Henry remained motionless long after everyone else was gone.  He did not know exactly how everyone had managed to go, doubted that Seymour could yet move on his own power, and thought it unlikely that the combined and minimal might of Simon and Seoc, both short and emaciated as they were, could carry seven feet-worth of healthy male Aechyed very far.  He did not watch, and he would not ask, so he would never know.  He did not care.  Nothing mattered particularly.

                His head hurt.  He felt completely and entirely drained.  What he needed was to replenish his magic.  Yes, he could tap into the magical spring, but that would be risky.  Indeed, he had done it several times throughout his life, and always felt something vaguely sinister on the other end; recently, however, the sinister thing had been growing stronger.  He did not like it.

                Had it not spoken to him?

                Oh, well.  His power would return on its own, given some time.  As long as he didn’t needlessly exert himself any more in the near future, he probably wouldn’t need to resort to the Carviliet spring.

                Damn him.  Damn Seymour de Winter, sucking up the last of his magic.  Like a leech.  A fucking leech.  Parasite.

                Henry let his breath hiss out between his teeth and used the wall to climb to his feet.  Slowly, he made his way along the corridor, wishing only for bed and sleep.  His feet felt as heavy as lead; his knees as wobbly as gelatin.  The corridor seemed to stretch on infinitely into the distance.  The floor seemed to bend and ripple beneath him.

                He did not realize he was nauseous until he vomited, did not realize he had vomited until it spilled out of his mouth and down his front, soiling the anterior part of his tunic.  He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, leaning heavily upon the wall.  Mostly water and stomach acid.  He hadn’t eaten much today.  Had he eaten anything at all?  He could not remember.

                “Henry?  Oh, Rezyn!  What happened?”

                He saw her feet.  He didn’t have enough energy to raise his head and meet her eyes.  “I threw up,” he mumbled.

                “I can see that,” Fiona told him.

                He felt her arm wrap about his waist, firm but gentle, supporting him.  He clung to her, leaning on her, feeling as though his legs were about to give out.

                Somehow, she got him back to his room and sat him down on the edge of his bed. 

                “Arms up,” she ordered.

                With effort, he raised his arms, and she pulled his tunic off over his head.  With a wet rag, she cleaned up his face and chest before allowing him to lie down.

                “Will you stay with me?”

                She ran her fingers through his straight, light brown hair and kissed him lightly on the temple.  “For a while, laddie.  For a while.”

The End

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