They left couple of hours later. Gale would have liked Accark to sit and rest, but he understood his need to get away from the town. So he had enough time to pack his bags and receive a pack of buns as a thank you from Ogalic. There was nothing more he wanted right now than a week-long sleep to help his body heal without pain, but they couldn’t stay in Rasner clan’s nest and he couldn’t risk sitting it out in some cave with one easily spooked dragon as his backup.
Accark used the time to test his wings on the street, to the amusement to a crowd of children, who had appeared before breakfast to get the water from the well nearby. The water never reached their mothers. Accark paid them no heed, except when some of the braver ones tried to touch his tail which ran behind him, clattering against the rubble. He’d snap at them then, not at all as playfully as Gale would have liked. Accark understood it too, Gale could read from his quick side glance before Accark continued his rounds, moving his wings up and down as if nothing had happened. And children followed suit.
When he finally saw Gale was ready with the bags, he took off first, using the airflow to circle higher each time he made a full turn and seemed very impatient to leave. Children cheered for his every effort and let out bark-like shouts in awe when he past the sun and his white feathers gleamed with silver while his darker feathered wings created a nice edge to him. Would look prettier if he’d washed the dust off his feathers first, but that would take more time he’d have to spend here and Accark would never agree to that.
Emgar pulled him aside right before he was about to follow. He’d left together with Aniue almost immediately after the attack, most likely to check on their own nest, so it shocked a small shout out of Gale, when he felt the hand on his shoulder.
“Before you go, I need to know!” Emgar tried to even his breathing, sounding desperate. “Rayford, he…” the question died on his lips, but Gale understood. The way his eyes sparked with hope and fear made it hard not to see. The old gargoyle was dear to him, somehow.
“He is still there, helping with the nest.” He said, reaching out to touch Emgar’s shoulder and squeezed it hard. “We haven’t spoken much, but it seems he is quite alright.”
Emgar nodded, relieved, but there was still a question he didn’t seem to put in words lingering on his lips.
Gale smirked and pat him quickly before taking off and shouting over his shoulder. “Quite a catch for all the pretty women arriving there!”
He let out a hearty laugh seeing the big black statue radiating from inwardly electricity sparking up his heart. He watched him turn around and running down the street with the people on the streets giving him way to avoid him running them over. He turned his attention to the light shadow passing over him from above and saw Accark’s last round. The peachy fluff sure was something, he hummed to himself and pointed to west where the hills broke the river valley. The hills were further away than they seemed, almost a day’s flight, but it would offer caves near the river and they could both take a good, long bath with no town nearby.
He locked his shoulders, ignoring the bruise spreading over his ribs and and let the wind carry him, letting the air cool the rag Ogalic pulled around his wounds. Accark flew few feet ahead and kept his nose towards the hills and made everything in his power to stay ahead of him. He could practically see his heart fluttering, although it was impossible, but his feathers were frazzled and the way he kept avoiding him meant there would be no rewarding sleep tonight either. He tried not let it take his mood down, but he was worried.
They reached the hillsides earlier than he’d expected. They hadn’t stopped for lunch and now they were both getting hungry. Accark hadn’t complained over his aching muscles. He hardly said a word to him since they took off. He fell back next to him and although it made him a bit calmer knowing the dragon wasn’t ignoring him completely, he knew the only reason was him not knowing where to land.
Gale knew there should be a lake nearby. It was right under a waterfall and deep enough to surge straight in and out without hitting the bottom. Gargoyles would tell each other of the waterfall lakes, the prized bathing stops on their ways. He’d never been around this place, but he remembered the description – a tall hill between two lower ones, on eastern side of it would be a string of white as if mountain was taking a piss. Well, they weren’t most poetic punch, but soon he saw the description was quit accurate. He searched for any activity around it or nearby, but saw nothing. Completely deserted. When they got closer they could see the stone covered glade and pointed at it.
Accark gave him a nod and landed next to him, almost running into a bush with puppy-like grace.
Gale wasted no time ridding himself from the bags, his clothes and all the weapons, piling them all in one before taking off again, rising as high as the tallest buildings at Bluetorn and plummet straight down, reading his body to the impact. The water was wonderfully layered with warmth on top and scraping cool near the bottom, which was indeed lead deep into the earth. He let out a howl the moment he reached back top and climbed out, shaking hard and raking his hands through his hair. He was but naked and couldn’t care less if it bothered the dragon or not, which it seemed it did as he was still standing near the bush he’d nearly flew in and stared at him with wide eyes. He let out a laugh, and winking, took off for the next round. Then again. And again, until he felt the tension in his shoulders relieved. He needed that.
He turned his attention back at Accark, who had finally closed in and sat by his things, watching him with awe like the children had stared him at the town. When he walked back to him, he rose and handed him his clothes in one big bundle as if he had no clue what would go on first.
“You should wash too.” He poked his chest. Accark staggered back, shaking his head. “Don’t worry, nobody will see you here.” Except me, he added in his mind, but decided not to bring that out. “And you do need to wash.”
“I-I have no towels.” He refused.
Which reminded him he’d just pulled his clothes over his wet body too, making it stick to every curve of his muscles. That explained it, he thought sourly. He hadn’t noticed it at all. He shook himself again, repelling all the water from his body to fly off, leaving him dry and as neat as he could get.
“Go on.” Gale wouldn’t leave it. “It will make you feel better to get out of these clothes.”
“They’re the only ones I’ve got!” He fought back.
He was right, Gale thought, Accark hadn’t packed anything before he followed him. He measured Accark against his own body and caught himself on it, seriously thinking to offer him something from his own bag. He should have made the dragon to pack something. Now that he didn’t look like a big thick log, he might be small enough for something.
“You can jump in with them, if you want.” He wouldn’t have him say no. The dragon was dirty and looked as if he hadn’t had bath in weeks despite it most likely being less than three days ago.
Reluctantly he began undressing. He set his clothes one by one neatly over the egg bag. The trousers were the last he got off and his face colored deep red enough to shine through the low fur, his eyes holding Gale’s gaze from faltering lower. When the trousers were off, with far more antics than Gale considered normal, his wings came around him to hide him.
Gale tried hard not to look if offered a sight. He thought about the odd nesting doll the blue dragon had on his desk and liked to show around occasionally. Accark seemed to go through a transformation similar to that doll each time he removed his clothes – first from a bulky to reveal a folded dragon inside, and now from that folded version to someone, who was surprisingly toned and straight.
A quick flash of the magpie colors followed by white and then peachy tones reminded him he was still staring at him and the dragon had just taken off, over his head, smacking his forehead. Snooping peeping tom, he scolded his idle brain.