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The crack in Zach's voice twangs across Kiel's heart, and he can feel his emotions shifting. Zach has been hard, self sufficient, and strong. Hearing him let his emotions out, even a little bit like this, makes Kiel feel warm and happy. The happiness is tainted a bit as he knows the kind of suffering a boy like Zach may have gone though, especially with members of the church being how they tend to be. However, Kiel knows he can be here now, for Zach, and hopefully make up for the shortsightedness of his bothers under God.

Seeing the boy squirm a bit as he thanks him, Kiel smiles a little wider and stands carefully. Moving over to the youth, he wraps his ward in a gentle hug, petting his hair gently as he pulls Zach close against his chest. He knows he can't be so distant with his approval. Zach has made it clear that standing off, or standing away makes him feel rejected, so Kiel lets himself comfort the young man properly, like a big brother would, and gives him the best squeeze he can manage with his wounded ribs. “Yes, well. . . People take from the bible what they wish, and unfortunately the word from the top is now leaning more towards number than charity unfortunately. . .” He continues to pet Zach's hair softly. “But, we're not all like that. . . I want to help.”

Leaning back a bit and tilting his head to the side so he can look at Zach's face properly he grins a little. “I will always be here to talk to. I promise.” Patting his hair a little longer, Kiel gives Zach one last squeeze before hobbling back to his chair. Giving the young man a teasing half smile he asks, “So, have you ever made tea before?” He wants to give Zach the chance to contribute, and help, seeing as that's what the youth seems to want to do at the moment.
Viltez gives his guest an understanding, slightly sad look, hearing about the shrine basically being abandoned. The sureness in his voice however makes him feel like he must have seen the dragon at some point, or simply truly believes, so he holds no doubt that this god figure is still alive, and real. His tail slides forward to rub against Aryx' arm as he speaks of the world changing and Viltez shiver a little at the feeling. His words about going back some day gives a sting to his heart, a touch of sympathy stained by his sorrow at thinking of his guest leaving him, but the bigger pang comes from Aryx' clear desire to “See the world beyond the lake”. He knows how close the lake he spoke of is, relatively speaking, and there is so much more world to see and take in.

'And here I am, keeping him in one place rather than encouraging him in his dream to see more. . . I truly am a selfish being. . .' His heart threatens to drop, but with a slow breath, he pushes his thoughts on. 'But, we're both young. It's okay, to take a little while with him, right? He still has plenty of time to see the world. . . A small slice of that life he wants to live isn't horrible right? And. . . And he seems happy here. . . He seems, happy, to stay for now. . .' He gives Aryx a gentle smile, fighting though his warring thoughts.

Coming out of his thoughts, a small voice in the back of his mind tries to draw his attention to how odd Aryx had sounded when he talked about the world long ago, a kind of knowing that normally he saw in old men talking about 'the good old days'. It tries to point this out to him, but he doesn't hear it, his mind distracted by his tail's activity mixed with his own deeper thoughts about making sure that Aryx stays happy for however long he's going to stay. “I am sure the time is not over so much as it's moved from a roar to a whisper.” he says softly, not wanting Aryx to mourn the master of his shrine's absence. “A whisper that carries across the land, on every strand of breeze, and into the hearts of those willing to believe.” He flushes, knowing he's getting a bit poetic, and turns his attention on to his food so he can finish eating quickly.

He knows he wants to wash up after the meal, since he will be sharing a bed with his guest once more, and doesn't want to stink horribly. He doesn't let his mind linger too long on the actual sharing part however as he's still rather unable to quickly accept that Mister Aryx likes him like that. It's still so new, so strange, and so unexpected, but despite the dream like thought not settling fully, he knows he wants to at least not be a filthy mess when sharing such a small space.
Shaking his head, Kiel stays silent instead of verbally reinforcing that he is, indeed, not “fucking with” the young man. He can tell Zach is thinking hard, and lets the youth think rather than rushing past the issue and possibly hurting him further. He listens close as Zach reveals it's not he himself that may be causing the issue, but past interactions with men of the cloth. He knows many of his brothers under God can be very extreme, and he worries that perhaps Zach has run into the less understanding kind. He keeps his expression kind, and neutral, showing that he's listening, and not judging, willing the youth to keep speaking.

It makes his heart ache to hear Zach speaking of going to hell, especially with such certainty. It takes some will power to keep from comforting the young man right away, assuring him that it's not true. He can feel them on the cusp of what's bothering the teen, and doesn't want to derail his outpouring.

