There was nothing like the thrill of the hunt. This Galo knew well, holding tight to his steed as it galloped through the open field. The sun shone bright on him, reflecting off of the chainmail he worse, the links clanging against each other. He leaned forward, encouraging his horse to speed up. He heard another horse behind him, hooves thundering on the compacted ground. He glanced behind him, smirking, before directing his horse straight into the woods, planning on cutting a straight line through to his target.
He saw the glint of red through the trees, heard the other person swear over the sound of horses and and metal. He egged his horse forward.
And then the ground fell away from under him.
He tumbled down the pit, maybe a long dried up river bed, hidden by vegetation. He twisted and his horse landed with a sickening crunch on top of him, giving a frightful whiny before forcing itself up and limping away at full speed, leaving Galo in a bruised pile on the hard ground. Taking gasping breaths, he opened his eyes, taking in the 20 feet fall he had taken.
“Hey!” he called, “Aina! I’m down here!” There was no reply.
He winced, pulling himself up to his feet, taking stock of any injuries. Though he was very bruised all over his body, with a few spots bleeding lightly from scraping against rocks, everything seemed in place, with nothing broken just sore. He approached the wall of the ravine, looking to see if there was any place the wall was not so steep, a way to climb back up to where his friends were. Alas, there was not.
Deciding that staying put and waiting to be found wouldn’t work, given that he still had not seen the familiar face of his friend, he looked to the left and the right, trying to decide which direction to go in to find a way out.
That was when he saw it, a glow off into the distance to his right. He turned and followed it, hoping that it was the light from a house or at least someone who knew their way around. He strode forward, immediately falling from putting his full weight on his left foot. He swore, forcing himself back up, this time going forward slower, keeping his eyes on the light in the distance.
Soon, however, his mind wandered. He had never been one for focusing on a single thing for a long time. He thought about how his teammates must have realized he was gone by now. He wondered where his horse had ended up, if anyone had found it wandering and thought the worst. Maybe someone was looking for him? Or what if they just assumed he was dead? He looked at the dry riverbed beneath him, thought of roaring water, of the immense power that nature has, the ability to force the world to change according to its whims and desires. And of course, with thoughts of water came thoughts of fire. And with thoughts of fire came the Burnish.
Suddenly, the light he had been following in the distance swelled, changing from red to blue and pink. His body instinctively tensed and his hand moved to his sheath before he broke into a run, disregarding the pain his body was in in favor of locking in on his target. Thoughts of fires, of burning, of people in danger, being hurt filled his mind. A village razed to the ground, a fire raging to hot that not even bodies remained by the time it was put out. A door. Trapped. Crying. Strong arms reaching forward, grabbing him. He shook his head, returning himself to his body, to the present, to the vastness of the ravine, the forest he knew far above his head, the swell of Burnish energy in front of him. The pain in his legs, sharp and grounding. Air being forced in and out of his lungs.
He got closer to the flare, only to see a group of people huddled together around it. A figure in black stood, his back to Galo, hands out to the fire, sustaining it. Something burned in the middle of it.
Galo stumbled and finally his legs gave out, he fell with a yelp, his face hitting the hard ground, teeth rattling in his head. He groaned, pushing himself onto his knees as the people around the flame jumped to their feet. The figure in black was turned towards him, purple eyes quickly taking in the Foresight crest he wore on his chest, aristocratic mouth curling with distaste. Before Galo could take in any more, his world went black.
He woke up in a dark room, lying on his back on a familiar bed. His head was pounding and his mouth was drier than it had ever been. He looked to the right and saw a bedside table, with a full cup of water on it. He reached an unsteady hand for it and gulped it down, spilling a lot of it onto his chest in the process. It was only after he had finished the entire glass that he realized where he was. The infirmary. He was in the castle. How had he gotten there? He tried to remember-
“About time you woke up!” Aina’s voice rang out, the door to the room opening. His other squadmates shuffled in after her, faces showing various levels of concern. She plopped down in the chair next to his cot. “What happened to you?”
“How did I get here?” Galo asked, ignoring the question.
“Remi found you passed out in the woods like four miles away from the rest of us. How did you get there? We were training and you disappeared.”
“I...I’m not sure,” he said, furrowing his brows. “I fell down a ravine. I was walking around trying to find a way out...then…” Purple eyes, a sharp nose, thin lips curled in displeasure flashed in his mind's eye. Pink and blue flame. He shook his head, unable to make sense of the images. “I don’t know.”
“You really hit you head, huh, Galo. And you damaged your mail! Do you know how hard I worked on that?” Lucia suddenly piped in, pushing past Aina to get to Galo’s bed. Galo winced at the noise and sat up on the bed. He rubbed his head sheepishly and shrugged, making a ‘what can I say?’ motion. She made a sound of frustration, opening her mouth to chew him out.
“Enough. Galo, get rest. We have a meeting tomorrow. Everyone, get out of here.” Ignis said gruffly, before anyone else could start talking. Everyone looked at each other and began to shuffle out the door, promising to check on Galo in the morning.
After waiting what he deemed a sufficient amount of time, Galo snuck out of the infirmary, walking as quietly as he could through the castles cavernous halls, down a set of stairs towards the basement. His body knew this castle instinctually, and he walked through the dark with no need to rely on his eyes. Finally reaching his own room, he settled into his bed, and stared up at the ceiling, trying to piece his memory back together.
He fell asleep and dreamed of purple eyes and flames burning his body to ash.