Forty two years? FORTY TWO YEARS? Have a story…

Well, today is 42 years since Mount St Helens blew her august top. It’s hard to believe that time goes by so fast.

In my Val Hall books about Superheroes Third Class – the stories of ordinary people whose superpowers  got kicked into gear by being triggered by a specific event that they were responding to… the eruption rated a mention. You can can read all the stories in “Val Hall: The Even Years” and “Val Hall: The Odd Years” (ebooks available at Book View Cafe bookstore; ebooks and paperbacks available at Amazon) – but in memory of that day, forty two years ago, when ashes covered everything… I am sharing the Mouht St Helens superhero story for you right here. For free 🙂


But do go and look at the rest of them. They’re worth a read if I say so myself…


In the meantime, here you are:



The One About Ashes (1980)




“I’m sorry,” Blaise Bennet said, with the usual resignation and regret, waiting out on the lawn while the clean-up crew worked on his room. “I really don’t know how to stop it. There’s the pills, but if I forget to take it before I go to bed – things just – ” He swallowed. “Maybe I shouldn’t even be here. I’m endangering…”

“You would be worse somewhere else,” Eddie said equably, his eyes sympathetic as they rested on the old man beside him. “If you were anywhere else but here you would have burned down half a city somewhere by now. And killed innocent people, if not yourself. Here, we can deal with it. We can mitigate the worst of it and for the rest… that’s what insurance is for.”

“It’s fine, when I’m awake – I have to be aware of it, all the time, there’s that, I have to be on guard, and it might be exhausting but at least I know I am supposed to be doing that, so I do it. But when I close my eyes… I don’t even think I can blame it on just dreaming about it, either. It isn’t a matter of simply abdicating conscious control. It’s more than that. It’s like – it’s like there’s always been two of me, and the other one takes over when this one, me, the one you’re talking to, goes away. And the other one… well, they spelled his name differently for a reason.”

“Blaze,” Eddie said. “Yes, I know.”

“In theory, he was supposed to be fireproof,” Blaise said bleakly. “Instead, he burns.” He blinked. “You know my theory?”

Blaise told Eddie his theory every time they had this conversation, and they’d had it a dozen times since Blaise had moved into Val Hall. But it seemed to comfort him, in some weird way, to be able to put his affliction into a context, even if he was no more able to deal with the consequences in the aftermath of that than he had been able to before. And so Eddie waited to hear it again.

“I think every time I went back in, I took in a little more of the mountain,” Blaise said. “My face was a mask, my nose and my mouth covered with the mask that the volcano put on me, I could not speak – I could not breathe – that was probably what saved me – but some of it crossed. And I’ve been carrying that fire inside of me all of my life. It comes out when it can. Somehow.” He grimaced. “Just how bad was it, this time?”

“We learned,” Eddie said. “It’s flame retardant everything, in your room, and we have quadrupled the sprinklers in there. We may have to replace the blinds again this time, but… accidents happen.”

“I’m going to kill somebody one day,” Blaise said, closing his eyes.

“Ah,” Eddie said, “we won’t let that happen. “You aren’t alone. Here, you aren’t alone.” He gave Blaise a reassuring squeeze on the shoulder. “That’s why Val Hall is here.”

“But I never really chose to be what you call a superhero,” Blaise said.

“Most people aren’t. Not if we’re talking  the kind that aren’t simply immortals with great powers beyond an ordinary human, or else they have the kind of fortune that allows them to use super-gadgets to back up their impulses. When it comes to ordinary human beings who can step up to the title… they don’t choose. They get chosen. It’s a legacy thing – it’s in their blood or their genes – they are born to something that is a gift or a burden and don’t even know it until something triggers that thing that they were born to do. With you…”

“I was a cocky, entitled kid,” Blaise said. “Right until that moment, of which you speak. And then, afterwards – after the mountain died – I just felt… guilty… that I had found a way to survive. Everything seemed worthless. There was no shine to life.” He grimaced. “There was only fire.”




The voice was peremptory, full of authority, and Blaise and Jesse were not surprised to turn around and find a Sheriff’s Deputy behind them.

“This road is closed,” the Deputy said. “How did you get past the  barrier, back there? Didn’t you see the sign?”

“We must have crossed behind it,” Jesse said innocently. “What sign?”

