~ The Ride ~ pg 4

It was a miserable ride. 

Sitting on the back of Clover’s saddle was not near as comfortable as riding in the middle… at least not when Fiora felt it inappropriate to touch Alex more than absolutely necessary to prevent herself from falling off. It would have been easier to ride with Demil. At least she knew Demil would not have minded her touch at his waist. With Alex… Fiora had no idea. His swings of temperament were unpredictable in her opinion. Where one day he would smile at her, the next he would snarl. She no longer wondered why Demil’s wives had been worried when she lied about loving the man. Truly her grief would find no end if her lie had been true. 

As it was, she did her best to sit as far back as possible, leaving six inches between them. It did not help, though, when Civyl set a harried pace that left her bouncing and clinging to Alex’s shirt so tightly that her fingers soon went numb. By the time the sun had passed its midday peak, Fiora was exhausted from the strain on both her thighs and her shoulder which throbbed in protest. As much as she thought she had healed, it was obvious her wound was far from totally mended.

Her stomach had growled for midday meal a full tick back, but Civyl had showed no sign of wanting to stop. That Clover was finally slowing now was such a relief, Fiora forgot her self-imposed mandate and leaned her forehead against Alex’s back as she closed her eyes. “Oh, thank the Fates!” she whispered to herself not really paying attention to the jovial voice that wafted back from the front of the column. 

As Alex pulled Clover closer to the good-natured mumblings, they stopped abruptly and changed to a worried exclamation instead. “Tears of Wisdom! My Lady, you’re white as a sheet!” Fiora forced herself to look up at the man, beginning to recognize his voice. It was the healer from the Peace Keeper’s camp and he looked sick with worry as he stared at her. He threw his gaze around accusingly at everyone else. “Has no one thought to check on her?” he demanded.

The End

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