"La Luna ed il suo Amante" (The Moon God and his Lover)
Chapter One || Chapter Two || Chapter Three || Chapter Four || Chapter Five (END) ||
"I Servi Fedeli Del Dio Della Luna" (The Faithful Servants of the Moon God)
Chapter One || Chapter Two || Chapter Three || Chapter Four (END) ||
Series Title: "Le Storie Del Sole e Dalla Luna"
(Stories of the Sun and the Moon)
Book II: "Chiaro di Luna e Sole"
(Moonlight and Sunshine)
Posting Completed Story in Six Chapters - This is back into a futuristic timeline, after book one & two, however I do reccommend you read them in order as written. Please Forgive the Barest of Proofreading
Series Title: Le Storie Del Sole e Dalla Luna
(Stories of the Sun and the Moon)
Book III: Chiaro di Luna e Sole
(Moonlight and Sunshine)
Chapter Number: Five
Author: D. Sanders
There was good natured teasing from fellows who noticed the pair in the mess eating like there was no tomorrow and the slightly rumpled look and glow they carried about them made it clear that they had sometime between breakfast and mid-day become even more intimately attached to one another. They weren’t precisely trying to keep it a secret either. On more than one occasion, Adrik’s body language and stealing of random kisses obliterated any doubts people may have harbored that morning. Danya and Adrik were in love and it showed in every movement, every glance and every gesture.
The change in Danya was the most dramatic. Gone was the shy wallflower that tended to hide away in his shell, he was vivacious and alive in the sphere of Adrik’s attention. He laughed openly, smiled brightly, spoke with animated gestures and just looked like the happiest youth in the world. He brought out in Adrik all his best qualities. He was witty, gregarious, protective and attentive. He simply seemed to hang on every word Danya uttered and he responded in kind, a true give and take partnership. There was no one who saw them at the meal that doubted Adrik had finally found the person he’d been looking for, for so long. He’d never looked so fulfilled in his life and it was Danya who made Adrik’s eyes shine with an emotion that could never be mistaken for anything but love. It went beyond mere affection; this bond that was suddenly so evident went much deeper and clear down to both of their souls.
Jovan walked over grinning and hiding something behind his back. He brought out two red rose wreath crowns and set them on the table. “I do believe that this is tradition today? Or do my old eyes deceive me?”
Adrik chuckled and picked up Danya’s wreath and placed it on his head and then settled his own on his brow. “No, you old astute old goat.” Adrik grinned and Danya only flushed a little.
“I’m not blind lads nor have I forgotten what it’s like to be newly matched. I am quite pleased to see you both so happy.”
“Thank you Father Jovan.” Danya smiled and Jovan just patted his cheek.
“Danya, you’re like sons to me. My best pupils and my dear friends of course I am happy for you both.” Jovan winked and smiled fondly. “I daresay I think I should round up a few volunteers, I have a sneaky suspicion Adrik here is going to be creating a vacant room in the dorms with speed.”
Adrik chuckled. “Aye, that would be appreciated. I’ve no intention of sleeping alone anymore.” Adrik winked and Danya blushed but laughed.
“I must admit I have no desire to sleep alone anymore either. Helping me move would be most appreciated, I don’t have much.”
“You never did dear other than books and your indoor jungle and those get heavy. I’ll go round up a few sturdy brothers and meet you both in Danya’s rooms say in a quarter hour?”
“We’ll see you there.” Adrik replied as both he and Danya hurried to finish their meal and loaded a basket with fruit and cheese and some light peach wine for later.
They detoured back to Adrik’s rooms to drop off the basket and met Father Jovan in the corridor as they headed toward Danya’s room. “What is the door doing open? I’m sure I closed it earlier.” Danya asked and then froze the moment he walked in the door and burst into tears when he spied his desk and the ink that had ruined all his research.
“Who would do this?” He sobbed falling to his knees as Adrik raced to his side in comfort. His eyes furious, he had his suspicions.
“These weren’t your journals were they?” Jovan asked horrified at the thought. After hearing Adrik’s commentary earlier of their value and knowing Danya’s keen intellect, the thought of losing something so precious was staggering.
“Father Jovan Look out! Stop!” Danya shouted as father Jovan almost stepped on the plant on the floor. Danya dove toward the plant and gingerly used the tongs on the floor to pick it up and drop it in a waste bin.