“This area is dangerous. Everyone has been evacuated, or is in the process of leaving. Haven’t you been listening to the news? This is the designated Red Zone, and if that mountain blows…”

“That? Oh, really – look at it.”

The perfect cone of Mount St. Helens towered above them, flawless like a painting against the sky.

“We were just going for a camp out – ” Blaise began, turning the blue eyes he knew he could make look innocent of everything.

“Well, not here, and not today,” the Deputy snapped. He jerked a thumb over his shoulder in an emphatic gesture. “Back off. You’re going thataway. This area is out of bounds.”

Jesse shrugged, and shifted the straps of his backpack against his shoulders. “But I saw people…”

“Where, back at the barrier? So you did see that?” the Deputy said, his voice sharpening a little. “We’re letting people with property up there go back and check on things, that doesn’t mean we’re encouraging random backpackers – there are patrols out rounding idiots like you two up. We’re after anyone we know is out there, we’ve got at least one party of kids that we know went up before the hammer came down and we aren’t sure where they are and it’s a big mountain – we have our work cut out for us, and we’re trying to stop looky-loos like you guys from blundering in and making more problems. Go on, get out of here.”

He watched them go, standing behind them, making sure they didn’t double back – but of course they did, the moment they could dart into the country and out of his immediate line of sight, more eager than ever now to plunge into the wooded slopes of the volcano. They were young, invincible, nothing at all could happen to them – nothing at all could possibly go wrong. It was May, the sun was shining, and the world was a place that was made for adventure. No snippy authority figure was going to get in their way – that mountain hadn’t twitched, to any great degree, for a century, and it was really unlikely to blow up right here, right now. Not while they were here. Not while Jesse and Blaise were there to dare it, to race up it, to touch it, to play tag with it, to stand there and laugh at the beauty and majesty of it and their own youth and invincibility. They had both turned eighteen less than a fortnight before – young enough to be boys, old enough to be legally adult, they could do what they wanted now and nobody could send them off to detention any more – and it was a heady feeling. They were old enough to be convinced that they were young enough to be anybody, do anything. And right then, what they wanted to do was climb a pristine mountain through stands of mature Douglas Firs that made Blaise breathless.

They broke for the day in a clearing, pitching a tent so that it faced a gap in the trees through which they could see the mountain rising above them. They made a small and careful campfire, made sure that it was secured before they rolled up into their sleeping bags.

Blaise woke suddenly, not quite knowing why, but feeling as though a giant hand had shaken him from sleep. He called out to Jesse but apparently Jesse had not heard or felt anything – all he could hear in response was a soft snore. He glanced down at his wrist; his watch said 8:30 am. Other than Jesse, there was no sound around him – no birds, no breeze stirring the trees. Such was the silence that Blaise held his own breath, which sounded too loud in his ears… and it was in that silence that heard a groan that sounded as though the earth itself was being torn asunder, and then the sound of an explosion. He stumbled out of his sleeping bag, falling over hs own feet, and lifted his eyes up towards the mountain. And then staggered back, shaking Jesse awake, roughly, frantically.

“Jesse! Jesse! Wake up! We have to get out of here – we have to get out of here now!”

Jesse took a moment or two to blink awake; in those precious minutes two more explosions sounded. The mountain disappeared completely as a huge dark gray cloud roiled up into the sky. Blaise’s ears suddenly popped as a shockwave ran down into the woods; the air began to thicken, gain texture.

“We have to get out of here,” he repeated urgently, pulling at Jesse. “Come on! Come on!”

Jesse was pulling on shoes even as Blaise spoke. “Help me,” he said over his shoulder as he bent over one foot. “Get the sleeping bags rolled…”

“Forget the sleeping bags. Run,” Blaise rasped. Whether or not there was already particulate matter in the air or not, his throat was closing up. It was already almost too hard to speak.

Jesse looked as though he might have stopped to argue, but a second glance at the cloud changed his mind.

“Right,” he said. “Back that way, the way we came.”

“No,” Blaise said, “over there – across the slope – easier to run – come on…”

He wondered about the camping party the Deputy had mentioned. The idea of children  out there…

But there was no time. No time to think. No time to plan. They were running, running for their lives, eyes streaming, ears blocked, barely able to see where they were going, hoping that they would come out into the open, a place where they could pick up speed, where they might be seen if anyone came looking.

