The first thing he heard was the sound of rain. 

It seems that in addition to te biting cold, there was now rain to deal with. Fantastic. There'd probably be a bit of hail too, what with this weather. 

He immediately thought, Are we going to have to spend an entire night in this place? Really? 

It wouldn't be wise to venture out when it was raining like this. No, but Jaime and the others would probably find them pretty soon so maybe it was fine.

Lyle pushed these thoughts aside for the moment. 

He didn't know how long he'd slept, but when he awoke he felt completely reinvigorated. 

No, even better.

There was a heartening sense of strength and vitality that had settled deep into his bones and had no intention of leaving anytime soon.

He sat up and stretched his arms, feeling great.

Lyle noticed it only then--his previous injuries had, inexplicable, vanished into thin air!

He also found that his old scars were gone. At least from what he could see, they were missing. He checked his arms, hands, legs....nothing. 


He was a little disappointed in that, though.. Those scars were reminders of his past mistakes, he almost felt a sense of loss....

His mind blanked for a moment, trying to figure out what caused this. Then, as if a light had been lit inside his mind, he understood exactly what had happened. This...could only be her doing, right? There was no other explanation. 

Lyle turned his head, finding Sera sitting close to the still-blazing fire. Watching him intently.

That seemed like a bad habit of her's, but he chose not to mind it.

"Thank you..." He said, sincerely.

The girl smiled at him but a little sad. "It was nothing. I'm just sorry that I couldn't do more. I could heal your recent injuries and old scars, but that large one on your chest...I couldn't do anything about it. I only want to help make you whole again, and yet... I couldn't even do that." She looked pained, almost mourneful.

Lyle stared at her for a moment, perplexed. 

Lyle could only think of one thing that she could mean: The previous wound that had been inflicted by Iris that night. No, that thing inside her. That was the only scar that she could have meant, right?

All the others were gone. So that one remained, did it? Didn't surprise him.

But...his bandages were still on. 

So just how did she know--?

"Are you...feeling okay? Do you still hurt anywhere?"

Lyle was pulled from the thought before it could take root.

He saw Sera begining to rise to her feet in a hurry, anxious.

"I'm fine, don't worry so much." He stopped her with a raised hand. " And I feel great, actually. Whatever you did, it worked wonders. I really owe you a lot."

She shook her head at him. "Don't say that, you don't owe me anything.  I'm the one who benefitted from your kidness, I only wish there was something I could do to repay you for all you've done for me."

"I should think this is more than enough, I don't need anything else." 

"Is" The girl seemed almost disappointed by that.  

She was an odd one, wasn't she?

"It is. And really, short of giving me your body, there's probably nothing you could give me that I wouldn't be able to get myself anyway. Or would even want." 

Lyle joked.

Then he frowned to himself. 

Hold on, he felt that he worded that wrongly. If he said it like that, didn't he seem to imply that he ...?

"...Is...Is that something that you would want?" Sera coughed, looking away, face red. 

And it really happened. Perfect. 

This was his fault. He couldn't blame her.

The way he worded it really was a little misleading...

But even so, Lyle glanced at her dubiously. 

"No, no, don't misunderstand. That wasn't my intent at all. And didn't I say it before? There's nothing I want from you. So don't worry about it. Also.. take more care with what you say. My own blunder aside, just now your words almost sounded like you were actually prepared to give it. Which would be bad, would it not? A person should cherish their own bodies more, especially a woman."

 "Of course I know that. I didn't...I mean I wouldn't..." She was at a loss for words.

"I  think I understand."

"Good. That's..good." She finished awkwardly.

Lyle chose to steer the conversation away from such a topic. 

"So you're a healer."

She had relaxed much more now, letting him know he made a good call. She  nodded. "I've always had that inclination, yes."

" You mean to say that you're a natural-born Cleric. " He stated, sure of it. "But the problem is that you can't control your powers very well, can you?"

Sera nodded once more, asking, "How did you know?"

