Sacred Dawn Ch. 01byLailineral©
"That may be awhile."
He glanced at her and waited for her to go on.
"It is going to snow soon. From the looks of it its going be a heavy one."
"Snow already? When I left it was still mild temperatures."
"The seasons change fast up here. You're lucky, if this had happened a day or two later the snow would of killed you."
His mind jumped to mother and sister. They would probably be receiving word in the next day or two that he was missing. His absence would be noted, they had probably already dispatched a messenger. "Is there any way I can contact people?"
"Not really. Once the snow starts we will be forced to stay indoors till it finishes. Traveling in a blizzard is suicide. If it wasn't so late in the season I would of brought you directly to the town. Don't worry though, my cabin is well stocked."
If he had been found by anyone else, he would have been dead. He did not know the reason for his certainty, but he was. She had been able to save him when most healers would of failed. He had seen lesser injuries be deemed impossible. "My mother is going to be worried sick when she hears."
For the first time he could see her hand relax a bit on the knife. Her voice was softer then ever before, though her face still held him in a stony gaze. "I'm truly sorry about that. If we were closer to town we could risk it, but I am afraid that you will be stuck with me for a few days, at the very least."
Not a terrible prospect, really. If he did not know that his mother was probably going to be crying her eyes out, he would not mind the vacation with this stunning woman at all. He did not remember much after the first night wandering around the forest, but he knew that she had been there for him. If it wasn't for her he would be dead. "Well, at least the scenery is nice." She looked around at the bare trees, then towards the mountains, then blinked. "Are you flirting with me?"
He grinned. He loved a woman who was direct. "Yes. Is there someone I should watch out for?" She smiled back, catching his arm and helped him walk easier.
His tongue got caught in his throat. Being close to him he could feel the soft heat radiating from her hands, warming him up.
"There is no one to worry about."
"Good. I mean, I'm not attached either. No girlfriend or anything. Not that I haven't had any before or..." He clammed his mouth shut. He was not the smoothest person on the planet, that was for sure. But usually he did not babble as if he was a thirteen-year-old trying to talk to the girl he liked.
She stared at him. "That's... good."
"Sorry, I'm rambling. I am still groggy about everything."
They walked in silence lost in their own thoughts. Slowly the ground getting steadily steeper. "So where are you from and what brings you up here?"
This time she was the one that broke the silence. Her face was smoother then it he had seen it before, even her voice was softer and comforting. She still had an air of suspicion about her, but it seemed to be lessening.
"I live here."
If he had not been practically staring at her, taking her in, he would of missed the sudden stiffening that effected her entire body. Any warmth she had was instantly replaced by the previous stony gaze.
"I have never seen you before. Its a small area. Besides, you don't have the accent."
"Camilla, I lived there up until four months ago."
Her stony glare had changed again, there was alarm in her eyes. "You have not heard... of me before?"
"Can't say I have heard about any woman as beautiful as you in these parts."
"You must live further west then, in Renet."
He knew that town, it was much further to the west then they were. "Nope, I live in Klail."
She let go of his arm and sped up her pace, not looking back at him. "You have certainly not lived around here for a long time or I am sure you would of heard rumors about me."
He could not figure out her angle. Was she afraid of him? Angry? "So people just know about you far and wide? You must be known for something amazing."
She snorted. "I don't think anyone here would call it that."
"Really, I'm actually surprised and and kind of angry that no one ever mentioned you living so far out here on you own. It's a bit far for us to guard, but it's in our vicinity."
"For you to guard?"
He shook her head even though her head wasn't facing him. "We really need to introduce ourselves properly. What's your last name?"
"Sarah Gordon, I am Alex Toren, the new Captain of the Warden Guards in this area."
Her response was the exact opposite of what he expected. He saw her hand grip her knife even tighter. Her pace quickened and her stride became rigid. He may as well told her he had killed her family. He tried to catch up and put his arm on her shoulder in concern, but his body hurt too much.
She slowed her pace a bit. "Old Victor retired?" Her voice was casual, but her rigid stance and odd behavior revealed something else.
