Winter – Chapter 23 – 04

            We’d decided that it would take ten evenly spaced wards to fully secure the wall and thus our borders.  In some ways, it was easier to set the wardings along the edge of the ravine even though those could be accidentally knocked over or otherwise disrupted.  We worked quietly, efficiently at the next wards.
            We were three wardings in when I started to feel light-headed.  I leaned against the wall, swallowing hard and staring at nothing for a moment.  J.T. grasped my arm.
            “What’s wrong?”
            I shook my head, which turned out to be a bad idea as pain and dizziness spiked with the motion.  “Dammit,” I mumbled, putting a hand to my head.
            “What’s the matter?”  It was Kellin, this time.
            “I must be putting too much in,” I said, staring at the ground and hoping the world would stop spinning.  “Lightheaded and dizzy.”
            The three exchanged a look.  “That isn’t good, is it?”  Rory said.
            “Probably not,” J.T. said, reaching over and gently taking me by the arm.  “When did it start?”
            “Just a couple minutes ago,” I said, knuckling my eyes and hoping that would help.  I swayed slightly against the wall, sucking in a deep breath as nausea sunk its claws into my belly and twisted.  I cursed again under my breath, swallowing a groan along with bile.
            “What the hell is this?”  J.T. asked, glancing at Kellin.
            “You think I know?”  I saw her jaw tighten out of the corner of my eye.  She came around to the other side of me and put her arm under my shoulders.  “Come on.  Maybe you’ll feel better if you lay down.”
            Feel better if I lay down?  I’d feel better if I knew what was wrong with me.  Maybe I really had just dumped too much into the wards—or maybe they’d just sucked too much out of me.
            Then again, maybe it was something different.  Something worse.
            I straightened slowly, leaning on both Kellin and J.T.  Rory looked momentarily indecisive, then shook his head firmly.
            “Should I go get Thom, or should I grab a couple people and see if there’s anything nasty in the area?”
            “The second thing,” I said before I had to clamp my jaw shut so everything I’d eaten that day didn’t end up offered to the ground in front of my feet.  Jay will get Thom if I need him.  But I don’t think I do.  Not yet.
            “You don’t look good, Mar,” J.T. said quietly.
            I had to swallow twice before I could talk.  “My stomach and my head are staging a rebellion against the rest of me.  Of course I don’t look good.”
            J.T. and Kellin exchanged a look as if I wasn’t there, one that said that they were both worried
            Really not good.  Shit.  I struggled to take a deep breath and exhale slowly, hoping the world would steady around me.  It didn’t.
            Maybe I’m just hungry or something.  That could be it, right?
            Wishful thinking, that.  But I didn’t have much left beyond wishful thinking and scattering thoughts.
            What the hell is going on?
            I grasped for a pendant that hadn’t been there in months, the one I’d lost in the ravine.  The one that Phelan had sensed, asked if I wanted to find it.  Momentarily, I regretted not having him help me find it.
            Then I remembered the tall, slender boy that could only be Thom’s son and knew that I’d made the right choice.
            I half wondered if Phelan had ever seen anything like it—what I was going through, or what I’d seen in the ravine that sunny afternoon—about thirty seconds before I blacked out and stopped thinking anything at all.

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