Chapter IV: Bonds
The cool air of the predawn was quiet. Morning dew covered all of the grass and the air was damp as a light shower had taken place the night before and it was into this early morning that Caleb hastened to escape his dreams that both concerned and upset him. He spotted Henry- his Master also up and moving.
The Sorcerer was gently rubbing his stump and Caleb knew that it was causing him some pain- it often did when the weather was cooler- and quietly came to stand beside him. Henry chuckled softly, “You’re up early.” He grinned, “Normally we’d have to pry you out of the bed roll.”
Caleb smiled softly, then he heaved a sigh. Henry tilted his head and Caleb spoke, “Master…”
Henry pat Caleb’s head,
“One of those types of days?” Henry asked gently, “No need to worry. Caws we’ll have lots of fun, just like old times.”
Caleb gave Henry a small smile, “Why do I get the feeling it’s going to involve a lot of curses on my end?” he asked,
“Nya, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. Oh slay me that was a good one~!” Henry grinned, “Besides I’ve got to see where you’re at Caleb. Call it what you will, I’m curious to see what my best student has learned tee hee.”
Caleb was glad his master was in such a chipper mood, it was nice for some normality to return after everything that had happened. “Well...I’ve managed Thoron-”
“Ohhhh.” Henry grinned, “Nice, how’s Rexcaliber coming along? I know wind was always your weakest element.”
Caleb sighed, “As terrible as ever.” the young Fell Dragon grumbled, “Alana seems to be able to handle wind better than I did.” he smiled softly,
“The little one?” Henry asked, then he gave Caleb a conspiratorial wink, “Seems you and Lucy got quite busy huh?”
Caleb flushed a brilliant shade of red, “M-Master Henry!”
“Nya, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.” Henry howled with laughter, “I’m totally right aren’t I?”
Caleb let out a weak sigh, “Yeah…”
Henry grinned, “Looks like ol’ Vaike owes me.”
Caleb grinned, “I guess he does.” It was a bittersweet memory to be sure but Henry didn’t seem to mind as Caleb felt himself lower his head slightly,
“Well then when the time comes I’ll make sure he knows, heh, heh, heh, heh.” He said then the pair looked over the dew laden clearing. “I’m sure she’d be proud of you Caleb.”
“Master?” Caleb asked confused,
Caleb looked down, “She...I couldn’t…” he began, voice soft yet it carried enough for Henry to hear him perfectly well. Henry knew what Caleb likely meant. That he had failed to save the past version of his mother.
Henry gently pat Caleb’s head, “Hey, no one’s perfect Caleb.” Henry seemed more serious than Caleb had ever seen his Master, “We all make our own mistakes, you did what you could and that’s all that matters.” Henry said, “You’ve grown so much I almost feel jealous!”
“I don’t think I ever grew that much Master.” Caleb admitted and Henry snorted,
“You have. You’ve certainly come a long way from that little one who wanted to be the best tactician that the world ever saw.”
Caleb smiled softly, “Have I though?” he sighed painfully, “It certainly doesn’t feel like it sometimes.”
Henry looked at Caleb and he smiled softly, “Well from where you view it mayhaps...but...from where I stand- you’ve grown a lot.” Henry spoke calmly, “Dare I say it, you’ve long since outgrown having to call me Master, Caleb.”
Caleb shook his head, “But-”
Henry chuckled in amusement, “As stubborn as ever huh? Well, okay, but just know where I stand alright Caleb.”
Caleb sniffled and ended up in a one armed hug. Henry suddenly grinned extra widely, “Now why don’t we have some fun tossing some fireballs and continue where we left off the last lesson for old time's sake, shall we? That always cheers me up when I’m down, nya, ha, ha, ha!”
Caleb was in a much better mood once breakfast came around, though training with Henry was certainly the reason for that. He came to sit beside Lucina and she smiled softly when he drew in for a small hug- her scent helping Caleb to relax further. He watched as Alana once again seemed more interested in figs than actual breakfast and chuckled softly as Bard was upset that there wasn’t anything left from last night, though it was a testimony to Sumia’s amazing cooking that there wasn’t anything left over. Caleb considered her the cooking goddess and anything that came close was certainly rare and worth eating as much as possible of if he could. Severa was in his mind the closest to Sumia's skill.