But they were still under cover, and weaving in between trees – right until the moment when Blaise, in the lead, turned at a sudden cry behind him and saw Jesse down, writhing on the ground.

A snap. What he had heard was a snap.

He raced back to his friend’s side.

“My leg,” Jesse said. “I think it’s broken – Goddamit it hurts – I can’t…”

“Come on,” Blaise said desperately, “You have to move. You have to – ”

Jesse reached out an arm, Blaise tried to lift him, and then Jesse cried out again, collapsing back to the ground. A red stain was spreading on his jeans, and his leg stuck out at an unnatural angle.

“I won’t make it,” he panted.  “I won’t – I can’t – I can’t outrun that – go, you go, get help – ”

“I can’t leave you,” Blaise said. “You’ll be dead by the time I can get back – if I can even find you – ”

“If you make the river you can find the bridge – and the road is faster – go… I am not going anywhere unless I grow wings – and  if you stay with me we’re both done for…”

Blaise would remember that moment, those words, later – he could never recall exactly what happened, in what order, but it was that challenge – ‘unless I grow wings’ – that tripped something inside him. His sight cleared as membranes dropped across his eyes, keeping the ash and grit out, giving him the ability to see through the murk. Scales covered his nose and mouth, filtering the air, isolating him from heat and from scouring by particulate matter. His hands grew scale ‘gloves’; the seams of his jeans gave way as his legs bulked out with the scales, the denim barely hanging on, flapping around his calves in streamers. And all of that was merely symptoms of the larger thing – the sudden and absolute conviction of an ability that was nothing short of miraculous.

The scales across his mouth prevented him from talking, but he could see Jesse’s expression reflect what he had become; Blaise ignored the instinctive warding off motion his appalled and astonished friend made, stooped to pick him up with ease as though he weighed no more than a sapling, and launched into the air, carrying Jesse in his arms. Jesse’s broken leg dangled and Jesse screamed in pain – but Blaise dived into the mountain’s toxic cloud, sheltering Jesse with his own body, and flew true like an arrow loosed from a string, straight through, straight out.

When he emerged, flying low and fast with Jesse in his arms, he circled once until his augmented vision saw a gaggle of official cars along a road, and made straight for them. He heard a man shout something from behind one of the cars, ignored it, braced for the possibility that they might simply shoot, but somehow not worried about it – he merely touched down close enough to the cars for them to see that he had a burden in his arms, and laid Jesse down very gently on the ground. His friend’s head lolled back, unconscious, but he came to groggily as Blaise released him, his eyes searching the scaled mask for any trace of Blaise’s face.

You’ll be safe now, they’ll take care of you, Blaise thought, wanted to say, but the scales stopped his mouth, stifled his voice. It was at this point that he got labelled – because as he backed off and away, as he saw a couple of deputies racing out towards the body on the ground, they would hear Jesse repeating only his name – and so Blaze was born, the superhero, the black-scaled monster or angel who lingered only long enough to see that Jesse was receiving the attention he needed before turning to plunge back into the hell of the erupting volcano. There were other people out there. There were the children. There were probably other campers. There may have been scientists, journalists. None of them would be found in time, would be found at all, without Blaise’s new senses, the augmented vision, the instinct for direction, the ability to fly. If people were to be saved that day… it was Blaze who would find them.



“In the end, I could only save some,” Blaise said. “Even Jesse – even that first one – he died. Ash inhalation, sepsis, I don’t remember now. Something. He lived long enough for me to get him out of there… and then he died. He was my friend. I could not even save my friend. I saved… a few strangers…”

“None of us can save everybody,” Eddie said gently.

Blaise shook his head. “But I could have. Should have. That mountain made me, it made me into something that was as much part of itself as the lahars were – I was the answer to shockwaves and ash and floods and mudslides and shattered trees. I was life, called to respond to death. I was supposed to be there – to be everywhere. There was a spark of the heart of Mount St Helens deep inside me – that was why I could stand against her – she let me. The lives I saved, she let me save.  And then they turned me into a superhero. “ He laughed hollowly. “When it was all over… I came out of there naked, exhausted, and everyone assumed I was just another straggler, another victim making a miraculous resurrection, I don’t think anyone made the connection, not then, not back then. I heard them talking about Blaze, the hero, the black-scaled creature who went back again and again and returned leading lost convoys of stuttering ash-choked trucks, brought back injured campers or bodies of suffocated photographers who had tried to get too close to the perfect shot and left too narrow an escape window – I heard them, the paramedics, once they had done with me, talking off to the side, the deputies, the rescued people and the refugees. And then, later, I read the papers. And they were full of that story. Full of me. Someone had even managed a photograph.”

