Nico: I... won't go today, okay? Kelsier: Promise? Nico: I promise I won't go today. Kelsier: Okay. Good. Then get away from there, right now Nico: Okay Nico: shit Nico: I gotta go Kelsier: Stop texting and go! GO!
Kelsier dropped his phone on the bed as he paced, fear pulsing through his veins like blood, only faster. He knew Nico wouldn’t message him again for a while unless… Well. Unless the unthinkable happened. He refused to accept that. He was powerless, utterly incapable of saving one of the new people in any world he truly loved, just like he’d been with Mare. He’d watched her die and he’d done nothing, nothing at all to save her. All he could offer her was vengeance. “He’s not dead.” The words escaped him before he could stop himself, and he moved before he could think, ignoring the pain from the wound the Hazekiller had given him as he scrambled across the room and scribbled a note on the wall, for lack of anything else to write it on. It didn’t matter, anyway, there was no time. Then he turned, pacing the room, knocking things over as he went and not caring as he broke them. “I want to go to Nico.” He muttered, closing his eyes and focusing. “I want to go to Nico. I need to go to Nico. I need. To get. To my son.” He wasn’t sure what he did next. He thought maybe he’d struck a match, set something ablaze, shattered something, threw himself against the wall, desperation more than strategy swallowing him. All he knew was the thought on his mind, overriding the pain, overriding everything else. I need to get to my son. And then the Mistborn was gone, as simply and quietly as if he’d never been there at all. Not from his own perspective. No, from his perspective, he was pacing in his half destroyed room one moment, and then he standing on the edge of a cliff the next. His eyes widened and he flared pewter for balance, throwing his arms out to catch himself before he tipped in, his breath coming out in a sharp gasp.
Nico was overwhelmed. His eyes were wide and his sword was out, but his hands were shaking as the monsters stalked towards him. More than one, monsters he had seen Tartarus, monsters he had defeated, monsters who hated him in particular for having the audacity to survive when nobody was supposed to. For living another day, for breathing, for… he was going to go back. He didn’t have a choice, the monster – he wasn’t even sure he remembered what this type was called – had his ankle and as desperately as he was swinging at it, he was going back. He was going to break a promise. He didn’t notice Kelsier appearing, didn’t know what was happening other than the feeling of claws against his ankle and another hand grabbing his wrist, making it nearly impossible for him to swing his sword. No. No, no, no, no. He let out a desperate scream, trying to get the monsters away from him, trying to kick and thrash and pull away. If he’d been thinking, if he hadn’t been texting, if… if he weren’t so paralyzed by fear… he was better than this. Yet he found his defenses weakening, found it so hard to fight back it felt nearly impossible. He wanted… he wanted to go back to Camp, wanted to be somewhere safe. Most of all, he didn’t want to die there.
Kelsier heard the scream. And that was all he needed. He hadn’t blinked into the House, he decided quickly. That had been his first assumption, but he knew now. This was the place Nico had been describing moments earlier. It worked. He didn’t have time to celebrate that. His daggers were in his hands and flashing in a moment and he leapt forward, attacking the first monster he saw. And he could see them, he realized, he could see them, he could pierce the Mist. Then he saw Nico and everything else slid from his mind. He ran. And the Mistborn attacked with everything he had, slashing at the monster first and then kicking at it, trying to make it let go. He spun and attacked the next one, then the next, his body fighting almost of its own accord from years of experience, he knew how to fight outnumbered, and most of all he knew how to fight when he was fighting for something - someone - he cared for.
Nico didn’t understand. There was a monster grabbing his ankle, and then, like magic, there wasn’t. He heard their dying screams. He saw them burst into clouds of dust. There was someone here, someone fighting the monsters. There was no time to look. No time to find whoever had come to his rescue and thank him. There was just time to shout and force himself back to his feet, just enough time to elbow the monster grabbing his wrist and bring his sword out to slice it in half. His sword didn’t reflect light, it seemed to draw it in instead. The effect was more pronounced here, the sword leeching some of the darkness from Tartarus. Nico’s eyes were wild and scared, but he cut down several of the monsters that came his way, trying to get over the panic freezing the blood in his veins, making it so much more difficult to move. And the monsters kept coming. They needed to get out. He just… he needed to get to whoever had saved him, and he needed to get them out. Eyes narrowed, Nico began cutting through enemy after enemy. He needed to help whoever had come. They needed to get out.
The dust was new for Kelsier, but he ignored it, fighting the monsters one after the next, trying to stay close to Nico. Nico. Where was he? Kelsier cursed under his breath, whipping around, trying desperately to find him in the sea of monsters. Then he spotted him and relief cut through him like the daggers he wielded, cutting down monster after monster as he slowly made his way towards him. How many damn monsters were there? They just kept coming, pouring out of the shadows like blood from a wound, and he knew they wouldn’t last long, even both of them fighting side by side. He was reckless, not stupid, and he didn’t plan on dying anymore than he planned on watching Nico die. He threw down a coin, then Pushed, soaring over the heads of the monsters and almost making it to Nico until one shot up at him and they collided in the air, the Mistborn knocked off course. He spun, stabbing the thing as it grabbed him with clawed hands, and then he hit the ground, hard. They were on him in seconds. He fought back, kicking and stabbing and fighting to get to his feet, he was closer to Nico now, he knew he was. “Nico, run! Get out of here!” He shouted as claws raked over his skin, tearing through first his mistcloak, then the cloth underneath. He punched the thing in the jaw, then followed it with a quick stab, and he rolled to his feet again, gasping like a drowning man.