He noticed that Arilon was missing and frowned but decided that perhaps he had something to take care of. Caleb hoped that the Wanderer was alright. It would hurt him if something were to happen to the man, though why the young Fell Dragon did not know. Perhaps it was because he owed the man and felt he should repay the debt. Though how Caleb didn’t exactly know yet. There was something however that he’d come across in the library that could possibly help the Wanderers in general and Caleb felt it might be repayment enough...if what he saw was of any practical use- as well as the object he'd found. He decided to see if he could research it further once he got the chance, he had some time to after all and it would be best if he did.
With breakfast done they continued their trek to Plegia. The journey a little slow, because they were on alert for risen now- though Caleb couldn’t feel any and he wasn’t exactly comfortable about that. Had he really wiped them all out in that single move? It seemed that Robin too was uneasy as well doubtless because of the partial link between them, though Caleb guessed Robin was uneasy because of the lack of risen more so than any theoretical connection between the two Fellbloods.
It was around lunchtime when Caleb was sat across from this world’s Robin going through a strategy simulation. Robin was fairly predictable, though Caleb tried not to move too far ahead from what was happening it was difficult as he saw what moves Robin was going to make- though how he did not know particularly. He frowned and twice avoided the traps Robin set by sheer dumb luck. Or rather Caleb wanted to think it was luck and not him actually noticing them with his other eyes, or however a Grima might notice such things as that.
It was a little disconcerting to say the least but he also noticed the crowd that had begun to gather as Robin frowned- apparently they expected Robin to be able to handle the match- Caleb felt that Robin had the better odds after all. The frown was the give away that the King had not quite had an opponent of a skill level quite so closely matched (apparently), though Caleb didn’t doubt Robin’s daughter had a similar skill level she’d not been in the same level of pressure that Caleb, nor Robin had - though Caleb had a whole different kettle of fish to deal with coming from the ruined future after all and that...well that made a tactician or broke them. It also made a tactician hesitant but quick to capitalize on mistakes much more readily - Caleb wanted to believe so at least as he didn't want to face the memories just yet.
Caleb could project ahead enough to know when Robin was making feints and reacted accordingly. Unlike most Grimas- Caleb was sure of this- he used a combination of what he’d learned and what he’d inherited. At least that was the goal. Though it was hard to tell as Caleb found himself unsure of how he was picking things up like he was.
Robin frowned again and he said, “I almost wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. Looks like that’s the end of that.”
Caleb looked over the board and frowned, “I thought...there’d be at least twenty more moves or so…” He said,
“Really? With the commander down that wouldn’t be possible.” Robin pointed out and Caleb shook his head,
“I guess I was lucky then.”
“Luck had nothing to do with that.” Robin said firmly, “I didn’t think that it was even humanly possible to have someone push harder than Morgan can when she’s focused.”
“Daddy won?” Alana asked and Robin nodded,
“Yes he did. I thought he’d fall for a couple of feints and yet somehow he saw through them, well, all of them, actually.” Robin explained.
“How?” Alana asked curiously. Caleb knew Alana would be an amazingly gifted tactician when she was ready, she was always asking questions and trying to learn how to be a tactician- albeit a flying one like she insisted. Caleb grinned softly. He was proud of his little one and wondered how long it would take her to over take him in terms of skill.
“I'm not sure how.” Robin admitted to her calmly.
Marita said they were going to travel for a bit more before setting up camp. Caleb didn't mind and decided he'd feel better on his own two feet for a while as an uneasy feeling grew. To the point where Caleb wasn't sure he should be riding Storm. Surprisingly, Marita also seemed uneasy, glancing back the way they’d come several times over the course of the day, and he’d noticed her looking frustrated out of the corner of his eye. Whatever Arilon was doing, it was taking longer than she’d expected. Even so, Caleb knew that they would have to trust the man. Worse case detour and see if they could help.
As it turned out things were about to get much, much worse, depending on how one thought about a Fell Dragon having a destructive episode, though in reality it wasn't a true episode by any stretch of the imagination.
