The entire room fell silent as Cole appeared before them, his face covered by his hair but his hands shaking as if he had done something wrong.
“It hurts, it hurts, something’s wrong with my hands. Why can’t I move them? Tied. Bound. Head hurting like when mamae used to mix Elfroot and Witherstalk into my soup to help with the cold.”
“Cole, what are you—”
“Athim!”, Aerys cried out as her chair scraped against the floor.
“Red, scarlet dripping, dropping from my eyes. Am I blind? Heat on my face, is it the sun? No, not the one up there. Not the one that sleeps at night. A sun…connected to a gauntlet. It’s metal. It scares me. Instinct takes over. A man tugs at the rope on my hands. It digs into flesh.
“’The fade! He’s trying to cast!’ A simple spell. Mind blast, maybe. Yes, it would, it would. I pull at the fade, but a white-hot heat rings in my ears. Snow crunches when I fall.”
“Where is he? Tell me where he is, Cole,” Mi shook his shoulders. The spirit turned his head, looking at her with piercing clarity.
“Mi,” a child-like voice spilled out of Cole’s thin blue lips. “Mi,” Cole’s handspulled her closer. He grabbed Mi’s face with both hands, and she could swear she smelt snow on his paper skin. “Mi.”
Mi looked into Cole’s eyes. An emotion so different from the spirit’s and so similar to Athim’s raged in them. “Cole? What is it?”
“Sunlight. Pink and orange, like your hair. Smited–I can’t. The bed creaked under our weight. You smiled at me, called me ‘pretty boy’. I laughed, traced circles down your back.”
The hold on Cole’s shoulders tightened. Mi could hear the distant sounds of people arguing and hands banging on the table. They’ve been trying to find him for months.
“I-I can - my vision clears. I see the iron sun come closer to my forehead. A sword bound in armor. Flames. Templars. Heart thumping, beating so fast out of fear. I squirm. A slap, pain on my cheek, the taste of iron filling my mouth. I don’t want this, I’m scared, I’m so so scared. My body breaking like bones being put in places where they shouldn’t be, bleeding. I-I’m sorry Mi. I’m sorry I left. I didn’t want to, I was stupid. Tears, you cried for me. I left. I lo—