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To her his hobbies sounded like the typical pursuits of the wealthy and titled. Evie smiled slightly, though her smile fell when he said his books were probably all gone. She wanted to deny it, but in truth he might be right. She just didn’t know if the people taking over the palace would value the books and knowledge or just see it as something Elvish to be destroyed. Certainly anything actually Elvish would not be safe. “I’m sorry. I hope it isn’t all gone by the time you get back.”
So the rumors did bother him. After listening she slipped one hand over his. He sounded upset, and Evie couldn’t blame him for his bitterness at this point. Lian had nearly been killed last night because of those things people said. The wound was still fresh, both literally and figuratively.
“It’s complicated.” Evia started. Her fingers gently moved over his hand in an almost absent minded soothing gesture, round in a slow circle. “I’ve seen things as you say. Some humans are quick to blame elves and you for all their problems, even ones they bring on themselves. At the same time, there are elves that do treat us poorly. As if we’re below them. And the way my parents talk it sounds as if it was worse before, though really I can’t know for sure I suppose. It’s not all elves, or all humans, one person can’t be responsible for everything anyone of their race did. At least that’s what I think. And clearly not all humans hate you, or I wouldn’t be here.”
This wasn’t a topic she enjoyed talking about much. Evie wanted to change the subject again. Her head rested against his back,”On another note, what sort of day do you prefer? For weather, I mean. Sunny or rainy? The sound of the rain is nice, but it makes working hard so really I like somewhat cloudy days the best.”
The topic was trivial, but it didn’t need to be deep. It just needed to be different. Unbeknownst to her two riders were behind them on the road, and catching up. Her hearing wasn’t sensitive enough to notice them yet, and she wasn’t looking back to see them even if she could spot them yet. The pair of riders were in fact two elves, making an escape of their own.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Her words were nice and sweet, her warmth happily accepted as she pressed closer to him. With one hand wrapped within the reigns of the horse the other gently rest atop her own. It was peculiar how this reaction had come about. Stripped of his title, his prestige, his role in society, he was but a basic man. He held some sway based on past actions but that would wane with each passing day. But right here and now he was just another man, riding atop a horse, trying to piece together the remnants of a life that had never faltered in several decades.
With her head moved atop his shoulder, her breath against his ear as she finished with a query about his interests and hobbies, trying to move away from what she had said about how he was viewed by his human subjects. He would play along for now.[+royalblue “I hunt in my protected forests. I practice with my bow in the castle archery range. I read, quite a lot actually. My libraries are large and vast. At least I used to. I have little doubt that it is all gone now.”] He frowned, all that he had said now part of his past life. His books would be burned, his bow broken, his hunting grounds ravaged by poachers and men with no restraint to take only what the land can manage without. Riding on with this residual distaste in his mouth he could not help but speak up again.
[+royalblue “To address your last point,”] he had tried not to come back to the crux of the matter that they were here atop this horse but he had failed,[+royalblue “the suffering, the executions, the devaluing as citizens of humans is very much a misconception that is ingrained into the human mind.”] It was not the best start, but they had time to talk and so he would use that for the moment to connect to one of his subjects.
[+royalblue “Humans may not have prospered as much as the elves, nor the dwarves, or any of the other races. They have been given ample opportunities to thrive and do not take it but spurn it and then point, in typical human fashion, and blame the one with power. Clearly he is the one keeping them down and promoting those around them. Clearly he is a racist who only wants our demise and to make us a subservient race.”] A little of his anger had come out in his voice and he was very bitter at these truths as he saw them. Having spent so long trying to understand the situation he could perhaps be forgiven for this resentment of humans that had built for a number of years and now hardened him to her belief that he was a good man. He knew what he had done, did she not know?
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The cover of the trees kept things cold enough that Evie was glad for the warmth of leaning against Lian. She watched the trees and bushes as they passed, and caught glimpses of several animals who were often hiding or running at their approach.
