Softly, pattering on the ground lightly, like a very thin mist, the rain fell from the sky struck the ground easily, forming small puddles here and there. Not many warriors were outside, in fact, almost all of those on the side of the Demigods were either resting or recovering in their tents, preparing for the fight to begin again the next day. A brief pause had been called on both sides due to casualties, though some had suspicions that Marcus had other things planned. Nonetheless, they took the opportunity to rest as they needed it badly.
Among the few standing outside, the Demigod of the humans was by the flap of the large infirmary tent, peering inside. A few beds from the center, a certain young man, Steve, was resting, recovering from a bad hit – but Bodil was more interested in the man sitting beside him. Tyler had his head buried in his arms, maybe sleeping, maybe praying; Bodil had no idea. He had been working up the courage to go over to him and ask if he was alright for possibly over an hour now, and by then, he was pretty soaked from the drizzling rain that had been falling the whole time. He didn’t seem to notice at all, though. He didn’t even seem to realize he was staring anymore, he was so lost in his anxious thoughts.
Bodil made no answer as the voice stated his name like a greeting.
“…Hey.” He jumped when the newcomer grabbed his shoulder and he looked behind him in alarm, almost ready to attack.
Notch quickly held up his hands, showing he meant no harm. “Hey, relax, it’s just me.” Bodil huffed a little. His gaze shifted inside the tent again, before he turned away. “What’s the matter?”
“Nothing’s wrong with me, but what about you?”
“You’ve been standing outside the infirmary tent forever. Is something wrong?”
Bodil stared at the God of Gods silently, as if trying to decide if he had some sort of ulterior motive for asking his feelings. He had every right to think this way.
Notch sighed at the look. “I’m not gonna tease you, just tell me.”
Bodil shifted a little and glanced inside again instinctually.
Notch gave up trying to let the “younger” god bring up the matter on his own. “It’s Tyler, isn’t it.” He asked the question as though it were a sentence, his tone a little frustrated and his face deadpanned.
Bodil stammered something that wasn’t English. Notch pinched the bridge of his nose in exasperation. “Look, if it is, that’s perfectly fine.” He said, almost sternly. “But why are you just staring at him for hours like an idiot?”
Bodil shifted his weight from foot to foot nervously. “…Was it really hours…?”
“Several, unless you took breaks when I wasn’t looking. Look, what are you doing out here in the rain?”
Bodil continued shifting his weight. “…I just… wanted to… to ask… if he’s okay…”
“So why don’t you just go in and ask him?” Notch’s tone was thick with agitation. Bodil looked very uncomfortable with the conversation and made no response. Notch noticed the slightly panicked look in the human’s puppy eyes, and for once, his own gaze softened. He sighed and thought over his words before speaking again. “Bodil… if you want to go help him, you should go. Don’t be afraid.”
Bodil blinked in surprise at his suddenly kind words. He opened his mouth, then shut it again. A moment passed before he sighed softly and looked down, unable to meet his gaze. “It’s just… I want to support him… but I… there was…” He swallowed shakily. “…I-I’m scared…”
Notch stared at him with sympathy for once in his life. “…Scared of being let down…?”
Bodil didn’t answer, staring at his shoes. If one were to look very closely, they would notice his shoulders trembling.
“…You shouldn’t put off making things right between loved ones…”
Bodil looked up in surprise at the unexpected advice. Notch was looking past him, into the tent. Bodil didn’t know, but he was staring at Steve. “…Otherwise, you might never get a chance to. You never know what’s going to happen. Especially with this war going like it is.”
Bodil was quiet for a few seconds. “…So we’re losing.”
Notch only sighed, looking back to him. “There’s going to be a meeting early tomorrow morning between Demigods to arrange a new strategy. I expect you to be there.”
Bodil nodded slowly. “Yeah, of course…” He offered a tiny, half-hearted smile. “I don’t ever want to miss another meeting again.”
Notch stared at him, before he turned walking away quickly without answering him. Bodil was too on edge to care. He peered back into the tent and took a slow, deep breath. He thought about what Notch had told him a last time, and finally stepped inside, heading towards Tyler where he sat by the unconscious Steve’s bed. On the way, he passed by Martian’s hospital bed and stopped to look at him interestedly. His counterpart from Archangel was sitting up in bed, all gauzed up, propped up by pillows, and recovering with Ian by his side. He was reading the Bible – the Christian Bible, it looked like.
