Morigan’s will, feeling like a helpless coward. The Sylph’s plea rang in his ears: stand still and do not react.
With efficiency, Morigan commandeered a private room, ordered fresh linens, hot water, and handed off his kilt to be laundered and mended—as if the castle had nothing better to do. But in one day, Morigan had restored the chain of command and brought order to the survivors. There was no disheartened, disordered, leaderless army that stood a chance against the healer’s calming presence.
Oenghus, like so many others, surrendered to her competent hands. This worried Morigan to no end. She stood by the bed, frowning at the blood soaked bandages on his back and shield arm and the cuts that were not bandaged. He shifted on his stomach to eye her. The lines of exhaustion had not left.
“Just get the back and arm. The rest will heal with your salve.” It was a testament to her state that she did not argue. But Morigan did not immediately set to work, she planted her backside on the bed.
“Before I start—what’s going on? Rotting Void fiends don’t turn up every day.” While she waited for water and linens, he had sketched over the details of the battle and the subsequent betrayal of the Knight Captain.
“I figure the carcass was probably frozen in the mountains, slain during the Era of Blight and left to rot,” he murmured. “I think the earthquakes knocked it loose and the air warmed enough to thaw it out in the chasm.”
“I’m not an idiot,” she interrupted, firmly. “You know what I’m getting at. The nymph , Oen. Who is she to you?”
“I’ve said all I can, Mori.” There was a plea in his voice that alarmed her, but long companions as they were, she pressed the issue as she usually did.
“I’ve healed two nymphs, and I’ve never seen one make trees grow like she did in that garden, and those eyes of hers, in the moonlight—”
“There’s always a first time,” he pointed out.
Morigan snorted. “And I’ve been with, on, and under you enough to know more than I should about you.”
He chuckled at her words.
“Is she who I think she is?”
“I’ve never been able to change your bull-headed mind once you get an idea settled in there.”
“At least you’ve learned one thing in all these years,” she retorted. When Oenghus did not rise to the bait of an argument, Morigan placed a comforting hand on his muscled shoulder. It gave him the strength to make a choice.
“I won’t be going home, Mori. I’ll travel on to Whitemount.”
To his surprise, she nodded as if she suspected it already. “Then I’ll be going, too.”
Oenghus turned slightly. Dark, familiar eyes stared down at him with more love than he deserved. “Why?” he asked.
“In all these years—through our three Oaths,” she whispered. “I’ve never seen you look so trapped, Oen.”
“You should also know by now not to worry about my hairy hide.”
“Someone has to, you big oaf,” she smiled, and bent forward to place a kiss on his temple.
“What would I do without you, Mori?” he murmured.
“Probably bleed to death.”
A solid wall of snow blocked his path. Oenghus was trapped. Howling filled his ears, making his prison unbearable. The screams were feral and pleading and all consuming. It came from his Oathbound, his very first. She was ripe with child—their child who could not find its way out. She was dying, and with snow all around there was nothing he could do. Her cries pushed at the walls of their cabin and beat at his ears. There was no help, nowhere to go. He was as trapped and helpless as she; alone, watching his Oathbound and child die.
Consciousness saved him this time. Oenghus Saevaldr sat bolt upright in the night. He threw off the covers and leapt to his feet, ready to fight. There he stood, panting like a caged lion. However, he was alone.
A warm hearth mingled with the moonlight, a silver stream that slipped through the narrow window. There was no danger, no