Twenty-nine – 02

[This post is from Neve’s point of view.]

Seamus pitched upright, gasping in a breath. “Leinth,” he choked, fingers tangling in the bedding. Neve pivoted immediately, moving back to his bedside. Sweat beaded on his brow and he hunched forward slightly, sucking in short but deep breaths.

He slanted a look at his sister. “Where is she?”

Neve swallowed hard, struggling to find the right words. Seamus’s eyes narrowed and his tone took on a note of urgency and command.

“Where is she, Neve? Where’s my wife?”

A shudder shot through her and she reached for one of his hands. “Lay back down, Seamus.”

“What happened?” he asked, voice sharp. “Neve, tell me.”

“Just lay down first. Please.”

He stared at her for a few seconds, almost scowling, then slowly eased back down to his pillows. He was pale except for two spots of color high in his cheeks. She knew without checking that he was running a fever.

Calm. Be calm. You can do this.

“The others rode out against Orcus,” Neve said. “Leinth went with him.”

He stared at her, his breathing starting to slow after a few seconds. His head lolled to the side, looking away from her. “That explains it,” he whispered. “Gods and monsters, that explains it.”

“Explains what?” Neve leaned forward. “Seamus?”

“The battle’s joined,” he breathed. “There’s no turning back.”

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