“There’s blood on this, By Sol’s Crown! We have to find who touched this immediately. They’ll die!” Danya said horrified, forgetting his heartbreak immediately and thinking only of the toxins that were killing whomever had touched the Sidra’s Trap.
“There’s blood on the door too.” Father Fletcher, Adrik’s year mate and best friend stated from the open door, walking in on the scene almost as it had began.
“Follow it, find him. Whatever you do, DO NOT touch his wounds; the acid will transfer skin to skin. Wrap it up so it can’t spread to anything else and bring him to the infirmary! Adrik, we’ll need a benzene wash to neutralize the acid, and a glycol benzene sodium nitrate you must inject into his blood stream immediately. Oh Sol, I pray we’re not too late!” Danya cried as he abandoned his rooms and out paced Adrik on swift feet back to the healer’s rooms and dashed straight into the workroom. Sol who had remained in Danya’s room, smiled in approval as he followed. This was so like his sprite, to instantly forget his own pain when his compassion, even toward one who has wronged him, awakened to one who needed his help.
Danya and Adrik flew into efficient action as they rolled up sleeves and began mixing the ingredients Danya’s keen mind remembered as the anti-toxin to Sidra’s Trap. “I need Rose water!” Danya looked frantically through Adrik’s stores.
“I don’t have any.” Adrik replied just as frantically getting the injection mix ready. He felt Danya grab the wreath crown off his head and then his own.
“Then I’ll make some! The skin infection will be serious. If there is any bone showing love, the only way to stop the spread of the toxin is to amputate above the line of infection. If it’s in the bone it will kill him in a matter of hours!” Danya said boiling water and pulling off rose petals from their wreaths and tossing them into to water to boil.
“Holy hell, that bad?”
“Aye. Sidra’s Trap toxin works like stomach acid. It injects into its prey and dissolves it from the inside out. It eats away flesh in a matter of minutes and whomever touched it is in excruciating pain right now, oh Sol please, I beg you my lord, let us have discovered this in time.” Danya fought breaking down into tears as he pulled ingredients off shelves and prepared a basin filled with the wash that would stop the spread of infection in the wound itself.
“ADRIK! HURRY!” Came Fletcher’s frantic voice as he carried his burden into the infirmary. Father Jovan and Father Lukyan right on his heels.
Father Fletcher had done as instructed and a spare robe was wrapped around Kara’s hand and arm. The delirious Kara lay moaning in pain as Adrik hurried in with a needle and Danya carried the basin.
Adrik first injected the mix into Kara’s arm above where the robe was wrapped around Kara’s arm as Danya used tongs to pull away the material.
Danya let out a choked sob at the state of Kara’s arm as he literally plunged it into the basin, which bubbled immediately as it neutralized the acid. “Oh Kara.” Danya whimpered, using another pair of tongs and dipping a strip of clean binding into the wash to apply the mix to the spot on his face where he had apparently touched his face with his bad hand. A whole section of his cheek was open and festering. The wash bubbled white as he dabbed carefully.
Adrik moved to look at the arm and hissed. “By Mane’s crown! Danya, you know best here. How bad is this?”
“Bad. The hand is beyond saving and I’d rather err on the side of caution, I don’t know how far up the bone it’s traveled.”
“Can I cut to see?”
“Aye, do not touch it with your skin whatever you do until the wash stops bubbling.” Danya said still working on Kara’s cheek. Everyone else huddled off to the side in silence and horror watching the two work with amazing efficiency.
Adrik nodded and pulled over a tray with his instruments and gingerly cut apart the skin of Kara’s forearm. “Oh this doesn’t look good. Danya, confirm my theory, this is the line of contamination here?” Adrik asked pointing with his blade.
Danya leaned over and was surprisingly rock steady in such a gruesome setting. “Yes, see that greenish tinge? That’s the toxin level. You’re correct.”
“Damn. One time I did not want to be right. I’ll have to amputate to the elbow. This is going to be ugly. Fletcher, please get me all the final term healer students, I’m going to need assistants now. Danya, can I give him ether? He’s too close to consciousness for this.” Adrik turned to Danya as Fletcher raced out to get help.