“I think I remember it,” Eddie murmured.

“I looked every inch the monster,” Blaise said. “Someone said… I heard someone say that they could see the flames in my eyes. That I was on fire, inside.” He nodded towards the house where his room was. “And boy howdy, were they right. Look what it came down to. I can’t fall asleep without erupting, so to speak. The mountain, she left her mark. You know what’s funny?”

“What is?”

“I volunteered as a firefighter, afterwards. I didn’t do much that was useful with my life, in the end, I just… drifted… but I did that. I had a reputation, see. I could wade into danger without thinking, and I did. I was… fireproof. And still nobody realized. They all thought I was just that mad, or that brave, or that lucky. But when I wasn’t near fire… real fire… I simply carried the flames inside of me.”

“All that time?” Eddie asked quietly. “Ever since the eruption?”

Blaise hesitated. “There was a while,” he said. “I have no idea how I dared – knowing what I knew – how I could be so sure that she would be safe with me – but there was a while, there, when I accepted it all, when everything was all right, when even the guilt managed to be put into perspective. But I fought against it for a good while, at the beginning, and then… I ended up not having much time, in the end.” He paused. “Cancer took her. I had her for almost fifteen years, and you might call that a good run – but it was a blink of an eye, and when I lost her, it was all just… over. There would never be anyone, ever again, anyone who knew, who trusted me enough to…”

“There is,” Eddie said. “There is now. There’s here. You’re safe here.”

Blaise stared at the house, his hands stuffed in his pockets. “I’ve been here six months, and five times I’ve lost it badly enough for that to happen. When I miss the meds, or take them too late, or I drink coffee too late at night – if I am too tired, or too anxious, or I have a bad dream – the fire comes out. I can’t help it. That’s why I ended up homeless, out there, before you found me, after I lost the only woman who was capable of keeping me safe. I nearly burned down more doss houses than you know. In the end they knew me, I was on a list. I couldn’t get space anywhere. Nobody wanted a firestarter in the house – and nobody knew I had once been Blaze, and even if they did… it wouldn’t have mattered. I was a liability. A danger. For twenty years after the eruption I was a lonely drifter, trying to survive, trying to keep my other identity hidden, my light, so to speak, under the fabled bushel of the hoary cliché. And then I went to the reunion, and I met her, and I fought her for almost two years before I gave in and surrendered to her insistence that she was the shelter I needed, and then I had all those years… of peace. It might have been that we had shared that experience. I don’t know. But I had that haven. And then she went, and so did the best of me. And the fire… returned.”

“Tell me about her,” Eddie said quietly.




Blaise turned awkwardly to where a woman stood beside him, smiling, cradling a drink. He did not recognize her; but then again, he had no reason to expect to. She had pale eyes of a washed-out blue, and hair whose colour clearly owed a lot to a good hairdresser. Her teeth, white and even, were displayed in a wide smile, but her face was set in a polite blank expression of a stranger – clearly she had no idea who he was, either. They were both here bound by a common experience – the mountain which had exploded – but beyond that, things were a comfortable blur.

“I’m Desiree,” she said helpfully. “Desiree Willson. Survivor. I was rescued off the mountain back in 1980 – my friends and I were camping…”

Blaise closed his eyes briefly. “I’m Blaise Bennet,” he said.

She sharpened her glance. “Blaze?” she said. “You’re… Blaze? That Blaze?”

“B-L-A-I-S-E,” he spelled for her, with a wan smile.

It was just an unfortunate coincidence that the name they gave him, back then, really was… his name. They didn’t know, at the time. And afterwards, he didn’t want them to know.

Desiree gave a self-conscious little giggle, dropping her embarrassed gaze into the drink she was cradling.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I suppose you have to do that a lot, here, right now.”

“It’s… happened once or twice,” he said.

“But you could be,” she said, looking up again. “They never did find out who it really was. He was there, and then he was not, and he could be anybody at all…”

“He might have died on the mountain,” Blaise said carefully.

“Oh, no,” Desiree said earnestly.

