It dawned scarily upon me that both Morgan and I had no idea about what was going on now. I didn’t even know exactly what would happen in the fitness testing. I even read the papers I had to sign this time. I’ve never done that before, but they didn’t say anything about being tested on a platform in open air!
I wandered over to a crowd of other parents. All calmly chatting and waving to their highly embarrassed kids on the other side. I slowly peered off the ledge behind us. I gulped as I looked down at a straight down drop, like the kind you see in movies where the heroine in dangling off a cliff that seems endless. Mist seemed to swirl below like we were somehow above the clouds. I thought Kain said this test was here because some kids died. It looked to me like they were here because they weren’t killing off enough kids!
All the parents stood chatting. My eyes scanned them all trying to match up kids to their possible parents. I did a double take, for a second I had thought the young redhead had wandered over to the parent’s side. Taking a closer look I scanned from top to bottom. She began with a beautiful gently curving swathe of dark scarlet hair that ran down to exactly half way between her shoulders and elbows. The gentle waves and curves seemed to be a promise for what was waiting below. Small half moon glasses managed to make her look intelligent yet sparkly. Her suit was obviously tailor made; her lapel held a small black rose head and not a crease was to be seen on her immaculate skirt and jacket. She like myself was not talking to anyone and the poor woman looked so cold up here arms folded huddling into herself to retain heat; she didn’t appear to have prepared for being up here either.
“Here.” I placed my massive jacket around her petit shoulders. I smiled as she looked drenched in a wrap of black material where the jacket almost reached her knees.
“Won’t you be cold?” Her voice exuded warmth in such contrast to how cold she appeared to be due to the biting wind.
“No, don’t worry us big guys don’t get cold.” I laughed.
“Well I thank you stranger. May I know the name of my rescuer?” She joked clutching my jacket and pulling it in tighter around her.
“Oh, uh, I’m Mike, Mike of Ollerond.”
“Layla.” She said and ventured her tiny hand from the depths of my jacket and outstretched it in a welcoming handshake.
“So which ones yours?” Not like I needed to ask but it was a conversation starter and hey she might be able to tell me what was going on.
She pointed at Morgan’s friend who was doing complex looking stretches for her left leg. “That’s my Katha. Yours?”
I pointed out Morgan who was faithfully doing the simple warm ups I taught her. She seemed to have regrouped next to the redhead. Which I hoped gave her comfort. “That’s my kiddo. I can tell your girl takes after you, thankfully Morgan takes after her mother.”
“Ahh so your wife is a water affinity?”
“No actually, she was human.” But if she had been Faerie her affinity would have sure been water I thought to myself.
“I’m sorry.” She attempted to put a hand on my shoulder but was forced to settle with placing it on me arm as reaching my shoulder was quite uncomfortable for her. “I know how it feels to lose a partner.” She said and twiddled with the small black rose.
“It’s ok I said. It was a long time ago and we were divorced. She blocked me out after my accident and well I didn’t even meet my Morgan till a month or two back. I was travelling America as a rider but... well it’s a complicated story.”
“Oh, how long have you been away from here for?”
“Haven’t returned in over twenty years, I always meant to.” I used this as segue to try and find out what was going to happen to Morgan. “In truth I have no idea what’s in these tests anymore.”
“Same.” She sighed. “My husband always read these documents for Katha, never let me, he said he would deal with it all. He was an official.” She explained. “Three months in one of the first riots over half bloods he was killed. God bless Katha she’s been so strong, she’s pulled me through so much.” She smiled as a tear rolled down her cheek.
“Hey, hey. I wiped the tear away with my thumb. “She can’t see you cry, she probably relies on you to be strong as well.”
“I don’t know how I am going to be this weekend without her.” She looked down at her feet. “I’ll be worried sick. I know that much.”
Our conversation was interrupted by a large megaphone held by a tiny man.