And then the secret falls, and Kiel. . . Shows no reaction. He can feel a bit of relief passing behind his heart, but doesn't respond immediately. He knows that responding too quickly sound insincere, even if he means what he's saying, so instead he just smiles a little wider and sits carefully on the nearest chair, lowing himself so he doesn't loom over the young man. 'So, he is like that. . . Not surprising. I've had a lot of youth like him pass under this roof, but each one is different. I need to figure out, what route is best, for Zach. . .' Letting out a small hum, he tilts his head slightly to the side, showing no signs of rejection.

“Zach. . .” he begins softly. “I do not condemn you, know that. Nor am I disgusted by you. . .” He smiles softly. “You are not the first who's passed through that door with such a past, with such. . . Desires. And I doubt you will be the last. If I were such a judgmental person as to reject youth like you, do you really think I would have the reputation I do?” Shifting to relieve some weight on his ribs once more, he winces as they throb a little. “I have read the words of our lord, and heard the teachings, but. . . But I can not see the loving God I worship condemning people for things they can not help” He smiles a little wider. “I've heard enough from poor children thrown from their homes by cruel parents, for so many years now, to know that if it were not natural, they would renounce such feelings in a hot minute.” Looking towards the wall, behind which lays the church, he lets out a sigh. “Just. . . Don't tell my brothers. Such enlightenment still eludes them.”

His gaze returns to Zach, looking at peace, and not at all repelled by the youth. He is silently delighted that Zach has brought this fact into the open so they can discuss it. Knowing it will help him be a better guide for the youth, and will keep him from being cruel unintentionally.
Their arrival back at camp is met with a lot of curious voices and faces. Kaila looks around at all the interested, worried faces around him and as if channeling his Guardian a bit he gives them a calming smile and tells them all softly that everything's going to be alright, and how his brother is doing something important for all of them. 'And it will be. . . Jentou is strong. He's always been strong. Even when he got lost under Gin's hand before, he was a strong individual. It took Master Seishu's power itself to re-write his mind, so I know that Jentou will stay strong and keep to the plan. . .' Walking around a bit, he reassures several nightmares and minions as he moves to the spot Jentou had marked off as “his” with several furs and skins. The fight and the shock of losing his brother has left him worn, but he knows he can't sleep just yet. So instead, he simply settles on the furs in a seated position and closes his eyes to try and regain balance in his mind and heart. 'If I let me feelings sway too much, I will fall into despair. I may be our Master's right hand, but I, like any of us, am not greater than what I was born to be. I can fall into despair and be lost just as badly as any other minion around me. . .'

~*~*~*~*~

“Thank you.” Seishu murmurs, falling silent a moment later to let Crios do his work. 'I have to get better. I need to stop being so selfish, and focus on recovery. I can deal with my own wants later. I have to. . . I have to let myself recover. I need to get back to them. I need to see them. . .' Breathing slowly, the nightmare Guardian hisses slightly at the little pains against his wounds, but otherwise shows no response to what's happening around him. Inui clings in close when he can, pouring everything he can manage into his Guardian while trying to keep his own feelings from falling too low. Seishu warned him that feeling too badly could be fatal, and the last thing he wants is to lose out on this new life being presented to him with more happiness than he's ever known.

When it's at last time for them to get up and go, Seishu contemplates trying to move around on his own, using the slight distance from Enasi to keep him focused, but as he looks up at the red head he knows that doing so would only cause more hurt than help, for the both of them. Reaching up, he lets the Dram Guardian help him to his feet, and leans heavily against the other man as he leads his way to the portal waiting to take them to their new “base”. He can feel a numbness in his feet as he shuffles along and forces his focus into staying upright as they approach that sickening swirl of light and colors that will take them to the human realm.

Looking over his shoulder, he gives those who are staying behind a calm, 'Don't worry, be happy!' smile before giving Enasi a nod and doing his best to hold down his stomach as they pass through the vomit inducing mass. They arrive on the other side in what Seishu has to say far too much time, but he looks first to check on Inui before dealing with his own ill feeling. The minion looks a bit green, but as soon as he notices Seishu looking, he stands up a little straighter and looks ready to endure through the feeling. Seishu gives him an approving smile, then looks to the “base” they will call home for however long it takes for him to recover.