So he really thought she had come there to kill him. It did look like that, though really she’d had no real intention to do him any harm. She’d just been following her parents like she thought she should. Evie wished she could see his face then, to see his expression when he asked,”I don’t think you’re doing a good job convincing me I was wrong, Lian. I think you’ll be proving them wrong in the end, even my parents. You’re so much better than they say you are. The things they say.”
Evie shifted a little and tightened her hold on him a little. It was an uncomfortable topic, but she pressed on with increasing intensity,”They say you hate us, enjoy watching us suffer. They say when you’re bored you have humans tortured or executed for your amusement. That you encourage elves to falsely accuse humans of crimes to have them jailed or killed so they elf can have their property, or just to have us beaten in the streets. Really, people who do that have started to be punished lately, humans are allowed in the castle, and it is starting to get easier to make a living. Even if it doesn’t fix everything, or bring my...”
She hesitated, again wishing she could actually see his face. Did this bother him? Had he heard all this before? Not her family issues, obviously. Still, Evie felt like he did deserve the truth about who her family was, why they had been there last night. She continued softer,”My mother’s family vineyard or my father’s business back. One man, even a king, can’t fix every wrong in the world.” She tried to crane her head a little higher up to look at him, or at least over his shoulder,”I’m sorry if I overstepped. I don’t mean any disrespect, I’m sure the rumors bother you far more than they do me. It’s just I believe you’re trying, and I certainly don’t believe you have people tortured for entertainment.”
The last part was said like she clearly found it ridiculous, almost laughable that people actually believed it,”I’m sure a man like you has far more ways to entertain yourself that are more appealing. What do you do to relax or have fun? If I may ask?”
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Grateful for her acquiescing to his request for some formality between them, he had to take a moment to concentrate his thoughts as her hands slid around his waist and she pressed against his back. With her settled he did not have the horse wait too long and turned it toward their path for that day. He was not accustomed to the warmth of another so close to him like this. It had been a first to sleep beside someone other than his mother when he was quite young. This lack of physical interaction was perhaps born from his style of leadership, being very standoffish to anyone.
Given his racially improved hearing, his attention soon picked up on the subtleties in her delicate breath and soft words. From how he judged her motivations since meeting her all Lian could garner was her desire to do positive deeds. She was a sweet soul if a little naïve of people’s intentions. The fact she had come to kill him the night before and yet so easily switched sides to help him, was not a point he could ignore. If she had so easily swayed toward helping him, how easily could she go back the other way? It added to his feeling of unease as he rode with her behind him.
He did not think she would attack him, even given what was a perfect and easy opportunity. The manner in which she cared for his wound and fetched food was endearing. If that was her plan, to lure him in with kindness before attacking and claiming the victory as her own, then he was fooled. Even the way she spoke his name was quite pleasant and he felt a little more relaxed.
[+royalblue “You speak so highly of me Evie as if I am truly a good man and that you did not come to kill me last night.”] His tone was not one of accusation or malice, but quite formal and concise. He found it difficult to speak in any other tone.
Lian kept his eyes moving about the light woodland around them, turning his head slowly as he scanned the area. He was wary of brigands as well as those who had taken his castle. Not wishing to tense and strain his injury any further he found himself speaking before realising it.[+royalblue “You’re quite the interesting young woman in truth. You say you saved me because you trust I am a good man, that those who attacked last night did so for the wrong reasons and for not getting to know me.”] He settled back into her a little as the warmth of her small figure was quite inviting with little heat from the sun.
[+royalblue “How do you know you are right? What if I am what they say, or worse?”]
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A few hours, so even keeping off the beaten path they would likely arrive by evening. That was good, she worried the longer they were on the road without help the worse his leg might become. Just because it was doing well now didn’t mean it couldn’t get worse, particularly if it wasn’t being tended to properly.
Evie smiled to herself, still folding the blanket. A man’s pride could be a delicate thing, especially in a position like his. He was a king only in name for the moment, something that was bound to be a sore subject. “Of course.”
With the blanket in place she started to turn when she felt his hand on her arm and immediately leaned in to support his weight and keep them both from falling. After that she helped him without prompting, making sure he got on the horse without further incident. He needed to keep weight off that leg still. It was hurting him more than he let on, she bet. Evie supposed it was his pride that kept him so composed, he really did seem to have that trait in abundance.
