Alex nodded as if to convince himself that the choice was a good one and stepped away from the others but Nivia caught his wrist and pulled him back. She divided her intent stare between him and Civyl. “Fiora is too cold,” she hissed. “If one of you tries to warm her, the chill would overwhelm your system and you would be no better off than she is now.” Alex tried to take in the information. For a sliver of a moment, he wondered if the woman was suggesting they leave Fiora to freeze to death but her next words, while they made more sense, were just as difficult to accept. “She needs both of you!”
Nivia left it at that, moving off to Demil’s side while the two men stared at each other in silence. Civyl had been fighting the whole day to keep Alex from Fiora, and now, because of that, they would be closer than they’d ever been. Sharing a bed. Alex would have smiled at the irony of it, if he wasn’t preoccupied with Fiora’s rapid deterioration. The longer they stood here, the worse she got. Alex nodded at the man in silent understanding. He would make sure Civyl did not hurt Fiora during the night. Civyl nodded back. He would allow Alex this contact with Fiora, for her sake. They would warm her together, because neither could do it alone. It was a theme Alex did not care for… they needed each other.
It was cold and it shook. That was all Fiora knew to be true of the world. She locked her eyes on a single image as an anchor. As long as she held the image she knew her spirit still walked the earth. A movement blocked the image. She tried desperately to find it again but darkness descended and the image was lost. She was lost. The world was taken from her and death swallowed her up. A death of shaking pain and torment. … She must have angered the elements as they displayed their wrath. The wind had abandoned her, punished her with stinging ice and stealing all warmth. The earth shook her violently, never ceasing. Now, burning embers of fire seared her right side and boiling waves of water scorched her left. There was pain in both… but also comfort as a heated breeze stirred on both sides of her face. Eventually the earth stopped shaking and other things of the world came back to her awareness. Like the presence of two strong bodies, one on each side of her where she now lay in relative comfort. Death had not taken her today.