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Egil – IV


321 Years Ago
Year of Unity 1549

Egil crept through the underbrush, listening to the strange sounds echoing through the wood ahead, cutting through its stillness. The sounds were familiar to him, strange only in that they didn’t belong in this ancient forest.

They were the sounds of people shouting.

Egil didn’t rush, didn’t risk revealing himself no matter how urgent the shouting grew. Though he hadn’t encountered them personally, he’d heard stories of creatures in this forest who used compassion as bait, mimicking the sounds of people in distress to lure you deeper, to the heart of the wood. The shouting being some trick of Lyryma’s was certainly the most plausible explanation for it; the only ones who ventured this deep into the forest were those already privy to its secrets, and they’d know better than to scream.

He didn’t know what he’d expected to see when he finally reached the source of the noise — some strange monster, perhaps, or nothing at all — but four young alfar with swords and fine clothing fighting off an angry selcla wasn’t it. The bear-like creature towered over them, swiping at the boys with large paws. It only took Egil a glance at their stiff sword forms to know they wouldn’t win this fight.

A fourth alfar stood at the back of the group, far from the selcla. Instead of wielding a sword, he clung stubbornly to the reins of their spooked horses, keeping them from running off. Seeing this, Egil crept around the edge of the clearing toward him, ripping up a thick fern branch as he went.

“Give me your matchbox,” he said to the alfar in an urgent whisper.

The alfar jumped at his sudden appearance and turned wide blue eyes on him. Egil was momentarily struck by their intensity; they reminded him of ice. “What?” the alfar hissed.

“A matchbox. You have one somewhere among the saddlebags, don’t you? Give it to me.”

“Who even are you?”

“Doesn’t matter. Just trust me.”

The alfar stared at Egil a long moment, then nodded and thrust the reins into Egil’s hands. He turned to a dun horse decked in Alfheim trappings and rested a hand on its neck, cooing at it under his breath while searching its saddlebags for the matchbox. Finding his prize, he passed it to Egil and took back the reins. With a few hasty strikes, Roman set the branch ablaze.

The selcla stood on its hind legs, towering over the alfar at nearly twice their height. It swiped at one with a clawed, eerily human hand and sent him flying into a nearby tree trunk with a thud. Before it could strike again, Egil ran into the fray, waving the flaming branch at the selcla. It shrank back immediately, dropping onto four legs again and taking wary steps back.

“Shoo!” Egil urged, waving the branch at it again. The fern burned quickly; he could feel the heat of it on his hand as th flame spread lower. Fortunately, though, the trick worked. With a grunt, the selcla turned and lumbered back into the brush.

Egil dropped the branch and stomped out the fire while the alfar crowded around him.

“That was brilliant!” one said.

“How did you know that would work?” another asked.

Egil stepped away before they could fully encircle him, keeping his back to the forest while eyeing them all warily. They barely seemed to notice his hesitation, too caught up in their own excitement and the rush of adrenaline that follows a near-death experience. Guessing an alfar’s age always posed a challenge, but based on their manner and dress, Egil knew these four were young.

“What are you doing here?” he asked them. “This forest is dangerous.”

“Yes, so we were told,” one of the boys sighed. He was taller than the others. Older, too, with less baby fat and a trace of blond stubble along his jaw. “I didn’t know that meant giant bears that attack for no reason whatsoever!”

“Dangerous means dangerous. Leave before you get hurt.”

“We can’t,” said another, the one who’d been thrown into a tree. He rubbed at his lower back but otherwise appeared uninjured. “Our friends are waiting for us at the edge of the wood. They dared us to keep going until one of us found an oanai. We can’t turn back now.”

“Then you’ll die and bring shame on your families,” Egil said. He met the fourth alfar’s gaze, the one who’d brought him the matchbox. “After all, the blood of Alfheim royalty will be on your hands.”

The boys stilled. Surprise flickered across the face of the fourth alfar, and he left the horses — calm, now that the threat was gone — tethered to a tree in order to join them. “How did you know?” he asked.

“The crest on your saddlebags.”

“Clever. Who are you?” the tall one asked.

Egil hesitated. He hadn’t actually introduced himself to anyone new since escaping Unity; he realized this was a chance to rid himself of Egil. He was no longer Unity’s sword, its servant. But he was no longer Amaimon, either — that boy had been buried by Unity long ago. He wanted to be someone entirely new.

“Call me Roman,” he said. “Roman Hallisey.”

