Seventeen – 07

[This post is from David O’Credne Miller’s point of view.]

All of the moisture in his mouth dried up and he stared at her for a few seconds.  His heart lodged in his throat, refusing to beat, choking him.  He was dimly aware of Issy squeezing his hand so hard that it hurt.

There is so much more to this than I’ve ever realized.  They know so much more than I thought they would.  Is that why I needed to get here?  Is that why what I’m looking for is here?  Or do they know because what I’m looking for is here—and are they in danger because of that?

“I don’t know what they were,” Bryant said quietly.  “Just that they were dark and ugly with claws and glowing eyes.”

“And wings,” Travis added in a low voice.  “Don’t forget the wings.”

“How could I?” Bryant shook his head.  “That’s how they got to us so damn fast.  It was getting close to sunset and we were getting ready to make camp.  They came out of the treetops and into the clearing.  Spooked the horses so bad they bolted.  Most of us came out with some gashes but David took the worst of it.”

“David took the worst of it because they focused on him more than any of the rest of us,” Issy said.  “They didn’t much appreciate the buckshot, though.”

“They didn’t,” Bryant agreed.  “Seemed like that did a decent amount of damage.  Didn’t risk camping there after that—patched ourselves as best we could and rounded up the horses.  Rode for a day and a half straight until I was sure that they weren’t tracking us.”  He shook his head again, scrubbing a hand over his face.  “Do you know what they were, then?”

“I have my suspicions,” the healer answered.  “Though I’m not entirely certain.  If they are what I think they are, then something’s happened to break a long-standing peace—and I don’t think that has anything to do with you.”

“What if it does?” David asked, his voice almost inaudible.  A cold ball of fear settled in his guts.  “What if it does have something to do with us?”

“We take care of our own,” the healer said softly.  “And given that you’re Aoife’s son—that makes you family.  One of our own.”  She offered them a tight smile.  “I’ll check on all of you in a bit.”

She was out the door before any of them could stop her.

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