Nico ignored the claws cutting through his skin, ignored the blows certain monsters got in before he finished them off, ignored the fear of being overwhelmed like this. He’d been overwhelmed before. He’d been alone, then. There hadn’t been someone who needed him to stay on his feet and keep fighting. It was easier when there was someone relying on him. It was still a relatively new feeling, but also one Nico knew he could get used to if he wasn’t careful. And then he saw him. Kelsier, flying through the air like some sort of avenging angel. Like the best gods damned miracle Nico had ever seen. Nico’s elation didn’t last long, however, as the reality of the fight forced itself on him. A monster grabbed him from behind, scrabbling at his neck even as he yelled and stabbed behind him, only narrowly missing cutting his own flesh. His eyes narrowed. This wasn’t going to be a fair fight. Even two of the best fighters from two different worlds could be overwhelmed, and they were taking the monsters incredibly near their home turf. Home turf. Nico saw Kelsier through flashes of the monsters clawing at him, trying to get close enough to be the one to take him down. They were attacking them both, but far more of them had a particular bloodlust towards Nico. He had killed them before, after all. Kelsier was an unknown in this world, and he was lucky the daggers he was using somehow worked against the monsters. “Not without you!” Nico shouted back, eyes narrowing. The monsters were close to their home turf, but Nico was the Ghost King. A dark smile appeared on his face as the shadows coalesced around him, a dark purple glow the only thing seeming to pierce them. The ground began to shake as skeletons forced their way out of the ground, mostly unarmed, but with the occasional sword or club. There were about fifty of them by the time Nico was done, each of them approaching the monsters, several of them grabbing them and falling all the way into Tartarus with them. The monsters seemed to have second thoughts, but they didn’t cease their attack.
Kelsier spun and stabbed and slashed, a dagger in each hand, dust coating his clothes and sticking to the blood seeping from his wounds, Mostly the one that was not supposed to be bleeding anymore. He didn’t have time to check, but he knew the stitches had come undone based on the way blood was soaking through his shirt, wet and warm and sticky to the touch. Adrenaline and pewter kept him on his feet, though, and he fought as hard as he would have were he not already injured, his body tense and responsive to the danger. He knew Nico could leave. He could get out of there, shadow travel away back to camp and be fine. Kelsier hissed as he stabbed again, and for the first time he noticed that though his weapon worked to injure the thing, it failed to kill it. Damn. He wasn’t surprised, but it was frustrating. If something didn’t change they were both going to end up dead. He wouldn’t allow that to happen. He’d come to save Nico, and he wouldn’t allow himself to be the cause of him staying and dying, not when he could escape. He’d sooner throw himself into Tartarus then be the cause of Nico’s death even one more time. Then the ground shook and he stumbled, nearly falling as his balance was knocked off. The monsters didn’t stop attacking, but one glanced behind him, and then Kelsier turned to look as well. And smiled. “Nice work Nico.” He muttered, spinning and slitting the throat of a monster, which stumbled away, hissing. He turned, fighting his way towards Nico and the skeletons.
The skeletons kept coming, more rising out of the ground to replace the ones that fell into the pit. There wasn’t an inexhaustible supply of monsters. They couldn’t just emerge from Tartarus, especially not with the Doors of Death closed. As Nico cut through yet another monster, he noticed the crowd of them thinning. They were still outnumbered, but with the skeletons, the fight was a lot easier. He would have to find some of the souls whose bodies he had used and thank them. For now, he was just grateful for the extra manpower. He would have summoned spirits, but the skeletons were more corporeal and also more likely to obey, though they could only take simple commands. Nico was grinning. He couldn’t help it, couldn’t stop the smile that spread across his face as his forces began winning as, one by one, the monsters fell. He glanced at Kelsier, moving forward and starting to cut his way to Kelsier as well. He could feel the blood coating his skin from where he’d been clawed multiple times, his wrist especially bad, but he was, for the most part, unscathed. Nothing life threatening, at least. Kelsier, on the other hand… Kelsier had been in that fight with the Hazekiller. Fear roiled in Nico’s stomach. He needed to get there soon, or Kelsier was more likely than not to bleed out. Did he even have pewter to spare? How much had he thought this out before appearing? Nico was distracted. It cost him as he felt something catch on his ankle again, pulling him off the ground. It had wings, and craning his head he recognized Alecto. She was supposed to be working for his father, but… monsters were unpredictable. He thrashed, yelling and pulling against her, slicing with his sword until she knocked it free and it went flying, impaling one of the monsters attacking Kelsier.
There were more, too, more skeletons appearing, and it was looking like they actually had a chance here. One, even two, of the best fighters that to exist in any world wasn’t enough against an entire army, but with their own army to balance out the numbers? They were going to win this thing, he knew they would. He didn’t know everything about how the skeletons worked, but he knew they would do as Nico commanded them, and that was enough for him. He fought, wish if he could kill them instead of merely hurt them, and then shoved one viciously over the edge into Tartarus, a dark smile appearing on his face as he fell. This...this was how he’d felt at Hathsin after he’d Snapped. This fierce enjoyment as his enemies fell, only this time the one he was fighting for was alive and fighting too, and they were going to be fine. Or at least, Nico was. He could tell distantly that he was bleeding too much, the wound open again, staining his clothes. He ignored it as he fought, heading for Nico, his eyes narrowed in concentration as the monsters swarmed and rallied against them both. And then Nico was attacked. And Kelsier’s eyes went wide. “Don’t touch him!” It was too loud to be a snarl, too low to be a scream, too desperate to be am order, yet his voice didn’t shake. The sword impaled the monster that had been trying to lunge at him and he caught it, reaching through the dust to wrap his fingers around the hilt. Nico had tossed him his sword once in another room a long time ago, and then he hadn’t ended up needing it to survive. But this wasn’t the House, and Nico’s death here would be permanent. Which was why Kelsier didn’t hesitate. He let out a cry, shoving past monsters without a second thought. Then he pulled out a coin and dropped it, Pushing down hard and shooting up into the air with incredible speed, sword aimed directly at Alecto. “I said.” He said quietly. “Don’t touch him.”
