~ The Rain ~ pg 12

Civyl’s eyes grew wide as he balked. “I… I cannot,” he stammered out as he backed up a few steps. 

“Stubborn man! I need help,” As she spoke, she tried to pull one of the boots from Fiora’s foot ineffectually.

Civyl’s desperate eyes locked on Alex. He wasn’t sure what he saw there – Fear to agree? Fear to decline? Alex was tempted to offer his help in Civyl’s stead… but one glance at Fiora cured him of it. Her eyes gazed only at Civyl. In this hour of need, he was the one she turned to. Before the man could make a request they would all regret, Alex left Fiora’s side to approach him. He handed Civyl the nightdress and walked on without a word making sure the rest of his brothers stayed distracted.

Once they were thoroughly involved in a heated discussion about why Nivia had wanted to bring all her medicines, Alex found time to get himself changed but shivered all the more from the lack of a cloak to hold away the wind. Three usable blankets? How would they decide who got one?

Eventually Nivia’s strong voice called them back. “Gather round, gather round. Borris, bring the blankets.” When he handed them to her, she gave him one back. “We will have to share,” she explained. “Even if we each had a blanket, without a fire we must share body heat to keep warm enough. Borris, you share with Chink.” That was no surprise, though her next pairing was. “Demil, you’re with me.” Even though the sunlight was almost gone, Alex could make out the surprise on his face. Nivia stared him down as if daring him to protest. 

Alex felt an unwelcome twinge in the pit of his stomach. There were three people left… and only one blanket. It wasn’t difficult to figure out that someone would be going without. Nivia handed the last one to Civyl. Alex looked on longingly but wrapped his arms around himself without complaint. Fiora – still shivering violently where she sat – needed it more than he did. In her presence again it was painfully obvious, her loyalty was to Civyl. She looked only at her promise and nowhere else.

The End

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