A loud clap of thunder and a wild cry woke Sarah from her sleep. Ryan jumped the distance from his bed to hers, his body shivering.
“Hey, shhh,” Sarah whispered as she held the frightened boy. “It’ll be okay, it’s only thunder and lightning.”
“Bad dream,” he whimpered. “It was a bad dream, but it wasn’t.”
His little voice quivered and Sarah tucked him in under the blankets and cuddled him as her father used to do when she was little. She stroked his hair and whispered softly.
“Shhh, it was only a bad dream,” Sarah assured him. “Just a bad dream...”
“But, but it wasn’t.” his voice broke on the edge of tears.
“I don’t understand?”
“It happened, my dream, at least I think it did.” The boy was clearly confused and upset by it.
“Do you want to tell me about it?” she asked.
“It, it was about this girl, she was bleeding.” Ryan began, “The Gods, they gave me this vial to give to her. They told me it was supposed to keep her from pain. But, she was already in pain and she hates the Gods, said they had forsaken her. But, they gave me this vial for her, to keep her from pain. Then this man, he’s horrible Sarah.” Ryan looked up at her. "He had his soldiers and, and the assassin chase me. I ran to a Willow and left, but the girl, I don’t know what happened to the girl.” Tears were rolling down the boy’s cheeks. “And the assassin, he, he looked like the one that tried to kill you; the one Phoenix killed. I watched them burn his body, so it couldn’t be him could it? There couldn’t be a second one could there?”
Sarah looked into Ryan’s eyes; her own mind fled back to the man who had tried to assassinate the Prince. Was that why he had looked so familiar? Was there a second assassin that was a twin to the first? Sarah hoped not.
“I don’t know,” she whispered, not wanting to say one way or another. “But we are safe here, aren’t we? Inside four strong walls and protected by the best of King Demetrioso’s men.”
“I, I guess so,” Ryan murmured.
“We are,” she assured him, “and you’ve got me.”
Ryan nodded as he cuddled against her. “Did you pass the Trials?”
Sarah smiled in the dark. “I don’t know,’ she told him, then lowering her voice, she whispered, “but, Phoenix says I’m better than most First Years.”
Sarah rocked Ryan to sleep. The boy drifted off as a flash of lightning lit the sky. Tucking him back into his bed, Sarah counted the seconds to the thunder. It was over a mile away and her thoughts went to Jay as she wondered how he fared.