• AND NOW IM REACHING OUT WITH EVERY NOTE I SING •
The roughspin tunic came as a surprise to her as she felt his hands brush alongside her shoulders as he slid it over her, careful to keep from disrupting the wounds on her face anymore than her tears already had. She welcomed the fabric, shivering as she felt the warmth from his body in the fabric wrap around her and ward away the cooling air. Anmarisa slipped her arms into the sleeves and wrapped them around her waist, her eyes looking for his to give a silent but ever grateful thanks. Instead, she found his jaw set, and gently used the bottom hem of the shirt to dab away what tears remained on her cheeks.
His No gave her pause, and she looked to him abruptly.She found her hand responding to his, wrapping tightly as well as he scooted forward, now curious in what the young Caldonian had to say. Even more so, she was content to listen if only so she didn’t have to hear the guttural gurgle of her own voice as she choked on her tongue and swollen lips. She let his eyes meet hers, leaned in even as if to say “go on”, and held her breath when he paused. She could feel her heart speed up and her guts twist as they always did, and finally the dreaded realization came.
Anmarisa leaned back, pulling her hand from his as he loosened their grip. She coiled it against her body, drawing her good leg close as well as she watched him warily now. She had come to trust him more so than any other Caldonian she had met, even if they had only encountered each other once before. Something in her heart had told her he was good, their cultural differences and age long battle could coexist with their hesitant budding friendship. However, now, she felt her heart freeze in her chest and confess it had been wrong. ”You’re one of them,” is what she tried to say, but instead came out as a soft, You’re….them?” with an edge of fear and anger mixing in where it could. He had told her to come out here, given her Conan’s name and where about she could find him as well— had he intentionally sent her to her death? Did she narrowly miss the ill tidings of a stranger she’d stumbled into in her mothers house?. She wanted to slap him and throw off his tunic, storm across the desert and scream that she didn’t need his help. Better yet, had she the strength, another albeit less severe, fight could have taken place. She had meant those threats to Conan, and they extended to Cefin as well, but he stopped her when he confessed Caldo did not have Alexander.
She waited. The silence between them hung on and on for decades as her eyes fell to him, judging whether or not he was truly the enemy and if his word meant anything. He bore Karins name, but so far Anmarisa had yet to see any malice. Her heart spoke again to trust, but her mind threatened that she was a traitor to her own father and all of Aver if she did. What if he used her? She had a duty to protect and care for what was left of Aver and her kin. She also, however, was not in much of a position to decide who her friends and enemies were. He had not come out here brandishing a sword and army. There were a million volatile ways he could have tortured and killed her, still could if he suddenly decided. She trusted now that he had pieced together who she was as well, and he had still come out here looking for her. He had given her valuable information, and unless she suddenly gained the ability to navigate out of the desert, would be her ultimate savior in getting back to her small camp and finding a healer to help with her burns. Her features softened and she reached for his hand again, tentatively holding his fingertips in her own. She could not trust him, not entirely, but for tonight at least she was willing to forgive him.
”It’s okay,” she could feel her heart silence what logic told her and found herself leaning in again to catch his gaze. ”Alexander is my father.” she made her own confession to him if only to confirm the conclusions she knew he must have already made. ”Don’t…” she had placed herself in his trust now, prayed that he would not have reason to betray her, ”Tell. Don’t tell,” she willed the words more forcibly from herself and squeezed his hand. She was used to most souls in Eudocia not believing her; Alexander never would have had a child out of wedlock, with a rogue woman from Ombra, and during a war. But he had, Anmarisa was living proof, even if hardly anyone believed her. Revealing their true identities was somewhat freeing, despite the burdens that came with their names, even more so specifically to each other. Anmarisa shifted on the sands and edged closer to him, gently tucking her shoulder against his bare chest and letting her head fall on the far edge of his shoulder with a heavy sigh. There was comfort in the contact, she found, and her eyes slid closed for a few moments as she let the gravity of their situation finally fall into the depths of her mind, tucked away neatly to ponder over another day. ”Camp,” she murmured gently, finally opening her eyes and lifting her head again to see Cefins face, ”My camp,” she cleared her throat and made a sour face — perhaps the fire had travelled down further than she originally thought, ”Back towards Attirac.” She felt her guts churn like a stormy ocean and her face paled as she dreaded the thoughts of going back to the little camp she had made. There were no fires there, but her bags had been buried under some debris of what once was a building. It was a small, rusty cave she had been able to squeeze herself into and hide out in for a few days, but it would be a journey to get back and she did not know if she could will her wounded leg into walking anymore than it already had.
• AND I HOPE IT GETS TO YOU ON SOME PACIFIC WIND •