Caleb had of course not been aware that it was going to keep happening until he had a major destructive release of the energy that had been progressively building up, though as far as he was aware the Tempest had been finally destroyed- though he did not know that was what it was as he'd yet to see and encounter one for himself and even Grima himself had not encountered one despite the journeying he'd done and the length of time he'd existed.
A vicious snarl rang out before Caleb shot off, his only goal to get far enough away he wasn’t going to hurt anyone or at least he felt it was better for all involved not to be too close to him right then. He was afraid of what would happen if he did lose it so close to the others.
Lucina was lucky to hear Caleb’s snarl. She had half leapt up onto Storm’s back before anyone reacted to it and urged the stallion upwards to the sky hoping to see where Caleb had gone. She then had a thought and wondered if it was something that had upset Caleb’s fragile balance of control again…
Caleb barely got clear of others before he lashed out with dark magic burning the earth where he stood, a small circle of destruction compared to the ravaged earth from back when he'd not been fully able to at least think about reining it in as best he could. A vicious snarl escaped Caleb again as his ears picked up the sound of fighting- and a scream made Caleb’s mind up for him. He moved towards the sound. He knew he was going to regret it later but for now...he wasn’t exactly thinking straight let alone in a controlled manner as instincts reigned supreme. He would be lucky if he didn’t kill someone at this rate.
He (as luck would have it depending on how one chose to look at the situation) was not too far from a group of bandits trying to capture a small child who looked for all the world like she was running for her life- it had been her scream that Caleb had heard and now reacted to.
The girl had long dark purple hair drawn up into a sizeable bun at the top of her head. Her clothing was unlike anything Caleb had ever seen. She wore a large blue bandanna around her neck, her clothing was clearly a combination of amour and a little skirt over a pair of dark leggings. She wore a pair of long white gloves and her feet were completely bare- much like Panne's- the small child did wear some leather guards on her shins. Her grey coloured eyes were wide with fear and the most telling trait of all the pointed ears of a manakete, which told Caleb this little one was in danger, that and her scent at any rate which really gave the game away and if he wasn't already moving towards her, he most certainly was now.
She was running as fast as her tiny legs could carry her and the bandits had come to a halt when Caleb suddenly landed nearby as they didn't expect to see a grown male Fell Dragon- though perhaps they had no idea that was what they'd just encountered given the awed stares that they were giving him. A snarl escaped the Fell Dragon and the small girl skidded to a halt eyes wide with fear as the sound was a warning, a warning the little one was intent on heeding though not aware it wasn't for her. Caleb scented the air cautiously and the child glanced back towards the bandits, then to the Fell Dragon, unsure if he was with them or not.
“We got ‘er now boss!” One of the men yelled not heading Caleb's warning snarl and would have gone forwards, if not for the clear leader making the man stop.
“Stand down you fool!” An overly muscled man yelled, clearly the leader of the little bandit group “We ‘ave another one an’ ‘e looks more dangerous then th' las' one we 'ad t' kill 'coz 'e was too weak!”
Caleb growled again his hood off his face now and the bandits were grinning, “That one would make us a fortune!” The nearest one howled, “What kinda dragon is it?!”
Caleb pulled out his tome, or rather would have if not for the manifestation of the tome he'd taken from Validar, “Fools…” he said softly allowing himself to open a pathway for the child to escape. It was then that it seemed to click to the girl that he wasn't a threat to her and he was most certainly not with the bandits that had been chasing her. “Being as pathetic as to try to make a child your slave...humans like you sickens me to no end.”
The small girl dived for Caleb's right hand side. She sort safety from what was to come. And what was to come...was slaughter, there truly was no other words to describe what was to happen as Caleb prepared to deal with the bandits, all while the child was hiding behind his right leg, barely level with his hip, grey eyes widened in fear. She instinctively knew that death would befall the humans and felt that the safest place for her was where she stood near the Fell Dragon.
Caleb gripped Grima's Truth in his left hand as he put down the entire group of bandits in one blast wave of dark magic, the screams of their pain only was because they were impaled by spikes- a part of the spell Caleb used that in a sadistic Grima would have bought them down to near death- though in his case killed them all outright turning the bandits and their weapons into instant dust that sprinkled the ground like a fine layer of dirt.
Caleb heard the sound of hooves and running- he tensed, prepared for another battle before he scented the air and smelled Arilon and Lucina heading from two different directions. Caleb turned to see Storm trotting calmly with Lucina on his back, her expression worried, “Caleb?”