Evie took his hand and pulled herself into place behind him. Her arms settled around him. It felt more comfortable than last night, she guessed because the atmosphere was more relaxed,”Hopefully.”
The reassurance wasn’t so convincing to her. She knew how desperately they wanted to kill him. She had been there with many of the people before the attack,”They really hate you though. They don’t understand… Lian.” There was a slight pause when saying his name, an lingering uncertainty about leaving off the titles. That hesitation couldn’t afford to be there if they did run into anyone else on the road. “If only they could see what I’m seeing they might change their minds.”
They were on their way, and though it really was beautiful out here Evie was glad not to have days of riding ahead of them. It would get tiresome quickly. The sun was starting to warm the places it could reach, but it wasn’t very hot yet. The leaves rustled in a breeze and the day seemed like it would be quite peaceful.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Her comment that it 'could be worse' was both true but a little off putting to the injured man. It meant she had seen or knew wounds could be worse; and in that case, what was a woman as young as her doing knowing about such wounds? She looked far too timid and meek to have worked as a nurse, nor did she look like she came from a family that worked his fields or acted as his guards – so where was she seeing worse injuries?
Lian was focusing on the more trivial matters and he pushed such concerns to the side as she inspected the wound whilst he pressed the medicinal paste to the cut, hissing like a snake as he pressed it flush to his skin.
Her response to his inquiry was most unforeseen. Speaking of how she believed he was not what they said, that he was a more noble man and a good King. His confidence was buoyed by her words and he felt more vindicated in his rule of his lands to have a human girl tell him he was not what others had deemed him. Lian knew he was not being cruel to the humans or treating them any more unfairly than they deserved. If only Jal had been here to listen to this girl. Those who had taken his castle were simply brigands and thieves and he would wreak havoc upon them.
Once more lost to his thoughts, he looked up at her as she stood and folded the blanket. Nodding at both her questions he eased himself onto his good knee, stretching the other leg out to his side so as not to put it under more strain.[+royalblue “Ferrin is a few hours on a direct path. But given I should be trying to remain unseen, then it will take us a few more hours on lesser travelled paths.”] This was his land and as a diligent man he knew most paths, from main thoroughfares to hunters tracks. Such knowledge would disipate the closer the neared the borders, but so close to his capital he was in his element.
[+royalblue “I agree that Majesty or Lord would draw attention, and for that reason alone I will consent to your suggestion.”] It was clear he did not like the idea of being spoken to as anyone but a ruler and a King, but he could not very well stay hidden and retain his self-indulging titles.[+royalblue “Though please do try not to take that too far. I may be trying to stay incognito but I am still the King of these lands.”] The slight barb to his words would not be lost on an intelligent woman like herself, but likewise she would perhaps see it as simple male posturing. The whole 'swinging manhood to look important' shtick.
Leaving her to focus on getting the blanket packed away left Lian to affix the scarf about his neck and chin once more, covering the markings before standing up entirely. He stumbled, grasping immediately for Evie rather than fall down. Bowing his head softly in thanks, he could feel the affected leg was beginning to numb, and whilst the paste would lessen the throbbing of the cut it would not heal him. He needed to reach Ferrin and such urgency had him climbing up on the horse, the young girls hand's trying to help though it felt all too peculiar to feel someone touching him in such a way. Even Jal refrained from touching him.[+royalblue “Hopefully those who took my castle are too busy celebrating their pyrrhic victory to have sent out riders just yet. We should be able to reach Ferrin first.”] He was trying to reassure himself more than his newly acquired ally, reaching his hand down and clasping her delicate fingers in his own to help her up and on behind him.
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The wound didn’t look as bad as she feared. Evie carefully peeled back the cloth to see the skin around it. There wasn’t any serious swelling, no signs of infection which was her main concern for the moment. An infection would do far worse than pain him and slow him, it could end up killing him. While it looked painful, she summed it up by commenting,“It could be worse.”