" Because if you could then you'd not have been in so much trouble earlier. And I saw signs of an explosion earlier that had traces of magic having been leaking out. You're obviously either untrained or a person only recently Awakened with an affinity for either water-based healing spells or light-based ones. 

"If you were trained then you could have done a lot more to protect yourself back then, since even if you are a healer by nature you'd still have some form of combat capabilities. Maybe even experience. You couldn't, though, indicating you had no training whatsoever. 

"But you were still able to heal me. So you have no training, but have already had your Awakening. Plus to even heal me at all, despite not having any training and being only a recently Awakened, you must have an an inborn affinity towards the elements of either Light or Water. 

"In addition your nature must be soft and caring. That would be the only way you, with your lack of training, would be able to perform healing spells so easily. Because everything about you would push you towards that direction. All of this meaning that you must also be a natural-born Cleric. This is what you meant earlier, too. You didn't know if this would work, since you can't use your powers as freely as you would like due to little to no training in how to impement them properly."

Even if you hadn't gone through your Awakening, the naturally occuring process common among the magically inclined which opens up your ability to use magic power consciously, you'd still at least be able to study up on basic Magic Theory and Magic Application.

Which would make things much easier for when your Awakening happened.

And one would need a teacher to fully understand those two subjects. Having at least two out of three of these meant you'd be considered "trained".

The girl must not have that. 

Neither did Lyle, hence one of the various reasons why he hadn't practiced the more mystical or arcane aspect of his talents.

He'd not had a person to learn from. 

Well....he did have a very rudimentary understanding of the first two, Magic Theory and Magic Application, but that knowledge was too incomplete and what he knew was by far too little. 

Only what he'd read of in books, which wasn't much. 

He knew more than the average person, but that was it. Not any help, really.

And his body was already too strong, adding magic to him would complicate things a lot and make him a danger to himself and others. His mother even once said that his would be an extremely dangerous Awakening...

...And those with the Bathory clan blood running through them were already different from most people. Their Awakening was different in and of itself. Requiring a special form of stimulus to just Awaken themselves and an equally special method to train their powers. 

Some people in the Bathory clan could die during their Awakening, even... 

If Lyle wanted to go through his own, which his mother said would be especially hard for him due to his high magical power, then he'd first have to train his body extensively and master his strength.

Just to be safe. Again, even if that wasn't needed, giving the current him magical powers that he couldn't control would just be unwise. Who knew what could happen? 

It was rare for a person with a power derived from their bloodline to also have such high talent in magic, what's more that talent coming from another Bloodline Legacy. 

Having two different Legacies in a person, magical and physical, now that was just a disaster waiting to happen. He's lucky they didn't clash and reject one another, otherwise his body would be sickly and weak instead of strong and brimming with vitality. 

If his Awakening did go awry, he'd need it. 

This was also why he trained under A'daire, to temper his body to withstand whatever it was that his own Awakening may throw at him. He didn't need to become a world-renowned swordsman, skill didn't matter, he just had to be able to never accidentally use more strength than he wanted.

...Lyle shook his head, clearing his mind of these unneeded thoughts.

"Not to mention the fact that I strongly believe you had sensed my injuries back then, since you wouldn't have ben able to actually see them. Another thing indicating you're a natural-born Cleric. Am I right so far?" He asked. 

Sera nodded numbly, not knowing what to say. She stared at him, as was her habit now apparently, with shock. Almsot like he was some sort of monster.

"Everything was exactly on point. Amazing... I thought you were smart, but to figure everything out so quickly...That's just...I can hardly believe it..."

Lyle shrugged. "It's not that hard to figure out, actually. You just have to think a little."

This was his honest opinion. 

It was a very simple thing. He'd already seen--and even just experienced--that she had the ability to use magic. So he just tool what he knew and pieced together what he could. 

He'd never be able to figure all this out if she'd not revealed her powers. That explosion, and just now by healing him, if those things hadn't happened then how could he know anything about her being a Cleric?

It would be insane to expect that of him.

"By the way, how long have I been asleep?"

"Um...a few hours, I think."

