Calintz and Orha. What doesn't kill them makes them stronger, right?
Popular opinion stated that whatever didn't kill someone made them stronger. Calintz wanted to kill whoever quoted those words. He didn't feel strong now, on his knees, and in the temple that harbored so much betrayal and death that it should have collapsed. His former archenemy Orha knelt close to him, probably thinking the exact same thing. He didn't know, though. Calintz could do a lot of things, but reading minds wasn't one of them. Still, he watched Orha look every bit as broken as Calintz felt.
So many things happened so quickly, Calintz thought his head would just spin. He had made a new enemy, only the enemy wasn't exactly new. In fact, HugoAgreianNeikan, or whatever he decided to call himself, proved to be a very old enemy instead of a friend. AmillaReithe, or whatever her name was, switched from ally to enemy to willing sacrifice. Whoever she was, Calintz found his heart aching for her. She died. Simple as that. Calintz always believed that such deaths only happened in fairy tales or bullshit stories told by old women. Her death proved him yet another wrong. Best friends didn't betray you, worst enemies didn't become sudden allies drawn closer by the love of a dead woman, and the love of your life simply didn't die thanks to one's best friend.
Calintz raised his hands to heaven and screamed. Any other time, he'd pray that he'd be back together with his love someday, except it won't happen. Not ever, maybe not even in death. Reith died when he proved herself as Amilla, and Amilla died when friendship died. Such things left no room for prayer, but plenty for screaming, not just because of an aching heart, but the feeling of being torn apart by the desire to break shit up. He didn't feel stronger, just angrier. When he finally fell silent, he noticed that Orha made no sound. The Yason simply kept his eyes closed and his head bowed. Not something Calintz expected, but given what happened, he learned not to expect much of anything anymore.
Both men knew that sitting on their asses would accomplish nothing, but both men still knelt there, not even really looking at each other. What else could they do? Go on a hot date? Make love? Calintz seriously thought of grabbing Orha, hugging him, and doing gods knew what. He just wanted to feel alive again, and screaming wasn't cutting it.
Calintz knew that there'll be a whole lot of cutting now. Starting with Agreian, and ending with, whoever got in his way. Orha still knelt beside him, still silent, still keeping his eyes closed. Calintz wished he could read minds because he still didn't know whether or not the Leader of the Blast Worms became a new friend rather than just an ally drawn by mutual loss. He had a lot to ask, to say, to think, but nothing came out. What did one say to this? Sorry? Calintz knew that all the apologies in the world meant nothing, and even if it did, would Orha believe him? Would he believe it?
He just didn't know and from the looks of it, neither did Orha. Neither knew anything now, except that they were the only two in the now ruined Temple.
"Orha, do you feel stronger now?" Calintz finally asked.
Orha opened his eyes. "What?"
"Heh. I remember being told that whatever doesn't kill you, serves to make you stronger. Do you believe that?"
Orha sighed. "Usually."
Calintz nodded. "Usually? I guess you don't feel stronger now, do you?"
"No," Orha replied. "Not now, at least. Maybe later because I know that's what the Queen would have wanted."
"You're right." Calintz smiled, something he never thought he'd be able to do ever again. "Yes, you're right. She would have wanted that. I just wish it didn't have to be this way. I just wish we weren't on our knees like this."
"Then get up. We both know that we can't be this way forever."
Before Calintz could say or do anything, Orha moved first. The Yason crawled backwards, and without looking back, walked away. Calintz sighed, envious that the Yason could just leave like that. Not that he blamed him. They weren't friends and may not ever be. Right now, no one could possibly replace Agreian, especially since so much trust had been breached in so short a time.
He wondered where Orha would go. Yason-Roven had to have been falling apart by now, thanks to betrayals of its own. Not too long ago, Calintz would have just dismissed it as yet another thing that wasn't his problem. This time, things were much different. Everyone would be affected by Neikan, so no one could afford to be enemies. He stood up, sighing at the realization that he didn't wobble or stagger. Instead, he ran in the direction Orha went. He didn't see the Yason, but he wasn't worried. Orha didn't lead the Blast Worms for nothing, and he always proved his strength as a warrior. Now, he proved his strength in many other ways. Forget quotes, just move on, and do what needed to be done. Sounded like something Haren would say, and he knew what it was like to lose a love. Just about everyone in Calintz's circle of allies knew what it was like. They all did the same thing; they grieved, they knelt, they got up, and they moved on. Maybe they got stronger; maybe they didn't. Either way, they kept going forward for many different reasons.
When Calintz finally looked around the forest, the air felt fresher in his lungs, the water sounded more soothing, and he felt like he just woke up from a deep, dark sleep. Reith wouldn't have wanted him to keep screaming or kneeling, she would have wanted him to head down a new path, and that's exactly what he intended to do. He honestly didn't know if he felt stronger or not, but he knew for certain that he felt better.