Bodil wrinkled his nose. “I’m a god.” He pointed out to him.
“Fuck you.” Martian replied simply without even looking up as he turned the page.
Bodil simply rolled his eyes and looked back over to Tyler with the intention of going the rest of the distance over to him, but then he saw that suddenly, he was awake; and he wasn’t alone. Steven, his friend from before, was on the other side of the bed from him. They were talking, both with solemn expressions, Steven seeming more comforting than anything. Bodil’s eyes widened and sudden panic rose in him so he couldn’t possibly take a step closer. If they were talking, he didn’t want to intrude. He didn’t want to get in their way. He turned and quickly left the Infirmary tent again, too startled to even remember what Notch had said to him before. Hero saw him go from where he had been stood talking to Notch outside the main food tent which was just across from the Infirmary, and he sighed. “Damn, well, there he goes.”
“I knew he wasn’t gonna do it, no matter what I said.” Notch muttered.
“I’m gonna go talk to him.” Hero started forwards, but Notch stopped him by putting a hand on his shoulder.
“Don’t. Let him figure this out himself.”
Hero stared at him a moment, before he decided that his older brother was right, and he nodded. “Yeah… I’m… just going to go rest.”
Notch didn’t say anything, just watched his brother head back to his tent with his arms crossed.
Thankfully, they weren’t the only ones to see Bodil chicken out. Over Tyler’s shoulder, Steven had seen him just as he was leaving. He looked at Tyler once he was gone, cutting him off mid-sentence. “Why don’t you go for a walk?”
Tyler blinked in surprise at the suggestion. For the most part, Steven had been quietly listening as he talked, but his sudden outburst jolted him out of his mindless, soft rambling. “Huh?”
“You should go for a walk. Some fresh air will clear your head before the battle. C’mon, you gotta calm down. All this worrying over Steve will just distract you. Go for a walk.”
Tyler hesitated, seeming to be pondering over the idea at least. His gaze wandered to Steve’s sleeping expression again, brows furrowed with concern.
“Tyler.” Steve said, grabbing his attention back with a knowing but very slight smile. “I’ll watch him.”
Tyler thought a moment longer, before he nodded. “You’re right…” He stood with a sigh, and glared at him. “If he dies while I’m gone, I’ll murder you.”
Steven only rolled his eyes. “Yeah, yeah. Get going.”
The corner of Tyler’s mouth twitched up just a tiny bit, and he left the Infirmary tent finally. As he stepped into the misty open air, he slid his hands into his pockets and took some deep breaths as he walked along. He kept his head down for the most part and let his mind wander, because he didn’t want to end up in a conversation with some other soldier about the potential outcome of the war. He didn’t want to talk about it. He already knew it probably wasn’t going to be good.
Of course, his wandering mind went straight to Steve, and how he would recover. Quickly after, he reminded himself mentally that he shouldn’t think about that. He would be fine, he was practically a god, after all. He had to focus on the war, or everyone would be dead. His team, all his friends, the Demigods, Herobrine, Bodil… everyone. The pressure only made him more nervous.
He sighed at his own worry, ruffling his hair to distract himself and to flick out some of the misty raindrops that had fallen onto it. The whole battle up to now had been a real mess. The help of his teammates halfway through was great and it really lifted his spirit like seeing his friends again had. But then Steve had been hit – no, he wasn’t allowed to think about him – and then Martian… Tyler winced at the memory. He felt a little bad about how relieved he was to learn that the one who had been hit was Martian, but if it had been Bodil… He had been hit in the back… He would’ve…
…What would he do if Bodil died? Tyler supposed he would go back to the way things were months earlier, before this whole mess had started when Marcus nearly killed him, and when Notch saved him. That seemed so long ago now… Staying with Bodil was really a high point of his life, when all was said and done. The training was harsh, sure, but there were a lot of times when they didn’t have anything to do, and then the two had a lot of fun. They played chess, ate at Bellatoni’s, went fishing, always had Artie nearby, and so much more. They would even watch movies together a lot after dinner and read together in the same room, just being quiet in each other’s presence. The Demigods as a whole were a lot of fun to be around, too, because of their banter and how interesting and diverse they all were.