“How can you be so sure?”

“Because I saw him. After. I was hurt, but not badly – and they had other people to care about. I slipped the surveillance, briefly. I escaped…”

And he closed his eyes again. Because he remembered her. The thirteen-year-old, streaked with soot and ash, her arms scorched and scraped where they had not been protected by her clothing, those blue eyes blank and terrified as he had carried her out of the burning cloud and handed her into waiting arms ready to take her to a clean safe place where she could get help, and then a brief moment of connection as her gaze cleared and locked with his own, burning deep within the black scales that had covered his face. She had reached for him. He had backed away, quickly, before she could touch him. He thought he heard her say Thank you, her voice choked and silenced by ash and heat and terror, and then he was gone again. He remembered her, because she had been alive. The next one he had found, and the one after that, and the one after that, they had all been dead. At least one of those bodies was one of that girl’s companions, another young girl, who looked like she had died trying to scream. And there was nothing he could have done about it.

She did see him, after. He had come out after another foray, and he had sunk to one knee, exhausted, devastated, guilt-ridden that he had not done more because he was the only one who could – and she had been there, improbably, her arms bandaged, her blue eyes staring.

She had tried to say thank you, again. But he didn’t want to hear it, he couldn’t bear it – and he had found the strength to stumble to his feet, make a warding-off gesture with such force that some of the black scales that had protected him cracked and fell to the ground at his feet, and he had stumbled away, without saying a word. He had turned, once, as he fled, and he had seen her…

“I still have it,” Desiree murmured. “He was covered in it  – his whole body – like armor, like he’d been turned into a human dragon, these black scales. He went away, but a couple of the scales broke away. I took one from where it fell. I know he didn’t die, I saw him afterwards, I don’t think he went back into that hell again, because the armor was beginning to shed. I know, because I have a piece of it. I’ve kept it all these years. Because nobody knew who he was, you see. They just called him Blaze – but he brought out a dozen people in his arms, and he guided out at least two convoys of vehicles stuck on the mountain – he was immune to it, or part of it, nobody knew which, all they knew was that it could not touch him. But he had armor. I know. I saw it.”

She was wearing long sleeves; now she reached out with one hand to push up one sleeve a little, revealing a scar, a long line of puckered skin running along her forearm from wrist to elbow.

“The mountain gave me this,” she said. “I had friends who died up there, but I got away with this. For me, Mount St. Helens… is a reminder. But I am alive, today, because of him.”

“He couldn’t save everybody,” Blaise managed, through stiff lips.

Desiree lifted her eyes, her own wide and suddenly very blue. “He saved me,” she said. “I wish I could have stopped him, then, long enough to…  I don’t know… I owed him. Something. But I wasn’t supposed to be there in the first place. The only reason I was, it was because I gave them the slip, because they were busy with somebody else, and I had a feeling I needed to be… out there… because Blaze… I didn’t know the name, then, they gave it to him in the papers, after… because I knew he might come back, he might come back for me, and I needed to be there to be found…” Her eyes filled with tears, suddenly, unexpectedly. “He flew, you see,” she said. “I know it sounds insane…”

“No more insane than plunging back into a pyroclastic flow,” Blaise said faintly.

“Yes, but that was what he was there for. He was the superhero, sent to save us. He was there to go into that burning hell and shelter those of us who needed his help. But he… flew. He flew. He flew through that cloud, and I know, because I was in his arms, I flew with him, he carried me. Half the stories, later, either made him into an icon or into a hallucination shared by people in pain and deep shock. But he was real. Blaze. He saved me, he carried me out of there through the fire, he wrapped that armor of black scales around me and he bore me out of there and the ground was boiling mud and ashes and grinding logs of massive old trees that looked like matchwood from the height from which I saw them.  He flew, and I flew with him…”

“He never flew again,” Blaise said, finally, after a long moment of silence.

Desiree was still looking at him.

“You are him,” she said. “You’re Blaze. You are…”

Blaise looked around sharply. “Quiet,” he said.

“But you never came forward… but they don’t know.. . but there are people here who owe you…”

“Nobody owes me,” Blaise said desperately. “I was a stupid kid, I should not have been there at all. I owed them – I owed them – you don’t understand – I was there so that I could have a story, that I could brag later about how I gave the sheriff the slip – we all thought the whole ‘red zone’ thing was way overblown – I had no idea. Before I rescued anybody… I probably had a hand in killing a man, someone doing his duty and coming in after someone who needed assistance – someone who should never have come in trying to get me out of there…” He looked around, tense, unhappy, on edge. “I should probably never have come here at all. I don’t deserve…”

“You didn’t make the mountain blow up,” Desiree said gently.