Evie picked a few berries and ate them while she looked at the wound a little longer. Their meal was simple and small, but pleasant, and the morning was calm and beautiful. She would have liked this very much if the circumstances were different.
At his comment Evie looked up from his wound to his face. He was right, she could have left instead of coming back for him. Even if she didn’t return home, she could have gone anywhere. The thought had briefly crossed her mind earlier, but she’d dismissed it. She intended to see this through.
She picked up more berries and flowers and chewed them thoughtfully. He did deserve an answer, but how to put it into words, she wondered. Evie watched him put the paste over the wound. That was a good idea, it would help a little until they could take care of it better. Evie pulled the cloth back over the wound and tied it back up tightly. As she worked she answered.
“I suppose it came down to the fact that I didn’t believe them. I don’t think you are what they say you are, I don’t think you hate humans. I think you’re better than that, that you will be a good king. You just need more of a chance than they were willing to give you. You’re kinder than they say. Change is just slow, and hard, but it is happening. I just saw you and I couldn’t have you killed for things you did not do.” There was probably more to say, but she stopped there. She popped what what left of the berries and flowers in her mouth and stood up,”We should go. I have been meaning to ask you, how far is Ferrin? And, may I call you Lian? It would be much easier and less conspicuous on the road than saying King Lian or Your Majesty, and more polite than ‘hey, you’ all the time.”
She was smiling at him, wondering how he would respond, but also clearly felt fairly sure that he wouldn’t be offended. She wasn’t waiting for an answer though, and had picked up the horse blanket off him and started to fold it. Now that she had decided they should leave she wasn’t delaying in getting them on the road.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat When Evie had returned it was both a positive and negative occasion. He was grateful that she had not taken this time to leave, to abscond and return to her family that were still so close. Surely they would forgive her transgression in the heat of the moment, or she could play it off that she was taken against her will. It would leave him alone but she had done all she could and could return to a normal life.
Yet he was grateful to have her return. He had not been abandoned and now had an ally to count upon. Better yet she had returned with edible foodstuffs. It was only berries and leaves but his elven background looked upon the meal as more than adequate, even if his lavish lifestyle had precluded him from eating so modestly.
He reached out a tentative hand to accept a small handful from the folds of her skirt, looking up at her as she made mention of his wound. Pulling back the blanket he joined her in inspecting the wound for the first time.[+royalblue "It will have to do until we reach Ferrin."] He conceded as his free hand gently moved around the strip of cloth. Looking up at her as he placed several of the small fruitful morsels into his mouth he observed a little more closely in the growing morning light.
She was quaint and unassuming. Delicate features on an innocent girl who came across as both strong of personality but intelligent of mind. She knew whom she was dealing with, but she understood the situation they found themselves in. And it was a most precarious one.[+royalblue "I have to say I am surprised you are still here."] He commented having swallowed down his meal.[+royalblue "With my crown forcibly removed I am nothing more than a wanted man - a [i very] wanted man, at that."]
His hand dipped back into her dress, withdrawing a few select leaves which he began to fold on itself.[+royalblue "Why did you do that last night?"] The leaves were placed into his mouth, chewed and mashed up to make supple and into a very coarse paste that he then moved to his wound. It would not heal him, but it would act as a painkiller and form a seal across it until he could be sealed.
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Evie was hoping to find something for them both to eat. It would be a hard day if they had to start with empty stomachs. The faint morning light wasn’t the easiest to see by at first, but it was enough for her as she wandered as far as she dared from where she had left the king. Her search bore fruit, quite literally. She managed to find a few berries of different types, along with leaves and flowers she knew were edible. Something or other was almost always in season that was safe to eat.
With the gathered food in her skirt she returned to find him sitting up. Evie smiled and greeted him warmly,”Good morning, Your Highness.”
He looked tired still to her, and she guessed he was worried too. She hoped he wasn’t in too much pain at least. For her, things seemed a lot better now that it was the morning and the sun was rising. She felt like their problems weren’t quite as dire as they felt in the night. Evie sat down next to him with her legs tucked under her and let go of her skirt. It fell away to reveal what she’d gathered sitting in the laid out fabric in front of her,”It isn’t much I’m afraid, but I thought it would be better than nothing. Did you sleep alright? If you want I can take a look at your leg now, though I don’t think I can do much besides make sure it’s tied securely. We’ll need supplies to stitch it.”