“Well,” the tall alfar said, reaching out to lay a hand on Roman’s shoulder in a friendly gesture that Roman shied away from. “It’s truly a pleasure, Mr. Hallisey. I’m Helge Evanson. This is Kjell and Oskar, and the one you so quickly identified earlier is Leandros Nochdvor, grandson to the King.”

Roman eyed Nochdvor. He looked like his grandfather — golden hair, pale eyes, and light, unmarred skin. But Leandros was younger, leaner, and far more awkward. The biggest difference, though, payed openly across his face — his emotions. Clearly, this alfar hadn’t yet mastered the old Alfheim tradition of keeping your emotions hidden.

He smiled at Roman, soft and kind. “Join us for a meal. Consider it our thanks to you for saving our lives.”

“I dare say we could have fought it,” Kjell sniffed.

“What, like you were fighting it when it sent you flying?” Oskar asked.

“You do seem to be our good luck token, Mr. Hallisey,” Helge said. “Please, do sit. I’d love to hear what you’re doing in Lyryma, if it’s as dangerous as you say. Oskar, get a fire started, would you?”

As much as Roman didn’t want to stay, he couldn’t in good conscience leave these boys alone, either. They’d been lucky so far, but luck was a fickle thing in the deadly depths of Lyryma, and Roman had enough blood and guilt staining his soul already. While he was still trying to decide, he found himself being dragged down to sit beside Helge at a small but growing fire.

Kjell broke a loaf of bread and passed it around the circle while Helge offered Roman Alfheim fruits. Roman took one of the small berries and considered it — these alfar must have been early into their journey, if their fruit was still so fresh. They’d likely come here directly from Alfheim.

“Is a dare really worth your lives?” Roman asked. His eyes met Leandros’ blue ones when he looked up, Leandros quickly dropping his gaze. Roman almost smiled at the obviousness of his unease. If he’d been on some mission for Unity — to pull information from the alfar King’s grandson, perhaps — he’d have been disappointed by the lack of challenge.

“Yes,” Oskar said easily.

“We’re students at the Academy, you see — that’s the best school in Alfheim — and we’re about to enter our final year,” Helge explained. “It’s tradition that every year, the exiting class gives the rising seniors a dare that they must complete. Ours is to bring back proof that we met an oanai in Lyryma. So we must do this.”

Roman raised an eyebrow.

“You wouldn’t understand,” Helge said. “You have no idea how important these dares are. If we turn back now, we’ll be the first class in over fifty years to fail. Our fathers, our fathers’ fathers, they all completed their own dares. We’d be a disgrace.”

Roman looked at Leandros. “What about you? You’re quiet. Do you disagree?”

Kjell groaned.

“I’ve been saying all day that it would be wise to admit defeat,” Leandros setting, shooting Kjell a sharp glare. “I can see why they wouldn’t want to, however.”

“You were just as excited for this as the rest of us!”

“That was before we almost got mauled by a giant bear!” Leandros countered. “And I was only excited to leave Alfheim, not to enter a forest are people are rightly unwelcome in.”

Roman’s lips twitched, almost into a smile. “It was a selcla, technically. Same genus, different species.”

The alfar all looked at him with surprise, not expecting a strange, feral human they found deep in Lyryma to know the difference between a genus and a species. Roman cleared his throat. “There are worse creatures here, the deeper you go, which is why I advise that you turn back.”

“If you know Lyryma so well, why don’t you help us? Do you know where we can find the oanai?” Oskar asked.

This sparked Kjell and Helge’s excitement; soon, Roman had three eager alfar bearing down on him. He rose and stepped swiftly away, closer to the cover of the wood. The alfar all blinked, surprised by his speed.

“If I help you find an oanai, do you promise to leave the forest immediately after?”

“Of course,” Helge agreed. “We don’t want to be here, believe it or not. I have silks and a warm bed waiting for me in Alfheim, and there, I don’t have to dine on berries and bread.”

“Fine,” Roman said. “Then I’ll take Nochdvor, but the rest of you have to stay here.”

Leandros’ mouth fell open in surprise.

The others climbed to their feet in an instant, swarming Roman. Oskar, Kjell, and Helge spoke over each other, each trying to complain the loudest.

Kjell, “Why him?”

Oskar, “Why not take all of us?”

Helge, “Just who do you think you are?”

