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the eight musketeers

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Zaya can’t seem to find sleep.

The room is too quiet, the sheets feel like whetstones, their bed is too cold, and it is all too much. Without all of them, why have this room at all?

They slowly scoot off of the bunk bed, dragging the blanket with them. The left side of their chest complains at the movement, at the weight of the thick blanket, but Zaya ignores it as they trudge down the quiet hall.

The stone tiles of the Rising Stones are freezing cold, clicking gently against Zaya’s scales as they walk across them.

Hopefully Riol is asleep by now, or they’ll have a lecture to listen to in the morning.

The infirmary door creaks as Zaya pushes it open slowly, even though there is no one to wake from their rest inside.

Zaya’s fingers run over the curtains separating each bed as the night air rushes through the open window. In the first two beds are the twins, white hair taken from their usual braids and strewn across their pillows. The next is Lumelle and Elwin, who are bandaged to the high heavens. Duscha and A’dewah look peaceful, at least, and Syhrwyda’s bed is disheveled from her shifting in her ‘sleep’.

Zaya doesn’t dare look at the two right after Y’shtola and Urianger, where Tehra’ir and Valdís rest, even if they know they could easily put an end to their insomnia. It might really kill Zaya to look at their faces, knowing they are without soul.

Instead, they carefully pull open the curtain at the end to see Thancred, finally resting peacefully and without that pointless bandana around his face.

He has been here the longest, since the voice first appeared. The bandage that was wrapped round his injury is long gone, along with the bruise on his forehead. It’s almost as if nothing ever happened; as if he were still there and not in another plane of existence, for all Zaya knew.

Zaya’s stool is still by his bed, from their last visit to him.

Surely he wouldn’t mind if I just…

Zaya sits in the stool and lays their head right by his arm, blanket still wrapped around them. They won’t be here long, just enough to reassure themselves that there is still something—someone to come back to when they wake.

If they just close their eyes, surely they’ll wake up in a bell or so. Just a bell…


The next morning, Riol walks into the infirmary to find Zaya sleeping against Thancred’s bed, his arm draped loosely over their shoulders.

“So this is where ye skulked off to.”

He shakes his head, laughing under his breath shortly before closing the curtain. The morning light doesn’t seem to go through them, thankfully, so Zaya should wake up when they’re ready, not when the daylight demands them to. He hums softly as he walks out to the hallway.

“I suppose even heroes have their vices."