For her the conditions weren’t as big of a shock. While she wasn’t exactly used to these circumstances, it wasn’t as big a leap from her daily life as it was for him. She had gone to the wooded places outside town alone before, knew many of the plants around here and their uses or which to avoid, and it wasn’t her first time sleeping outdoors. At the same time, the way she spoke and the way she moved weren’t quite as casual or careless as some of her peers. Someone had taught her some manners, even if she didn’t use them perfectly all the time.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat The night was not one he had ever thought he would experience. Laying on a cold dirt floor with only a horse blanket and the figure of a girl who had come to kill him to keep him warm. His wound throbbed repeatedly and more than once during the night he had moved in his sleep and woken with a start on knocking the cut.
For a man born into nobility, with a silver spoon in his mouth and servants to answer to every whim, this was a culture shock of sorts. His father had sent him on many excursions from the castle but it had been with a retinue of followers and soldiers. Lian's life had never been in danger and as he woke, only to be told to remain where he was and that his saviour come companion would return shortly, he was left to lament so many things. Had he really been that harsh on the people? Was this just a consequence that even he could not have solved? Jal was right, but to what extent?
Despite all of these thoughts on the past and where things had gone wrong, the aching wound of his leg would change his mind. He continually came back to focus upon his desire to take back his home and take back his castle, to rouse some soldiers, build his army, and in time to take the heads of those who had ousted him. He was the King and to be thrown out by a bunch of human peasants was not the life for him.
Lian sat up not too long after she had left and pressed his back against the leg that had acted as his pillow for the night. Gently massaging the skin about the cut to ease his discomfort his mind drifted a little to the girl. What was her motivation in all this? She had come with her parents to kill him that night and yet she had single handedly saved his life. Perhaps it was out of desire not to see someone killed. Perhaps she was a pacifist in that manner. But then why leave the man who had attacked him? It could not be a racial motive either as she was not an elf, and she was not a servant so it was not born of servitude.
A sigh escaped his lips, his body a shade more pale than usual, though given his fair skin it was not all that obvious. He ended on thoughts of their path that day, how to reach this woman who would help them – he hoped. He had not seen her in several years and if the news of his dethroning had reached her before he could speak with her, then she may not be as forthcoming with her assistance. His cold fingers came up to his face, rubbing at his weary eyes as he awaited Evie's return.
She thought that was a very pretty whistle. More than pretty, it was useful too. She watched as the horse came closer and the king pulled himself up. She was curious about what he was doing, until she saw the blanket. She wanted to offer to share the cloak as well, but he insisted. His eyes weren’t hard or cold, just insistent. Evie did finally pull her cloak back over her shoulders and laid down with a quiet,”Thank you.”
The hood didn’t make a very good pillow, but it was better than nothing. It was comfortably warm under the blanket and she started to feel a little sleepy before long. She made an affirmative hum when he whispered where they would go tomorrow. He had a plan, that was good. She hoped this would all work out somehow. Evie was sleepy, but it took her a little longer to actually fall asleep properly. When she was almost asleep she half roused herself worried they weren’t alone, only to hear and see nothing and drift back off. After that happening a few times she finally did fall asleep and stay asleep until morning.
When the sun was lightening the sky, but before it made its appearance over the horizon, Evie stirred awake. No one had come for them in the night, and the morning felt cold and fresh. Her nose was cold, but under the blanket she was warm. The king was so warm next to her. She shifted and started to slip away, not wanting to wake him if he was still sleeping. He could rest a little longer while she took a look around for anything useful, and hopefully edible.
When she felt him move anyway she whispered,”Go back to sleep. I’ll be right back.”
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat With the scarf bundled up to place behind his head as a makeshift pillow, Lian had lain back against the log behind them and took deep breaths to ease the discomfort of his leg. She remained beside him, quite silent as he had gotten comfortable, and he had thought to ask his question a second time – perhaps she had not heard him? When she did speak though it only set off a dozen alarms in his mind and left a heavy weight upon his chest.