Nico didn’t have time to process what happened beyond the feeling of Alecto vaporizing above him, the sound of her shriek as she died, and the feeling of something much more solid ramming into him. He subconsciously wrapped Kelsier’s torso in shadows before curling in tight against him, pulling them both through shadows. “I invite him into camp,” he murmured, though he didn’t know if the rule applied to shadow travelling. The gloom of the underworld melted away and was replaced by a verdant forest, a golden fleece glimmering in a tree several yards back. Nico landed on his feet for just a moment, clinging desperately to Kelsier before his eyes rolled back into his head and he collapsed, his skin paler than usual. Bright red blood dripped from several small cuts, though his wrist seemed the most impacted, the skin around it torn. It would be a while before he would be able to hold a sword without pain, but at least he was alive enough to hold a sword. The shadows around Kelsier’s torso remained there for several long moments before they melted away, leaving Kelsier’s wound as open and dangerous as ever. If there had been another way out, Nico would have tried, if only to protect Kelsier. “You’re out of bounds!” The voice belonged to a lanky kid with a mop of curly brown hair and an impish expression. He ran forward, curls poking out from underneath his battle helmet, his bright orange shirt announcing their location: Camp Half-Blood. “Woah, dude, you’re… not a camper. How did you get in here? Is that…?” The kid paled as he recognized Nico’s pale, unconscious form.
And just like that, they were out, Kelsier clinging to the sword like a lifeline, his other hand searching until it found Nico and held on. He would never get used to the feeling of shadow travel, he thought dimly, though he didn’t have much chance to consider it as they were out seconds later and….oh. Oh. Green. Kelsier stared at the grass, the scars on his face standing out against too-pale skin. And then the sky, bright and clear and so blue more blue than anything natural Kel knew of. The sun touched his skin where the cloak had ripped, and he probably would have stared for hours if he’d been alone. But he wasn’t alone. And his eyes snapped back to the boy as he fell. Kelsier’s arms shot out, catching him and then lowering him gently, cradling him, trying hard not to stain him with any more blood than he already had. The wrist wound in particular looked nasty, but a quick search proved that Nico was not in immediate danger. When the shadows melted away, the pain hit him out of nowhere, slamming into him with too much force. He didn’t move, still holding Nico’s still form, his own body desperately burning the little pewter he had left. He was lucky. He had two more vials. But they wouldn’t last him long if they had another fight like that one. He looked up as the kid called to him. His mind was starting to go fuzzy around the edges again, and he pulled Nico protectively to his chest. It shouldn’t have been possible for him to stand in his condition. But stand he did, pulling Nico with him, cradling the boy carefully with his head resting on Kelsier’s chest. Then he walked - stumbled, really - forward, eyes locked in the kid.
The boy’s eyes widened, taking in the way the man was holding Nico, the dangerous look on his face. The fact that both Nico and the man carrying him looked half-dead, Nico pale, the man dripping blood like he didn’t even notice it. He drew himself up to his full height, standing only a few inches shorter than Kelsier. He opened his mouth as if to say something, then seemed to immediately judge that a bad idea. He didn’t know who the man was, but if he had managed to beat Nico somehow – and that was what it looked like had done – then he was nothing to be trifled with. Although it looked like Nico had gotten in a pretty good defense. He had to respect the kid for that. “Will?!” He called, backing a few steps into the forest. “Found your boyfriend!” “For the last time, Travis, he’s not my boyfriend! Next time you get stabbed, find someone else to- oh.” The annoyed voice came from another boy wearing the same neon orange shirt, tufts of blond hair visible beneath a very similar helmet. He took it off, dropping the blue crested helmet to the ground. He moved forward, eyes wide as he took in the sight of the newcomer and his friend, draped in his arms. “You’re real,” he commented, brow furrowed. He didn’t know why that was surprising to him. He hadn’t thought Nico was lying, but there was still something odd about meeting the man from the phone. And then he noticed the blood. “What in Hades’ name do you think you’re doing, on your feet in that shape. Sit. Now. We’ll get you to the infirmary once we have a couple of extra hands, but right now we need to stop that bleeding.” It was as though the kid he’d been was replaced by a field medic, wielding all the intensity and authority required for dealing with dozens of stubborn demigods.
Kelsier turned his head, not quite understanding the words that flew between the two boys, his arms still curled protectively around Nico like he expected him to be snatched away at any moment. He was still in fighting mode, still ready to kill anything that came between him and his son, anything that tried to hurt him. Will. He knew Will. And the shirts, the bright orange shirts with the logo Kelsier couldn’t read, yet he thought he probably knew what it said anyway. “Did you think I was just a voice?” He said lightly, his humor somehow finding its way into his faint voice. He didn’t know how Will had managed to recognize him, but he was glad, because he wasn’t really in any condition to explain himself here. He paused a moment later, frowning slightly as the kid in front of him seemed to transform into a medic right in front of him, the powerful tone commanding respect. And if Kelsier hadn’t been so wired to protect Nico, and especially in his current weakened state, he might have listened. But then again, maybe not. It was Kelsier, after all. “Show me the...the....” He said it as best he could, his English mediocre but understandable. He didn’t know the word for infirmary, and it took him a moment to process it. “Infirmary.” He said finally, pleased with himself for figuring it out. Some part of him that wasn’t affected by the blood loss and the pain told him to sit down. He ignored the rational part of his brain, as usual. “Hades.” He added, his voice sharp with distaste. “I wouldn’t swear in his name, if I were you.”
