~ The Puppeteer ~ pg 4

Fiora glared at him. “The danger has passed!” she snapped. Civyl had obviously been freed of the enchantment and his torment over it was quite evident. Despite her aching shoulder, she was ready to struggle free if need be, but the other Birchwoods all came storming into the room blocking her path to Civyl anyway.

“What? What is it?” Borris huffed, his tunic on backwards and his trousers held up by only a hand. 

Chink was similarly disheveled without even a shirt on. Fiora tried not to stare but it was difficult not to notice his thick black chest hair. It was almost jester worthy in its contrast to his bald head. At least he did have a belt that he was still cinching tight. “You better ‘ave woken us for good reason, Alex,” he growled, “or I’ll be tannin’ yer ‘ide myself!”

Demil peeked in, scanning the room and seeking her out. His observant eyes widened when he saw her and he shoved his way past the other two. “Dew-soaked tinder, what happened to your neck?”

Chink and Borris both looked at her as if they hadn’t noticed she was there. At the realization of her newest violation, Chink’s head snapped around to stare at Civyl who still sat dejectedly on the floor. “It was ‘im, wasn’ it?!” Fists clenched into balls, no one denied his claim quick enough. “Bloodthirsty cur! I’ll tear ‘im limb from limb!”

“Stubborn man! You will do no such thing!” A shrill cry turned all their heads to the doorway. The woman standing there wore only a night shirt and a crazed look in her eyes complimented by her wildly disheveled hair. She stared daggers at Chink and pointed a stern finger at him. “I have not slept more than an hour for all of two days and you will NOT give me another person to mend or I swear I will rip out your bellowing tongue and cook it for your supper! Is that understood?” 

Chink blinked at the chiding before lowering his head. “Yes, Nivia. Sorry, Nivia.” Somehow it didn’t surprise Fiora that this woman, who looked so young, was really Nivia. She had the same intense green eyes as always. 

Nivia calmed a little as the Birchwoods made room for her. Her gaze swept over the room before it rested on Fiora. The woman swore under her breath and Fiora blushed. She did not mean to be another person Nivia would need to mend. “Is someone going to tell me what happened here?”

The End

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