. “You here to add its bones to your collection? I thought you were only allowed to take your souvenirs from your fights. Wasn’t that the deal, Sigurd?”
Sigurd glared at Will. “I’m not a grave robber. And if you insist on bringing your brats along, you could at least not spoil my reputation. Get over here and check on this kid. You’re no mage, but you’ll do.”
Mach’s boots gave a quick burst and she leapt to the other side of the cave. Sigurd raised an eyebrow but shrugged and stepped back from Burnout and let her through.
There was a cloth covering his face. She carefully reached forward, but Sigurd quickly grabbed her hand. “No mask. It stays on.”
“What happened to him?” Mach’s anger managed to force its way through her helmet.
“Magic sleep, I think. He was doing so well, too.”
“So well with what?”
Sigurd smirked. “Trade secret.”
Mach stood up and started pacing towards Sigurd.
Will stepped between them and faced Sigurd. “Do we need to know?” He growled out.
Hawthorne and Allspades were still making their way around the dragon, but Will’s voice made them freeze.
“What in-” Allspades stumbled when Hawthorne slapped across the back of his head. He turned towards her, but he failed to stare her down through her helmet. He grumbled quietly but stayed quiet.
Sigurd’s smirk didn’t waver. “Enough with the theatrics, Will. If I thought it would help, I’d tell you. All I know is that he should have woken up almost half a day ago, and he didn’t. I’m pretty sure its magic, but I can’t move him because I don’t know. Now do whatever weird thing it is you do, and figure out if we can get him to a healer.”
Will glared at Sigurd a bit longer. He growled lowly and turned back towards Burnout. “Allspades get over here,” he barked.
Allspades rushed over, quicker than he normally would have.
“You notice anything different?” Will asked; the curtness had dropped from his voice.
Allspades knelt down next to Burnout.
“Yes? There’s something off about his head. But I don’t know if I would’ve noticed before.”
After a moment, Allspades gestured towards Burnout’s temple.
“Shit,” Will muttered. “Siggy, what do you know about his place?”
“A lot. The mountain’s family property.” The tension between the two felt different than it had before. “It’s got a leyline about half a mile to the north, and a solid source of emotion running through this town. The runoff between them runs right through here. Probably why he chose it; the flow would keep his magic running until it was activated. The cave kept him hidden.”
“Is that keeping him asleep?”
“Probably. But taking him away from it-”
“I know how it works, Sigurd.”
“So do we need a healer or not?”
Will shot Sigurd a quick glare. “Don’t know yet. Could that leyline have activated a dormant spell? Something he had with him?”
Sigurd paused while Will’s question echoed through the cavern. “It’s possible. He was unconscious for a while; the spell wouldn’t have had much to do.”
Will nodded. “If it was cast before now, then the leyline isn’t supposed to keep it going. The spell might be corrupted.”
Will raised an eyebrow. “Didn’t think you liked cursing in English.”
Mach began to tapping her fingers against her arm.
Will grinned nervously. “Right. Allspades can you describe it at all. Is it steady?”
Allspades’ eyes tightened. “No. It’s pulsing.”
“Good, pulsing is good. Leylines are steady. You have to be alive to have a pulse. Allspades I want you to tap along with the pulse, as close as you can.”
Allspades waited. After a moment, his fingers began to move steadily, tapping out a steady rhythm.
Will closed his eyes, and after a moment he began to tap as well.
He waited a moment, making sure he had it as close as it could. The taps were out of sync, but only just; Allspades’ weren’t as even. But he was keeping in time.
The pattern formed in Will’s mind quickly. Allspades’ taps were just a little longer, but they corrected themselves every fifth beat.
Will breathed deeply, and smiled. “We can move him. The leyline is messing with an older spell, but it’s trying to assert itself to his rhythms. Once we get him to a healer, it’ll turn out fine. But we should hurry. Once it gets away from the leyline, it’ll be running off his energy, and he’s already missed a couple of meals.”
Sigurd snorted. “He’s got dragon fire in him. He’ll be fine.”
Will smiled. “Good to know. Now grab him and let’s go. We have to collect the others and get out of here.”
Sigurd grunted at the command, but he picked up Burnout and they left the cavern.
The walk back was significantly quicker; they made it out in less than a half hour.
Once they reached the entrance, Will paused. “You should all go ahead, I think I need to take care of something here.”
Red and Allspades helped Unimportant down the path. Mach had taken Burnout from Sigurd and followed behind them.
Hawthorne turned to Will. “What’s really going on? I doubt you needed any of us here.”
Will sighed. “It’s not my job to need any of you anywhere. But right now, I need you to not be here. It could get dangerous, and I don’t like it when kids die on my watch. I’ll explain what I can later. But nobody can know where this cave is, understand? I don’t want to know what they can do with dragon bones.”
Hawthorne paused, then she nodded.
Will watched her walk down the path.
“Sigurd, if you can keep this from reaching the town, it would be best. I’ll keep it on the mountain as much as I can.
Will walked back into the cave.
Tina stared at the news in George’s hospital room.
“This is the second time that Mount Hyrfell was hit by an earthquake in the last two years. But this time, nobody was harmed. Tonight we have invited Dr. Joseph Caito, who has offered an explanation on the strange localized earthquake that failed to reach beyond the mountain.”
The camera widened to reveal a man with long brown hair. “Thank you, Mary. Now-“
Tina muted the TV.
“Do I know you?”
Tina turned slowly. Geroge’s eyes were open. They had changed. They were always blue, but nothing like this. Tina hoped that was all that changed.
She took a deep breath.
“No. But I think you deserve to.”