"A few hours... you say?" For a moment he thought he'd heard her wrong, but no, that wasn't the case.

Several hours passed and even still no one had found them yet? Curious.

"That's right." She confirmed.

"And what had you been doing to keep yourself occupied, I wonder?"

She gestured around them, smiling helplessly. "What could I do? I've been sitting here tending to the fire. Waiting."

"Waiting for what?"

"You. To wake up."

"Did you want to speak to me?"

"Well...yes. " She finally admitted after a long, drawn-out moment. "I just wanted to thank you again. For everything. And...I would like to know your name. If that's not too much to ask, that is..." She coughed, embarrassed.

"Not at all, why would It be?" He smiled, trying to put her at ease. " My name's Bellamy, Bellamy Greyson. Oh, but you can just call me Bell. Everyone does, really."

"Greyson, huh...that name, why does it seem a little...familiar?"

Lyle stiffened ever-so-slightly.

This was surprising. He'd not expected her to react like this after hearing his name. 

To explain, the name Greyson was originally used by the Branch family of the Greybornes. Indeed, even they had one. Like many Noble families, they, too,had a main family and a branch family at one point in time. 

The branch Family of the Greybornes began when the second son of one of their ancestors broke away from the Greyborne name and eventually built up his own.

As generations passed this second family, the Greysons, eventually came to serve the main family. Though it had never completely left the main family's area of influence even before then.

Nothing else could have been allowed, really. 

The Greyborne family had, at that time, stripped the second son of his innate abilities to some degree or another. Which meant his own bloodline starting after himself would be a diluted, downgraded version of the Greyborne's own.

This was needed, because the Greyborne bloodline, like a few others, carried the trait of Dominance. 

To give an go into detail of what this Dominance thing was about, let's use an example. 

Let's say Lyle himself had gotten a woman from another Noble family pregnant. A family that didn't carry the trait of being Dominant. That meant his child would carry his own families abilities with little to no traits from the girl's own family.

Naturally there were some exceptions to this,  though rare. And things got more complicated when two people with the Dominant trait within them got together and conceirved a child. When it was like that then there were a variety of factors that could affect which Legacy the child would develope later in life.

Things like, to just name one, if the purity of one parent's bloodline was more so than the other's. 

Since even with the Dominant trait, bloodlines could still dwindle. Having that trait just meant that, barring any complicated matters, any child would have the Legacies of that parent's bloodline. 

Like if a regular, non-Dominant Noble got together with a commoner who had no abilities whatsoever, there would be a fifty-fifty chance of that child having a Legacy. 

Whereas it'd be a certainty that the child would have had a Legacy if the Noble did carry that trait, being at one hundred percent a chance rather than a fifty percent chance.

So just because you had a Dominant trait, that didn't mean your bloodline would just never dwindle. It was merely that people with your bloodline would always possees your bloodline's Legacy, unless another family with a Dominant trait came into the picture. 

Which, as Lyle already mentioned, just made a complicated mess of things... 

Strangely the Greybornes had never really lost much purity of bloodline even through all these years. It obviously happened, since neither Lyle's father nor his father or his father's father--and still spanning several more generations back in addition to them--ever had the same natural maroon-colored hair Lyle did. 

Bur it was never too much.

Coming back to the topic at hand, the important part was this: If the Greybornes from back then didn't strip some of the inherent Legacies from that person's bloodline then he'd likely have started a whole other, unafiliated group that had all the abilities of a true Greyborne family member.

To stop this, he had to have his bloodline crippled--to an extent. The Greysons did still have the very same Legacies of a Greyborne, but not in full measure. And even then there were some traits that would never manifest within them. 

This wasn't required by other families that didn't have the trait of being dominant, they could allow a person to break off from their family with a little less worry. Though they'd still monitor that person, and his descendants, if at all possible.

Another reason for Nobles to care so much being that some families of Nobles had secrets that could be unlocked by nearly anyone who had the same bloodline. Treasure vaults, Estates, magically enchanted items, those kinds of things that were Bonded to their bloodline.

