After a day and a half, he finally stirred. Rian had tended to his injury and waited. It had been an anxious wait.
“You are awake. Good. How do you feel?”
“Confused. Sore.” He sounded groggy.
“That is not unexpected. You have been asleep for at least two days.”
His hand shot up to his neck. “Where is it?”
“Where is what?”
“My medallion. It was around my neck.”
“What does it look like?”
He scoffed. “You took it off.”
She feigned ignorance. “I did no such thing. Is it a family heirloom? There was no medallion where I found you.”
He did not look convinced.
“So what happened to you? I found you unconscious in the woods, but how did you get there?”
He stared at her intently. “Do you really not know who I am?”
She was trying very hard to appear relaxed and unconcerned. Luckily false appearances were her speciality. “I have never seen you before. How should I know who you are?”
“And my clothes? They mean nothing?”
“They are very nice. Since you seem so concerned about this medallion, I assume you are from a wealthy family. But I know little of such things.”
Doubt began to creep across his face. Had he begun to believe that she might really not know anything about the Terrgat? When he spoke next, he sounded less rough, more cordial toward his host.
“I had been riding. Something must have startled my horse, and she threw me. I assume I hit my head, and that is where you found me. Perhaps I lost the medallion in the fall. I apologize for accusing you.”
She waved her hand. “It is alright. I can take you back where I found you when you feel better. We can look for it. I saw no sign of your mount, however.”
“Thank you.” His eyes closed and his head sank back into the pillow.
She needed to know more. Was he in the woods because of her? Did others know where he was? In the end, did it matter?
She sat and watched him sleep. What should she do? Even if he was not looking for her before, he knew she was here now. How long would it take to suspect her of being a mage? Could she really be safe anymore? If he were to disappear, would others come looking for him? And is that something she could even do? She had never killed before.
This Terrgat, he and his, had killed nearly everyone she had ever known. If he found out who she was, he would certainly try to kill her. But could she kill him to save herself?
Maybe she should just leave, go somewhere else. Now that she had been found once, it could happen again. It would be safer to quit this place. But she was tired. Too tired, she thought, to start again. She would not run once more.
That decided it, then. What she had to do. He was defenseless; it would be a simple matter to stop his breathing. A kinder death than he would give her, she was certain.
The shadows had grown long during her deliberation, and everything had taken on an orange hue in the late afternoon sun. The Terrgat’s eyes were open once more and looking at her.
“Could I have something to drink? I did not want to interrupt you, but I am very thirsty.”
“Oh, of course. You need liquids to recover properly.” She poured a glass of water from the pitcher and handed it to him.
“Thank you. You have been very kind to me.”
“You are welcome.” She smiled. “I could not just leave you to die.” As she said it, she knew it was true, and she could not bring herself to make it false.