If she was not a servant, had come with her parents that night, and given her racial background – it did not take a man such as he with his level of education to place why she was in his castle on this fateful night. The heat rose in his blood and his right hand clenched with the anger that began to build. But the vision of Jal flittered across mind’s eye and he overheard the man’s plea that he offer these humans some form of pliancy and a chance to make amends for their actions. He would have wanted the King to show his leniency that night as he looked across to her during her pause. His hand unclenched and the weight in his chest slowly subsided.
This girl, Evie as she now said whilst sitting down beside him and observing his leg, had gone further than was expected of her and indeed done the opposite of such. She had come to kill him, to see his reign topple and his life end and some usurper take the throne in his place. But somewhere along the way she had changed sides. She had helped him – no, she had saved him. Whether it had been reactionary or her plan all along he would find out in due course but for now he left the point be as she removed her cloak.[+royalblue “As I say, the leg will be fine.. but do not make yourself ill at my expense.”]
His looked across to his horse, whistling a short tune like a bird from the trees around them. The horse snorted and bristled at the sound before turning and moving across to them. It was a well trained beast and Lian lifted a hand up as the horse lowered its head. Stroking across its muzzle he lifted up with a soft sigh. Grasping the reins about its head he used it to lever himself up onto shaking knee, a tacky hand taking a hold of the thick woollen blanket that had cushioned Evie on the ride up.
[+royalblue “Here.. it will keep you warm.. even if only for this night.”] Pulling it down with him as he sat back down, the fabric unravelled to an impressive size. Used to keep the horse warm in weather much worse than this it was perhaps thankful that it was a mild night and the horse would be fine for the weather.[+royalblue “Keep the cloak about you.”] He instructed her, looking to her soft face as she hesitated and their eyes met for a moment. Nodding his head for her to do as he said she eventually complied, and only once she had done so did he progress to lay down himself, the blanket pulled across them both.
Lian had been silent for a time with her and did not wish for her to fear what would come with daybreak.[+royalblue "We will travel to Ferrin tomorrow. A familial friend lives there. She will offer us assistance.."] He whispered to her as he felt her warmth up against his side. She seemed an innocent girl given how surprised she had been from the human’s curses of her and the way in which Lian had silenced his fenestrations. This observation stayed his hands from wrapping around her and drawing her near to him to share their warmth. Instead, with his head back and resting against the bundled scarf, his breathing soon levelled as he drifted to sleep.
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They would send searching parties for him, she didn’t doubt that. Evie helped as best she could to get him situated comfortably near the logs. It had evidence of being a camp for someone previously, so it was probably as good a place as they were going to find tonight.
She briefly considered trying to light a fire, but quickly decided against it. As tempting as it was, she felt like they were still too near and it might lead any scouts straight to them. They weren’t in any shape to fight or flee effectively, so they needed to stay hidden.
His question seemed sudden to her, since she’d been so lost in thought about what to do now. Her name? She thought back. She hadn’t told him, had she? There just hadn’t been time. He thought she was a servant from the castle. That made sense, but it wasn’t the truth.
Evie looked at the markings going down his neck, momentarily distracted. They were supposed to be frightening from the rumors, but she was just fascinated. He’d asked her something though, and she realized she didn’t want to just sit there and stare at him. How could she tell him her parents had come there to kill him? “I—I’m not… I didn’t work in the castle. I came with my parents tonight. My parents…”
There was a pause. She couldn’t get the words out. Her parents were there to kill him, and had brought her along in what they were sure to eventually think was their biggest mistake. Because despite everything her family had struggled with her whole life she didn’t want the king dead. She looked troubled, and for a moment like she might cry. She was sure they would never forgive her for this even if she saw them again, and she couldn’t go back now to find out or she’d probably be executed. The night’s events were weighing on her more heavily now that the immediate danger was over.
“My name is Evie.” She scooted over to sit next to him and looked down at his leg,”I’ll take a look in the morning when I can see better. It doesn’t hurt too bad, I hope.”
