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The WeatherMaker Hearts Desire By Lady Lilium Characters: 5364

Updated: 2018-07-12 12:03

'No!' Amaia cried, suddenly pulling back from Tristan and trying to free herself from his grasp. 'White Feather is still in there! We have to go back for him.'

'We've no time.'

'We have to' Amaia demanded.

'It's too late for him.'

'I won't leave him!' Amaia shot firmly back. 'I would rather die; he risked his life for me.'

'Amaia' Tristan said turning back to her, his patience wearing thin. 'He's dead.'

Amaia gasped; her whole body beginning to tremble.

'No…' she whispered. 'No…'

Her legs weakened, and she fell to her knees, fainting. Tristan wasted no more time, lifting her in his arms and continuing his way to the waiting horse. He placed her on the saddle of the animal, mounting the chestnut stallion behind her. Holding her in place with one arm so she wouldn't fall, he grabbed the reins with the other, kicking the horse hard into a gallop and getting as far away from the palace as possible, as fast as possible, until the trees consumed them. Only then did he allow the exhausted animal to slow to a walk.

Amaia began to stir sometime later. Tristan felt her move as she lifted her head groaning, for a moment she just sat there in silence, confused.

'It's alright' Tristan said gently to her, arm still around her waist to support her.

'Where are we?' she mumbled.

'Somewhere safe' he told her. 'It's going to be ok. You're safe now. I'll look after you. I'll keep you hidden.'

'White Feather' Amaia sobbed, hands covering her face. 'He's dead. How could this happen? Oh White Feather…I'm so sorry…'

'There was nothing you could have done.'

'I feel so guilty….this is all my fault.'

'It's not!' Tristan shot angrily at her. 'It's not your fault.'

'How could he be dead? He was the most important thing in my life…how could this happen…? Why does this keep happening…? I've lost so much…'

'Shhh' Tristan said to her. 'Be still. Everything's going to be alright now.'

Amaia allowed her eyelids to droop. She fell into an uneasy state, somewhere between dreaming and waking.

When the horse Tristan was guiding finally slowed to a stop, Amaia opened her eyes, looking up to see a rundown thatched cottage in the woods. It was a vast wood; they had not left it since they first entered it some unknown time ago. The cottage looked grim and had long since been abandoned; the garden around it was as overgrown as the forest the cottage was built in.

Tristan dismounted. Amaia feeling too weak to move allowed him to pull her from the saddle and carry her in his arms to the cottage. The door opened before they got there. Two women, one young and one mature stood there waiting for them. Tristan entered the

cottage; the older woman closed the door after him.

'Run a bath for her' Tristan told the two servants as he lowered Amaia to her feet. 'Have her washed and dress and put to bed.'

'Come on dear' the older lady said, placing an arm around her shoulders and leading her to the next room. 'It's all alright now. We'll look after you.'

Tristan left to go into another room as Amaia was undressed by the two women and led to a bath that was waiting for her. The bath was already full and the water warm. Everything had been made ready for her arrival and everything was laid out for her.

The younger woman took her old dress out of the room to throw it away, as the older lady helped her into the bath. Amaia's skin had darkened in dirt, and her light green hair which was usually thick and full of volume, now hung down from her skull, thick with grease and filthy.

'You poor thing' the lady said, dabbing a clean cloth into the soapy water and beginning to clean her face. 'You must really have been through something terrible.'

Amaia didn't answer. In fact she didn't speak at all. She remained lethargic as they washed her, dressed her, brushed her hair and put her to bed. There, she slept for nearly an entire day.

Chapter Sixty One

A White World

When Amaia woke, she woke gradually. First she slept for a long time in a deep slumber; then slowly, her mind became more and more conscious. She heard strange sounds around her, birds outside, unknown noises coming from downstairs. She dreamed about these noises, and put objects and actions to them. She began to shift in her sleep, feeling more awake, and strange in an unfamiliar bed. She turned over, and opened her eyes.

The room she found herself in was bright. The window behind her was very large, but there was no glass in the frame. It was chilly inside the cottage, a cool breeze lifted the faded brown curtains either side of the window. Amaia shivered, pulling the thick blankets tighter around her. She lay there, staring at the room before her. It was a bare room, with wooden walls and floors, there was nothing else inside the room beside the bed she lay on.

Amaia let out a breath, blinking slowly several times before closing her eyes again.

She stayed in the bed for another hour or so, before rising.

At last, when Amaia felt she was fully rested, she pushed back the sheets and stood. She looked down at herself, feeling clean and refreshed. She was wearing a long white nightdress that she had been given by the servants. It fit her well, as if it had been chosen especially for her. She patted herself down, straightening the creases, before lifting her head again.

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