Roman scoffed. “Your people have made an enemy of the oanai for centuries; who do you think you are? You think I’d just march you straight to Home? Arrogant. Thoughtless. You don’t know the harm you could do,” he said. “Since Nochdvor is clearly the only one among you with common sense, he’s the only one I’ll take.”

Helge spluttered. Soft hands, fine clothes, and brash confidence — it was clear he’d never been spoken to this way in his life.

“We’ll be back in a few hours. If you’re going to sleep, keep a watch. Don’t leave this clearing and always keep that fire lit. Most predators here fear fire. It should keep you safe until we get back,” Roman said before Helge could recover. To Leandros, he added, “We continue on foot. Keep behind me and follow my orders.”

Leandros shouldered a single small bag and followed Roman deeper into the wood. As the glow from the fire behind them dimmed, soon swallowed entirely by foliage, Leandros tried to spark up a conversation.

“How do you know so much about Lyryma?” he asked. When Egil looked back at him, the alfar’s expression was clear, composed. He’d shown so much apprehension earlier, but where was that fear now?

“I live here.”

“Is that so? Have you been here long?”

“Very long.”

There came a pause, Leandros waiting for Roman to expand on his statement. When he didn’t, Leandros said, “Your accent is Troasian, isn’t it? That’s a very long way from here.”

“It is.”

Leandros sighed. “You’re not one for talking, are you? That’s fine, I suppose.” He walked beside Roman now, looking all around him like he he couldn’t take enough of it in. “Lyryma is actually quite lovely when there are no monsters attacking you.”

“It is,” Roman agreed. He remembered the first time he’d seen this forest. He’d been weary and injured, stumbling in after a long chase out of Gallontea. He’d had Unity guards on his heels, and his heart had been breaking for Bellona, the girl he’d left behind. Things had changed so much since then.

Leandros remained silent the rest of the way. That silence echoed around and between them, hanging on Roman’s shoulders like a warm cloak. Normally, he felt uneasy traveling the forest at night, but he found it peaceful with a companion — even a stranger.

The forest matched their silence so that they were able to hear the music of Home long before they reached the city. It drifted through the trees toward them, compelling them onward, and before long the ground dropped out ahead of them, the city sprawling below. Night had fallen, and lanterns had been lit throughout Home — the majority of them lined Central Field, where distant figures swayed and danced to strange melodies.

“This is Home?” Leandros asked, breathless. He dropped to his knees at the very edge of the hill, staring down at the city with wide eyes and an open mouth. “From the stories they tell in Alfheim, I was expecting…”

“Not this,” Roman guessed.

“Not this,” Leandros agreed. “This is beautiful.”

“You’d be surprised how many stories your people tell about Home are untrue,” Roman said, crossing his arms. He watched Leandros out of the corner of his eye — he couldn’t remember ever meeting an alfar so unapologetically excited about anything, let alone another city, another culture.

Leandros snorted. “I don’t doubt that.”

Roman pointed at Central Field. “There are your oanai. Do you need proof for your dare?”

“Just some token,” Leandros said. “Can we get closer?”

“I don’t know if that’s appropriate. It’s not for me to invite you into the city — I’m only a guest here, myself.”

Leandros nodded. “I understand. Then shall I…wait here while you get the token?”

“Egil!” a deep voice called, turning both Leandros and Roman’s heads. Leandros gasped when he saw his first oanai — it was Mani, a favored candidate for quadrant chieftan. She was also the youngest candidate, and the one who had first found Egil when he came stumbling into Lyryma.

She approached from the grand staircase, tilting her head quizzically as she took in the person beside Roman. “In all the time you’ve been with us, Egil, you’ve never brought a friend here.”

“He’s not—,” Roman began.

“But he’s someone you trust?” Mani asked.

“Yes,” Roman admitted.

“Then welcome to Home,” Mani told Leandros warmly.

“You’ve made it just in time for a party.”

“A party?” Leandros asked.

“He’s not staying,” Roman said. “Mani, can we have one of your whiskers?”

Mani blinked at the unusual request. “A whisker?”

“Yes, a whisker. Leandros needs it for something,” Roman said.

Mani made a low, thoughtful noise. “I will give your friend a whisker if you both come to our party. I’ve noticed how you avoid them, Egil. Our good neighbors will be very happy to see you drinking their wine.”

Happy,” Roman scoffed, then sighed. “Fine. But we can’t stay long.”

