In the remaining moments before dawn Trillian had finally been able to sleep a bit. The storm did not last long, but the rain continued on and off.
Yulissa had stayed beside him all night, after the rain started, but fell asleep as dawn neared.
Trillian had watched the woman sleep. She was a beautiful creature, of that there was no doubt. Her hands had been gentle, her voice soothing, her long, dark hair and eyes… Trillian shook his head, warding off the sudden sensual awareness in his body.
As the sky casting a foreboding red hue upon the fleeing darkness, he moved slowly, so as not to waken Yullissa. Picking up his cloak, which she had used to cover him in an attempt to keep the bindings dry, he clasped it at his neck and put on his belt and quiver. Not wanting to wake her, he tried to leave the campsite quickly with as little noise as possible.
Unfortunately, his attempts were feebly shattered when his maimed wing sent the pots clamoring over one another to the ground.
Yulissa awoke with a start, turning to the warm patch of bramble the ranger had been sleeping on. Her eyes wander nervously until they lighted on Trillian.
He tried desperately -to no avail- to hide his clumsiness, whilst clambering over the pots which now lay scattered in his path.
The lady smiled in amusement.
Trillian glared at the woman, not the least amused.
“Where are you off to in such haste?” she queried.
“I need to return to Severum before my injury gets worse. So I must leave you now.” If he would let himself be truly honest, he did not want to leave the woman behind, but his mind had started clouding with images of her. She was nothing but distracting.
“If you are going to Severum, would you mind taking me as well? It will take only a moment to break camp.”
Trillian heard himself give in to her request. Whether from the need for someone to see him safely home, or the growing awareness in his flesh, he was unsure.
She packed things up and dowsed the fire in moments, and they set off as the gray clouds rumbled again, overhead.
I am never, ever, ever, doing this again. Trillian grumbled.
The woman had been silent most of the journey, and even in the rain she uttered not a word. He knew she must be dreading the weather, but braved it rather well.
When Severum came into view, the rain had not let up, nor had Trillian’s mood.
As they approached the gates to the city, Trillian whistled.
Immediately three rangers appeared at the top of the gate, and began opening it.
One of them, a good friend of Trillian, eyed the Master Trainer warily as they let the woman pass.
He caught the older rangers arm. “Trillian, you know she cannot be seen with you, what will Sideon think?”
“I will explain everything later, Eregoth.” He replied quietly.
“Don’t gamble your hope, Sideon is certainly not in the mood to listen to explanations, especially from you.” Eregoth replied, letting the ranger go. “What did you do to your wing?”
“I ran into a little trouble.” Trillian replied as nonchalantly as was possible.
“A little trouble?” Asked Eregoth, not amused by the way Trillian brushed off the question.
Yulissa watched the men going about their early morning work. Some gathered wood for fires, some carried tools, and some food.
“Where are all of the women of Severum?” she asked.
“They are chambermaids,” replied Trillian, “chambermaids and servants of Sideon.”
“Chambermaids,” Yulissa grew pale. “You mean concubines?”
“In a way I suppose they are. They serve the men whom Sideon wants to ‘breed’. Many of the children you will see in the palace are born here to the women. Many young girls are sent away to the Apologists to be educated by the most highly of praised teachers, some are traded to the druids for creatures of races like mine for the men to breed with.”
“That is terrible!” Yulissa held her breath. “What race are you?”
Trillian looked about nervously, avoiding the question a second time, hoping that no one saw him with the woman.
To his dismay, everyone seemed to watch him walk towards the Palace of Severum. Sideon would know before Trillian even arrived, that a woman was with him. The ranger was in enough trouble as it was.
Finally, they reached the steps of the palace, and a servant came running to Trillian.
“You are back!” he said, “Good. Sideon is not in a very good mood and he requires you immediately.”
“Do you know what the urgency regards?” he queried.
“It has something to do with bringing her with you.” The servant whispered. “Sideon is not in the mood for explanations, and if you try and cover this one he might…” The servant saw Trillian’s wing for the first time. “Trillian, what happened? Oh, never mind for the moment, it might aid your testimony.”
Yulissa looked upset, “I have gotten you in trouble, I am so sorry. If I had known…”
“No, it is alright.” Trillian brushed her aside gently, “I will see what Sideon wants. Reinstör, you stay out here with her, if any of the men attempt to take her away, you know what to do.”
“Yes sir, Master Trillian.” Reinstör saluted, letting Trillian into the halls of Severum.