He gave her a small sheepish smile,
Lucina heaved a sigh of relief before dismounting, “You really should-”
He sighed, “I know...I just didn't feel like risking lives, sorry…”
The small girl poked her head out from behind Caleb's leg and Lucina blinked in surprise before she slowly knelt as not to upset the child who was clinging to Caleb's leg with a look of fear on her face “It's alright, no one is going to hurt you now.”
The little one sniffed the air and decided she didn't mind Lucina's scent, though Caleb wasn't sure if that was because Lucina had knelt to the child's level or because she wasn't in any danger. Or perhaps a combination of both, he decided as the girl seemed to calm down.
“Where…?” Caleb said as Arilon and arrived with a small group of people. Caleb's nose drew in unfamiliar scents and he frowned. The Wanderers were a much larger group than Caleb realised. Arilon it seemed had not heard the earlier snarls and for that Caleb was relieved. He didn’t think it would be a good idea to have them see him losing control again. He sighed,
“You guys okay?” Arilon asked and Caleb bit the inside of his lip,
“Yeah.” He said quietly, none too happily. He hated it when he got...Caleb tensed as new scents hit his nose, unthinkingly a snarl escaped him and he half turned only to notice there wasn't anything there in his line of sight. He heaved a sigh, “Nagadamnit.” He muttered, as he realised that there was a thin layer of what looked like dirt where the bandits had been. He'd turned them and their weapons into literal dirt. He grimaced at the thought that he’d done that, though really he shouldn’t have been as surprised as he was. It was to be expected that a Grima could do something like that when they put their mind to it...and it made Caleb uncomfortable at just how easy it was. It sickened him. He paled unbidden.
“Are you sure you're okay?” Arilon asked Caleb and Lucina spoke,
“We should head back to the others.” The Fell Dragon sighed, “Marita probably wants to see you're well Arilon, since she was from what I noticed quite worried over you.” Caleb spoke calmly, avoiding the issue entirely as he wasn't sure the strangers would fully understand everything just yet. The little girl tugged on Caleb's sleeve and he knelt down to her level, “You should come with us little one, that way you won't have to worry about bad people chasing you while we look for your parents.”
She looked at Caleb with her grey eyes seemingly close to crying, “Papa...Mama day wouldn't wake up.” She sniffled and Caleb blinked, “Mama and Papa...wouldn't wake up, I tried ebwy fing but day wouldn't wake up…” Caleb gently held the tiny child and she finally cried, the kind of crying that was fear, mixed with grief. He knew that at her current likely age, she wouldn't have processed that- at least by the sounds of it- her parents were dead, her sobs continued as the whole story seemed to tumble out, “De scawy people chased me…day say scawy fings...Mama and Papa...day wouldn't wake up...eben doe de scawy people chased me...” the child cried in ernest and Caleb knew what had to be done. He spoke gently,
“I see...in that case, maybe it would be best if you travelled with us then.”
“Caleb…” the protest wasn't from Lucina, but Caleb knew in his heart at least what the right thing to do was,
“We can't leave her here, it's not safe!” He said somewhat firmly, “I can't in good conscious…not while she's so vulnerable.”
Lucina nodded, as she agreed with Caleb. “Then we’ll look after her, since she needs someone to care for her.” Lucina suggested, “That way we know she's safe.”
“I had a feeling you'd say that Lucy.” Caleb said softly, and he just knew she heard him. She nodded again.
The little girl cried softly and Caleb gently held his hand out to her. She grabbed it after a moment and said, “I stay den. I id Kana.” Given her tiny frame Caleb was surprised by her much better grasp of speech compared to Alana at about the same age- if he was correct in his estimate at least.
Caleb hummed softly, “Well then Miss Kana, I’m Caleb, and this is my wife Lucina.” She looked at the pair and he knew she was very tired as her tiny body looked like it was about ready to collapse from the strain of running like she had, “You can rest easy little one.” He said gently scooping her up deciding it was best to carry her for now. Apparently Kana didn't seem to mind being carried as she said,
“Fank you.” Before her head rested on Caleb’s shoulder and she fell asleep right there, a sign that for the time being at least she was content.