If all of that were to go away… if he were to go back to his normal life fighting in the army… he didn’t know what he would do with himself. But one thing was for sure; after this battle, if they somehow managed to turn the tides and win, he wouldn’t let the friends he made become a memory. He would stay in contact, somehow. Suddenly, Tyler became aware of some music playing nearby. He stopped in surprise, and realized then that he had traveled subconsciously to a part of the camp which he had never been to before. He looked towards the sound, and was surprised to see none other than Bodil there. He was sitting in the shelter of a small tent, probably his own, playing a guitar of some kind.
Tyler tilted his head, and didn’t interrupt as he listened. For the most part, he was good. He seemed to know his chords very well, and his fingers didn’t seem to have any problem moving in the right tempo. But even so, he kept hearing a lot of sour notes coming from him. Every single time he hit one, Bodil winced heavily, like it was a blow to the heart, but he still kept on playing. Then, as he listened, Tyler realized that he recognized the song he was singing. His eyes lit up for a moment, like some tiny, happy piece of his soul was excited for once, despite the war raging on around them. He smiled a little, and decided to help Bodil out.
“We’ll see the universe,” He began to sing, “and dance on Saturn’s rings.”
Bodil jumped in surprise and stopped playing. He looked up quickly, and when he saw Tyler there, he blushed brightly in embarrassment, his eyes wide. But before he could say anything, Tyler only smiled and signaled for him to keep going quickly. Though he was a little uncertain, Bodil looked down at his strings again and kept going.
Tyler sang along in kind. “Heaven isn’t too far; heaven is where you are.” Bodil focused on his music, though his heart was pounding in his chest, causing him to mess up even more than usual. But Tyler kept singing anyway, undeterred by the sour notes. “Stay with me, and let me be your wings…”
Bodil strummed the last chord, and looked up at Tyler again as it rang out, looking almost shy. “…Tyler… why…?”
“I know that song.” Tyler shrugged simply, sitting beside him inside the tent with a sigh. Bodil stared ahead, while Tyler was looking up at the sky. After a long, comfortable silence, he spoke again. “Bodil… why didn’t you tell me you play guitar?”
“Ah… well… it’s a lute actually…” Bodil said. “And… I can’t really play.”
“Oh, don’t be modest, Bodil.”
“No, I mean… I can’t.”
Tyler looked at Bodil in confusion, and saw him looking at his hands. He didn’t notice anything different about them at first, but then he noticed that they were shaking just slightly, and there were pink burn marks on his fingertips where he had touched the strings. Tyler’s eyes widened. “What…?!”
Bodil didn’t seem willing to look at him as he held both his hands out of the tent so the rain could help cool them. “When I was cast out of the council, not only was I stripped of my title as a god, but the thing I loved most was taken from me as punishment for my crimes. At the time, I had no lover, and I didn’t even have Artie just yet, so the thing I loved most… was music. So… whenever I try to play… it burns.”
Tyler stared at him for a moment in shock, before his brows furrowed and a thought occurred to him. “Wait, but you’re back on the council now! Hero told me you would be released of all charges! You should be able to play music again!”
Bodil shrugged sadly. “I guess not… I don’t want to bother Notch about it…”
“Bodil, it’s important to you! You should have it back - this is bullshit!”
Bodil looked at Tyler in surprise at his reaction. “Tyler, it’s okay…”
“No, Bodil! I can’t imagine where I would be if it physically hurt me to sing. It’s not right for you to not be able to play anymore. You have lawfully redeemed yourself! It’s just Notch not being fair to you again!”
Bodil winced, and hesitated, before changing the subject. “Are you and Steven together?” He asked quickly, though he already knew the answer. It was effective, at least, in distracting Tyler from the previous conversation.
“No, no no no!” He insisted quickly. “Just good friends, it’s been that way our whole lives and will continue on as such, I hope!” He hesitated as a memory suddenly resurfaced and he smiled a little. “Although, we were married for awhile when we were younger…”
Bodil’s eyes widened in surprise. “Actually?!”