“Aye. It won’t cause a conflict with the anti-toxin. He’ll need another course of injections every half-hour; the infection is at least two hours old if not more. Look how dark his blood is, it’s coagulating, and we need to thin it and get the toxin in his blood stream purged. You’ll need to look at his cheek too. It’s just surface infection, a secondary toxic burn, he must have touched his face with his hand, it’s not deep but the skin here is dead and needs to be cleaned and cut.”
“Valeri is a wonder with the knife, he’s got better depth perception than I do, I’ll leave that to him. I need to get him prepared for surgery; I need to cut these robes off. Father Jovan, do you still have those metal tipped gloves we used in class when working with acidic compounds?”
“Aye! Good thinking lad, I’ll go get them.” Jovan hurried off to get the gloves as Danya helped Adrik cut the robes off Kara just as five students in blue and yellow burst into the room.
Danya made sure to stress the dangers again as everyone moved Kara to a table and immediately went to work, pulling on the gloves Jovan passed around to everyone hastily.
Now that Danya was no longer needed, his expertise in making the anti-toxin was really all he could offer, he was not trained as a healer, and he broke down in tears as Lukyan gathered the youth in his arms as he wept bitterly.
Sol was beside them both, stroking Danya’s hair when Mane appeared. “I’ve heard. How is your Danya?”
“Suffering. He’s blaming himself now. He’s thinking if he hadn’t had that plant, Kara would be alright.”
“Poor child. Such a tender heart.” Mane said sitting beside his brother and looking at the youth sobbing in his head priest’s arms.
“Too tender at times. Adrik will not allow him to fall too deeply into despair, but right now he is busy himself. They are a remarkable team. Even I was amazed at how seamlessly they work together.”
“Adrik is one of my brightest, the most talented healer I’ve seen in many years. He and Danya will leave a legacy behind them.” Mane began as the ink stained books appeared in his hands.
“What Danya began, Adrik will corroborate in application and clinical live trials. Danya’s chemical analysis of botanical properties and their uses and Adrik’s footnotes from his healer's perspective and application will be used by so many others far into the future. This cannot be lost, do you agree my brother?”
“Aye.” Sol said laying his hand on top of Mane’s. Their combined power erased time, and brought the pages back to where they had been before Kara had destroyed them.
“By my light, I protect these pages and all that have yet to be written. May this record stand the long test of time in reward to my vassal who does my bidding.” Mane began.
“By my light, I protect these pages and all that have yet to be written. May this record stand the long test of time in reward to my vassal who does my bidding.” Sol repeated, sealing their protections on the journals that lay shining with their marks on the covers.
The symbol of the sun in gilded gold appeared on each cover and beside it, a silver moon shimmered. The brother’s seals would never be broken. No hand would mar its pages, time would not age them, and fire would not burn them. They would far outlast the hands of the brilliant creators. Mane held them in his lap as they waited and watched over the scene.
Adrik and the others worked for hours making sure all the toxin was purged, Danya making several clean solutions of the anti-toxin that the students and Adrik applied with critical precision to Kara’s wounds. Adrik amputated Kara’s arm cleanly at the elbow and took great care making sure the infection was purged from the area before injecting more of the blood agent anti-toxin and sewing the wound closed.
Valeri was just a meticulous on Kara’s face. Carefully cutting away the dead flesh and cleaning the area before he took up the needle to close the area, wrapping it in clean padding coated with the anti-toxin just to be safe.
Brody, who had been in charge of keeping Kara sedated and keeping a check on his vitals sighed. “He’s weak, but stable. I don’t want to give him anymore ether.”
“Don’t we’re almost done now. You all did fine work, as your teacher you make me very proud.” Adrik said with heartfelt meaning. His final term students had outdone themselves in this trial by fire. None of them had ever seen anything remotely like this before and it had been an emotional and mental roller coaster for them all.
“We couldn’t have done it without Danya. I’ve never seen such a violent toxin. It’s Danya who saved him, our skills would have been useless without his anti-toxin.” Valeri said sinking onto a stool nearby as Tomas and Gage who had just assisted the others during the surgery moved Kara to a bed and cleared away the used instruments to be sterilized.
“Aye.” Adrik smiled with more than pride as his eyes roamed the room. Lukyan was sitting dozing in a chair as Jovan looked to be taking notes. Danya was nowhere to be seen. “Where’s Danya?”
