Thrak’s beady eyes opened, blinked, opened, blinked and then shot open wide, which for a man with a lizard’s face wasn’t very wide. Even still, there he was-looking around like a lizard buzzed by a fly. Then, like a cat falling through the air, his legs, arms and tail flailed about him and he wound up twisting and turning in such a way that he somehow caught his muscular green legs underneath him. He was standing on his two feet, wobbling side to side, but standing nevertheless. He bent backwards, nearly losing his balance before regaining it with a jerk, and he saw his tail, flicking behind him. That seemed to be important to him and so noticing his tail was still there, he stretched out his neck and opened his jaws wide all the while holding his arms and claws out before him to steady his balance. He gave a loud battle cry that echoed around the tunnels. Thrak was back!
“You’ve done it Frank,” said Iricah through tears. “You’ve saved him, I knew you could!” Iricah had been on the floor next to the cleric, holding her brother in her arms. Like a parent waiting for their child to take his first steps, she was reaching out with her chin, mouth open, willing Thrak back. She was all too aware that Thrak’s life was a sacrifice for that of her brother’s. It was now a much higher price than she had realized. In her arms, her brother’s robes made him look like a child in a large blanket. “You are a true keeper of the flame, Frank, I never doubted you for a second.”
“I wish I could say that myself Iricah,” said Frank. He looked exhausted, his transformation now complete with horns and red skin. He looked back at her, and his red eyes blazed hotly. “I would be inquisitioned for this. Look at me now! The power of the Flame is mighty indeed, but Genoran told us the Light was no longer returning souls to the living, not even to the mightiest of our Order-certainly not to a child of Ket as I am!”
“It doesn’t matter,” she half cried, half laughed at him. “None of that matters! You’ve done it Frank. Just look at him, he’s as good as-uh… new.” Iricah held her hand outward offering proof to Frank of his incredible deed. Thrak who was at that moment sniffing his genital area, gave a contented snort with whatever he had been sniffing for. Then, his neck curled back around and he looked up at them both, tilting his head to the side, and blinked twice.
Frank looked from Thrak to Iricah. “Your…the prince I mean.. is strong in the light. He could not bring his captain back, nor any others for that matter. Why has this power been granted to me now then?”
“Why do you think it has, Frank?” Iricah asked instead of attempting an answer.
“I do not know, Iricah,” said Frank. He stared at the bard for a moment and she stared back. Neither knew the answer, so neither tried to pretend they did. Frank watched Thrak try and walk, which the lizardman wasn’t doing very well at the moment. “Thrak, slow down. There are residual effects in bringing someone back. Some, I am sorry to say may be permanent. Come here, so I can examine you.”
While Frank looked Thrak over, Zy’an came to talk with Iricah. She was holding her brother in her arms, smoothing his hair back with her hands. Zy’an could tell he was alive now as well, but he wasn’t well at all. He lay, breathing in shallow gasps. Iricah was singing to him, healing him through her own brand, the power of the spoken word.
“You’ve done it too Iricah,” said Zy’an quietly. He had come to rest on one knee next to her brother Gaelon. “But the question is, what have you done exactly?”
“You have brought me back,” Gaelon said answering the monk for his sister. He coughed out his response word by word. “Oh Iricah, I am sorry. So sorry for everything.”
“Hush, Gaelon. Hush,” she said, her words were choked with joy, “You are back and I’ve got you. That’s all that matters now. We are going to get you back to the ship. And we are going to make you better. We are both going to be better.”
“You aren’t going to leave this place, sister. Nor I. Nor any of us.”
“Nonsense, Gae. Knock that talk off.”
“I am sorry. I am sorry to all of you, truly.” Although the remnants of his change were disappearing still, Gaelon was delirious now. His eyes darted around. “None of us will leave this place! She has brought you here, and this is where we will end!”