They followed Mani down the Grand Staircase, toward the stream of music coming from Center Field. The minute they reached the clearing, glasses of shimmering wine were thrust into their hands. A faerie with elegant butterfly wings danced around Roman, playing with his hair before whisking Leandros away for a dance.

As a newcomer, someone fresh and exciting, Leandros quickly amassed an entourage of curious fae. Roman watched him for a while — he was all youthful excitement and awkward limbs compared to the ineffable grace of the fae, but he was something solid and true in a sea of the surreal and ethereal. Roman found him strangely magnetic.

With that thought, he drained his glass, then cast one last look at Leandros before setting off in search of another. He should have realized then how hard it was to leave a fae party once you’d begun to enjoy it.

Roman and Leandros found each other again nearly an hour later. It was in the middle of a dance, when Roman stumbled after a particularly enthusiastic spin from the faerie he’d been dancing with and braced himself on what turned out to be Leandros’ chest. He laughed, the world tipping dangerously around him, but stopped abruptly when a deceptively strong arm wrapped around his waist, keeping him steady.

“Hello again,” Leandros said, raising his voice to be heard over the laughter and music.

“Hi,” Roman said breathlessly. He cleared his throat. “We should really be getting back to your friends.”

“They’re not my friends,” Leandros said with an amused quirk of his lips. He tugged roman away from the party, that almost-smile never leaving his face. “I think we should both sit a while before we try to go anywhere.”

Roman shrugged and dropped down into the grass.

“That’s fine. As long as they keep the fire going, they won’t die.”

Leandros laughed. It was a sound that belonged here. If magic existed, Roman always thought he would find it in Lyryma. He was right, in a way— he found it in that laugh.

“How much did you drink?” Leandros asked as he settled beside Roman in the grass. “You’re like a completely different person drunk.”

“I’m hardy drunk. I’m just…” Inhibited enough to be able to breathe, to be able to emerge from the shell of a man who was broken and remade over and over. Enough to forget the torture and the manipulation Unity put him through, and worst of all, to forget the terrible things he’d done of his own will.

When he didn’t finish his sentence, Leandros only smiled, not unkindly. “Of course. My apologies.”

Roman ignored the teasing in his voice and changed the subject. “When does your term start?” he asked.

“Pardon?”

“Kjell— or was it Oskar— one of them said you’re students at the Academy. A new term starts soon, right?”

“Oh. Not until fall,” Leandros said.

Roman nodded and twirled a lock of hair around his finger. It was getting long, nearly down to his waist when it wasn’t tied up. Without the changing of seasons, the passing of time was indistinct in Home. Weeks blended into months, into years. And through it all, Roman didn’t age. He used his hair as a metric of sorts — soon, it would be time to cut it all off and begin the cycle again.

He couldn’t guess how many cycles had passed since his days at the Academy, too many were they. He doubted anyone he knew still taught there, even with the long lives of the alfar. He thought of the youngest professor on staff back when he was enrolled. “Is, ah…Elgar Silge still teaching there?”

Leandros had been watching the party, his foot tapping along to the beat of the music, but at this, he turned the full weight of his attention on Roman. “No, he’s been dead many years.”

“Ah,” Roman said. “Shame.”

“His daughter is the headmaster now.”

Roman sat upright. “Asta?”

“…You know her?”

“We were friends when I – I used to attend the Academy,” Roman confessed without quite meaning to.

With the expressiveness Roman had come to expect from him, Leandros gasped. “A human from Troas who attended the Academy and lied about his name, now living in Lyryma with the oanai. What a mystery you are,” Leandros said, watching Roman with an intensity that made Roman look away.

“I didn’t lie,” Roman said defensively. He suspected he had far more to drink than Leandros had. A mistake. “My name is Amaimon Roman Rosario Hallisey. I go by Roman.”

“The oanai from earlier called you Egil.”

“That’s not my — that’s something else. Don’t call me that.”

Leandros held his hands up in apology. “I won’t. Sorry for pushing. I do like Roman. It’s a good name.”

“Thanks,” Roman said. Despite the warning bells chiming in the back of his head, telling him he’d revealed too much, he relaxed. Instinct told him Leandros wouldn’t abuse this information, hopefully wouldn’t even remember his name by tomorrow.

“What did you study at the Academy?” Leandros asked.

“Chemistry. I never did graduate, though. I had to drop out before my final year.” He almost smiled. “Didn’t get to participate in any dares.”

“What happened?”

Roman shrugged. “My father died. I didn’t have the money or means to stay in Alfheim.”