"He died. Caught something that was going around." Alex paused, when he noticed her almost slipping on a rock. "It was months ago. The council needed someone sent up here and I got picked for the job. I think they just wanted someone new." He eyed her up and down. "The previous captain and you had a bit of a fight?"
Once again proving that she was apt to do the unexpected she laughed, a cool, hard laugh. "We are here at my cabbin. You go in and lay down, you probably have a fever again and must be very tired. I need to get some wood and other supplies." She turned and looked at him, her face cold and hard, no warmth was showing in her gaze.
He much preferred her when her eyes were warm, and her voice sweet. Though what he wanted was her face flushed and her moaning, writhing beneath him. But it looked like that wouldn't happen any time soon.
As he entered the cabin he saw a snowflake appear on the ground. It had started snowing.
Somehow, even though he had been saved from certain death, things were not going well for him.
Shit, the new Captain of the Warden Guards.
She saved the life of a Warden. Worse yet, a Warden Captain . Somehow she had convinced herself that Alex had to live somewhere in the south. After all no one chose to move up here. It was in the middle of nowhere. Nothing ever happened. A few people left, but no one moved in. Ever. Granted, even if someone was going to move in, it wasn't like she was going to hear about it right away. Living far from town did have its drawbacks.
Sarah felt like punching something. Her brain had somehow disillusioned itself with the idea that by saving Alex's life, she claimed a bit of him. But now he was tainted with not only living in Klail, but as well as being a Warden.
Not just any Warden, but the Captain of the Warden's. Her fear and hatred of Wardens was a bit over blown, but it was not without reason. Wardens hated evil, they sought to eradicate it as much as possible. Luckily for them real cases of magic were never really proven. The problem lay in the face that most people viewed Sarah s power as an evil power, she was branded a witch by most of the towns people. Not only that, but Alex was a man of power. Men of power and influence in combination with small towns almost always equaled disaster.
She should of left him to die. The thought jumped into her head for but a moment before she shoved it out as forcibly as she could. No, that wasn't true. She was grateful for her part in saving Alex, despite what he was.
At the moment though she needed to try and recover any control of the situation that she could. She couldn't let this get out of hand. If word got back to Klail that she wasn't the blood thirsty witch they thought, soon enough they would be here with pitchforks and torches. Her reputation was how she protected herself, and she would not let saving the life of one man be the cause of her death.
While she gathered some firewood, she tried to figure out what just to do with Alex. It was a bit reassuring that had just moved in, the people around here weren't a trusting lot. People would still look down at others just for the fact that they were not born in the area. Also with his brown skin he would never fit in fully with the local population, hopefully keeping him out of the corrupt workings of the locals. But even though he was not yet entangled in a web of fraud didn't mean she could trust him, could she?
She'd managed to fill the box full of firewood before entering her cabin. Alex had crashed on the bed, huddled beneath a few layers of furs. He looked worse then he had when she had healed him, but he still had color in his cheeks. "You had a bad relationship with another Warden?"
"Trying to figure out why you hate Wardens."
Her reaction had been pretty easy to read. She should have realized that he would of noticed, despite the state he was in. "I wouldn't say I hate Wardens..."
"I don't know, your grip on your knife changed when I mentioned my job."
"What do you mean?"
"Earlier you were weary of me, when you heard about my occupation your hand switched a grip ready to strike and kill me with no hesitation."
"I was ready to do that before."
She had been lighting a fire in the fireplace, which was now crackling, quickly heating the room.
"Before it was a stab me if I moved a muscle wrong, it changed to stab him out of anger."
She couldn't deny it to herself, felt angry, but not necessarily at him. "Your head must still not be feeling right, holding a knife with is the same no matter what. And I don't hate Wardens, just some of them." Only those who use and abuse the system for their own person gain.
"You can explain yourself to me."
She glared at him. "Stop."
"Was a family member killed by a Warden?"
She noisily sat the kettle down on the fire and poured water in it. "You need rest."
