Camp was set up and ready to go as a campfire big and blazing warmed the group as it lit the haven in a soft orange glow. Gladiolus was sitting in the camper chair closest to the tent reading his novel, Noctis was in the chair next to his the dark King was lazily scrolling through the app store bored hoping to find a new game. While Ignis and Prompto worked together in unison to add the finishing touches to that nights' dinner. A simple dish of fried fish skewers.
Ignis had requested that Prompto help him by making the tartar sauce. The bespectacled man isn't too sure of what it is that Prompto adds to it but whatever it is it has the polymath hooked.
Once dinner is eaten and the brothers chat for a spell they soon call it a night one by one. The first of them being Noctis. Who is followed by Prompto, then Gladiolus, and Ignis being the last one for he washes up the dishes and stores the left overs in the ice chest. Before he too retires for the night.
The hour was late and the brothers were all fast asleep in the tent blissfully unaware if the various dangers that surround them on their sacred platform. The daemons could not touch them, the droves of Magitek and Imperials soldiers never stray near havens and wildlife were hiding away along with their human counterparts.
All except for one, who had been watching the glowing stone for some time now. They hadn't seen any movement in the pass hour, the last they saw was that from Ignis who had exited the tent in what the lurker assumed was to relieve himself.
But now all was quiet and the hidden figure was free to strike. Moving quietly and stealthily they climb up onto the haven and immediately heads for the ice chest. Lifting the lid quietly, the intruder makes quick work of plucking a bottle of juice from the ice and opens it immediately.
They finish the bottle in several greedy gulps before setting it on the ground. Reaching back inside the chest the figure pulls out another bottle, this time a soda and sips from it before setting it down and dives back into the chest pulling out a large zipped locked baggy which contained a bundle wrapped in parchment paper. Just by holding it the thief knew it was food, they could smell it and it was making their belly rumble and mouth water.
They didn't care what it was they just knew that the only thing keeping them from this succulent morsel was the baggy and several layers of baking paper.
From inside the tent the brothers were wide awake chatting in hushed whispers having heard what sounds like some large creature rummaging around through their belongings.
"It sounds like a raccoon."
"That ain't no raccoon I ever heard. And I heard my fair share of raccoons."
"Maybe it's Tom Nook and his goons looking for this months mortgage payment."
"Come now its most likely a wild animal as you said looking for food. Or maybe even Demyx trying to get in. We all know he does show up time from time." Ignis says.
"Well what if its a person?" Noctis asks.
"What sensible human would be outside at this hour?" Ignis questions earning him three looks that tell him that he probably should've rephrased that.
"I dare any of you to say something." He growls.
The sound of rummaging continues bringing the brothers to one silently agreed solution "On three we just ambush this thing." Gladiolus says softly as he begins to unzip the tent as quietly as possible.
With the tent door open the brothers could see a huge mass leaning over the ice chest, at their feet lay baggies, parchment paper, and two empty drink bottles. Gladiolus summons his sword preparing to fight the intruder in case they turn violent. Ignis steps up standing side by side with Gladiolus with the lantern lit and dangling in front of him "Pardon but may I ask what it is your doing stealing our food?" Ignis says using a threatening voice.
Yet the advisor's question falls on deaf ears as the other continues to eat, Ignis frowns as he places a hand on the others back causing the intruder to jump having not heard the friends talking to him, the scare causes the thief to drop the skewer with a surprised yelp.
Spinning around facing those whom they were stealing from the intruder squints against the bright light of the lantern. Yet the sight of the thief causes the brothers to stare in shock, for they were the last person that they expected to be here.
"Wait Ravus?" Noctis asks sounding genuinely surprised.
"What are you doing here!?" Threatens Gladiolus, the answer despite being obvious and known he just wanted to see if the other would admit to their harmless crime.
"Yeah why you stealing our pic-a-nic basket Yogi?" Chimes Prompto.
Ravus looks up at the others his hand raised as he watches them with something akin to fear in his eyes. "Please, I beg of you...I only wish to eat. I swear I mean you four no ill will. I saw your storage and I only wanted to have some food." the ex-prince explains and as if to prove his innocence his stomach growls audibly earning him a sympathetic look from Ignis "Take a seat Ravus, in one of the camper chairs." Ignis says as he stands up straight and makes his way to the portable grill.
"Wait you can't be serious!" Noctis cries throwing his hand to Ravus "Do I look to be joking?" Ignis says not looking away from his task at hand "Well I mean-" Noctis starts "He was stealing from us because he's hungry. He doesn't deserve to be punished for wanting to fill his belly." Ignis says as he cracks a few eggs into a bowl.
"Yeah but he's the enemy." Prompto says sounding unsure if he should side with Ignis or the others on this. "That may be, but does he deserve to starve?" Ignis says as he adds various seasonings "Go ahead and sit Ravus, it'll be ready soon." Ignis adds as he continues to prepare the dish.
Ravus looks from Gladiolus to Prompto to Noctis before slowly making his way to the chairs. In his step he has a limp which is painfully noticible and from the campfires light the others can make out his details.
Ravus looks drawn almost skeletal, his clothes weren't his usual attire but a oversized brown t-shirt with dirt and grass stains along with looked like blood. The shirt had rips and tears in it matching the ratty white trousers he was wearing. His magitek arm was nowhere to be seen and the exposed dark red stump with blotches of white and gray, the residual burn marks from the ring, look to be injured sustaining deep cuts.
