~ The Ride ~

It was going to be a miserable ride. 

Civyl was beginning to obsess over his separation from Fiora. So much so that he had not been able to sleep all night for thinking of her. Perhaps it was just his own heartache but, with the rising urge to be with her every passing tick, Civyl was starting to think it was the tether that held him to her. What was this binding, that it allowed him to be miles away on one day but protested at just one set of stairs between them on the next?  

He had been lying awake in front of the hearth when she came down the stairs and headed out the door. She had not made a sound… but he had felt her movement in the pull on his being. Unable to stand the ache, he slipped out into the dark and followed her. He kept his distance at least, still not trusting himself, and slunk behind the trees as she washed. 

Not many days ago, he had shared this experience with her… before the Birchwoods had seen fit to force themselves into their lives. Civyl wondered for a moment what might have happened to them – to Fiora – if they had never met… if Alex had not been there to stop him from sliding his sword through Fiora’s neck. Civyl shuddered in the chill morning air. For the first time, he was genuinely glad that they had stolen her away from him. They had seen the signs of danger in the bruises on her neck and they had been right to protect her. Their interference meant that Fiora was down washing in the brook rather than being buried in a shallow grave. 

Fiora did not stay in the water long and the night dress clung to her body in the moonlight when she sloshed out to stand on the bank. Civyl could not tear his gaze away. Her tether pulled on him, urged him to come out of the shadows and wrap his arms around her, still wet as she was. Would she let him hold her as the wind dried her off? …would she let him kiss her? He didn’t doubt that she would. Her affection for him had never wavered, even when he'd become a stranger… but he could not trust himself with her. What if this very tether that urged him to draw near was a tool of the sorcerer to get him within striking range? No. Civyl would stay hidden and just watch as the wind whipped around her making her hair dance and her night gown flutter against her skin.

The sun began to lighten the sky before she lowered her arms and Civyl marveled at how beautiful she looked with the peace of her element in her soul. He hadn’t expected her to slip out of the night dress, there on the bank. Civyl’s heart raced to see her bare to the world, nothing but air and distance between them. Unbidden, Civyl took a step forward, the urge to hold her grown tenfold. His body burned, whether from an enchantment or not, he could not tell and he found it very difficult to care. 

The End

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