Leandros leaned forward excitedly, into Roman’s space. “You could always go back,” he slurred, the first sign of his own intoxication he’d shown all night. “You could finish with the new term. We could be classmates.”

Roman laughed, short and bitter. “I don’t know if that’s possible.”

“At least think about it,” Leandros said. He pushed himself to his feet and held a hand out to Roman, who took it with little hesitation. “In the meantime, come and dance with me, just one song. Then we can find that oanai, get her whisker, and I can get out of this forest.”

Six Months Later

The schoolroom was sticky and humid, filled with chattering voices and empty surfaces. For the best Alfheim had to offer, the Academy’s drab schoolrooms left something to be desired. But the Academy accomplished all Leandros needed it to: the professors were competent and the dormitories gave him space away from his family. He had no room to complain.

Helge, Oskar, Kjell, and several classmates who hadn’t been included on their fateful summer dare sat around him. Helge was telling some story about a hunting trip to Creae Valley and Leandros had long since tuned out, his unfocused gaze settled on the empty blackboard at the front of the room.

When the professor entered, a familiar figure trailing in behind him, Leandros was the first to notice. It was a lean figure with dark skin, a pretty face, and long, long hair pulled up into a ponytail. It was a pretty face that had featured in a few of Leandros’ dreams since night in Lyryma.

Roman stood out among the broad-shouldered, fair-haired citizens of Alfheim. More than his dark hair and dark eyes, it was the lack of alfar features that set him apart. He was so exquisitely sapien. As in Lyryma, he wore an old troasian style — a flowing white tunic partially unbuttoned at the top, a sash around his waist, a rough, homespun ascot around his neck.

Almost immediately, Roman found Leandros’ gaze. Leandros couldn’t help but smile at him, and Roman nodded back.

“What is he doing here?” Helge asked, finally noticing Roman as well.

“Mr. Evanson,” the professor scolded, settling his things on the desk at the front of the room. “This is your new classmate, Roman Hallisey. He is a personal friend of the Headmaster, so I hope you all welcome him and show him how hospitable we can be at the Academy.”

“This is some kind of joke, right?” Helge asked, dropping the Unity-regulated Ellesian to speak in Eld Alfar, a language spoken only among old Alfheim families. “He’s some peasant who lives in the woods among nympherai. Why in all of Calaidia would the Headmaster have anything to do with him?”

“Shut up, Helge,” Leandros snapped, also in Eld Alfar. He turned to face Roman, who’d settled on a stool at the high table behind him and switched back to Ellesian. “Glad you could make it.”

“Gladr lig at vara hi,” Roman replied in crisp, flawless Eld Alfar. Glad to be here.

Helge nearly fell off his stool.

As they settled into the term, Leandros made multiple attempts to befriend Roman Hallisey. He tried to invite Roman out with the rest of the students, tried to strike up conversations with him between classes, and once, when he was particularly desperate, tried following Roman to the market so he could later “pretend” to run into him. The latter attempt had been an failure: somehow, Roman had disappeared from Leandros’ sight after just one block.

It began to frustrate Leandros. He was used to people who hid their emotions, but at times he wondered if Roman even had emotions to hide. Then he’d catch a flicker of life — the way Roman smiled to himself when the professor confused facts, the spark of anger that flared behind his eyes when the other students were being ignorant, the sadness that overtook his features when he thought no one was looking. These flickers reminded Leandros of Home, when Roman had smiled, laughed, played with his hair and danced. They reminded him of the loneliness he’d glimpsed in Roman then, and he doubled his efforts to befriend him because he knew that loneliness. It was the same as his own.

His chance to finally get close came in the form of a group project. Leandros visited the classroom early to speak to the professor and ensure sure that when the team assignments were read out, he and Roman would be paired together. Roman said nothing when the groups were named, but he’d shot Leandros a curious, appraising look from across the room.

They agreed to meet in Roman’s apartment on their next free day to work. Leandros told himself he wasn’t nervous about it, but when the day came, Leandros couldn’t even pretend to maintain the lie. He was very nervous.

He followed the address Roman gave to a corner of Alfheim he’d never been in. It was a dirty corner of Alfheim, where people on busy streets gave him curious, side-eyed glances when they brushed shoulders on the sidewalk. The building itself was small but charming, a half-timbered little thing with a butcher’s shop on its first floor. Leandros went around the building and climbed rickety steps to the second-floor, planning what he might say to Roman, what they might talk about when not working.