Jovan set down his quill and rubbed his eyes. “He went to the temple to say a prayer and to attend to Kara’s arm properly. He will offer it to Sol’s Fire safely so it cannot contaminate anything else. Fletcher went with him, he’s not alone, don’t worry Adrik. He needed this, he is blaming himself.”
“This is not Danya’s fault!” Adrik growled, he was tired and his temper and emotional state worn to a thread.
“We all know this Adrik. Kara had no business in Danya’s rooms, he touched what he shouldn’t have and paid a dear price. He surely would have perished if not for Danya’s intervention, but from my experience with Danya and what you are learning Adrik is that Danya has ever been overly compassionate and self sacrificing and he is only thinking right now that if he had not taken the gift from the western order brothers of that plant, Kara would not have suffered. Fletcher is a superior counselor and Danya could not be in better hands while he comes down from his emotional torment to see clearly again. We just need to wait until Danya composes himself.” Jovan said and Adrik nodded sinking into a chair.
“Is there anything we can do to help Father Jovan?” Brody asked and the others with him nodding agreement.
“Nothing at the moment. While you all were busy and while Danya was still occupied with work, Fletcher conscripted a dozen or more brothers and all of Danya’s belongings are moved. I am troubled though; Fletcher said the journals were gone when he’d returned to Danya’s rooms. Nothing else had been tampered with, it was as if they simply vanished.” Jovan sighed; his eyes were tired and troubled.
“Perhaps that’s best. They were ruined, seeing them again in that state will only cause Danya more pain.” Adrik fought crying himself as he stood to go wash and change his robes.
He tossed clean robes to his students in the process, they all looked like a battle had taken place. “At least we have plenty of beds in here. Why don’t we all just take shifts? Kara will need to be monitored continually for at least the next twenty-four hours. I’ll take the first shift; since there is no way in hell I’d get any rest right now. Go clean up; get something to eat too, then just pull up a spare bed and sleep. I’ll wake one of you when I’m about to fall over and I’ll have a rotational shift list written up for you to work off of.” Adrik said as his students scuffled about quietly under his direction.
Adrik was about to flop into a chair when the door opened and Danya walked in solemnly with Fletcher. Adrik was across the floor and crushing Danya in an embrace immediately. Danya just clung back and cried into Adrik’s chest. “It’s not your fault beloved. It’s not. Please believe that.” Adrik did cry now seeing the state of Danya’s face. Eyes swollen and red-rimmed from crying and extreme emotional pain still raping his soul.
Fletcher just patted Adrik’s arm. “He knows. Just hold him a while.” Fletcher said quietly as he sat at the table with Jovan, setting a basket of cold meats, cheese, and bread on the table with a few bottles of lager and stout. “I know you’re all hungry right now. The kitchen is bringing more and will make sure all meals are brought to you all here while we wait.” He added passing the basket around to the hungry students staying utterly silent as they watched their teacher and Danya still standing by the door, unmoved and just holding each other tightly.
Fletcher shared a sad smile with Jovan. Adrik had always been his best of friends and his heart had fallen in love immediately with Danya after seeing the smile he’d put on Adrik’s face. He knew Adrik better than anyone, Danya was everything Adrik had ever needed or wanted, his friend had finally found his soul mate and Fletcher’s heart broke for them both, a time which should have been filled with joy and discovery for them was now marred with jealousy and pain. Thankfully, the love they shared would only make them stronger as they walked through this nightmare together.
Sol and Mane shared a silent look and nodded to each other. It was time to make their appearance. The room was suddenly filled with their presence, as the brothers appeared side-by-side at the hearth. Everyone, lunar and solar alike took collective shuddering breaths and fell to their knees, a pillow appearing underneath Lukyan’s and Mane just smiled and winked, he remembered another dear vassal with aching joints, he wouldn’t make his beloved children unduly suffer.
“We are pleased with all of you and your efforts tonight.” Mane began smiling proudly from where he stood.
“Moonlight and Sunshine working together is what pleases us most. You are the brightest and best of our vassal’s and we are most proud.” Sol continued as together he and Mane walked to each Priest and Novice in turn and kissed every brow, stopping before Adrik and Danya.
“Danya, my dearest flower. All your life long, you have pleased me in all that you accomplish. Your heart knows no limits, your mind knows no obstacles, your spirit holds no taint. Believe my child that what happened here was the will of our father, a lesson learned, a deed punished. Free your heart of guilt my little Danya. You are my vassal of a much higher calling, you do my bidding and you make me most proud of you.” Sol said bending over to place a long, loving kiss on Danya’s forehead.