As one could tell, the Greybornes had quite a few of all those.

So they never completely let go of the Greyson line, even though they posed no real threat since their bloodline had been limited from the start.

At one point in time it was widely known that the Greysons were a branch of the Greybornes.

But that time was passed, and the Greyson line eventually died out.

And this is why Lyle was surprised just now. That girl obviously had heard of the Greyson bloodline. It couldn't be anything else, because she'd never have bothered learning of a family that had no significance.

And the surname "Greyson" was incredibly rare.

So that further decreased the possibility that she could be thinking of any other Greyson family.

A person like her, who Lyle could tell at a glance had been raised by privilege, would have of course studied a great number of Noble houses and their history.

His Greyborne family was a big name in many places so it was obvious she'd have heard about the Greyson family before too.

It's simply that because it wsas a name that had long since been lost to the annuls of time, she couldn't easily recall from where she'd heard of them.

This was another reason Lyle chose that name for being part of his fake identity: He'd not expect all too many people to have even heard of it before.

Certainly, no commoner would know about it anymore. At least not unless they were a scholar of some kind. The sort of people Lyle knew he'd likely not meet since he'd mainly be around a...cruder kind of type of folk. 

He mentally apologies to those merc friends of his, but it was true they lacked a bit of grace. 

It was just his bad luck that he'd meet a girl from some Noble family in a place such as this.

"I wouldn't be surprised. It's not a very common name, but it does have a bit of history. Or at least so my grandfather had once told  "

Sera's face scrunched up, rather cutely, as she thought about that for a moment.

Finally a flash of inspiration came to her, making her eyes brighten. 

"Wait a minute..." She said slowly, "Don't tell me you're part of those Greysons, surely? The ones that come from the Geyborne line? But that can't be, I thought that they had long since perished from this world?" She inquired.

Lyle laughed, waving a hand in denial. "So you mean those stories were true? I wasn't sure, I had only heard of those particular Greysons from my grandfather, and he had only heard about it from his grandfather. But no, my line doesn't come from them. Trust me, we've zero relation with them. It just so happens we share the same surname is all. We're a merchant family. Though we're well off, we're not kin to such amazing people like that.

" Although I do admit that I have a smidgeon of Noble blood in me, that comes only from an affair one of my however-many-greats-grandmothers had with a son from some fallen Noble family. So I never really mention it. "

Lyle had, obviously, lied through his teeth. 

He'd made no flaws whatsoever. His tone didn't waver in the slightest, his voice staying perfectly even and friendly all throughout while his eyes remained as steady as calm waves of water on a summer afternoon.

In short, his skills at deceit were too great for the young girl to see through at all.

"Ah, so that explains it." Sera nodded easily, not doubting him at all.

He almost felt bad about it.

"And you? What you're name? I don't think I caught it in it's entirety."

Lyle didn't recognize this girl at all and he really thought he knew all the young Ladies from the Noble Houses within Drann Kingdom. Or just about.

Maybe his assumption of her being a Noblewoman was wrong, or she'd just never met him in person?  Because he was sure he'd remember a girl like her. She didn't have a face which would be so easy to forget. 

He couldn't recall anyone with the name Seraphina either, at least not from the Noble Houses.

It was quite possible that she was either not part of Drann Kingdom or had simply never made her official debut. 

He seriously doubted the latter, while the former would make her appearance here a little  odd. 

"My name...huh. I..." She made a troubled face. "I'd rather not say...but you gave yours, so it's only right that I..." 

"If you don't want to tell me then it's perfectly alright."

" No, I do want to!" She told himemphatically. "It''s just that some people treat me differently after they know who I am. And if you did too, I'd dislike it. No, I'd hate it." Her voice turned raw.

"What?" Her words, the way she said then, caught him completely off-guard. "Hold on, why would you--?"

But his words were cut off in the next moment, before he could ask.

"Ooooiii~~! Beeeeelllllll~~~!! You here buddy~~~? Helllooooo~~~?"

"Young Miss? Young Miss, are you here~~~?!


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