Lucina and Caleb shared a look and then Lucina spoke,
“We should head back.”
Caleb hummed, “Yes.” He said quietly and Arilon seemed to be lost in thought for a moment but as they turned to head back to camp the small group followed. It was weird to be guiding them for a change. Perhaps Caleb could put the whole uncomfortable thing behind him. Though he doubted that.
The camp was lively as everyone prepared for dinner and general shenanigans. Sumia was relieved when she saw Caleb and Lucina come into view with Arilon, only for the couple to then move towards the expansion hexed tent. She was surprised by the group travelling with him but assumed that those that were with him were yet more of the Wanderers. She leant on her crutch as the young man who'd been upset at the lack of food after she'd last cooked was practically begging her to cook again and Sumia giggled softly, “Well I can as long as everyone else is alright with it.” He pouted at her response reminding her of a certain other young man. She couldn't help giggling. She spotted Henry as he cheerfully told as many puns to his other self as humanly possible, and she could see their grins getting progressively wider as each broke out his most favourite puns. She sighed but knew ultimately that he needed it. Especially since they'd been through a lot.
Slowly she hobbled along to the mess tent to talk with whoever was going to be on kitchen duties. It was then that she was taken by surprise.
She'd only seen Caleb's little girl a few times before and hadn't really been able to talk to her. The little one had been playing with another small girl whom Sumia guessed was a manakete. She smiled as she thought of the times Nowi used to run about and play in the Shepherds’ camp.
Alana bounced over to Sumia and having noticed that the pretty lady in the light coloured sage robe had stopped gently- and rather shyly- pulled on her sleeve, “Miss ‘Mia, I’s can't finds Daddy.” She tried not to look too worried but it was difficult. However Alana knew that this lady was a safe person, much like almost anyone in the Wanderers. She watched as the lady gently lowered herself to the little one's level. Soft brown eyes filled with a warmth that Alana knew she could trust,
“I'm sure he's not too far, but if you'd like we can find him together. How's that sound?”
“Yes please!” Alana cried and Sumia gently held the little one's hand and the pair wandered the camp a little while to see if Caleb was where Sumia thought he might be.
Caleb stood back as he admired his handiwork. The new ‘room’ for little Kana was between Alana's and Cynthia's. She was tucked into a spare bedroll that Caleb had found. He carefully pulled the curtain across to give Kana some privacy and turned to see Alana and Sumia come in. He smiled softly, as Alana let go of Sumia's hand and said, “Daddy! Can yous teach I's tactics?”
Caleb smiled softly, “Magic word Sweetheart.” he said calmly,
“Pleeeeeease!” He had to grin at that,
"Well alright sweetpea." Caleb said with a smile,
"With little sis too Daddy." Alana said and Caleb blinked. He looked at Lucina, and then Alana tilted her head, "Did I's say something funny?"
Caleb suddenly realised what his daughter had said and said calmly,
"No, sweetpea. We'll have to ask her once she's awake. She's had a lot happen in one day."
Alana frowned, "But Daddy-"
Caleb gently patted his daughter's head and lowered himself so he was level with her, "She's sleeping and needs to rest. I know you want to help her too, but right now Kana needs to rest."
Alana pouted but she nodded. He smiled gently, and Lucina said, "We should probably head for dinner."
The tent was full and Caleb decided that he wasn't particularly comfortable as he looked for a place that wasn't too close to anyone who might find his presence disconcerting. He let out a sigh and noticed that there was a lot of wanderers who seemed to be catching up with the group who'd been with Arilon, and while Caleb knew eavesdropping was rude with his hearing the way it was...he couldn't help it.
"...So then what happened?" Caleb wasn't sure who asked but he noticed the royal purple haired woman seemed to be the one telling the story to the others,
"Well we did end up in a very different Ylisse from here, our travels taking us to Ylisstol. The Chrom there was adamant about us staying for a while to rest- and I must say they were very kind in helping restock our supplies while Bloom was helping with a small boy-"
Caleb blinked but another conversation caught his attention, "Aww, man I was kind of hoping Miss Sumia was going to cook tonight..."