~*~*~*~*~

Those left behind watch as the Guardians leave them. They know it needs to happen, but they can all feel the emptiness of not having their Guardian in the realm. After a minute, Harper barks out softly that they should get to work with what they know Enasi would want of them, and slowly they peel away from the spot and hurry to their individual duties. Harper himself begins a sweep of the realm, needing to once again see every corner, paying close attention to the barrier between the realms so he can feel peace of mind that the land is safe.

Crios returns to his patients, his own changes from treating the Nightmare Guardian earning him a few odd shifts, but his caring smile and gentle hands soon put them at peace. He knows that having Seishu around has changed so much about the realm, but over all, those living within it's boarders have noticed nothing. All the subtle but crucial shifts in their Guardian, in those running the palace, they are all still so removed from the every day minion or dream he's not surprised that those laying wounded under his care feel less than pure peace under his altered eye.

Drifting through the clouds high above the sunlit lands below, Rue drifts back and forth, his mind rather blank. He knows that he needs to do something, to get busy helping out where he can, but in these moments, he has no idea what “help” he can provide. He misses Inui already, and Seishu's pained face passes behind his eyes every minute or so. He's been so close to them, been so involved in helping them personally, that he almost can't recall what it was he did before they came into his life. For now, he lets the clouds take him, their white fluffy surfaces providing pure backdrops for his longing thoughts.
Despite how upset Zach seems to be at being “babied”, his hands are gentle as they help guide his arm back into his sleeve. Thanking the boy softly, he works on closing up his top at the youth continues speaking. His movements still as what sounds like accusations seem to flood out of the young man, and he turns to look at Zach fully with his top few buttons still undone. The hurt behind his voice stings, and Kiel thinks wildly that his unconscious depravity somehow has caused the youth some hurt. He thinks back over thew day, trying to pinpoint being stiff and standoffish, and he realizes he has been a little less close to the young man since waking.

'But I don't know what that has to do with Zach himself. . . He's acting like I found out some secret about him that is causing me to stand away from him, but I can't imagine any such thing. I mean, I know why I have been acting a bit different, but he. . . He's not acting like he knows of my failing. . .' Shifting slightly, he gives Zach a gently confused look. “Zach, I'm sorry, but I don't know what you're talking about. I. . . Am not perfect, and I have some issues that I realize now caused me to act strangely this morning, but that had nothing to do with you. It was a fault of my own, I swear.”

Shifting again, to take some pressure off his ribs, he finishes buttoning his top. “If there's something bothering you however, please, I am here to listen. If you feel I've dome something wrong or inappropriate, please, tell me. I don't want you to feel unwelcome or uncomfortable here. I am here for all of my Little Ones, and if you feel I am not doing my best, I want to know what I can do better for you Zach. I want to be someone you can talk to, you can trust. . . Please.” His voice in sincere and full of warm feelings for the young man in front of him, his desire to help full and clear even as the talking makes him wince in pain.
Viltez' eyes brighten and shine as Aryx reveals that the deity he follows is, of all things, a dragon. Beast shaped deities are not unheard of, but for humans, they tend to be human shaped. Or at the least, mostly human with perhaps animal heads. He doesn't know about his father's race and the deities they follow, but to him a dragon sounds completely amazing. He looks on in awe as Aryx describes the dragon's body, and how it literally dances through storm clouds. “That sounds so beautiful. . . And powerful. Catching lightning!? That's amazing!” Viltez is clearly delighted at the description, his tail slipping up to wrap around his guest's arm and squeeze it in his excitement. “Did you ever get to see them? Did you ever see them dancing through the clouds? Did Autharyx ever talk to you? Did you have to ask permission to travel?” His face flushes as he realizes he's pouring down question on the poor man, leaning forward in his desire to hear more, and he sits back, clearly embarrassed.
Kiel can't help being uncomfortable under the young man's gaze, but he does his best to hide this on the outside. Zach seems rather upset, and he wants to do what he can for the young man, but fear of himself keeps him rooted to the spot. 'I know I won't do anything, and I know he's not trying to upset me, but I just can't. Not like this. I knew this upset him more than he was letting on. I'm sure this upset comes from the commotion. . .' He lets out a sigh, feeling very much like he's failing this 'Little One'. “I will do my best to not exacerbate my injuries, I promise.” he murmurs, nodding. His skin tenses at the idea of Zach helping him dress, especially since he follows it up with words about “too much touching” and a glare.