Mane stood before Adrik and his eyes danced. “Adrik, your greatest virtue is your constancy. You are the Willow that bends in the face of the storm, the foundation rock that supports the hearth, the wisdom that knows that true knowledge is not what you already know, but what you have yet to learn. Your faith is unshakable, your mind limitless, your skills invaluable, and your love unconditional. I have watched you seek your heart in fruitless wandering in sadness. I have seen you grasp it at last with profound joy.” Mane smiled as he laid a gentle hand to Adrik’s cheek and he placed a soft kiss on Adrik’s brow.
Sol reached down to take Danya’s left hand, making him rise. Mane did the same with Adrik. Both Gods holding the left hand of their vassals, facing each other, God to moral, mortal to God.
“Adrik, speak your vows to my vassal.” Sol ordered and Adrik swallowed hard, but smiled.
“Danya, you are my soul, you are my joy, you are my sunshine that warms my heart. I vow to love you, protect you, grow with you and share with you all that I have and all that I am.” Adrik spoke and Danya cried, but smiled through his years.
“Danya, speak your vows to my vassal.” Mane said and Danya’s voice was clear even as he cried.
“Adrik, you are my soul, you are my joy, you are my moonlight that shines when the darkness threatens my heart. I vow to love you, protect you, grow with you and share with you all that I have and all that I am.”
“I give to you my vassal of the sun with my blessings. Protect him well.” Sol said handing Danya’s left hand to Mane who placed a silver band etched with the phases of the moon on Danya’s finger.
“I give to you my vassal of the moon with my blessings. Protect him well.” Mane repeated and Sol took Adrik’s hand and placed upon his finger a band of gold, a blazing sun patterned into the metal. Then both Gods placed Adrik and Danya’s hands together.
“Let your work continue and let it never end until you come home to us in your winter years. You do our bidding, this is our will and we charge you to honor us by using the gifts you have both been blessed with to their fullest measures.” Mane began as the journals appeared in his hands and he and Sol held them together.
“We return to you what was lost. A reward to our children who have pleased us, and we have placed upon them our seals of protection. Danya, we charge you to continue to discover the wonders of my gardens and in your discoveries we charge you Adrik to use them, refine them and teach them. A union of souls and a union of minds will leave a legacy that will benefit all the children of the Sun and the Moon.” Sol said handing the books back to Danya who wept with joy as he clutched them to his chest and Adrik wrapped his arms around him shaking with relief and euphoria.
“Thank you my Lords. I vow I will do as you bid me, always.” Adrik said and Sol nodded and Mane smiled proudly.
“Aye. Oh my lords I am overjoyed. I promise I will never stop. Thank you, oh thank you so much.” Danya wept openly his voice cracking with emotion. Sol reached out and touched his cheek.
“My precious flower, you are ever welcome.” Sol said smiling fondly before he turned and both he and Mane vanished as quickly as they had appeared.
It was like a huge vacuum had swept through the room and the silence was deafening until Fletcher broke the moment and tackled both Danya and Adrik in a fierce and jubilant hug. “Had I not seen it, I’d have never believed it! Congratulations!” Fletcher laughed and began to dance, pulling Adrik and Danya into an impromptu jig. Danya laughed gaily and Adrik spun him around the room as the students joined Fletcher in the sudden merry-making. Lukyan, returning to his seat, suddenly had a lover sitting in his lap.
“I suddenly feel twenty again.” Jovan chuckled, placing a large sloppy kiss on his life long lover.
“In spirit aye. I hope you don’t want me acting it again.” Lukyan laughed and Jovan smiled.
“Oh goodness no. I far prefer you mellowed with age like fine wine.” Jovan winked, removing himself from Lukyan’s lap before his weight affected joints. Lukyan pulled him back down.
“You stay put, I haven’t had you here in far too long my lovely. I’m not that old yet where I still don’t think you’re still the best looking of the bunch.” Lukyan winked and they sat like that together as they watched the others suddenly spring to life with cheer and dance around the room.
“You lying old goat.” Jovan laughed and Lukyan just grinned and got an affectionate kiss for his efforts. He still knew how to make Jovan melt, even after sixty years.
Mane chuckled where he and Sol watched from the corner of the room. “Those two have always amused me.”