Will frowned, remembering what Nico had said. In spite of Kelsier’s ability to speak perfect English over text (Nico had said that was translated, but Will didn’t quite know how that would work), spoken English would be more difficult. Nico had even tried to teach Will a few words in the man’s language. What had he called it? Scadrial? Will shook his head, eyes narrowing a touch at Kelsier. “No,” he said simply, reaching into the pocket he’d attached to his belt. It was a basic field medic kit – not enough to help in an actual battle, but enough to patch people up for Capture the Flag. Hopefully it would be enough to patch up Kelsier’s wounds. He did have a needle and thread, and rubbing alcohol to sanitize it. “Travis,” he called, voice sharp as he looked at the other boy. “Make yourself useful and tell the red team we’re down a player. And tell Kayla she’s our team’s head medic until I can get these two to the infirmary.” “You’re not my counselor,” Travis shot back, crossing his arms. “In fact, I’m my own counselor.” Will shot him a glare that sent him running back into the forest anyway, annoyance flickering through his expression. “You can’t walk to the infirmary,” he informed Kelsier, turning back to look at him at last. “You’re going to set my friend down and sit down right now. You’re losing a lot of blood, and I have a feeling Nico’s not going to be pleased if I let you bleed out.” He came a little bit closer, arms crossed as he waited for Kelsier to listen. He paid no heed to Kelsier’s reaction to Hades’ name. He didn’t blame him. There were days he hated the god of the underworld too.
Kelsier swayed slightly, trying to step forward, his legs shaking under him as they were forced not onto to support his own weight, but Nico’s as well. Not that the boy weighed anything. He blinked, listening to the rapid English his brain was failing to translate properly in his condition. He caught some of the words, but most were lost as he glanced down at Nico again, checking for injuries he had already searched for. He was bleeding heavily, the remnants of his pewter and the adrenaline and sheer willpower keeping him upright. But he wasn’t prone to giving up, and he knew somehow that they were going to try and take Nico from him. And if they did that, then something bad would happen. He wasn’t completely sure what, but he was in too much pain to question it. He felt like he’d just been hit over the head by something very heavy. As Will told him to set Nico down, something in his expression hardened, and he missed the rest. “Nico stays with me.” He told Will, pulling Nico close, his eyes challenging Will to come any closer and try to take him. Them the rest of his pewter ran out and he let out a small cry of pain as the severity of his injury crashed full force into him. Somehow, he still didn’t fall. Somehow, he stayed where he was, his body trembling with effort, his face set. A fly landing on his arm might have knocked him over.
Will sighed softly, watching the way Kelsier trembled. He wasn’t going to be able to stay upright much longer, and if he fell rather than sat down… the injury could tear open wider. Will needed a good look at it, and he needed to get Kelsier to sit still. Easier said than done, it seemed. “Nobody’s taking Nico.” It was odd, seeing the protectiveness in Kelsier’s eyes. Will thought of Nico as something of a force of nature. He acted like he didn’t need anyone, like he didn’t want anyone, but seeing him now, pale and unmoving, held tight to a stranger’s chest… they were all just kids. It struck Will sometimes, but he did his best not to let it get to him. “Please sit down. I need to see the injury.” He was fishing in his head for some of the words that Nico had taught him. Most of them wouldn’t be much use here, and of course Nico hadn’t thought to ask about words that might be helpful in a medical situation. Though of course he went and chose someone as reckless as himself to care. Reckless and stubborn. A bad combination, though Will had to admit that both of those qualities also fit him fairly accurately. “How do you feel?” he managed in Scadrial, hoping a familiar language would be enough to shock Kelsier into actually listening. Not that he’d be able to understand Kelsier’s response unless it was one of a couple of set phrases he’d memorized for Nico’s sake.
Kelsier knew that side of Nico too. The side that was unstoppable, that killed an Inquisitor, that brought the skeleton army they’d needed to survive the monsters. The side of Nico that said he not only didn’t want your help, he didn’t need it, and as a matter of fact you needed his help. He was probably minutes away from collapsing. He needed to think, needed to figure out a way around this, but he didn’t know how. He couldn’t lose Nico. He wouldn’t. Why did he feel like the moment he was out of Kelsier’s arms, everything was going to break apart at the seams? He didn’t sit. He did almost lose his balance, but he managed to get it back after a moment of panic. Then he heard the words in Scadrial, and his eyes widened, shock written across his features. That didn’t make sense. He had only taught Nico that. He wasn’t so out of it as to believe for even a second that he was back home, because look at the grass. The tree behind him. The blue sky over his head. This wasn’t home, this was a dream, a fairytale. And for Nico, it was life. Nico. He had to have taught the boy those words. That was the only thing that made sense. And that meant he had to be a friend. Nico wouldn’t trust an enemy with that. Kelsier went down, barely managing to avoid falling as he sat, his knees buckling under him. He still held Nico, but he ss on the ground now, and he allowed one hand to wander over to feel the grass. “I feel alive.” He murmured in Scadrial.
