Bonus Stuff

Hey, all. I am still without charger. A thousand apologies. To help make up for it, I have an excerpt from a future chapter of Koeleth. It is unedited and rough, but hopefully you will enjoy it nonetheless.

Excerpt from a future chapter of Koeleth

Tom awoke to see an unfamiliar female torso, wrapped in bandages, hovering over his body. For the briefest of moments a slurry of uncomfortable thoughts ran through his mind as he tried to understand how he could possibly have ended up in this situation. He mentally sighed in relief as he recalled the previous day’s conflict and the corresponding journey to the local tavern. It seemed as if the makeshift hospital room served its purpose admirably, as both he and his companion were healthy and alive, if a little bit sore. Tom declined to alert her to his consciousness, however, as he was very stiff and likely wouldn’t be able to move comfortably for some time anyway. As her chest shifted and swayed, a hand belonging to the same body prodded the various scars and wounds that littered Tom’s body. The recent ones from the day before twinged whenever the woman touched them, and she insisted on touching each one more than once. As she ran her hand over the gash on his left shoulder, he jolted up in pain.
The woman stumbled backwards, startled by Tom’s sudden uprightness. Unfortunately for Tom, she had finally found his worse wound. Being left handed, and considering most of his opponents were right handed, the injuries to his left shoulder were always exceptionally unpleasant. The necessity of using his left arm meant that his injuries were frequently exasperated by continued combat. Furthermore, they always took the longest to heal, even when magic was involved. Catalina had quickly recovered from her initial shock and resumed her position beside Tom’s bed.
“Oh, no! I’m so, so sorry! Please, forgive me! I didn’t mean to hurt you! I’m so sorry!” the mage blubbered in embarrassed apology. “I’m so glad you’re awake, though! It would have been so tragic if you had died on account of me! I’m not sure I could have lived with myself if you had died!”
“It’s fine! It’s fine. You just hit a sore spot, that’s all.” Tom attempted to soothe her fears. “Besides, there are worse ways to be woken up.”
“There…there are?” Catalina said, tears still in her eyes.
“Yeah, definitely. It could have been a deadly assassin trying to kill me or something to that effect. Instead, it was a beautiful woman checking my injuries. Seems pretty good to me.”
“Uh, um, well…when you put it like that I suppose it is better than some alternatives…” she said, trying but failing to conceal her embarrassment at his compliment. “I’m just glad that you aren’t dead because of me. You risked your life for me, and I’m so sorry you had to suffer such awful damage because of it.”
“It’s okay, really. I am fully responsible for what happened to me. I made a choice, knowing full well what the consequences might be. You got pretty banged up yourself, though. How are you feeling?”
“I’ve been better. But that healer did an excellent job of healing my wounds. You passed out right away after he took me off your hands, so as soon as he was done with me I asked him to check on you. I was so worried!”
“I get it, really. Don’t get too stressed over it. I’m a professional warrior, so I can handle myself. Thank you, though. I really appreciate it.”
Despite his comforting words, the woman maintained a morose, sorrowful demeanor. It emanated from her, a dense and tangible aura.
“So, why are you so sad?” Tom inquired. “It’s like sadness is a permanent aspect of your persona.”
“Well, that’s because it is. I find it exceptionally difficult to feel anything but sorrow. Life is just so tragic all the time. I guess that’s why Sorowa chose me as her paragon.”
“I guess so. I guess it’s also pointless for me to try and cheer you up, then. Not that I’m going to stop trying. By the way, I wear a breastplate in battle. I didn’t receive any chest wounds yesterday. Why were you ‘examining’ my chest?”
“Y-you were awake for that, then? W-well, you can never be too certain about these things!” Catalina tried desperately to justify her actions. “M-maybe the assassin had gotten behind your armor somehow.”
“Is that the story you’re going with?” Tom jested. “Well, you’re not hearing me complain.”