In Serein

3-7-4 What Can I Say?

When Guenta came running, I had already a feeling in this direction.

What can I say?

That I was surprised to find him in the exact same state she was in?

That’s what he had wanted, had been trying to do – to reach her somehow, to find her again. I guess he had been successful in his quest some time in the night or half day since he lay down next to her bed like a dog.


So now they’re both gone.

And with them both gone, who will feed them, who will take care of their bodies?

I knew damn well that she had died in the prison compound exactly because of that, and that he alone had been what was keeping her alive; by magic, with the life he drew from himself as the source.

What was worse that the baby was in the chain of this. Without her, there would be no food for him. Without Tremain, she would not get her nourishment.

I wished to the creator that Marani was still with us.

She was a great healer, in spite of what she thought and in spite of the fact that she always compared herself to Isca and of course, could not begin to compete.

She should have compared herself to me instead.

So I turned to Reyna.

I asked her to get on and start doing the magic again I full well knew she could make with the best of them, but she just shook her head and said she couldn’t do it anymore, that Tremain had taken it away from her, from them all, that he had destroyed it.

It was not that I didn’t believe that she believed that, it was more that I didn’t think it was possible to just take this kind of thing from a person.

We were in their room, after I had put him on the bed next to her. They were as pale as each other now, the Lord and Lady Tremain re-united in the peace of their self induced semi-deaths. I wondered if they were happy with what they had achieved, now.

I stood by the fire place and stroked Tremain’s swords. They were fine things, incredible things, otherworldly things such as may carry the name of swords but they weren’t. More like demons frozen into these blue black shapes and set in such a way that they would make sense in the context of this world, of this way of living. I had killed Trant with one of those. I didn’t know which one it was and for all my closest inspection, I cannot find a single trace of blood on either of them.

Reyna was watching me with her big too dark to be normal eyes, her hair tied up in a listless tail that hangs down her back, nearly as pale as those two on the bed and with deep circles under her eyes from the lack of sleep and constant tending to the baby who still didn’t have a name or even the simplest of blessings performed over his head.

I said to her, “Look, I was in a link with you all, back there at Headman’s Acre. Hell, I helped Tremain bring her back at one time and what do I know? I can feel him in my head, at least I could when he was still around. I can even make a fire. You have been doing this stuff for years, I’ve seen what you can do. You can’t forget that sort of thing. You can’t unlearn it. The only way to do that is to cut your head off. He just frightened you all and you haven’t tried properly.”

She shook her head and looked as though she was in pain. “You don’t understand,” she said tiredly, “he destroyed the fabric. There’s no connection, there’s nothing to build on. There’s just nothing there.”

It was my turn to shake my head. “Reyna, he can’t have destroyed all magic. He was still doing it himself, after. I saw him and I felt him. Hell, he was healing her and helping her give birth. Marani still managed some of it even without a stone and I can still make a fire. You can too if only you tried it.”

The girl turned away from me and sat down carefully at the foot of the bed, as far on the edge as she could perch herself and take some of the weight off her tired feet. The baby was mercifully quiet, lying between his parents as he was, staring into space and sucking on his own hand.

“My – our – magic is not like theirs,” she said slowly and carefully, addressing an idiot as she saw me to be in such matters. “The place from where we used to do it is gone and without that place, I can’t do anything. Nothing. Nothing at all.”

I sat down on a pile of chests by the window and said, “Can’t you do it from their place, then?”

She looked up, startled. She blinked a couple of times and then said, “I wouldn’t know how or where their place is.”

“Can you not go looking for it?”

She half shook her head but was thinking about it.

“If I had a stone …”, she said and stopped, rubbed her forehead with her hands, “if I had a stone, perhaps I might be able to …”

“So we need to get you a stone,” I said with more determination and practicality than I actually felt. “We need to find us some travellers, they have them for sale. Isca bought a big one in Pertineri market.”

Reyna started to yawn, tried to stop herself, battled for a moment and then yawned fully and heavily, then again.

“You go get some sleep now, and sleep properly,” I said to her and got up. “Guenta can take care of the child for a bit. We all need to get ourselves sorted out here. Regular food, regular sleep and a wet nurse for that baby. It can’t be any good for it having to sleep with these.”

She nodded and yawned again. I went over to her and held out my hand to her. She took it and I pulled her into a standing position.

“Go to bed, Reyna,” I said gently to her and gave her a little pull to get her started on her way. She made her way from the room with dragging steps.

I fetched the baby, adjusted the tapestry so it would cover them both, gave my lady a lingering touch across the face and then left them to their strange sleep.

Downstairs, I handed the child to Guenta and called to Ricco to get the pony. We would ride to the village and organise a few things this day.