She unfastened her cloak and pulled it in front of her, then shook it out and let it settle over them both like a blanket. It wasn’t quite big enough really, but she figured it was better than nothing,”Are you cold? I’m not sure a fire would be good, they could find us that way, so this is all I have.”
It was comforting to focus on taking care of him rather than letting herself think over what had happened, or looking too far ahead at what might happen. Everything always seemed worse in the night.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat The hillside they had stopped at had one of those picturesque views of the capital at night. Through a clearing of trees you could see the flickering lights of the castle and the village around it, all in the distance and like another world to them now. Thankfully Lian did not look that way lest his ire be stoked further.
The young girl was at his side not long after falling and she was offering her assistance in getting him elsewhere than the floor to sleep. It was pointless really as the rest of this clearing was entirely the same.[+royalblue “The wound will be fine once properly stitched. But we can't rest for long – they will send out scouting parties to find me.”] He gritted his teeth and hissed as he rolled over onto his good knee, taking a hold of her hand and in a half crawl half walk they moved over to some felled logs and the charred remains of a long unused fireplace. Clearly others had camped here like them in the past.
Sat back down again his hand, stained in his blood, clutched at his thigh in an effort to ease the discomfort. It would have been good to light a fire of their own and have the girl attempt to suture the wound herself. Being a servant she would no doubt have some training in cross stitching. But it would not do to trouble her too much tonight. She would need steady hands and he could see she was more than a little troubled by the nights events.
[+royalblue “What is your name?”] He asked as he looked across to her, the faint moonlight haloing behind her as her tumbling hair framed such an innocent face. When she looked at him in wonder he shook his head.[+royalblue “I can't go on calling you girl or servant. I would like to know the name of the woman who helped to save my life. It will please Jal to know the human servants he hired did such a noble act tonight.”] He removed the scarf about his neck, no longer fearful of her seeing the markings/
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His hand over hers was a small comfort. It was the last moment of relative calm before the mad dash to the broken gate. All she could do was hold his waist tightly and remind herself to breathe. Evie was so worried she would fall off, or be pulled off. That didn’t happen though. After he had them both duck under the gate she finally took one look back.
It was probably for the best that she couldn’t see anyone too well, let alone anyone she knew. What would she think if she could see her parents just then? How would they look at her now? Fleeing on the back of a horse with the man they came here to kill tonight. It wouldn’t have made her feel better.
The pace was still rough on her. She wasn’t used to riding, but she didn’t dare suggest stopping, not while they could still hear people pursuing them. Even after she realized she couldn’t hear them anymore she just held on. The farther they got the better, she supposed.
Finally slowing down was such a relief that Evie sighed. She wasn’t sure how long they had traveled, but it had been a while. It wasn’t until they stopped that she thought to finally take a look around. It was hard to see too well with only the moonlight, but it was beautiful. They were well outside town, if she had to guess.
Him asking for her hand got her attention and she gratefully accepted the help down,”Thank you.”
She stumbled a bit when she took a step, her legs a little stiff. Evie finally took the time to adjust her skirt and look around again for a moment, but turned quickly when she heard the king fall. His leg wasn’t doing any better, and why would it? The riding can’t have been good for it.
“King Lian…” Evie murmured. He was a king, but he was also a man. Men tended to say things in pain and anger that they didn’t really mean, she knew that. She hoped that was the case now, though she couldn’t say for sure. Her eyebrows knit up in concern and she knelt down with her hand offered to help him up, not sure if he would take the help at this moment. Reprimanding him for his temper wouldn’t help right now, he’d been hurt and betrayed and needed to express that somehow. Instead she tried to change the focus a bit,”That wound is deep, isn’t it? I… Here, let me help you find a more comfortable spot to sleep. We’ll need the rest to continue in the morning.”
He had to be aware of it too. Even here wouldn’t be safe for long, they needed to keep going. And he wasn’t going to get very far without her help in the state he was in. Come morning they would both have to continue to travel together, toward somewhere more safe for him, somewhere he had friends in power.
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