Tyler shrugged mildly. “Well, we were in elementary school…”
Bodil blinked, before he realized. He snorted, then laughed a little. Tyler just smiled and watched him, happy to have made him smile some. “Look at me.” Bodil said once his laughter had subsided. “We’re fighting for our lives and all I can do is get jealous. So human of me, isn’t it?”
Tyler blinked in surprise. He stared at Bodil with big brown eyes behind his glasses, though Bodil didn’t seem to notice the change in his look. “…You’re jealous of Steven?”
Bodil suddenly realized what he said and his expression changed to something along the lines of, ‘shitshitshitshit’. “…Did I say jealous?”
Tyler smiled a little, and didn’t push the matter, but something inside him cried in happiness. “I’m not mad.”
Bodil huffed, and quickly changed the topic again. “Tyler, just… listen. Okay? Just… be careful.” His demeanor had changed to something more serious, and a little nervous. “This fight is dangerous, and we both know it’s not going in our favor… so… please, just… be careful…”
Tyler swallowed slightly. He didn’t want to talk about this. “I… I’ll try, Bodil, but I can’t promise anything-”
“No!” Bodil cut him off suddenly, looking at him. His puppy eyes looked almost desperate, taking Tyler by surprise. “Please, Tyler. I… I-I don’t know what life would be like without you anymore… I…” He sighed in frustration and looked away. “…I don’t know what I’m saying, my English isn’t very good.” He said, even though he knew every single language created by humankind as though it were his first.
Tyler’s gaze softened as he stared at him. “…You be careful too.” He said. “I don’t want another scare like when I saw Martian go down. Okay? You have to be safe, so we can be together with all this is over.”
Bodil looked at him. He looked like he desperately wanted to say something, but couldn’t find the strength to do so. Tyler noticed and reached for his hand almost comfortingly. “Bodil, what is it…?” He asked gently.
Bodil pulled his hand back, his heart beating so fast he was afraid Tyler would be able to hear it. “I-I… I should go… check on Hero…”
“Bodil…” Tyler sighed. “Stay with me… please.”
Bodil looked at him in surprise, before he slowly nodded. “…Okay…”
It started raining harder after dark. The dark storm clouds blocked out all light as water poured from the heavens, forming large puddles of mud all over both camps resting for the night before the battle would be finished the next day. There were some lanterns lighting the Demigods’ camp, but the light from those only extended so far.
Most of the soldiers had gone to bed, and even those who were awake were in their tents, either trying to sleep or wishing they could be asleep. Only one man was awake and out of his tent on the Demigod side. Hero stood out in the field between the two battle camps, his eyes shut and his face up, letting the rain fall onto him. There was no light there. Just him standing alone… then he heard some footsteps approaching through the mud. His eyes opened, and the bright whiteness made to illuminate some of the darkness.
“You knew I would come.” A voice said suddenly. His sneer could practically be heard aloud.
Hero looked behind him. A shorter male was there. He had dark skin, hard to see in the low light, but was contrasted by a mostly gold-colored outfit. “I hoped you would.” He said, before looking him up and down. “New body?”
“Marcus gave it to me.” The man sneered. “Nice, isn’t it?”
“You’ll need another new one when I’m through with you.”
“Ooh, big talk for a guy who couldn’t even kill me three hundred years ago.”
“Want me to change that, Cozax?”
“We’ll see if you can.” The black Sorcerer, Cozax, smirked and took a fighting stance.
Hero stayed standing still where he was, staring at Cozax silently. For a moment, they were both quiet as they each waited for the other to make the first move. Inside, Hero’s blood was boiling. There was no person he hated more than this man. Not even Marcus. He wasn’t the one responsible for the death of millions of Hero’s people in the Magist war three centuries ago.
Finally, the high tension was suddenly shattered as Cozax dove at Hero, hands lighting up with black magic. Before he could reach him, Hero’s own hands glowed white in contrast, and he blocked his hit easy. Cozax aimed another punch, but again, Hero grabbed it and tossed it away easily. Then Cozax stepped back and turned, aiming a kick right at Hero’s face – but the god was too fast. He kneed him in the stomach before the blow could land and sent him sprawling on his back in the mud.