All ideas flew from his mind when Roman answered the door, and all he managed was a choked-off, “Hi.”

Roman smiled and stepped back to let him in.

The apartment was…barren. Nothing more could be said for it. It consisted of only the main room and a kitchen, and hardly any personal effects could be seen in either place; Leandros tried not to stare at Roman’s bed as they both settled on the ground with their assignment papers spread out in front of them.

They fell into a rhythm quickly, focusing on their work. Leandros didn’t even need to use his planned conversation starters. They worked well together, Leandros with an eye for the big picture and Roman for details. They worked so well together, in fact, that they worked straight through lunch without realizing it, finishing most of what was supposed to be a multi-week project in one day. Eventually, Leandros was the first to put his book down.

“I think we’ve earned ourselves a break,” he said, stretching his arms over his head, his back cracking once, twice with the movement.

“Mm,” Roman hummed, still staring down at their work with a frown.

“Roman,” Leandros said, when Roman didn’t move. “A break. This project certainly isn’t worth giving yourself a headache over.”

“You’re right,” Roman said, finally putting down the paper in his hand. He narrowed his eyes at Leandros. “What, exactly, do you want to do during this ‘break’ instead?”

Leandros frowned. “I’d hoped we could talk. I’m curious to know how you’ve been readjusting to Alfheim.”

Roman only raised an eyebrow.

Leandros tried again. “Erm. Do…you miss Lyryma?”

“Sometimes,” Roman said. Leandros found himself trapped in Roman’s gaze. They sat close enough that he could even see himself reflected in those dark eyes. “Leandros, I know you asked the professor to make us partners.”

Leandros’ mouth fell open. “Oh. I – I only – that is, I thought–,”

While he stammered out an excuse, Roman suddenly sat up. Next thing Leandros knew, Roman’s warm weight was settling in his lap as Roman straddled him, one leg on either side of his hips. Leandros’ mind stuttered to a stop.

Before it could start up again, Roman kissed him. He wrapped his arm around Leandros’ shoulders and breathed a contented hum against Leandros’ lips. That sound was what finally broke Leandros’ self control: he kissed back, winding an arm around Roman’s waist and pulling him flush against him.

Roman smelled like fire and teakwood, warm and welcoming. He was soft beneath Leandros’ hands, something Leandros wouldn’t have expected just from looking at him. Leandros’ hands slid lower, pulling a quiet moan past Roman’s lips.

The sound finally pulled Leandros back to his senses. He pushed Roman off, ignoring the man’s surprise, and scooted back until his shoulders hit the edge of the bed. He knew his face was bright red, could feel the warmth rushing to his cheeks.

“What are you doing?” he gasped.

Roman only frowned. “This is what you wanted, isn’t it? Why you’ve been so nice to me?”

“What? No! I want to be friends with you, Roman.”

Roman stared at him, an awkward silence stretching between them. “Friends,” Roman repeated finally. “Do you really mean that?”

“Of course I do,” Leandros said, wondering– not for the first time– what happened to Roman that make him like this, unable to accept even a little friendliness without searching for meaning behind it. Leandros knew what he’d seen in Home, when Roman let his guard down; he knew Roman wasn’t naturally this cold.

Roman ran a hand through his hair, accidentally pulling some of the shorter locks free of its tie. “I don’t…I mean, it’s been a while since I – since I’ve had friends.”

“I can tell,” Leandros said, managing a small smile. “I mean, me too. Helge and them, they don’t count. They only tolerate me because of my status. And besides, they’re awful.”

Roman laughed, just a small thing. It felt, to Leandros, like a victory. “They really are awful.”

Another silence fell between them, both watching the other warily, as if they might try something else world-shattering. Finally, Roman said, “I suppose we can try it. Friendship.”

Leandros couldn’t help the laugh that bubbled out of him– whether at his own embarrassment or at Roman’s, he wasn’t sure. Roman joined in, and Leandros felt his loneliness begin to drain away.

At the same time, he wondered if mere friendship would be enough.


A/N: How was that for an interlude? I’m sure everyone was dying to know just how Roman and Leandros became friends 🙂

I’ll be posting art from today’s chapter, but only on the Fractured Magic discord, which anyone is welcome to join!

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One Comment

  1. jas jas

    wow…. this is so much More than I expected… I adore these two. as if I couldn’t love Roman more, but god, Leandros…. his conversation starters… what a Mood if i ever saw one

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