Though his breath came in ragged bursts, the bow in Brom’s hand felt made of air. Whew, that was close. A smile broke out despite his fear and exhaustion, But I made it! I’m alive. His smile dissipated as he became aware of his current situation.
The others might still be alive. He began a quick calculation of the impact and enormity the variable ‘might’ would have on him. I should try to revive them…. He would thereby regain their companionship, protection and, perhaps, thanks. …or not. Leaving far too much loot to carry himself, especially considering the web and spider parts they recovered for the Sage, the same Sage who would also require an explanation to the fate of his companions. It would also mean having to be alone on the boat voyage home and Brom heard stories of the kind of things that sailors at sea get up to. It also meant being alone, again.
The decision seemed made for him as he heard an unhealthy, but alive gurgling sound come from the naked body of the barbarian. William’s body was covered in tattoos; vivid blue knots and symbols of a type that Brom didn’t recognize, and a bronze reptilian wing and tail disappearing over a broad shoulder. Brom realized this was the first time he had seen William’s shirt off in their time together. He should ask William about them later…. or not.
Brom exhaled as he saw the barbarian’s eyes flicker but not quite open. William’s breathing seemed to deepen and gain an unsteady rhythm, though blood was still coming out of his mouth. Not a good sign.
Brom crouched down beside the Northerner. “Will, we did it! It was the toughest fight we’ve had yet, but you and I managed to finish it off. You went down and I followed by hitting hard enough to finish it.”
William’s head lolled over in the direction of Brom. His voice came out as a croak, “Buachaill sotalach. Cá bhfuil mo chlaíomh? Tóg an claíomh a casadh….. The sailor said to ‘take the sword that turns’*… foolish.”
Brom lost some of his excitement of William’s recovery. He might not understand the language, but it felt like a chastising. “Did you hear me Will? It’s dead. Well, heh, dead again.”
“Aich te bheal. Where are the others? Dead? You left them, unable to wait for me to return ready for battle, dragging that chréatúr salach^ to face me, nary a kilt, putting me inbetween you and its wrath? Cladhaire. Milksop….. Almost failing the Sage because we had to open one… more… door.” With that, William’s eyes closed. He gave cough and there was a pause before his breathing became deeper once more and steady, gurgling but steady.
That’s gratitude for ya. Brom thought sarcastically. He’ll be fine until I get back from checking on the others… Brom scoffed, or not.
The Druids and the dog lay in the first room of the crypt, just as he left them. As did the glowing falchion. What in the hells did Will say about a sword? Did that matter? Probably not. Brom wondered what sort of condition he would find the elf and the Barrowman. With William alive, bringing the other two back to the tower of the Sage would be nicer than not. After all, there was still all of this treasure that the newly resting dead was keeping. He should think of sharing some of it…. Or not.