“Are you going easy on me?” Hero asked, his dark tone holding no room for teasing or his usual joking.
Cozax snarled as he got up, brushing himself off – not that it would do any good. “Shut up and fight me for real!”
Hero’s glared hardened, his bright white eyes somehow dark and foreboding. “Fine.” Finally, he reached out a hand, and a sphere of white light shot towards Cozax. The black Sorcerer blocked the attack by holding up his hands and causing a thin shield of his own dark magic to hold it back. When the white light had dissipated, Cozax threw his own magic attack back.
Hero hit it away like it was a tennis ball, barely even having to use magic. He began to take a step forward with each attack Cozax threw, advancing on him bit by bit. Finally, Cozax snarled and suddenly ran forward when Hero was only a few feet away and jammed his shoulder into his chest. Taken by surprise, Hero fell to the ground, even skidding a few feet in the mud with the force of the attack.
Wasting no time as he knew he couldn’t, Cozax sneered and stepped forward. “Look at the Demigod now~” Hero began to rise, but Cozax kicked him hard in the head behind he could. Hero blacked out for a second from the force of the kick and fell back down, grunting. Cozax snorted. “Pathetic. Who would’ve thought it would be this easy to steal a god’s powers?”
He suddenly slammed his boot down on Hero’s ribs, and the Demigod felt something crack. He couldn’t hold his shout of pain back. Cozax, as ever, was amused by his pain. “Aw, does that hurt? Why don’t you call for your big brother huh? Why don’t you get him to do your work for you, just like during the War?!”
Hero gritted his teeth and held up his hand. Suddenly, a pulse of magic emitted from his palm, the powerful with light throwing Cozax back. The wind was knocked out of him as he fell hard on his back, wheezing slightly. Hero got up, panting slightly. He winced in pain and gripped his side, glaring at Cozax. “Taunting me will grant you nothing.” He hissed at him as he let the black Sorcerer get up. “You caused the deaths… of millions of my people…”
Cozax snorted, rolling his eyes. “I was planning on taking some more, but you got in my way…”
Hero’s eyes flared and suddenly, his eyes glowed along with his hands. So did the ground. Cozax, for once, seemed to be taken by surprise. He looked around him, taking a half step back. The earth under him cracked, and the wind picked up, and the rain seemed to fall even harder. Hero raised his hands, and a magic forcefield like the one Cozax had used just before to deflect his spell formed around them at a diameter of about ten feet, blocking them off from the rest of the world with a transparent white dome. Inside, the ground drove up sharply under Cozax, causing him to fall onto his back. Lightning came from the sides of the dome, burning him in several places, but the magic he used to try to defend himself didn’t work.
“I can sense fear in your aura.” Hero growled at him finally, snapping his attention back to. Cozax looked at the Demigod, and suddenly wished he hadn’t started a fight. He wasn’t afraid, he was terrified. Hero’s eyes shone brighter, though his gaze was dark. “You should be afraid.” He muttered, so low Cozax could barely hear, and held his hands out in front of him. A ball of white appeared there, so bright Cozax couldn’t look at it. His eyes widened as he realized what was about to happen, and he tried to get up, shouting out even though there was nothing he could do to prevent it.
Hero muttered some words under his breath, words not in English, and the light shrank suddenly. Then, it flashed, and exploded all around the dome in a cleansing light, so blinding that even Hero had to shut his eyes. He could hear Cozax screaming in pain; but he didn’t care. He didn’t care…
When the light subsided, Hero looked up. Any life that had been inside the magic dome, any grass or flowers, were dead. Cozax was on the ground a few feet away, his body still – but he was breathing. Hero panted as he let the forcefield drop, and his hands dropped to his sides with it. He stared at Cozax with satisfaction and relief in his eyes, and looked at the nearby camp next. That explosion was loud; somebody would be coming out to check.
Hero then breathed a weak sigh, before he suddenly collapsed to the ground in the rain, out cold.
It had been a long time since he had used such strong magic… but it felt good.