“I feel as though I goaded it,” Blaise said. “Dared it. Thumbed my nose at it. Look at me, you can’t hurt me. And it said, yes, but I can hurt other people while you watch…”

“But you didn’t watch. Except that you stood. You faced it down.” Desiree allowed a tiny smile to curve the corner of her mouth.

He was suddenly hot, flushed, as though the remembered fire was on again within him. “I have to go,” he said, starting to back away.

“Wait!” she said. There was a pen tucked into a pocket in the bag she was carrying and she snatched it out, reaching for his hand. He let her have it, bewildered, and before he had a chance to yank it back she had scrawled a phone number on his palm.

“Call me,” she said earnestly. “I mean it.”

“I have to go,” he said, and turned and ran.

He ought to have scrubbed the number off with soap. He wanted to. He did. But not before, in a moment of weakness, he had copied it down onto a more permanent surface.

He had wanted to throw the number away. But he didn’t. He hung onto it, like a talisman. For too long, perhaps – and the longer he held it the less sure he was that he was ever going to call it. But he kept it, for almost six months. And then, after he had almost forgotten about it, he came across it again. And stared at it for a long time. And then he called it; and she answered.



The last of the mop-up crew came out of Blaise’s room, lifting a hand in a wave as he left. Eddie patted Blaise on the back, urging him forward.

“It’ll need new linens, and I’ll organize that, and you may have to do without the blinds until we can get the new ones in – but you’ve got a home again. It should be habitable again by tonight. In the meantime, let’s see if there’s anything I need to help you with.”

“You’re very kind,” Blaise said, with a wan smile.

“No more than a superhero deserves,” Eddie said firmly.

“But I’m not one, not any more,” Blaise said. “I don’t think I could do it again – despite… the evidence in that room. It’s as though all I have left is the memory of the destruction, and nothing of the power for good… it’s as though that went with the scales, with the ability to fly…”

“When was the last time you tried that?” Eddie asked.

Blaise’s face changed a little. “Back when Desiree was still with me,” he said bleakly. “After… the eruption… I couldn’t… not for a long time. And then, after Dee and I got together, all of a sudden I thought maybe I could, again. And then I did, we’d climb out onto the balcony outside our bedroom, second floor of the house, and I’d take her in my arms and just… go. She laughed, I remember, she just flung her arms out and let her head fall back and her hair went everywhere and she laughed. And the joy of it… was what gave me the wings, as it were. The last time I did it, with her, was some two months before she died – before she became too ill to leave her bed. After that… never again. Maybe that’s just over with, for good. Only the fire is left. Maybe one day soon that too will be gone. There must be plenty of people here you get here who just wait for it all to disappear, piece by piece, while they grow old and fade away…”

“Blaise,” Eddie said, suddenly very serious, “that isn’t what this place is for.”

Blaise turned to look at him, feeling oddly rebuked. “But I thought…”

“People don’t come here to forget,” Eddie said. “People come here… to remember, or perhaps to be remembered. To believe. To celebrate. And to be safe and cared for, by people who understand them, and who know how. Nobody comes here to die, Blaise. Everyone in Val Hall is a survivor. At some point, everyone could do whatever, in their own context, is what comes out in you as flight. Guys like me are here to help you eventually leave this world which has been graced with your presence… in the memory of glory. We who care for you are here to say thank you. Because we know you could once fly. Because we know you still can. Because we believe in who you were, who you are, what you can do.  Blaise… we are here to help you remember. And we are here to give you a place to stand. You don’t need to prove anything, not any more, and you don’t need to justify anything at all – anything you did, or did not do, or could not do, or chose not to do in your time. You exist. You were there when it mattered. That is enough.”

Blaise raised his eyebrows. “When the mountain called me…”

“You made answer,” Eddie said. “Come on, Blaze of Mount St.Helens. Let’s go get you a nice cup of tea, and tonight… I’ll make sure that you get a good night’s sleep. You need to rest.” He smiled, giving Blaise a sideways glance. “Dream of flight.”