She liked him when he was resting and unconscious. She had even been so charmed by him that she had snuggled up against him and fell asleep.
"You should join me." He flashed a smile.
She was sorely tempted. His body would certainly warm her up fast like it had done the previous night. She tried to ignore that. They both needed food, it was really starting to snow outside and there was still some work to be done before she could rest. The water was heated, she threw in some oats and gently stirred. "You should eat then then go to bed."
"Food sounds good. What you making?"
"Oats. Its nothing much, but its good for you."
She brought out a few bowls and poured in the heated oats and handed him a bowl. They ate in silence, she was trying to ignore him as best she could until she knew exactly what to do. When his bowl thudded onto the floor, she looked at him in surprise and alarm. He had sunk into the bed, his skin extremely pale. His eyes were closed and his breathing came out in ragged gasps.
"Are you okay?"
"Tired. Very tired." His voice was barely audible over the crackle of the fire.
"Of course you're tired. Get some sleep." She felt a faint bit of remorse for acting so cold when he needed the most warmth. Just a bit.
She watched him carefully, his face slowly grew more serene, his breathing slowed and his muscles relaxed. "So far you have been one difficult guest." She was talking to the walls and she knew it. Not of her own bidding, her mind imagined an erotic fantasy about a rugged man who had stumbled into her porch. How they would need each others body heat and have crazy animalistic sex right then.
Alex sighed contently and rolled onto his side.
She grinned despite everything. Reality was complicated.
She carefully studied him, the bandages needed to be changed, some had a drops of flaky blood. She shook her head and started to remove the bandages. Each bandage was a mar on what was otherwise becoming an idealistic landscape for her. His face was still peaceful and his breathing slow. It would be easier to deal with healing him when he wasn't away, easier to touch him as well. The furs had dropped to his waste as he had eaten, revealing more cuts and bruises then she had thought were possible.
Pressing her hands onto his chest she let the energy flow threw her, charging into his body. This time her perception didn't waver, she was still in her own head. The cuts were healing before her eyes, the bruises slowly disappearing.
Satisfied that she had done enough she let out a deep breath and removed her hands. The familiar pain hit again, not as bad this time since it was only a small heal, but she inhaled a sharp breath none the less. The new sensation of pleasure mixed in with the pain still confused her. She had never felt anything like that before. It felt good though. Her mind used this as an excuse to return to her earlier fantasy about finding a stranger in the woods...
She grinned at him with a satisfied smile. After losing her power for so long she couldn't help but feel a surge of pride. She wanted to scream to the world I did that! Yes me, me, me! The feeling of accomplishment and the lingering effects of the pleasure left her in a semi euphoric state. Her head still close to him she noticed he had a somewhat rancid smell to him. She grabbed a soft cloth and another bucket of water. She dipped the cloth in the water and began to slowly rinse his body. She kept her motions specific and soft. What she really wanted to do was scrub his chest and curl her fingers in his hair.
As she cleaned his body she noticed more and more scars. She knew where the new ones were from but had no clue where the other ones were from. She knew it wasn't any of her business, but as she cleaned each one her mind jumped to its own confusion.
Even though they had slept, naked, together, somehow this felt more intimate. It was because he now had a name, a face, an occupation... He had talked to her and had looked at her with those eyes that just sucked her in. Sarah sighed.
His voice made her jump. She realized she had stopped cleaning him and had been simply running a finger over his skin. His voice was louder, but still sounded pretty weak. She dropped the towel in the bucket and handed him a water skin.
He readily took it and drank. Finished with the skin he laid his back down on the bed. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing. I was just cleaning you and changing your bandages. I doubt you want to smell sweaty."
"Thanks, you can clean me more if want."
His town was low and unbidden brought fourth all sort of erotic thoughts. "You're welcome." She felt her face flush in embarrassment.
They sat in silence for a bit. "Anyway, I'm done. Let me bandage you back up." She looked up at his face to see it had change to a confused frown as he looked at his wounds. Shit.
