Seeings Things Differently
Chapter 11: Plans
At one moment I was sitting there listening to Talorath tell his side of the story, and the next moment, he was sobbing into my shoulder, muttering about torture. His scales being plucked out... being burnt with iron brands... invasions of the mind... deprivation of food... He had evidently been beaten and nearly broken both inside and out, and now forced to be more or less a slave... It chewed away at my heart to see him like this, yet all I could do was to hold him close. He had been through alot, to say the least. It felt helpless enough that all I could do was to sit there and listen to the poor sod cry his heart out...
He ended with "...and now I've been reduced to this... Stuck."
"And what do you propose we do about it?" I blurted out, before I could stop myself. Mentally, I chastised myself for being so insensitive...
Talorath paused and stood, staring at me, then he folded his arms. "...You are beyond a doubt Tano'rath, alright. Only you would say something like that in a time like this."
I stood too, leaned on the wall casually and folded my arms. "Yes, only me. Now that my identity is no longer out of the question, shall we focus on the task at hand?"
Talorath cocked his head and there was a note of confusion in his voice. "...What task?"
I snorted. "Getting the two of us out of here you nitwit."
He growled, then his shoulders drooped as if he had come to some sort of realisation. "I'm too weak to do anything. Most of my internal injuries haven't healed. I can barely do even the simplest of tasks... I'm useless."
"Bah. That didn't stop you from beating me quite badly just now. Useless my scaly ass. I'll see to getting some medical supplies down. You just focus on getting this tub up and running." I replied flatly, wincing as I recalled the beating that I had received from the 'severely injured' Drakonian earlier.
"It was a heat of the moment thing!" He protested, and winced at some unseen injury. "Either way, I'll see what i can do... Our happy reunion must wait, I suppose."
I nodded. "Let us get off this dirtball of a planet first. What of your doppelgänger?"
Talorath snarled savagely, disgust evident in his features. "Kill him before we go." He then quietened down somewhat. "For now, we must tolerate him so as to keep suspicions down."
"...That's a bit drastic isn't it?" I replied, taken aback. As far as I knew, I had never seen anyone so mad before...
"My honor demands that he die for the great deception and dishonesty that he has committed. I will have no less, especially after what they did to me." He replied coldly, and turned away.
Confused, I ended up asking, "...honor?"
He whirled around, enraged, "HOW DARE YOU!..." but upon making eye contact, understanding replaced his rage... "...you don't remember, do you?"
"...no..." I replied, and hung my head. "I know, it was an important...thing to our race, but it's out of my reach somehow..."
"Then I shall enlighten you. Then, perhaps you'll remember it, and hopefully more." He said simply,and folded his arms. "And yes, it's of utmost importance for us to know the Code, for we live our lives based on it."
I nodded. "Go on, then."
"Very well. The simplest baseline of the Code is that we Drakonians don't lie. Well, there are exceptions, but they don't usually apply. Though, from this, you can see why I'm so angry at my identity being stolen." He said, his voice trailing off towards the end.
I nodded again. "I see. Yes, that would make sense. I remembered something like that... But I'm sure there's more, right?"
"Of course there's more. We are considered honorable as long as we do not break that simple baseline. But, since both of us work, or rather, worked in your case, in the military, the warrior code also applies." He added.
"Wait... You mean that 'simple baseline' of yours is pretty much the whole thing?" I cut in, scratching my head.
"More or less, the other guilds of old built upon it as a foundation, but it usually boiled down to the same thing: we don't lie." He then shot a slightly annoyed look at me. "And I see you still haven't acquired any proper manners. Anyway, about the warrior code-"
I cut in again, this time on purpose. "Yeah, go on."
"Yes, yes, I was getting to it. Stop interrupting me!" He snapped, then continued, "Now, as warriors, we're supposed to conduct ourselves with pride and honor, for the occupation demands it. We are to take pride in what we do, and to defend our land, with our lives if necessary, which in my opinion is a bit far-fetched," He then nodded at me, "but it has happened before, like in your case."
I just nodded.
"Now, we are also supposed to fight with honor, which is basically meeting your enemy on a battlefield and taking them down, rather than using espionage and other supposedly underhand methods, not to say that we don't do it anyway in some circumstances, as again, there are exceptions to the rule. There's also a whole section about duels, but we dropped that part several decades ago.... But that's more or less it. Your classic, run of the mill warrior code, but with much, much more honesty."
I nodded. "Though at least it makes sense, which is more than what I can say about some of the things going on up above."
Talorath snorted. "I wouldn't know."
I chuckled. "We'll swap stories when we have a chance. Oh, and a question."
Talorath smiled for the first time. "Yes, we will. What is it you want to know?"
I suddenly felt self-conscious and began to stumble... This was a very personal matter... "In one of my flashbacks... I um... saw a picture of a red and white scaled female on my table... Is she my-"
Seeing my unease, Talorath laughed. "Yes, she was your mate. Still is. Lets see... her name was Fiora if I remember it correctly. Trust me, both of you made a wise choice." He then started guffawing as he saw me flush beneath my scales, and could say no more.
Eventually, he calmed down and went back to the cargo area. "And now, our time is up. Close the doors and act normal. The impostor will be back in a few minutes, that is, unless I went overboard with the laxatives, which has happened before."
"Will do. I'll also remember not to try his food." I replied flatly, while picking up the multitool that I had been holding earlier. "Was nice to see the real you in one piece anyway. And as much as I hate to admit it, I missed you, albeit without really knowing who or what I was missing originally."
Talorath snorted and gave me a sad smile. "I missed you too, and I still think you took your duty too far with that."
I shook my head. "Now's not the time to argue. We'll argue once we're off this rock. No earlier."
He smirked at me. "Yes captain."
I returned the smirk then shut the cargo bay doors, and opened the main hatch.
I resumed working on the conduit until the fake Talorath walked back in. "Been having stomach trouble." He remarked miserably and I couldn't help but laugh. "What's so funny?" He added.
"Nothing. Inside joke." I replied, giggling. It was such an old trick, yet it still worked.