Nuz clawed into the dirt with his right arm, pulling himself towards Firhad. His legs were mangled from the trap, his left arm gone, and he was lucky. His friends’ bodies lay all around him, but there was no time for mourning; he had to make sure Firhad was okay. As he reached the top of the hill he dragged himself next to his lover so he could examine him. Despite the jagged cut across his eyes pouring blood everywhere he was alive. Nuz bandaged the cut as best he could and prayed they would escape this damned valley. It was only then, while laying in the blood and mud and surrounded by their dead friends, that he allowed himself to cry.
As Firhad walked into the village, Nuz broken and bloody in his arms, he began to hear the people talking about them and their team. Those same voices that held them in such high esteem not days ago when they left now talked about them with fear and pity. “What happened to those poor men? Where is the rest of their team?” He did his best to ignore them, but it was next to impossible given his now heightened sense of hearing. Without warning Nuz spoke for the first time since the valley: “Ignore them, my dear. They are scared. Help is coming, you can rest now.” Firhad turned his head downwards to the man in his arms. “It’s good to hear your voice.” “I’m sorry, I’ve just been trying to adjust to these changes” Nuz replied as he looked over to where his legs and arm had formerly resided. Firhad allowed himself a smile as he clung to reality. “Don’t worry, lover. I’ll head to the forge tonight and build you something so much better then those useless fleshy bits.” Nuz smiled back, he himself fading from this world. “I am a fan of the other toys that you’ve made for us.” They laughed for a moment, and then the two men fell into unconsciousness as the medics arrived.
Several days passed without incident after their return. Their had been no word from the other expeditions… Whether the others had met similar fates to theirs was unknown, but in his heart Nuz hoped that they would return with the needed supplies. He pulled himself up, and stumbled over to Firhad. He was fiddling with the last piece on Nuz’ new arm. Even without his vision he had managed to build new legs and an arm, as well as a number of new helpers to assist him with the day-to-day issues he now had. The devices were taking some getting used to but Firhad had assured him he would have 85% of his previous mobility when they had them tweaked and figured out. Still, he worried about his love. Firhad adored seeing the wonders of this world and even one as talented as he wouldn’t be able to build something to replace eyes. Maybe one day they could find someone who could though… Assuming they survived the next couple of weeks.
As the attack approached, the two men were moved to the non-combatants house. To be relegated to the home of elders and children had irked them both; Firhad still had his helper bots and Nuz still had his esoteries, both of which were useful in a fight. As they argued with the others about how they were still able to fight, Gurner stepped in and asked them to stay with him and the children as “guards” for the house, knowing they couldn’t say no to defending the helpless. They acquiesced, and he thanked them. While the others thought it was just a way to keep them out of trouble Gurner was thankful to have them at his side, as without them there was no way he would survive what was coming…