I rolled to my knees, scrabbling to get out of Rhaelgyr's way. Only diving through dimensional walls would save me; the dragon could easily follow me with the sticky spray of flame.
Steven grabbed me, pulling me to my feet, tucking me against his side. Rhaelgyr's roar continued, punctuated by the rush of flame. Bracing for impact, it took me a couple heartbeats to realize he wasn't aiming for me.
He was aiming for Kurlog.
The big warrior grunted, raising crossed arms to block the flames. Fire washed around him, landing in odd places, seemingly burning in mid-air. Heat brought sweat out on my skin, and it was a struggle to breathe.
~Get out of here,~ Rhaelgyr said. ~I'll hold him off, and find you later.~ A deep hug came with his words, and I didn't question him. The dragon would be better able to fight if I weren't underfoot.
"Let's go," I whispered to Steven. Kurlog was already shaking free of dragonfire. The young Chaos Lord opened us a path, and we stepped away from the battle.
Right into the moonlit hamlet of before.
Most everything was as I'd left it. The moon hadn't even moved. But the house we'd gone into lay in rubble, smoking slightly. "From Kurlog?" I asked, stepping closer.
"I almost got away," Steven said, following me. Our arms brushed, and my skin pebbled. "I just wasn't in my right mind. I'm sorry about that."
I met his eyes. I didn't know what to say. He'd been flighty, and crazy, and seemed lucid now. Which was really him? Both, probably. Chaos Lords weren't the most stable of beings.
And I'd snubbed him. Granted, I was still missing memories. Things hadn't been smooth between us, but they'd been better than not. "I'm sorry too," I said.
"I was nuts." He approached the destroyed cottage. "I said and did things that didn't need to be done. I scared you off when you were in a delicate place." Steven hung his head. "I was in a delicate place."
"We both seem to have gotten through it." I closed the gap, laying a hand on his shoulder.
I couldn't be in love with Steven. Not ever. I could and did love him. But like a friend, a student. Not in any way that would grow deeper.
Rhaelgyr suddenly came to mind. There was something more than platonic love there. I couldn't label it, but I could be fairly sure we weren't soulmates. Having one was rare; replacing one nearly unheard of. But we could have fun for a while, and find some happiness in each other.
Dimensional walls shimmered, and I focused my thoughts. Someone was coming, and it didn't feel like Rhaelgyr.
"I knew I'd find you here," Besedie said coldly.