“Don’t understand that, sorry,” Will mumbled, but his mind wasn’t on Kelsier’s words. His mind was on the fact that the man had finally sat down, which meant Will could get to work. It was a bit hard to see the wound with the way Kelsier was holding Nico, but Will had a feeling that trying to get the boy away would just end in someone else grievously injured. He’d rather avoid that. It was bad. It was an old wound – he could see where someone had tried to stitch it up, but the man had obviously torn through the stitches. “You’re a medic’s worst nightmare, you know that?” He asked, very carefully disinfecting and threading his needle as he began to sing under his breath. He would have liked ambrosia to start the process for him, but that would do far more harm than good in this case. He formed the lyrics softly, hands moving towards the wound Kelsier had sustained. It began to knit itself together slowly, though he began stitching it back up at the same time. Better to reinforce it than rely entirely on magic, especially since Kelsier seemed the type to go out and rip stitches like it was some sort of sport. The song was quiet, but it did its job as he focused on Kelsier’s wounds, making sure each movement he made was slow and methodical. The last thing he needed was the man’s blood-starved mind to see a sudden movement and decide Will was a threat. “There,” he murmured, finally breaking off. His gaze flickered towards the boy in Kelsier’s arms. “How badly is he injured?”
Will was correct. Kelsier held Nico closer as the other boy approached, his expression wary in spite of the words he’d spoken in Scadrial. He still might try and take Nico away, and then someone would end up dead. Probably Will, maybe Kelsier too if he wasn’t careful, gut wounds were nasty like that. “This is nothing.” He returned, his voice quiet and low as he tried to stop gasping for breath. Air wasn’t the problem, he wanted to tell his body, blood was. And that wasn’t going to just fix itself. Or, maybe it was. He stared at the wound in shock as it began to heal, skin putting itself back together again, sealing in the rest of hie supply of blood. The song reached his ears and he looked at Will, his expression suddenly more respectful. His brain was still fuzzy from blood loss. At least the pain was better. But he still found it harder than usual to follow English, and even harder to speak it himself, which required him to remember how to form the sounds. He watched for a long moment, his expression careful, his arms still curled around Nico. He seemed to have decided the best way to survive this was never letting go. He blinked at the question, trying to comprehend it. “Not serious.” He said haltingly, looking at Nico again, his eyes flicking towards his wrist. His English was usually better than this. “Or life threatening.”
“The wound could still reopen,” Will explained, wishing he had Nico there to translate. Wishing he had tried to ask Nico for a few more words. He heard his friend speaking for hours in that other language sometimes, only hesitating and fumbling over a few words. It was impressive, though Will hadn’t thought he’d ever actually need to use the language. His pronunciation was terrible on the words he did know, and he really didn’t know that many words. He had never been good at learning languages. He was more than happy to leave that to his friend – except now, when he had a patient sitting in the grass, obviously struggling to understand. Blood loss could be one hell of a drug, and its impact on processing speeds… Will shook his head. “I had to stitch it up,” he explained, catching Kelsier’s gaze. “If you tear through both that and the magical healing…” he rolled his eyes, not bothering to make a threat. Kelsier had found Nico, after all. Will had been trying all morning. He had purposefully hidden his team’s flag near the Labyrinth entrance in case that was how Nico decided to return to camp. Of all the dramatic entrances he’d expected… this was not one of them. “Good,” he murmured, stepping close enough to examine Nico. “We’ll give him some ambrosia when he comes to, and bandage that wrist when we get back to the infirmary. For now…” he frowned, not wanting to leave them behind. “For now I’ll leave any injuries from Capture the Flag to Kayla." He sounded reluctant about it as he slid down to sit at the base of the nearest tree trunk. “My name is Will,” he managed in Scadrial, stumbling over the pronunciation. “I am… friend.”
Kelsier shook his head slightly, lost. He didn’t understand what Will was saying, though he caught a few words here and there. He could speak English pretty well now, usually, but his brain was refusing to keep up, and he kept missing words and not being able to remember what they meant when he did catch them. He just wasn’t processing them the way he was supposed to be, and though a part of him knew it was because he was hurt, it made him nervous. He didn’t like not completely understanding what was happening around him. Bad things usually happened when he didn’t understand enough to stop them. Well...technically the bad thing had already happened. Almost happened. Kelsier stared at Will, Nico still cradled in his arms, and he didn’t seem to be planning to let him go anytime soon. He blinked, letting himself meet Will’s eyes. He didn’t think the boy was lying, he just didn’t understand what he was saying. He kept saying words Kelsier didn’t even think he knew, let alone recognized in this condition. “Capture the flag.” He repeated, pleased to at least understand that. Nico talked about it sometimes, enough that the phrase stuck out to him, even with how poorly he was doing at thinking at the moment. “Now?” He added, for clarification. He paused as Will spoke in Scadrial again, and he switched back. It was much easier that way, and he was grateful Will was trying. “I’m Kelsier.” He said, though he expected Will to know that much already. He hesitated, unsure how to describe himself. His titles were useless here, and he wasn’t trying to scare, impress, or intimidate Will, which was mainly what he used them for. “I’m also a friend.” He settled with, still speaking in Scadrial. He was too tired to attempt English at the moment.