"Bard, I'm sure she needs rest just as much as we do-"
His eyes closed as he simply let the voices float over him. It was far more pleasant than the last month or so of his journey, perhaps helped by the fragment having completely merged with him, allowing Caleb to be much calmer than what he’d been thus far.
"...So we going to train together tomorrow?"
"...Hey don't ask me I don't know what happened."
"...That sounds kinda cool…"
It was refreshing for a change especially from the cries calling for destruction, Caleb could almost get used to this kind of peaceful atmosphere, it did wonders for his mental state to be sure. It was something he wished he’d been able to enjoy for as long as possible. The peace that came when no one fought and there was no war to trouble them...
The young fell dragon had all six eyes closed and was content to simply stand where he was in an unobtrusive spot where everything could move past him. He was enjoying the peace and calm. It felt so nice...
He was so focused on the atmosphere that he almost would have relaxed enough to lower his guard more than normal-
Caleb's eyes snapped open as he jolted from barely concealed shock and saw Arilon standing not too far off. The fell dragon made a quick once over of the tent and said softly, "My apologies, I uh...got a little distracted." He felt his face heat up. That was one way to put it, though in truth he’d not been so close to lowering his guard like that ever, even before the journey to the past with Lucina. It hadn’t been since before he’d lost his mother…
He subconsciously went to take a step back but was barred by the tent wall. He gave Arilon a sheepish expression and Lucina had managed to pick some food for them with Alana eagerly trying to help her mother,
"There's something I wanted to ask, but-"
Caleb blinked and sighed, "Not now, please. I don’t...want to talk..." His voice was quiet but the point got across, he was aware of a few curious looks but Caleb had his reasons, he simply wasn’t ready to deal with everything that had happened yet. His appetite waned drastically and he knew that the sick feeling was to do with the thoughts he’d had swirling around his mind about those bandits. They hadn’t stood a chance against him and that made Caleb sick. He may have been a Grima but that did not mean he took pleasure in harming anything like his other self- no his fragment might have. That he’d killed them was bad enough.
Arilon frowned but seemed to thankfully drop the subject as Caleb made a beeline for Lucina and Alana, both of whom were with Cynthia and Noire having got their food. The ambiance was calm once more but Caleb was in another world entirely. He was stuck thinking about just how those bandits had died and their horrified expressions would stay with him for a while he knew. And they were not the only ones to disquiet Caleb. He knew that his other self- the fragment took many lives in its search for him. Lives that could never be atoned for- though Caleb understood the chains that had bound Grima far more now than before...
There was a stillness in the night as Caleb tried not to over think about Arilon's question that the young tactician had cut off. It could have been any number of things. Like Forneus quietly shuffling around the camp doing little more than tasks given to him by various people- picking this box up, moving that tent pole there, carrying staves to the supply tent- or how Risen Chrom and the risen form of his mother had shown up again, or…
He sighed. It wasn't his place to over think things like this though at least it provided a distraction from the less welcome thoughts that were in the back of his mind. After making sure Alana was safely in her bedroll for the night as she slept, Caleb found himself unable to sleep and he left the expansion hexed tent seeking a quiet place to think under the stars as his mind was dwelling on less than helpful thoughts, as if he was meant to be out this particular night.
The cleric as far as Caleb knew was doing her own thing, she had not left the tent and Noire had said she ate the food that was bought to her, so at least the young woman wasn’t starving to death...though Caleb had to wonder why she’d not left the tent in the first place.
He heard the sound of footsteps and judging by their sound figured Arilon was likely doing a patrol of the camp, a bit late but then again the fell dragon should have been sleeping himself- it was quite late after all.
Caleb guessed that in Arilon’s case it was because he was on night patrol duty. Arilon's voice had broken the half concentrated state Caleb had found himself in. Caleb sighed and decided not to move because he didn’t need to,
"Hey." Arilon appeared to Caleb's right and somehow the fell dragon knew there was doubtless a question, "So...is now-"
Caleb sighed, "As good a time as any, I suppose." He said with a sigh interrupting Arilon, his knees pulled up as his arms folded over them. His chin sat on them and Caleb simply gazed into the clearing. There was an owl perched in the tree just in front of them, but given how dark it was, Arilon wouldn't have seen it without some form of light that humans could see, yet for Caleb the night was as bright as the day and he guessed it was one of his sets of eyes that made it easier to see in darkness. Arilon came and sat on the log beside Caleb,
"Something tells me you're not happy about something." He said after a moment and Caleb sighed,
"That obvious?" He said quietly with a half rueful grin,
Arilon blinked but otherwise didn't seem to startled, "I suppose. Though to be fair it's not like I haven't had to kill people before."