He's helped over a hundred kids treat their wounds, get off soiled clothing, clean blood and filth from their bodies, and helped them get into fresh clothing. He's done it so many times, and never felt uncomfortable doing so. He would always check of course, to make sure they are okay with the help, but this is the first time he's really been on the other side of things with someone besides a doctor or a fellow priest. Normally, he would hide any injury he got and have one of his brothers under god look him over before either letting them patch him up, or letting them bring him to the hospital. Now, with Zach however, he has a very competent, forceful young man with a strong will and a protective nature of his own. He normally deals with, bless them, very selfish kids and teens, but Zach is different. He knows somehow that this worry over him is his own fault, and he chides himself silently for that, but as he watches the youth sag and back off Kiel knows that he needs to do something and not just sit there.

Zach following words make his insides tighten and flip, even as he recognizes the tactic being employed. He's seen it several times before, from youth trying to get something out of him, but in this case he knows it's not a selfish thing. Despite recognizing it, and knowing it for his sake, Kiel can't help the pained feeling at hearing Zach's accusation. Carefully standing up, Kiel gently brushes Zach's hand from his face, and cups his cheek. “Now, that's not fair Zach. When did I ever say anything about not wanting you around?” His voice is warm and gentle, but firm in it's denial of the accusation.

“Nothing about how I'm acting reflects anything about you specifically Zach.” he says softly. “I have been in the priesthood for as long as I can recall, and you know well enough that would mean I'm not exactly comfortable showing any bit of myself to anyone really. I don't think you're going to do anything to me, and I'm not afraid of you.” He looks down, eyeing his own bruises. Looking back up, he strokes Zach's cheek gently with his thumb, and smiles. “I will admit I'm being a little unfair to you. I know you just want to return the favor and take care of me a little bit, and that is very sweet. I'm sorry for making you feel upset, and I will try to give you that freedom in the future, okay?” Kiel beams softly. “And I would love some help getting my sleeve back over this arm, if you still want to help.”
As if partially reading his mind, Aryx turns the conversation around and asks him about his own name. Wincing inside, feeling his name is not nearly as interesting, he smiles back at his guest and shakes his head. “I don't know. My father, before leaving me, game me my name, but since I was. . . left here, so young, if he ever did tell me about it I have long forgotten it.” His tail shifts forward from resting on his shoulder, brushing against his cheek as if trying to comfort him. Viltez smiles at it and gives it a pat, willing it to go back to relaxing in front of the fire.

The tail obliges slightly, sliding off his shoulder, but instead of going back to the fire to relax, the appendage slithers under the table to settle in his guest's lap. Flushing slightly, Viltez chooses to not acknowledge the action and instead talks a little more about himself as a distraction. “I was old enough to care for myself, so nobody thought to rename me or anything. . . It's all I really remember from the time before the village. I can. . . Kinda, remember my father's face, but not really. I don't even know if the name came from the human side of me, or the beastman side of me.” He pushes his food around a little more, somehow feeling lost even though he's sitting inside his own home.

A twinge of fear that he's being to “down” and boring passes thought Viltez and to shake himself form the feelings he smiles back at Aryx and tries to change the subject. “What does Authryx look like? I've heard about several different deities and great creatures before, but I've never heard of Authryx.” He gives Aryx a 'I'm sorry I don't know about them' look, knowing it might be rude to not know, considering the being is so important to his guest.
His eyes snap up as Zach comes over and he can't help the faint smile as the youth takes the pot from him. 'Busted. . . I'm sure the others thought I just wasn't very hurt, but Zach is very attentive. . .' He'd done his best not to move munch in front of the others, his history of getting hit on the street from angry addicts, parents, and gang members giving him a good idea of his injury's severity and telling him that he's just severely bruised. Feeling “caught” he doesn't object to sitting down and with a long sigh settles into the chair, wincing as the expansion of his lungs still pains him. He opens his mouth to tell Zach he doesn't think the boy is stupid and that he should be fine with some rest when the young man demands he remove his shirt.

A painful twinge having nothing to do with his injuries passes through him and on impulse he reaches up to hold his collar closed, eyes wide. Zach is having none of it however and insists that if he's not going to at least talk to a doctor, then he himself is going to make sure the injuries aren't that bad. The added bit at the end about “assaulting his virtue” catches him and his eyes drop to his lap. 'He just wants to help, right? That's natural. . .' His eyes squeeze shut as the upset youth puts a sickening image in his head and with reluctance he lets out another sigh, looking up at Zach sadly.

