Who Was Nim?
“Who is she?” Almora rode close now.
Disseus had been oblivious to her long scrutiny. I forget how perceptive she is.
He lifted his head to stare at her back. “She calls herself Nealinim now. I knew her as Nim.”
“I didn’t ask her name.”
I know what she’s asking.
He eyed her. “She’s a woman wanting to save her son.”
“Disseus,” Almora sighed. “I’m asking who she is to you.”
After a long look, he sighed. “She was a young First Water fey girl when I met her. She wanted to be a warrior like her father before her. She was orphaned young and wanted to honor his memory.”
He stared at her back thoughtfully.
“Fey named her, because she was too little to remember her name. They dubbed her Nealinim, meaning ‘lost warrior’ in our tongue.” He explained. Giving a harsh laugh.
“As if someone knew what she’d become.”
She has indeed become a warrior.
“Elders said she was freckled with copper hair and meek eyes and would not be able to marry well. First Water Fey are supposed to aspire beyond their station when seeking mates.”
“Though I’d thought she’d grown into something quite lovely. And I....was a young-Harbinger, a strange creature amongst her kind. I was isolated and bitter and didn’t know where I came from. Or why I was dealt the lot I was.”
“What is a Harbinger?” She queried.
“A form of law for their kind. Something which is trained to be ferocious.”
“Are there many?”
“There are few Harbingers. And they are feared. Children never played with me. Men didn’t willingly chat with me and women averted their eyes to avoid peering at me, except for the occasional one looking for a short adventure.”
“It sounds like a perilously lonely existence.” Almora remarked.
“I was long used to that when Nim found me. She was a vivacious young guardian bent on knowing everything.” He rolled his eyes Heavenward at the memory, but a smile tugged at the corner of his lips.
He shook his head as if to chase away that partial grin. “She sought me out determined to learn all I could teach. I told her no and warned her to stay away.”
“I’d suspect she listened as well then as she would now.” Almora said with mirth dancing in her blue eyes.
“It’s true. She did listen as well than as now. She was everywhere I went.”
“Until you couldn’t take it.” Almora said. Crossing her arms on the saddlehorn and awaiting the rest of the story quite raptly.
She’s enjoying this.
“I lost patience and confronted the petite little thing she was. Told her to stay the hell away from me.”
But she wouldn’t.
“She refused.” He explained. “And in-fact, warned me that if I was going to be difficult than she’d be forced to relentlessly seduce me.”
“How’d you take that?” Almora asked nearly breathless in suspense. Pride for Nim’s actions on his face.
“I laughed in her face and ordered her away.”
“Despite my best efforts, she succeeded. I think it was that first time she put her tiny hand in mine and insisted I join her for a walk, that I was well and truly lost. Such a simple touch…”
Almora blinked quietly. Prepared to wait an eternity for more of the story.
“Our love affair was brief and passionate.”
“Sounds incredibly intriguing.” Almora sighed wistfully.
“Yes, well…” He cleared his throat and stiffened. “It took me years to realize she’d just been using me. When there was nothing more I could teach her, she was gone as quickly as she’d come.”
“And you?” Almora straightened. Her face mournful.
Don’t pity me. He looked away from her.
“I was left to mourn her. And hate her.” He said harshly. Summoning those negative emotions to circle around himself like a protective blanket.
“I feel like there must be more…A reason why…”
“Well, when you find out what it is,” Disseus gave her a sharp look. “you’ll have to let me know.”
“Don’t be sad for me, Mora. It’s done and over.” He fingered the saddlehorn. “It took her no time to declare her engagement to one of her own kind, a man considered far superior to such a dark thing as I.”
“Is that why you left?”
“I tore my way out of the lower land. And I Lonnix never go back.”
“Are you so certain?” She asked softly.
“Because of memories and pain?”
“Probably.” He shrugged. “There’s nothing there I miss.”
“That’s cause she’s right there.” Almora gestured ahead of them.
He shot her a dark look, but she continued anyway. “Are you so certain that’s the story from her angle, as well?”
His lips thinned. “I know it is.”
His gaze narrowed. “Look at her appearing now. When she needs something yet again.”