Caleb let out a cold laugh, the kind that lacked any humour, "Even now...I still…" he sighed, eyes following the owl as it hopped along the branch, the creature looked him full in the eyes and Caleb said quietly, "Is there even a world where I won't be such a problem to be around without putting people at such a risk?" It was more a question to himself than to Arilon, and Caleb's eyes looked down from the owl and it hooted. He wondered if that was-
"I don't think that's entirely true Caleb." Arilon broke the young dragon's musings, "I can't speak for the others but from what I've seen-"
Caleb chuckled softly, "Seeing is different to truly seeing, Arilon." He said surprising himself as he said something that doubtless was from the memories of Grima’s past, "Humans don't see the way a fell dragon does." Caleb said as the owl decided it had found food and silently swooped down to catch a foolish mouse that was moving in the leaf litter below, Caleb saw it but Arilon didn’t, again with human eyes one wouldn’t see it, but then again, he knew that Arilon would have heard the faint rustle of the leaves and little more.
"True you are different from most humans," Caleb said softly as the owl flew back to its perch to eat its prize and thus nurture its own body to survive another day, "So perhaps you are a rare kind of human." He half smiled ruefully, "Even so…"
Arilon frowned, "What exactly are you saying Caleb?"
The fell dragon sighed as his mind became slightly clouded as his thoughts were not exactly easily followed, "Maybe...perhaps, what we see isn't what we see." He said after a moment, and a pregnant pause filled the air as Caleb struggled to make sense of what he was actually thinking.
"A Fell Dragon- if Validar is to be believed- is nothing but a being of pure destruction." Caleb said honestly, though he wasn't sure if that was from what Lucius had told him or Grima’s knowledge of how Validar was or both, "Meant to destroy all in their path, even the divine dragon Naga. Nothing is meant to stand in the way of a Grima." He sighed, "And yet…" Caleb's grip on his knees tightened slightly, "I can't help but wonder...how true that really is...or...is it a lie?" He couldn't help the pain in his voice as he continued, "What if...a blood pact to reincarnate Grima was just that, strictly to reincarnate him...me I guess? But somehow, someone acted like...the foolish sorcerer and tried to twist the vow into such a thing as destruction…" Caleb sighed as the owl finished gulping down the last of the mouse and returned to looking for more food,
“I’m not following-” Arilon said and Caleb spoke,
“In Plegia, there is a legend as old as her,” Caleb began, “It’s one that is told to younglings when they are of an age that they can make their first blood pact.” He said, “A sorcerer desired Grima’s power once and he gave the dragon his blood, but the sorcerer was deceitful and tried to cheat the dragon. Hoping to gain Grima's power without giving the Fell Dragon what he asked for.” Caleb explained, “So Grima took the sorcerer’s daughter and made her into his bride as punishment. She ended up bearing a child and that child had Grima’s power- Grima fulfilled his part of the blood vow but the sorcerer didn’t fulfil his thus he was not granted Grima’s power which he craved so.”
“And how is this-?”
“What if…” Caleb said interrupting, “What if that sorcerer bound that child to a blood pact of destruction? After all that would explain the reason why people can control a Fell Dragon to a certain extent.” Caleb said quietly, “Being bound to a blood oath is no small thing...and it’s ancient magic to be sure…” Caleb sighed then and said, “But that still doesn’t explain…”
Caleb let his legs fall as he’d felt a slight numbing in his feet. His wings ached suddenly and Caleb sighed. Then as he sat lost in thought he spotted something of interest.
A shadow moving rather slowly and he gave a brief sniff and knew it was the risen version of his mother. He lowered his gaze. He supposed it was time for him to focus on the next task. Something that would help the wanderers. He rose and said, “I don’t suppose you have a spare moment. There is something I think you might find helpful.” The young fell dragon offered. He had a feeling that with three worlds worth of knowledge that Arilon might indeed find something.