[This post is from Thomas Merlin Ambrose’s point of view.]
“Fine.” The word came as an exhaled breath. “Fine, dammit, fine. There are riders coming cross-country. I saw them from the orchard. They’re armed. They might be scouts, they might be something else, we don’t know. Dad’s getting everyone ready for a fight and he wants you below where you’ll be safe.”
My heart started to hammer. “What about you?”
“He told me to find him after I’d gotten you somewhere safe.”
Then why the hell is he sending me into hiding? Even as the thought crossed my mind, though, I already knew the answer—I was hurt and needed to be protected. But how many times had my parents gone to the battle lines hurt? I knew from their journals that it had happened dozens of times. Each of them had worried every single time, but they’d still done it.
It was what they had to do. What they were supposed to do.
I swallowed, standing up. I pulled on a clean shirt over the bandages, then a pair of pants and socks. Kailey watched me, chewing on her lip. Outside, the clamor of the village preparing for a potential attack hadn’t abated at all. I wondered how close they’d gotten, or if they were still where Kailey had spotted them.
“How long was it since you saw them?” I asked.
She frowned. “I don’t know. Ten, maybe fifteen minutes. Why?”
“Just curious,” I said. That’s about the time I woke up.