So it's not actually the next novel, but it's relevant stuff. I realized that a bunch of stuff in Remnants wouldn't really make sense without knowing the context of how everyone ended up joining the crew. I've had some backstories lying around gathering dust anyways, so I'm gonna brush those off, write some new ones and post them, so things can actually make sense.
These are all going to be in chronological order, btw, starting off with our most beloved, totally-not-an-alcoholic captain.
"Look, there's another one!" My best friend exclaimed from beside me, his right arm extended to point at a falling star. My eyes followed it until it vanished along the horizon, "We should go find it!"
"Talon, you're aware that it wouldn't actually hit our planet, right? And if it did, it would be in millions of little pieces." He shot me a scowl.
"You're supposed to find falling stars romantic, Fareus!"
I couldn't help but laugh, both at the tone of his voice and at the disheartened expression that covered his face, "And what exactly is so romantic about a rock? And why does it need to be romantic?" My gaze was once more focused on the night sky above us, only turning back to Talon when he said nothing, "Tal…?" Before I knew it, his lips were pressed against mine, slightly chapped, but I found I surprisingly didn't mind. It didn't take long for him to pull back, however, staring at me in sheer horror.
"Oh gods, I'm sorry, Fareus, I don't know why I-" And I could only smile, leaning towards him to connect our lips once again.
"Farry!" Talon bounded into the room enthusiastically, causing me to look away from my book for a brief second before turning my attention back to it.
"Yes?" Before I knew it, my best friend turned boyfriend was standing behind my chair, arms wrapped around my shoulders tightly. He didn't respond verbally, however, and after a few moments of silence, I looked back at him, "What is it, Tal?"
He gently laid a kiss to the top of my head, "I love you."
"I love you too," I answered, shutting my book and tossing it onto my bed a couple feet away from me, "But something tells me that that isn't why you're here."
"Have you forgotten?" He asked, seeming entirely different than when he had first entered, not even a minute ago. His arms tightened, and suddenly it dawned on me what day it was.
"I… I guess I did." I murmured, sinking further back into my chair, providing Talon an opportunity to hold to me tighter, which he took full advantage of, "It's been nine years, then… I wonder what they'd think of us…"
Talon bent down to bury his face in my shoulder, not once letting go of me, and a familiar ache settled itself in my chest, "They would be proud, Fareus." he answered easily, and I could not help the smile that rose to my face.
"Proud that their only son turned out to be gay?" I asked in return.
"Proud that you're living." He clarified, "Proud that, even through their deaths, you're being strong. And, of course, proud that you made the right decision in dating me." At that I laughed openly, regardless of what day it was, of what horrors this date had held for me in the past nine years.
"Are you really that incapable of having a serious conversation?" I teased, and Talon chuckled into the folds of my shirt.
"No, I'd just rather not. Now come on, Aevin wanted to talk to you."
"If they don't work this out I'm going to have to smack one of them." I muttered under my breath, staring out the window of Talon's second floor bedroom. His arms draped over my neck loosely, pressing a gentle kiss to the side of my jaw.
"Don't worry about them, Farry. They'll do what is best for them, and Erius would never deliberately hurt Raden. Things will work out." He assured me before using one of his hands to turn my head towards him and our lips met.
Talon's arms were curled around me, holding me close as I awoke. We had stayed up late the previous night, with Talon's parents away for a couple of days, the entire house was ours and we fully planned on making good use of that. Because today… today was our second anniversary. Two years ago today, he kissed me, out of the blue and without even thinking about it, I kissed him back. In one night, we went from best friends to so much more.
"Hey." I nudged him gently, my head tilted back to look at him, "Tal, wake up." When he only grunted softly, nuzzling his face into my shoulder, I could only smile. Despite being older than the rest of us, he hardly acted it, at times being more immature than Tasva, who was a whole three years younger than him. But it was one of the things I loved about him, something we all loved. Even when things got tough, Talon was there to provide comfort and happiness. I couldn't even imagine having to live without him. "I love you." I murmured, letting my eyes drift shut once again, lips curling into a smile when I heard the response.
"Love you too…"
Tasva was the one to come racing up to the hilltop to find me, far from the person I was expecting. "Tas? What's wrong?" The look in his eyes alone was enough to get me to rise to my feet, as he panted out his answer.
"Talon. Talon is… you have to come!" His tone set me off immediately, and in an instant I was sprinting back towards our small town, legs automatically leading me to Talon's front door and straight into his room. And what I saw made my blood run cold.
Evrend, the sole doctor in Itanor, was crouched by the bedside, standing as I came in. And Talon… Talon was pale, lying still atop his quilt, "What happened?" I whispered, eyes searching the doctor's face for any indication of why this was happening.
"The plague has reached us." Evrend answered solemnly, and my heart nearly stopped. "I'm sorry, Fareus, but there's nothing anyone can do for him now."
Never had I thought that the epidemic sweeping Arcis' countryside would hit us, I'd foolishly assumed that we were immune. After all, Itanor had very few visitors to bring in the contagious disease, and only a couple residents traveled outside of the area. Yet the proof of it all was lying right there on the bed in front of me.
It wasn't until a few hours later that I heard the story, how he'd nearly stepped on a rat on his way to our spot, earning himself a disease filled bite from the vermin. I'd been the one to call him out there, the fact that he was dying on that bed was my fault. That knowledge only served to make me even angrier, something that was clearly showing on my face. And though Talon was on his deathbed, he was far from blind. "I want you to promise me something…" he started weakly, such a change in tone from the chipper man I'd celebrated with just the day before, and at a brief nod from me, he continued. But what he said… what he said struck me deep, "Get over this. Get over me."
"How?" I demanded, my cheeks wet from all the tears I had cried as I clenched my hands into tight fists, nails digging into the soft skin on my palms, "How do you expect me to do that?" Talon didn't respond, his eyes staring at me softly, "How can you think that I can get over this?"
"You're still alive, Fareus." He murmured, a terribly pale hand reaching out to cover one of my own, "You'll get through thi-" His sentence remained incomplete as he jerked away, violent coughs escaping from him. And again, the painful truth hit me. Talon was dying. He only had a little time left in this world, and it would be spent painfully. Even he knew this, I was the only one trying to delude myself from that reality.
"I can't." I answered hoarsely, my voice hardly louder than a whisper, "Not if you leave me."
His eyes watched me tenderly, "I… don't have a choice." Nothing about Talon was the same as I remembered him. His skin was pale and cold, his face seemed to be sunken in to the point where he looked the part of a dying patient, and his eyes… His brown eyes, always so full of life and energy, eyes that I'd come to know so well, were dull, almost lifeless. Yet still there was a softness to them as he looked me over, "I'm sorry." More coughs overtook him, and when he got to talk again, his voice was raspy, his breathing ragged, "Promise me. Promise me this isn't the end. Promise me that you'll fall in love again, that you'll keep on living." Had he more life still in him, the tone would likely be demanding, but with what little strength he had left, it only came out as a soft request, "Promise me, Fareus. This isn't the end of your life, don't treat it like it is." He smile, the expression so out of place on his dull skin, and the rise and fall of his chest was slowing. "You'll be alright. I love you."
I couldn't speak a word, merely clutching tightly to his hand until life had left it, and even then clinging to it desperately. He couldn't be dead. He was seventeen, with a full life ahead of him, there was no way that Talon could be dead.
But the body next to me on the bed spoke otherwise.