The blood loss was definitely not ideal. Will could see the way Kelsier as looking around, the way he seemed to be trying to process information that probably wouldn’t have been easy to understand even if he were in the best frame of mind. The infirmary would be the best place to bring them. It had multiple beds and plenty of medical supplies. Yet… it would be loud. There would be dozens of kids walking around, visiting the ones who got injured, teasing them about something or other. There was no peace and quiet in the infirmary, and for someone who seemed to be trouble catching English phrases… well, it would be downright irresponsible of Will to bring Kelsier and Nico there. He’d have to settle for Cabin 13, thought that was far from ideal on account of only having one bed. Perhaps he could drag one over from the infirmary. It wouldn’t be quite as comfortable as the one Kelsier had commissioned for Nico, but it would at least be a place to rest. “Hm?” He had missed that Kelsier was speaking, only catching on a few moments later. “Yes,” he replied after a few long moments. “Capture the Flag now.” At least Kelsier seemed to know what that was. Hopefully he wasn’t interested in joining in this state. “Nice to meet you,” Will replied, making a face as he badly messed up the pronunciation of the last word. Nico had corrected him on it at least three times. He wasn’t sure he was even capable of making the proper sound. Hopefully it would be at the very least comprehensible. After a long moment Will stood up, then gestured for Kelsier to do the same. He started walking, just a few steps before he turned to make sure Kelsier had understood his intent. “Hades Cabin,” he explained in English, unsure how to explain that particular concept in Scadrial. It seemed Nico avoided almost all mention of Hades when speaking with Kelsier. “Home,” he decided after a long moment, the word only slightly familiar to him in Scadrial. He had wondered at the time why that would be a word Nico would want him to know in a foreign language. He was grateful now he’d been taught it. “Okay?”
There were so many things that warred for Kelsier’ attention, and even on the best of days he would have been much too in awe to pay much attention to...well, anything for longer than a few seconds. He wanted to stand up and look closer at the trees, he wanted to feel the soft grass under his feet, the tiny green strands catching his attention every few seconds ans distracting him. And the smells….Nico hadn’t said much about the smells, but here they were, attacking him at all sides. He took a deep breath in, trying to clear his head, but the fuzz remained firmly in place, and with it the difficulty of understanding English. If only Will hadn’t been quite so good at his job, Kelsier might have used tin to shock himself back, using the pain as a tool as held done many times before. Now, when he burned tin, it just made things worse. Too much information all at once. He extinguished it quickly. “Capture the Flag now.” He repeated again, then glanced at Nico, frowning a little. “Miss it.” He added, shaking his head a little. Of course Nico was missing Capture the Flag. Kelsier wasn’t surprised, but the thought made him sad, and he stared at Nico for a long moment, then lightly brushed a strand of dark hair from the boy’s face. He looked up a moment later as Will said something that would have been completely incomprehensible...had Kelsier not heard Nico make the same mistake countless times. He smiled a little, nodding once. “Nice to meet you, too.” He said, pronouncing the ‘you’ with slow precision. He wasn’t making fun of Will. He was genuinely attempting to help him pronounce the word. Though his slight smile probably wasn’t helping. He blinked as Will stood, and he held Nico a little closer, instantly protective. If they were moving they might try to take him away, and Kelsier wouldn’t allow that. Even in his normal state he would have been reluctant, but how he was now? He was desperate, and nervous, and overwhelmed, and at the same time determined not to let anything happen to Nico. Especially not while he was unconscious and therefore trusting Kel to protect him. That didn’t quite make sense, but Kelsier didn’t know that. He watched Will carefully, narrowing his eyes a little. “Home.” He repeated, frowning a little. “Hades.” He added after a moment, and he understood what Will was attempting to communicate, even if he didn’t like the idea that it was Hades’ cabin. It belonged to Nico, thank you very much. He got to his feet, still not really stable but more so by far than he’d been before. Then he moved to follow Will, Nico still held close to his chest.
Will glanced back, picking up his helmet from the ground. “I doubt he would have played today anyway,” Will replied, unsure if Kelsier would understand. He seemed to understand a couple of words here and there, but not full sentences. Either they had to wait for some of the blood loss to wear off, or for Nico to wake up so he could actually communicate with him. What would have happened if the two of them hadn’t started exchanging languages? Will shuddered at the thought of a strange man entering camp with Nico’s body, unable to speak a single understandable word. That really wouldn’t have gone over well. There was something about the tenderness with which Kelsier held Nico that made Will’s heart ache. His friend deserved something like this. Everyone at camp deserved that, but seeing it actually happen in front of him… Will gave a small smile, turning back to lead the way. “You,” Will repeated, tossing the word over his shoulder. It was inconvenient that such an important word was so difficult to pronounce, especially when said in such an important phrase. Somehow the word was easier to pronounce in ‘how are you feeling,’ though Will didn’t know why. Nico hadn’t been able to explain either. “Good?” he asked, unable to remember the word for ‘better.’ He had to hope his broken attempts at the language would be enough for Kelsier to understand him. If Will had a solid way to communicate that nobody was going to try to take Nico away, he would have said something. He didn’t know those words in Scadrial, though, and he had already tried in English, so he figured it would be easier to just let it be. The walk to Cabin 13 was longer than Will would have liked, especially given how shaky Kelsier seemed on his feet, but he didn’t really have another option. They couldn’t just stay in the forest, and the infirmary was a bad idea for plenty of reasons. Not for the first time, Will wished he could shadow travel. It was a convenient skill to have, especially when dealing with a patient who could hardly walk the distance by himself, let alone carrying a kid. A kid who was shorter than he should’ve been and didn’t eat much, but still. “Home sweet home,” Will remarked, pulling in front of the pure black cabin. It had eerie looking sconces on the outside burning green fire, a black skull set into the wood just above the door. Whether it was carved or real was anybody’s guess. Cabin 13 was written next to the door, Hades’ name carved right underneath. It had been thoughtfully designed, at least on the outside. He moved forward to open the door, the dark interior blocking out most of the outside light. There were windows, of course, but Nico kept the blinds down and the curtains drawn for the most part.