“I'm sorry Zach, I don't think you're stupid. I'm pretty sure that these are just bruises, but if it will put your mind at ease. . .” Using one hand he carefully undoes the top of his robes, sliding them down carefully until they've settles around his waist. With even more care, he tries to get his under shirt off, but the T isn't willing to cooperate with one arm limp. He has to get some help from Zach to get the bit of fabric all the way off, and settles back against the back of the chair after, the strain on the bruises during the activity tiring him out a bit.

The left side of his chest as a slightly larger than fists sized bruise just below his peck, while a lighter, barely visible bruise settles around square on it. His arm looks a bit worse, the dark color showing the man put more weight into his punch aimed at it and showing clearly why he doesn't want to move it. Kiel looks down at his own injuries and then smiles faintly at Zach. “I'm pretty sure they're just bruises. As you can probably see, I've been on the wrong end of misdirected ire a few times before.” He points to the small handful of scars here and there from times he stood up for those who needed standing up for and didn't come out unscathed. Still smiling, he gives Zach a bright look. “My breathing is fine, and I'm sure if there's any real damage it's just a crack, and even that's unlikely. I don't feel any burning.” He had to learn to self diagnose a long time ago. He prays Zach will be satisfied quickly, not wanting to remain uncovered for long. Despite feeling he's no longer a danger to Zach, he doesn't want to accidentally spook the little one should the boy need comfort after the ordeal.
The yelling and screaming seems to go on forever, but Kiel stand strong. The sound of police sirens in the distance seem to set the man off however and with a cry he falls back as the man punches him hard in the chest, knocking him down. Kiel takes barelyt a moment to regain his breath as the man rushes towards his house before climbing to his feet and chasing after him. A handful of other priest join him, shouting as the man hits Kiel again, this time in the arm, as he braces himself in the doorway to keep the enraged man from passing. Not ready to put up with an actual attack on one of their own, the handful of younger priests grab hold of the man and work on pulling him away from the house. He is once more screaming obscenities and accusing them all of raping children when the police finally arrive. The men of god hand him over to them, and begin giving their statements about what's happened.

Kiel himself slumps against his door, taking in pained breaths. Every inhale makes his chest ache and he wonders if something got cracked. As an officer approaches to question him however he breaths through the pain and speaks softly about the situation. Eventually, the head priest talks to the police about their sanctuary laws and they agree to not drag the girl off as long as she's willing to come out and tell them in person she's there of her own free will.

Inside, Sarah had listened to Zach's voice, listened to his question, and felt her pain ease as his voice became so sweet in her hears. Somehow, despite her hearing being damaged, his voice sounds so clear to her. His question is a bit scary, but for some reason it doesn't make her feel afraid. Instead, she just takes it in, thinking about it, and nodding as he says she doesn't have to answer right away. The small quiet between them is broken as the shouting fades, and she can feel her tears coming back.

Kiel steps in, spotting Zach sitting in front of the door to Sarah's temporary room. He smiles faintly and helps the boy carefully to his feet. “The man's gone now. I'm sorry if that scared you.” He takes a moment to comfort Zach, grasping the back of his neck in a gentle sign of affection, then turns to kneel beside the door Sarah is hidden behind. “Sarah, the police are here. They want to make sure you want to be here. They want to know, if this is what you want. . .” He knows she has very little choice in her life, and he hopes that presenting their requirement this way it will inspire her to come out. With a soft smile, he listens to her shift, coming to his feet as the click of the key being turned in the lock tells him she's coming out. Still smiling, he looks at the crack of the door where her face appears and holds out a hand to her. After a long moment, she comes with him outside to tell the police she wants to stay.

It takes another half an hour for things to settle, the head priest wanting to check on Sarah before letting her return to where she feels safe. Once back in the cottage, Kiel settles the stressed girl down for a nap. Closing the door to her room, he returns to the main room and settles for making he and Zach some tea. “I'm sorry you had to listen to all of that.” he murmurs, giving the youth a sympathetic look. His movements are stiff and he doesn't use his left arm as he shuffles around, trying to make the tea. His arm and chest are still paining him, but he wants to wait until Zach is settled in to slip off to the bathroom for some painkillers.
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