"What the fuck? Where are my wounds? I should have huge gaping holes in my right now."
She just sat there not knowing what to say. Her mind was racing to try and come up with anything reasonable to say that he may believe, but she was just drawing blanks.
"I was cut just three days ago. I should still be able to see the open wound." His voice was rising in anger. "What the fuck did you do to me?"
"I saved your life," She snarled at him. "Now you're the one yelling at me. And they call women crazy."
She watched as he visibly tried to reign in his temper. "I's sorry I yelled at you. I just want to understand how my wounds just disappeared overnight."
Once she told him he could go back to town and tell people about what she could do. Then those who dared would come up here, but soon enough a scared angry person would show up one night... "I just used some herbs."
"No herbs could do this. I have been injured before, and the Warden healers are very skilled and I have never seen or heard... I want to know what you did."
"What else could I of done besides use medicine?" She said matter of factly.
"There are rumors that some people can still use magic... Most people believe it has all died out, but I don't know. Maybe you have healing powers.
She imagined the torches and the pitchforks that would be showing up at her place. "Magic hasn't been seen for over a hundred years. Do you know how crazy you sound right now?"
"Through my job I have seen some crazy stuff. Some maybe only explained about magic. And I remember... feelings, from after you found me, about my my body feeling like it was on fire-"
"You were on fire, you had a terrible fever."
He looked at her with stubborn eyes. "I have been hurt before, it wasn't even as bad as this time. There is no way I could feel be feeling this good unless you did something. I am barely in any pain."
Sarah glanced at his face and gently put her hand on a bandage. She pressed down with just the right intensity and heard him inhale sharply.
"Shi-stop. Okay. I get the point."
"Oh?" She was still applying pressure.
His face contorted into a grimace. "I'm not healed yet. Stop."
She smiled to herself and let go of the wound. She started to roll fresh bandages over the wounds not realizing just how close to him she was until she felt his soft breath on her neck. Her face immediately turned red, but she finished bandaging him before standing back up, embarrassed. "Um, you thirsty?"
"Yes, but first..."
"First?" She continued when he trailed off.
"I need to use the bathroom."
"Oh." She blinked at him a few times before she reached down beneath her bed and pulled out a chamber pot. "Use this. I need to go out and get some more supplied anyway."
His face turned beat red. "I can't go to the bathroom while in your bed. I can go outside just fine."
"You're not getting out of bed yet."
"Oh? You can stop me?"
She put her hands on his chest. "Lets see if I can."
He smiled at her. "I didn't think I would ever be telling you to get off me."
It was clear that he did not like the test, but she knew it would be better if he stayed in bed for at least another day. It would also be better if he viewed her gifts as evil and something to be afraid of. That way people may still be too afraid to show up at her door.
She closed her eyes for a moment and felt her hand throb. She found all the energy she had given him earlier and easily recalled it, feeling energy and strength drain from his body.
When he did push up against her he instantly laid back down, wincing in pain. His face was once again flush and sickly and his breathing was extremely ragged. His entire body had a light sheen of sweat on it. "What the..." His voice trailed off to weak to say much more.
She let her hands pulse again and let a fraction of the energy back in. His face took on a much healthier glow though his breathing was still heavy. Her head pulsed in pain making her stagger a little. She had not relished the act one bit.
"What exactly are you?" His anger was expected. What she had not expected was the fear in his voice. It completely blindsided her.
She slowly regained her composure, slowed down her breathing and tried to concentrate. What. What is all that mattered. Not who. Damn him. It wasn't this was how she wanted to live, by herself, in fear. Damn him, damn him an all Wardens for making her this way.
Not him, technically, her reason tried to surface. Either way, this is what you wanted.
She put on a mask of indifference and looked at him. "I'm just a little girl who pinned you to the bed with one hand. Now use the chamber pot." She had let anger slip into her voice accidentally.
She didn't want to talk to him. She didn't want to hear his voice. She didn't like that she liked how he said her name.
"I imagine you want your privacy, have fun." She walked casually towards the door.