~The Knowledge~ pg 7

He had no free will. If he did he would not have left Kavaccet. The man he was before would have made a home with the g- He forced himself to think her name. The man he was before would not have called her a girl or thought of her as one. He would have made a home with Fiora instead of trying to forsake her.

She had fallen quiet with the end of her story and the silence finally drew his gaze to her. Lost in thought while her fingers stroked the dark evidence that there was more to the story than she could recall. She caught him staring and dropped her hand with a sheepish smile. “It’s sore, like I can still feel where his hands were.” His hands… She cocked her head towards him. “Is it silly of me to believe it was more real than dream?”

He should confess… He should tell her why she would find real bruises in the reflection of the brook the next time she washed. But he was too much a coward to face her anger or fear. What if she refused to travel with him? With the mountain and her tether both firmly anchored, he didn’t want to take that risk. Newly angry with himself, his short answer was more gruff than it warranted. “No.”

He didn’t want to discuss it anymore and wished to retreat to the opposite side of the fire. “We should sleep,” he added more gently as he stood up. First, though, he would have to retrieve his bedroll. It was tangled up with her own where he had left it wrapped around her. She gave him a curious look when he walked behind her to get it. “To keep you warm,” was the only explanation he offered. He was not about to detail how he had planned to add his own warmth if she had not woken in time to also wake the fire.

The End

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