Mulling over his explanation, Trillian watched the woman busy herself around their makeshift campground. Having disappeared into the forest a few times, the woman returned with a traveling pack, an arm load of wood, and a change of clothing.
As she stood over the pile of kindling, Trillian watched her breathe gently into her hands. They burned orange for a moment, then a tongue of fire danced out onto the top layer of dead leaves, catching the wood with a pop. His eyes caught the fading orange glow of an object slide into her pocket as she stood. With an alluring grace, enhanced by the firelight, she bent to pull a few things from her pack, and then sat next to the fire.
The smooth luster of a bowl glinted in the firelight when she set it down on a wire rack over the flames.
Trillian’s curiosity was heightened. “What is your name?” he asked.
The maiden’s lips formed into a gentle smile. Dipping pieces of cloth into the bowl, she glanced at him briefly “Yulissa. I was on my way to the Severum when the druids attacked.”
The Ranger inhaled sharply, wincing against the pain in his body. The weight of the splintered wing began causing his shoulders and back to drag toward the ground. Adjusting to accommodate proved more challenging than he’d thought.
In a steady rhythm of haste, she picked up the bowl and came to his side.
“What are you doing?” he grimaced, startled by the scent of the herbs in the pan she laid beside him.
“I am going to bandage your wounds and help with your wing.” She replied with a smirk, “What do you think I was doing with that bowl?”
Trillian pulled back, raising his hands in defense, “Thank you, but no, I will be fine, you mustn’t worry about me.”
Yulissa quietly but firmly insisted, “You need help, please allow me to repay you for rescuing me.”
Trillian attempted to remain calm and hold still as the woman set to work on his wounds. Her touch was gentle and compassionate. Under any other circumstance, he might admit that he rather liked the feeling of her hands on him.
“What were you possibly thinking, traveling alone at night?” the question burning in his mind, finally tumbled out of his mouth.
Her movement against his back slowed, “I was on my way to the Severum.”
“Alone, and in the dark?” it wasn’t condescending, but the edge clearly conveyed his disbelief.
Silence. Her hands quickened again, and he felt a bit of a tug as she began pulling the bandages tighter. Obviously, he had struck a chord with her.
Really though, he thought to himself, what woman in her right mind travels alone at night? Surely she knew the druids would be out.
“You are a half-breed?” The question referred to his wings.
It was his turn to avoid answering. Instead he cried out -though she had done nothing that hurt him. At least her attention was diverted for the moment.
Her hands were much lighter than before as she apologized, “I am sorry.”
“Just be careful.” Adding extra breath to his sentence wasn’t very difficult, it felt as though his wing were ripping from his body. It took everything in him to stay alert while he was tended. Talking seemed to help, he decided, “I suppose you aren’t afraid of me, after you watched what I am capable of?”
A burst of laughter answered for Yulissa, “If you could see your wing.”
Unamused, Trillian waited until the cynical reminder that he was defenseless stilled.
Once she was able to contain her laughter, Yulissa continued, “By your appearance, you are obviously of the Severum, and you did rescue me from the druids.” She was finished now, the bowl clinked behind him, and he heard her getting up, “since you are friend, and injured on my account, it would be cruel of me to leave you behind.”
She set herself up across the fire from him. Her outward appearance reflected no fear — his wing must really look bad. It felt bad, that much was certain. Hopefully, the night wouldn’t tarry, and he could get it properly bandaged when he made it back to the Severum.
Dread suddenly washed over Trillian as he thought about having to explain the situation to Sideon. The Master was not going to be happy about this.
Thunder rumbled off in the distance.
Perfect. That’s all I need. The ranger shifted a bit, sighing with disgust.
He could see Yulissa’s eyes glinting, as they moved back and forth. She was staring at the sky, probably monitoring the clouds above them.
“Do you want me to set you up a tent?” She asked.
Trillian shook his head, “Just one more thing to worry about in the morning. I’ve weathered worse, we will be fine.” He met her gaze, “Thank you.”
With a gentle smile, Yulissa laid her head down on her arms, “Of course.”
Maybe it was the fire light, but Trillian thought for a moment that she appeared a bit sullen. Her eyes watched the tongues of flame dance in the wind, which was becoming increasingly stronger.
The sky rumbled again, this time a bit closer.
Trillian grimaced, dipping his head and crossing his arms as best he could against the strain in his shoulder. As the first drops of rain started to sputter in the fire, the ranger wondered why he had ever agreed to go out on the skirmish in the first place.