“I love how they think we actually left. Mortals are so damn easy. I always feel like an idiot with all the pomp and circumstance and pretty speeches. I’m always making it up as I go along.”
“Hey, if we talked to them, like we talk to each other they’d never take us seriously. I’d rather bedazzle them with words then have to constantly marvel them with theatrics all the time.”
“You’re the king of theatrics. You get off on making grand entrances.”
“Like you don’t? I don’t think so Yoake. You’re my twin, we do have a few things in common.”
“Okay, you win there. I think they need more wine.”
“Not too much, they need to stay sober remember.”
“Kara will be fine, but you’re right.” Sol said waving his hand as a large keg of apple cider appeared on the table making Jovan jump out of his skin and Mane laughed as he added a feast around it, expanding the bounty that had already been in the basket Fletcher brought earlier. Fresh meats, fruit, cheese, steaming breads and pastries covered the surface of the table.
“Now I think we can leave them to celebrate properly.” Mane said as he bid his brother goodnight and vanished.
Sol only lingered a few moments longer before he too left the festivities light hearted.
Danya and Adrik settled off in a corner together as the gravity and realization dawned on them and they shared a wonderful kiss before admiring the rings on their fingers. Rings were not normally exchanged and the significance of the rings and what they symbolized, not to mention were in fact gifts from their gods made them both stare at them in awe. Adrik’s ring was Danya to him; he could see the sunlight Danya brought to his life every time he looked at it. It was the same for Danya. His ring was comfort, it was strength, it was a piece of Adrik that would be with him no matter where he was, his light in the darkness.
“I can’t believe it, I really can’t.” Danya finally said, watching the light bounce and reflect of the facets of the moon on his ring.
“Aye, it’s surreal. It was only yesterday I discovered you for what you were and fell in love with you. It seems so much longer doesn’t it?”
“Aye. It does. It has been a whirlwind and my head is lost somewhere in the stars right now.” Danya said as he cuddled up close to Adrik where they shared a small couch against the wall. Close to where Kara was still sleeping.
“Mine too. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry or sing or weep.”
“I think we’ve done them all today.” Danya said his eyes resting on Kara.
“He will suffer most for this, in the temple, when I was saying prayers, Sol showed me what happened in a vision. I am torn how to feel. Angry? Yes. Anger I feel that he would be so cruel to me when I had not wronged him. I am also forgiving knowing that it was his desire for you that caused the jealousy in Kara in the first place. You are very desirable, in all ways, I cannot be angry with someone feeling the same things that I feel for you. And such pity I feel for what he will face now. He will have to learn how to do everything again with his left hand and only that hand. Not to mention the scars that will linger on his beautiful face and body, Kara had always prized his beauty, and he will not see that he can still be beautiful in other ways. He will have to learn to see beneath the surface and he will have many trials to face before he heals.”
“Aye. I do not envy him his journey. But all things happen for a reason. Some lessons cost more than others.” Adrik said and Danya smiled.
“You said that to me once before.”
“Aye, the day you lost your eye. I have never forgotten it and it is so very true. Mane was right; you are ever constant in your beliefs beloved. I hope to be worthy of you.”
“Just be you Danya. I don’t want you to try to worthy. I just want your love.”
“And you will always have it.” Danya said as he accepted a tender kiss from Adrik.
“I don’t mean to intrude, but the students are dropping like flies. I am sending them to bed. Lukyan and Jovan have been passed out for about an hour now.” Fletcher grinned pulling up a stool.
“Aye, it’s near midnight. We all need rest. I’ll keep first watch until I just can’t stay awake.”
“You need rest too, not to mention this is technically your wedding night. I’ll keep first watch. I know enough to wake you if Kara stirs. Both of you go to bed, that’s an order from your friend and your emotional counselor.” Fletcher said and Adrik chuckled.
“Alright, thank you.” Adrik smiled as he stood. Danya leaned forward and hugged Fletcher’s shoulders.
“Thank you for everything earlier. Your support is more than appreciated.” Danya said and Fletcher just smiled and hugged back tightly.
“That’s my calling. Thank you for making my best friend so happy at last.” Fletcher kissed Danya’s cheek with brotherly affection as Adrik took Danya’s hand as they disappeared into their private quarters off the infirmary.
They were asleep almost before their heads hit the pillows.