Two things immediately tipped Zha’ane off that something was wrong. First, Lore’s side of the bed was empty. Two, he could smell herbs for tea. It was early in the morning yet, so early the first rays of sunlight had not yet started to touch the harbor. While he could tell he hadn’t gotten nearly enough sleep he could deal with it. He lifted his head and glanced towards the window. He knew that’s where she’d be.
He could barely make out her form against the starry sky visible outside. She had her back to him, a blanket around her shoulders, a mug of tea in her hand. She sat still as a statue, he almost couldn’t tell she was breathing. Zha’ane rolled from the bed, a slight chill in the air told that fall would be coming soon. He came around the bed making sure to make just enough noise for her to know he was there. She tilted her head but didn’t look at him and didn’t speak.
Wordlessly, he took the mug from her hands. It was empty. Still she seemed to ignore him as he went over to the teapot and refilled it. Lorelli accepted the mug back and sighed.
“You should drink that.” Zha’ane told her.
“Already had two mugs.” Her voice was weak, barely above a whisper.
Zha’ane frowned.”You okay? Aely saw to you, didn’t she?”
Lorelli waved her hand, “M’fine. Aely knows what she’s about.”
“And then some.”
There was silence as she finally took a sip from the mug in her hands. She still didn’t turn her head as she spoke. “You mad at me?”
Zha’ane didn’t answer right away. He sorted his thoughts and replied. “A little. It was really idiotic of you to go running off with everyone like that with the state you were in. I don’t mind covering you in a fight, but... I just wish you’d... think sometimes.”
“M’sorry. I just couldn’t handle the idea of sitting around being healed while everyone else was out doing what they could to help the Roses.” She took another sip of of the tea. “Especially since it was my escape plan that failed.”
“Excuse me?” He resisted the urge to attempt to clean his ears. He wasn’t sure he’d heard her right.
“Was my job. Keep everyone safe, get everyone out if fighting started. Fighting started and I ran off after that slickear bitch hit Bricu. Our lines fell apart, people got injured, Shaila got kidnapped...”
“Love.. the Roses weren’t your responsibility. It’s a tragedy Shaila got taken, and I pray to Elune they find her soon safe and sound. But there was no way, no way you could be expected to protect everyone there.” He placed his hands on her shoulders, waited for her to look at him finally. “It was your planning that ensured as many got out unscathed as they did. Look at who got hurt. Aside from what happened to Bricu, you, Illi and Ulthanon held the line just as you said you would while the rest of them got out. Could have just as easily been chaos with everyone running about picking fights or tripping over each other.”
She opened her mouth to speak, but he cut her off. “You said, fighting breaks out, get Tarquin and Chelody out of there. They were the first ones out from what I could tell. Nobody’s dead and that’s the best you can hope for in a situation as volatile as this was. You cannot continue to beat yourself up over this.”
“So what about that fight I started with Illi? Can’t tell me that wasn’t my fault.”
“Oh, I don’t argue that was your fault and damn stupid thing to do too. You two could have easily killed each other and you said yourself the last thing we need right now is in fighting. However, I think you’ve also realized and learned your lesson and both you and Illi walked away from it.” He gently raised her face to look at him. “Plus you’ll carry the reminders of your folly for a few days. How’s your jaw?”
Lorelli chuckled, “It works, so I’m thankful for that. How bad’s the bruising?”
“You look a bit like a black and blue racoon around the eyes and of course the jaw. Fading fast though.”
“As I said, Aely knows what she’s about. I’ll be sore a few days, bruises ain’t just on my face, but I’ll mend fast.”
Zha’ane nodded and brought Lore’s attention back to the tea. “No more self pity, okay?”
She nodded but it was half-hearted.
He kissed her gently on the forehead, smoothed her hair aside. “Finish your tea and come back to bed.”
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