Rayna dragged the weight of the wagon behind her begrudgingly. Had it not been for the detour she would have already been back on the Asterius by now. But it was essential that she stop at st Peters boarding home while she was in the area. If anything it would offer her peace of mind to know that the building hadn't been demolished in a fire. She had to see that the children were safe. More importantly that Thomas was safe. His welfare was one she valued above all.
As she approached the courtyard. She noticed a few children running about and laughing as one of the nurses hollered at them to come in for dinner. She smiled at their efforts, though that smile quickly vanished when she saw Thomas in the corner of the courtyard. The six year old boy was in a rather one sided conversation with a tall spindly man. Rayna watched in horror as the man yanked him by the arm and began yelling at him. His face was so close to Thomas's scared little round cherub face. Rayna knew Thomas wasn't the most obedient of children but this man was yelling at him as if he were a criminal. Why couldn't Thomas be in a nice home somewhere being coddled and read to?
" My arm," Thomas cried in agony.
The man only pulled his arm harder for crying and continued to scold him. Before Rayna knew what she was doing she had dropped the handle of the wagon and crossed the distance of the courtyard over to Thomas
Then things got a little ugly.
The man scolding Thomas averted his attention towards Rayna. " Can I help you miss ?" The willowy man snapped.
"Yeah you can," Rayna replied. Before the man could get another word in Rayna swung her fist at the man's face as hard as she could. She heard a satisfying snap at what she assumed was his nose breaking under the impact. The man hit the ground and was out cold.
Rayna's eyes met with Thomas's. She hadn't been this close to the boy in years. He had grown into a small freckled version of Malachai. Which only made Rayna adore him more.
Then fear registered in Thomas's eyes. Without another glance he ran away from her.
Rayna left the scene as quickly as she had entered it. She was exhausted and bitter when she arrived back in the Asterius. Without changing her clothes she threw herself onto her bed and tried to settle into slumber. She wanted nothing more than for this day to be over.