A Sorcerer at Her Side
By Violet Day
Date: April 7, 2016
Ch. 55

Emonar passed his hand over the blade. Within its burnished depths came a faded representation of what Shayla recognized as the dining hall of her home.
Her father was at the head of the table, clearly alive. She let out her breath. Men in green and white paced through the room, their weapons drawn.
Where was her mother?
“Can you find my mother? Quickly, before your power runs out.”
“Have patience,” Emonar muttered, but the scene moved. He surveyed the dining room. He was about to move into another room when Shayla stopped him.
“No, there! Move back to that wall –yes.” She felt her eyes fill with tears. Her mother was sitting against the stone wall near the opposite end of the room of her father. Her mother’s dress was torn and she was sobbing, hiding her face. Shayla wiped away a tear. She knew why her mother couldn’t face her father. She knew why she was crying. “I’ve seen enough,” she said.
“Your parents are alive,” Emonar said. “This is good news. I do not understand why you are shedding tears.”
Shayla ignored Emonar’s ignorant comment and rested her head against the stone behind them and shut her eyes. She took a few deep breaths.
Suddenly she was overcome with a need for human closeness. She needed a hug, anything to feel another living being breathing and possibly caring for her.
She moved her hand to touch Emonar’s. He jerked away.
Opening her eyes, she looked at him, hurt. “Emonar. In the past twenty four hours I have experienced some of the hardest things a lady can experience. My family is in shambles and I am far away from my home. The least you could do is find some compassion within you and hold my hand in yours if I need it.”
She looked at him.
His expression barely changed. He blinked. His features were so perfect. If only his outside appearance matched his ability to show kindness.
“In the academy,” he began, his voice drawn. “There was no chance to develop a sensitivity for these matters. I have never… I have never had someone to care for. Please forgive me if I am lacking in this area. And please instruct me on how to behave appropriately.”
A smile tugged at Shayla’s mouth. Maybe he hadn’t had a chance to learn about human interaction before, but he had good instincts.
“You could start by giving me a hug,” she said.
And he did.

He leaned in, clearly not knowing what to do with his arms or where to put his head. Shayla hugged him tightly, not caring that she barely knew him, but focusing on the sound of his beating heart and breath. He smelled something of spices.
She pulled away.
He straightened himself, adjusting the fasteners of his robes.
“Thank you,” she said. “And again, I must thank you for protecting me. I hope you will accept my gratitude now?”
“I will not,” he said.
Shayla resisted the urge to roll her eyes. “I understand. I will make a friend of you yet,” she said. The words brought butterflies to her abdomen but she was glad she said them.
Then she remembered the one question she still harbored about Emonar’s loyalty.
“You would never lie to me or betray me, correct? They taught you not to in the academy?”
Emonar nodded, slowly. “Yes, of course I would not deceive you. Why is it you ask?”
She decided to tell him what she had seen.
“I saw you use the dagger to scry the path behind us,” she said. “And I know we are being followed by Sir Fane’s men. Why would you keep this from me?”
He looked down, then back to her. “Perhaps it was not the most wise of decisions. I did not want to worry you.”
“I did not tell you of Sire Fane’s men because I did not want to worry you.”
“Emonar! I am already worried. I am worried because my family is being held hostage and I am being whisked away to plead our case to the king. I am worried about everything. One more piece of worrying knowledge would be nothing.”
“I thought to keep it from you and deal with them without you being aware, if possible.”
“Well, did you?”
He shook his head. “I have not had a chance.”
“Are they nearby now?” She decided not to continue expressing just how incredulous she was at the fact that he had hid this from her in order to keep her from worrying.
“I do not know.”
“Do they know we are in Amiya?”
“Most likely, yes.”
“Then they could be anywhere.” Shayla stood and looked over the top of low stone wall around the courtyard. “They could know where we are right now.”
The guard heard her and yelled over the wall. “Get out of there in a few minutes, lovebirds, or else I’m going to need a few more gold pieces.” He had a thick accent that Shayla couldn’t place.
“Quick, scry for them. We must know if they are close.”
Emonar nodded. They both sat down again and he set the dagger on his lap.
He passed his hand over the dagger. Shayla noticed his brow was damp. This much magic was taking a toll on his energy.
Busy port town scenes rushed by on the dagger’s surface in a jumble. Within seconds, the scene had settled on a group of men in green and white. They were on a street she couldn’t place, the sea visible over the tops of the buildings to their left. The tallest man had his back to the invisible viewpoint of the scene. He was wearing a different outfit from the rest: leather trousers and a green coat. It was the insignia of the Fane family that marked him as a part of the group.
He must be in some kind of leadership role within the group, Shayla thought.
The man was talking to a merchant. The noise of the street made it difficult to hear, but Shayla was just able to make out the conversation.
“A sorcerer,” the tall man was saying. “A young one. Around twenty. And a young lady, around eighteen. Average build, blonde hair.”
The merchant shrugged. “I don’t know. I can’t help you, my lord. But I can help you if you’re looking to buy fine hand woven rugs from across the sea –”
“No, that will be all.” The tall man turned away from the stall.
Shayla realized two things at once. One, the tall man was wearing the coat and was addressed as “my lord” because he was Sir Fane’s son, Leon. And two, Leon was the most gorgeous man she had ever seen in her life.
She had heard about him; her family had been sent a birth announcement and an announcement of his being made a knight (though he was a knight for his own father, so it wasn’t so remarkable). But they had never been sent a portrait or even a physical description.

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