Kelsier didn’t understand the sentence, his brain failing to translate it into meaning. He shook his head a little to clear it, trying to focus. He knew he could figure out what the words meant if he could just manage to concentrate, if he could think past the fog in his brain. It was a very good thing that Will knew some Scadrial, or things might have gone much worse. Kelsier probably would have ended up collapsing instead of sitting, for one thing, and he might not have let Will near him and Nico, even if the rational part of his brain could have figured out where he was. The rational part of his brain wasn’t really functioning at the moment. Blood loss was interesting like that. He followed Will, stumbling a bit but managing to stay upright, his hazel eyes scanning his surroundings as he moved. The forest….the forest looked incredible. It was green and brown and the leaves looked soft and moved in a gentle breeze and there was no ash, no ash at all, and Kelsier found he couldn’t quite believe it was all real. Surely...surely he was dreaming, surely he would wake up back home, back in the ash clogged streets and his own small room. He didn’t want to wake up. He looked up as he realized Will had said something, and he nodded. “I’m good.” He told him, speaking slowly in Scadrial, hoping he would be understood. It seemed Will knew significantly less than Nico did, which wasn’t surprising, considering Nico was almost fluent by now. Pride and not a little emotion rose in Kelsier’s chest at the thought, because Nico had clearly worked very hard to learn it, and who had he learned it for? The walk seemed even longer for the Mistborn, and he stumbled and nearly fell, gritting his teeth against the dizziness that seemed almost to swallow him for a moment. He was fine. He hadn’t come all this way just to pass out here, he ordered himself not to pass out. He had to stay awake or he was in danger of dropping Nico and he refused to do that. It was that more than anything else that forced him to continue forward, following Will, his eyes set stubbornly ahead of him rather than wandering over the wonders. And the other kids who stared at him, because, well, he was a tall man soaked in blood and carrying their unconscious friend. He would have stared, too. “Home.” Kelsier repeated in English, smiling a bit to himself. It had been one of the words they had exchanged pretty early on, and he knew it now even though his thoughts were muddled and difficult to sort out. He blinked at the cabin and his smile deepened, because he was finally seeing it. He was finally getting to see it. He reached out a hand and brushed it over the surface, as though checking to make sure it was real. “Hurry.” He added in English, his accent heavy on the word. He switched to Scadrial without meaning to as he continued. “Need...to put Nico down…”
Will glanced over sharply, wanting to help Kelsier if he fell but knowing all too well that he wouldn’t actually be much help. He might have been unusually strong for a kid his age (although possibly below average for a demigod), but he doubted he could keep a full-grown man on his feet for long enough to reach Cabin 13. He breathed out as Kelsier seemed to steady himself. Impressive, what the man could do despite the blood loss. Will had a feeling this wasn’t the first time he was dealing with it. He pitied whoever had to deal with Kelsier when he got injured back on his world. Other worlds. That was a new one. Of course… since they’d met Magnus he’d had to admit that other worlds were a possibility, this was one that wasn’t at all connected to the world he was familiar with. He had questions, but he also knew this probably wasn’t the best time to be asking them. Not when they could barely communicate. Hurry. Will’s eyes widened at the word, though the only thing he could pick out of the next sentence was Nico’s name. His eyes darted quickly to his friend, making sure he hadn’t started bleeding from somewhere that hadn’t been injured before, but it seemed the boy was alright. Good. “I am,” Will replied quietly, swinging open the door to the cabin and flicking on the lights. It was large, with a fountain on the far corner with coins for Iris-messaging, and the bed Kelsier had commissioned in the middle. Only a twin, not big enough for both Kelsier and Nico, otherwise Will would have considered that. There were spaces for other beds, but there were none. The cabin was mostly empty besides a wall of Nico’s few belongings and a dresser that seemed to house some of those, too. It wasn’t fully a temple, not like the cabins for the maiden goddesses, but it seemed to at least halfway serve that purpose. They obviously weren’t expecting any more children of Hades after Nico died. Will thought the idea was rather gruesome, but he was used to his own cabin. He couldn’t blame the interior decorating choices – those had been Nico’s – but it was so lonely here. “I’ll be right back,” he informed Kelsier, ducking out of the cabin. They needed another bed, and he could easily take one from the infirmary. At least… as long as capture the flag wasn’t over yet, and as long as nobody came out grievously injured.
Dox. That was who Will pitied without knowing their name. And the rest of the crew, of course, but Dox was the man who usually had to deal with Kelsier. Sazed may have handled the physical wounds, but they relied on Dockson’s sensible nature to keep Kelsier in bed for any amount of time. He couldn’t have explained the whole other worlds thing very well at the moment even if there hadn’t been a massive language barrier. His head just wasn’t working that well at the moment. He saw the glance at Nico and he shook his head a little, trying to communicate that he was fine, for now. There was just the urgent matter of not collapsing on top of him. The only thing really keeping Kelsier upright was that worry. He didn’t even have any pewter to burn at the moment, and even if he’d been thinking clearly to remember the vials he carried, he wouldn’t have wanted to waste them now that he was mostly healed. He stepped into the cabin, blinking as he took it all in. He would have preferred Nico show him this himself, of course, but then he wasn’t exactly in any condition to inspect the place. Maybe when Nico woke up, they could pretend it was Kelsier’s first time seeing the place. He smiled a bit at the bed, which managed to be as good as he’d hoped it would be. And it wasn’t a coffin, so points for that. Another glance around made the place feel a little lonely, and though Kelsier knew Nico liked his privacy, he wondered if it ever bothered him. How it seemed built to be convenient on his death. How it was so clearly built with that thought in mind. He shook his head a little. He could be indignant at their treatment of Nico later, right now he just had to make it a little bit longer. He nodded once as Will ducked out, leaving him alone with Nico. Good. He trusted Kel enough for that. He walked across the room and set Nico down very gently, slowly lowering him and then slipping his arms out from under him, releasing him even though his mind said that was the wrong thing to do, that he shouldn’t let him go until he was awake and could defend himself. He stepped back, looking at him for a long moment. And he smiled faintly. Then the Mistborn fell, his eyes rolling up into his head, unconscious before he hit the ground.
