Calon felt something or someone around him, comforting, helping. He was so far from actual reality that he had no idea if what he was feeling was a dream or not but he had stopped caring. It just felt good to have some sort of comfort. When he felt water touch his lips and then trickle into his mouth he sputtered, coughed, and then tried to grab the source of the water. Drinking water after so long took all of his attention. He felt the shape of his throat and the length of it as the water reached deep into his body and being. After a moment of absorbing the moisture he was suffused with calm and he was finally able to open his eyes. There was Haf. Haf was holding him. Calon began to sob and shake, cry and laugh.
They were both talking at once. The words did not matter—but the love did. They were totally out of control emotionally. There was no division between them, their words and the way they held each other was all passion.
Calon, in his feral state was the first one to feel the eyes staring again. He shouted at Haf, “Look!” and Haf looked up just as the creature jumped at his neck and bit him. Calon was not able to move away. He felt the weight of a large body pressing on him from above, cutting off his view of Haf. Calon pushed feebly at the creature but he knew his effort would only make him weaker and not help Haf. Haf realized after the first shock of the attack that he was much stronger than the creature attacking him and he became strategic. He moved between the creature and Calon, protection being his first priority. Haf grabbed the creature’s flailing arms and pinned them to its side. With a few quick moves he had the creature pressed to the mine’s floor. There beneath him, shattered and torn was Golau struggling and mewling.
Haf shouted her name, “Golau!” Something in the creature’s eyes showed a flash of recognition. Golau’s body crumpled. Haf whispered her name to her, giving it to her as a benediction, over and over. Calon heard Haf and wanted to get to the place where Haf had pinned Golau. Calon’s crawling was ruining him but he kept going anyway. When Calon reached them he merged into the pile of their bodies. They laid in a boundary less heap. Arms, legs, hands and hearts all askew. They just lay there, breathing, as Haf whispered, “Golau, Golau, Golau” over and over in time with his breathing.
After what may have been minutes or hours Haf said, “I will take you home. I will take you back to Renaissance—your home. It is your home again. I will take you home.” Calon and Golau answered simply by pressing the hands they were holding. The three friends sat in the silence of the mines.