Chapter Twelve: Merciful Lorda

No irrepairable damage had been done in the fire. Not to Jonrah, at least.

He had assumed the blood that filled his mouth was that of his internal organs, and that once he blacked out, it was death that had consumed him.

In the fall, he had actually bitten his tongue. When he was informed of this, he smiled slightly, mocking himself for fearing the worst.

Of course, the worst had already happened.

Jonrah had lost his wife and his son, and as he woke up the following morning after a fitful sleep, he found himself in Lorda's bedchamber, wailing and crying; fresh tears streaming down his face and onto the soft pillow that he rested his head on.

He saw Lorda sitting in a chair at the other side of the room, watching calmly.

'You did all you could.'

Jonrah made out the words over his own screaming, and gradually, the noise subsided.

For several minutes, both of them remained silent; a trait which they both seemed to harbour. Jonrah allowed his tears to dry on their own, his face was sticky with the salt-water, and he sniffed away the mucus that had dripped from his nose.

Jonrah spoke, more calm now. Quietly, almost to himself. 'I was too late.'

'It was not your fault. If you had been at home with them, you all would have perished.'

Jonrah didn't want to see truth in his words. He could not accept that his wife was doomed to perish from the moment the flames struck their home. But sadly, it was true.

'There will be time for mourning your wife, Jonrah. But I'm afraid it is not now.'

'What do you mean?'

'Your wife may have perished, but your son still lives. The Eden will not directly kill an innocent. Or those whom they dub innocent. Your boy is one of these.'

Lorda knew something that Jonrah did not. Demanding an explanation, Jonrah remembered all that had happened in the house. The falling roof. The man - Gurden - taking his son hostage.

Was he still alive?

As if answering Jonrah's thoughts, Lorda said, 'Jodar is still alive.'

'How do you know this?' It was beginning to frustrate Jonrah that Lorda was not divulging all the information he had.

'I know because ... because Gurden is my brother.'

The End

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