--- Nico blinked, eyes opening in surprise. He half expected to find himself in a bronze jar, unable to shadow travel away, no pomegranate seeds to save him this time. But there was something soft under his head, the rest of his body padded as well. He sat up, eyes widening as he recognized the familiar black of his pillow, the metal sides of his bed, and the dim fake-torchlight illuminating the room. He was alive. He was at camp. How…? His eyes fell on Kelsier, half draped over what had to be one of the infirmary beds. Will must have dragged it in here, though why Kelsier wasn’t actually laying on it was… a question Nico would have to ask when he woke up. He remembered… he remembered Kelsier appearing. And he remembered the blood. He pushed himself up out of bed, wincing at the pressure on his wrist. It was covered in bandages – that wouldn’t be very convenient – but hurt anyway. His sharp movements seemed to have reopened the wound. That was a problem for future-Nico. Kelsier’s clothes were still bloodstained, Nico could tell from where he stood a few feet away. Still… the Mistborn’s breathing seemed even, which was a good sign. Nico took a tentative step back, not wanting to wake him. How long had he been out himself? He could ask Will, but Will was probably busy… there had been Capture the Flag planned, hadn’t there? Nico sighed, pulling out a chair that sat next to a small desk. He didn’t like waiting, but he wasn’t going to leave the cabin until Kelsier was awake. Setting Kelsier loose on Camp Half-Blood with no warning? That wouldn’t go over well. He stood up again, pacing for a minute before he tore off his ripped and blood-stained shirt, tossing it in what he had come to think of as his “to be mended” pile. He knew how to sew, he’d learned from Bianca at the Lotus, but he never actually had time to get to the clothes he had a tendency to tear. He slipped on a clean, unripped (well, mostly) black shirt. His custom-made Camp Half-Blood one. How long had he been awake? Fifteen minutes at most, he told himself, forcing himself to sit back down. He needed to be patient. Kelsier needed rest. Patience was hard, though. Kelsier was here. There was so much Nico wanted to show him.
When Kelsier did finally wake, it was with a start. He hadn’t been dreaming - he’d been much too deeply unconscious for that - but his memory of what he’d been doing before he’d collapsed didn’t immediately come back. He was draped over something soft, but not quite lying in the bed. His first thought was that somehow, something had happened to him, somehow he’d been taken or lost a fight or...he felt like he’d lost a fight. He tried to remain as close to the appearance of sleep as he could as he reached for his dagger. His hand closed around the handle, and then his eyes shot open and he was on his feet, whipping around to face…. “Lord Ruler.” He breathed, lowering the weapon as it all came back to him in a rush. “It wasn’t a dream.” He had done it. He had finally actually done it. He’d believed he could, he’d believed that completely, and every time he’d told Nico he was close, he’d believed that, too. But there was something very different about actually doing it, actually standing in Nico’s cabin, in Nico’s world. He grinned, then laughed, ignoring the ache of his now healed wound. He still looked awful, his mistcloak torn and stained with a frightening amount of blood, his skin still a little too pale. He wasn’t actually wearing shoes, either, as Mistborn didn’t tend to when they went out and Kelsier had been prepared to do just that when Nico had messaged him. He was lucky he had, too. He might have neglected to bring metals otherwise. “I did it.” He switched to English, the words coming back to him easily now that he’d been asleep for...well, however long he’d been asleep. A while, he supposed, considering how much better he felt. “I actually did it.”
NOTE: Excessively spamming the shoutbox may result in a 24 hour ban. Other forum rules still apply. Please do not advertise by linking other websites. Members are encouraged to report offending content to the moderators by PM.
Cloudy Sky: Seeing the name gave me flashbacks to certain events that happened about two weeks ago.
Jun 22, 2021 4:51:35 GMT -5
Violetsky: Her name is Tika. She's a Cymric, or long-haired Manx.
Jun 22, 2021 6:27:08 GMT -5
Violetsky: I left the gel pack in the freezer overnight and now it's a solid thick sheet of ice.
Jun 22, 2021 6:32:05 GMT -5
Violetsky: Cymric is the technical term for a Manx cat that has long hair.
Jun 22, 2021 13:48:50 GMT -5
Violetsky: Technically they are Manx's as well; they are not a separate breed but an alternative variety of traditional Manx's, which are short-haired. They're also called longhair Manx's.
Jun 22, 2021 13:50:11 GMT -5
Violetsky: It's okay, I thought she was a traditional Manx for a while
Jun 22, 2021 14:02:13 GMT -5
Violetsky: Well, she is. It's like if brown bears that lived further up North had thicker and longer fur than their southern counterparts. If that was true, then they would be the same species and "breed", they just have different adaptations.
Jun 22, 2021 14:02:52 GMT -5