The horse was lean and thin. Jared rode unsteadily, feeling every bump in the road, throat aching for drink, wounds stinging.
He had not stopped for a long time now. He could not. The Guards seemed always right behind.
They had attacked on the road from Speedwell. It was a miracle he had made it this far at all.
When he finally collapsed from exhaustion, falling, he remembered a halo of red, and beautiful coffee eyes staring at him with thick shocked lips in the shape of an “O”.
He woke to see her face. “You…not a dream,” he said, tongue thick as honey in his mouth.
“Shh, you’ve had quite an ordeal,” the beautiful creature said, touching his lips with her fingers. A cool cloth on his forehead. “You’ve been hurt. I’m just going to heal you, all right? Me ‘n’ Maura. You’ll be just fine.”
“Thank you,” he managed before slipping back into unconsciousness.
When he awoke again, he found himself in a small cottage. Roswen was the beauty’s name. She and the house’s owner, the town midwife, cared for him until the fever passed and the wounds healed.
“I would have died, had it not been for you,” he told her many times.
“Don’t say such things,” Roswen would reply, raising a thin eyebrow coquettishly on her broad forehead. “I’m barely an Apprentice. It was mostly Maura’s doing.”
But he continued to call her his savior.
Days passed, and once he could walk, they went together through the town.
“That’s the baker, and the potter’s there,” she would say, pointing off in various directions.
He never saw, too busy looking at her.
Then, one day at last, three words.
“Don’t ever go,” she said, gripping his hand.
“Milady, you have held sway over my heart since I first saw you,” he replied.
Her answering smile was like the breath of the wind, the warmth of a summer day, the quick thump as his heart beat back into life.
This excerpt was based on backstory and original characters from my YA fantasy novel, “Ebony”, currently being submitted to agents.
This is in answer to Trifecta’s challenge this week, “sway”: 3rd definition, “the ability to exercise influence or authority: dominance”. Also 333 words on the dot!
Also based on a song called Three Words by Sean McKelvey, in which they are “Don’t ever go” in place of “I love you”. Very sweet and heartfelt.