~ The Pass ~ pg 8

Both Chink and Borris flinched at the question and Fiora wished she had not asked. Chink finally decided to give an answer. “I used to…” he admitted with deliberate slowness. “Every mornin’ I would grow a flower… for my sister, and give it to 'er. 'Er favorite were the blue ones. Didn’ matter what kind of flower as long as it was blue.”

It seemed like the whole mountain had hushed to listen to his words. Fiora found herself momentarily jealous that she’d not had a big brother to grow up with. “That would be lovely,” she breathed. “Your sister was very lucky to have a brother like you.” She wasn’t sure if he was conscious of it or not, but his grip on her waist tightened slightly. 

After a moment more he finished his thought. “When she passed, I didn’ have anyone to grow flowers for anymore so I just… stopped.”

“I’m sorry,” she offered and he sighed. 

“It was a long time ago.”

“Over ten years,” Borris added with his own sigh and wistful look. “She was only twenty.”
Fiora felt a twinge of fear. That one so young could die… the thought made her worry about herself. She could have died too… at such a young age… if Alex had not stopped Civyl’s sword. A great well of gratitude flowed up in her heart and overflowed in her words. “She was blessed to have had you all in her life just as I am blessed to have known you. I am glad to have met you.”

“Even though we kidnapped you?” Borris asked with skepticism.

“Even so,” she laughed. “The Birchwood brothers will forever live in my heart as proper gentlemen and rightful heroes.”

Borris snorted. “Gentlemen? Do you hear that, Chink? She thinks we’re gentlemen! Rapscallions is more like it.”

Fiora smiled as he poked fun and Chink held her even tighter. Something went on in the big man’s mind again but he kept it to himself this time.

The End

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