Home at Last...



Clay was glad for the familiar weight of a journal on his lap. His fingers trace over the soft leather pulled over wood that was the cover. His last had been full of notes...of conversations, memories, and thoughts.  His eyes water at the thought of the art that had been lost. He looks up and takes a couple of deep breaths while blinking quickly to keep from crying. It could be redone. It could be redone and rebuilt. It felt like an impossible task though, to challenging and ..and....he needed to stop. The redhead sighs and sets the journal beside him on the bed, his hazel eyes darting between the different walls of his room. The room suddenly felt too small....too tight around him. He closes his eyes and grips the worn blanket under his hands tightly as memories of another room rush to mind. Clay was suddenly stuck back in the place he had been held, forced to patch up brigands as they came in from their many crimes. He hadn't been allowed to roam or to leave. He had been stuck in the room filled with old text and tomes that he had read through while trying to find a way out. 

 

A sob comes from him as he hugs his knees tightly as he slowly comes back to the room. He was gone from there now...he was safe and back in Bree. Kris and his father had seen to that along with Cesistya. He was sore, weak, and hungry but he was alive and would be alright. The room still felt too small and choking though. It felt like he was trapped again in that old house he had been in. Strongboar.....Strongboar had needed someone with healing skill and Clay happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time helping his sister with her arm when it was injured.

 

The lad reaches out and grabs an outer tunic his father, Domhnat, had left behind along with the journal and a new leather bag to replace what he had lost. He pulls the tunic close to his chest and buries his face into the brown fur that lined the inside and tries to hide his sobs once more. Ryn hasn't visited yet...he wanted to make sure she was okay, she must have been worried for him. His grip on the tunic tightens. His father had admitted that he had gotten in a fight with her and that it might have driven her further away. He had left soon after as well, he was in trouble with those he worked under because he had been in Bree for so long looking for Clay.  The young man's heart feels like it is twisting in his chest and he has to work on remembering to breathe. It wasn't his fault...it wasn't his fault! If he said it enough he would believe it. His mind goes to the man he stabbed suddenly and his body tenses. The man! He had been told to kill the man to prove he was loyal to Strongboar but he had tried to patch him enough for another healer to save him when the crime lord wasn't looking. He knew tears were running down his red and blotchy cheeks but couldn't seem to force himself to move. That man's wounds were his fault. If the man had died it would be blood on his hands. How...how could he move on from that? He should have refused ...should of- He is snapped from his thoughts as one of the Inn's staff brings in a tray with broth, some bread and some watered down wine.

 

The lady sets everything down and much to the lad surprise sits next to him on the edge of the bed. She pulls him into a hug and rubs his back softly in comfort. "I've heard enough of the whispers around. I can't imagine what happened and I am not going to ask but many people care for you. You are safe here and we will help you." She pulls back to look at his face while Clay nods and rubs at his eyes a bit as he calms down and tries to get his breathing under control. A smile trembling slime comes to his lips and she moves to grab the bowl of broth. "Alright. Let us get some food in you. Barli said that Lady Ces found you hadn't eaten in a bit. I know it isn't much but I am sure it will still help." The lad nods again and takes the bowl carefully and lifts the bowl to his lips, sipping at the broth. The blond woman nods and stands, "While you eat that I'll see if I can sneak a book or two from dear old Butterbur's collection for you." 

 

Clay watches as she leaves, a small smile on his lips before it falls. He looks at the bowl of broth for a bit before drinking some more of it and then setting it to the side. His hands go to the journal and he runs his fingers over the cover again before picking it up and putting it on his lap. He opens it and looks at the words there. "Clay, my son, I am hoping this gift lasts you well. I know it will never be the same as your first one. I am sure it will be just as unique though. You are creative and create many wonderful things. I have shown the letters you have sent to the men under my command and they always seem to get a smile from them. I have a feeling you may getting some from them in the coming weeks. They have been just as worried as I have been."  The redhead traces over the words with his fingers before closing the journal. 

 

So much had happened...would life ever be 'normal' again?

So many people....so many people he needed to write and to tell he was alright. Maddoct, Gustine, Edd, and Reily. So many faces he couldn't wait to see again. They ran through his mind as he swings his legs over the edge of his bed and carefully stands on shaking legs. His hands grab onto the windowsill and the man leans against it as he unlatches the window and lets it swing open to the bright world outside. Flowers sit in a wooden box outside the now open space. A thin pale hand reaches out to touch the blossoms of a purple lupin. A ladybug crawls from it and walks along his hand while a couple of bees buzz about. His hazel eyes go to the many colors of blooms outside before moving to the many people walking by. A man trying to walk a very grumpy cow causes him to chuckle while couples and workers walking past on their way from one place to another gave him something to watch.

 

A flash of light on metal catches his attention and his eyes widen at the sight of a man bending to gather water from the fountain. The auburn hair causes him to pause but he realizes it isn't who he thought it was. Seeing that the metal that caught the light is on his tunic and not his belt  Clay's attention wanders from him to watch a bird try and steal some bread from someone sitting on the grass. While amusing the anger the person showed the animal caused some memories to start to be a bother. The man sighs and looks towards the stables to watch the horses for a bit. Bay, dapple, bay, chestnut. He grows bored of naming the colors pretty quickly. Part of him had hoped a palomino would be among the group.  

 

His eyes go to some pansies in a cluster and his mind goes to Edd. Reily would also be worried he was sure. The poor man had probably had a heart attack over him being missing. When he was a bit stronger he needed to go looking for him and tell him that he was alright and safe. His mind had gone to the tall man recently more and more. The lad reaches out and traces the pansy plant in the window box. It was a lovely apricot bloom with red details. He would have to thank the person who taught him the language of flowers someday.

 

A smile comes to his lips and he stretches before carefully moving back over to the bed. He grabs a piece of bread and nibbles on it while his thoughts wander. 

Maybe everything would go back normal...or as normal as it could be.