Ravus' face is also covered in cuts and his left eyes is rimmed black and blue.
"What happen to you?" Noctis questions looking at him curiously "Why do you care?" Grumbles Ravus exhaustion heavy in his voice. "Well...to be fair we used to be friends." Noctis says softly looking towards the dancing campfire. Ravus sighs as he looks towards the advisor, he was honestly hoping that the meal would have been finished first before the King and his men got noisy. But seeing how this wasn't the case and how he has to now make friendly with the enemy whilst waiting his food he has no choice but to talk causing a soft sigh to leave him. Ravus honestly didn't want to talk about his punishment that has gotten in this situation.
For him it was embarrassing. Humiliating. Degrading. It crushed a large part of his ego and his pride and it frankly one that Ravus wished he could forget.
"I had gotten to this state due to an account of my own foolishness. I don't know why I had thought it would be easy to break away from Ardyn's grasp. I should've known he'd make me regret leaving his side. I thought I would've been able to best him but his power was like no other. Something I never experienced before nor would I want to ever face again." Ravus begins to tremble as he clutches what remains of his shoulder and arm before he begins to massage the small stump. "I never been one to feel fear for myself...but that night, the night I fled. Was the most fear I have ever experienced."
Ravus looks towards Noctis "You're courageous, I give you that. But don't play the fool and think you can easily win against Ardyn. If this is what he did to me imagine what he'll do to you." The forgotten prince says as Ignis walks up with his food "Eat, there's plenty." Ignis says as he sits cross legged on the ground next to Noctis.
Ravus thanks him as he settles the plate on his lap, taking the fork into his hand Ravus scoops up some of the broccoli rice and cheese onto his fork eating it. The flavors melt in his mouth making him quickly shovel more into his mouth. He hadn't expected the cooking of the king's advisor to be so delicious. Part of him wanted to steal Ignis for himself just for his cooking ability.
"You like it?" Teases Gladiolus.
"Ignis' cooking is like next level. Nothing else compares to it." Prompto grins.
"It's nothing special." Ignis says blushing.
"Nothing special? I haven't tasted anything like it." Ravus admits as he takes another bite. This makes Ignis blush more "Well, I'm glad you like it." He says with a smile.
As the night carries on along with the conversations and the plate is slowly cleaned along with the pot as Ravus had helped himself to several more helpings of the dish. And as he half listens to the friendly chanter the ex-prince begins to find it increasingly harder to stay awake. He would nod off a bit before shaking his head and rubbing at his eye. However he didn't want to over stay his welcome for he feared that they may not want him around any longer than they saw necessary. They already probably hate the idea that they had to share some food with him.
Ravus yawns a bit as he rubs at his eye childishly catching the attention Ignis who looks towards him with kindness in his eyes "Ravus do you have any place in mind for lodgings?" He ask softly causing the older man to shake his head "No. I don't, but you and your friends shouldn't worry about that." He says exhaustion begins to drip into voice as he stands up and sighs a bit "I'll be taking my leave now. Thank you for the meal."
"Wait!" Prompto shouts causing Ravus to stop looking at him "Yes?"
"You can't go out there like that. How about you wait till morning?" Prompto suggests causing Ravus to look at the others wanting a solid okay from them before making his decision.
"I don't know...."
"Aw come on Noct just one night wouldn't hurt."
"I could. I ain't having it."
"Come now, if he wanted to cause us ill will he would've done it by now. I say we allow him a good nights rest before sending him off." Ignis says as he looks to Ravus who was watching them quietly.
"Well if it's for one night it shouldn't hurt." Gladiolus mumbles softly before getting to his feet and heading towards the tent with Noctis following after him "You're sleeping next to Prompto." Gladiolus calls from within the tent.
"A warning in advance, Prompto tends to talk a bit in his sleep." Ignis says as he motions for Ravus to follow him inside only to be stopped by Gladiolus "Ah! No shoes in the tent." He says getting Ravus to pause and kick off the old worn sneakers he had on.
Once inside the tent, Ravus realizes just how spacious the inside was. He's called over by Prompto who scoots a bit closer to Ignis "You can have that spot." Prompto says pointing to the space next to tent tent wall "It's a lot cooler right there for some reason." Prompto explains as he watches Ravus crawl up next to him. Ravus stretches at bit before settling down next to the gunmen.
Ravus yawns as he lays down with his back towards the tent wall. He sleepily watches as the others ready for bed once more. Ravus' eyelids droop as he allows himself to relax, the cushion beneath him was soft and welcoming. It was much more comfortable than the floor and old springy mattresses he had been sleeping on.
Ravus continues to watch the friends, he finds it interesting that he is allowed to get a glance into the secret lives of the king and his men. Gladiolus, at the far corner reading one of his novels under the dim lantern light. Noctis already asleep along with Ignis who was snuggled up against him. And then there was Prompto, Ravus didn't know anything about him but from what he could gather he assumes Prompto is just a friend who wanted to tag along.
Prompto was currently playing a game on his phone that Ravus didn't recongize but he sort of enjoyed watching the tiny characters move about on the screen casting spells and whatnot.
"You ever play King's Knight?" Prompto asks.
Ravus only shakes his head.
"Its really fun, we all play together. Maybe we can get you a phone and you can play too." Prompto says sounding hopeful.
Ravus simply nods as he closes his eyes, the exhuastion finally taking its toll on him. As he drifts off to sleep Ravus for a brief moment of time feels like he was friends with them