Winds of Change

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Andrew woke up early that morning for some reason… he lay there for a while trying to entice his brain back into the wonderful void of sleep, but he gave up eventually as the void retreated further and further and the birdsong became more and more frequent. It was barely dawn, or so it seemed from the view the hole on his side of the tent offered. He roused himself quietly, donned his tunic, and slipped outside.

He glanced down the road, expecting to see the wagon and tent of their neighbors. There was, however, no sign of them at all. He frowned and wondered how early they had departed, and how the old man had managed to arouse his drunken sons. Ah, well. As long as they were gone, it wasn’t important. He began to prepare the morning meal, trying to be quiet. As he was feeding the iros, a noise behind him made him whirl, hand groping for his knife.

It was only Gabriella. He let out a breath.

“Morning,"she said softly, amused at his reaction. “Have you just woken up?”

He nodded… she was just back from bathing, it seemed, and fully dressed… and her hair was wet…. Frowning, he wondered why this should stick in his mind….

Gabriella looked back at him, a look of doubt slipping across her features.

Abruptly, he had it. He stared at her as the realization washed over him and his mouth dropped open.

“You….” Andrew trailed off and tried again. “You went to the creek last night to wash… but your hair wasn’t wet when you came back… and you never bathe at night because of nocturnal wildlife….”

Wow. She had pulled that right over their heads. In disbelief, he leaned against the iro. “You knew that would happen last night, didn’t you… and in that big bag of toiletries you brought your bowl to watch what would happen….” He knew he was right, a flash of kyor’rishtan merely reinforced it. He looked at her, not sure how he should feel.

Gabriella said nothing, only watched him with her undaunting green eyes.

-- Testing us again? -- Andrew asked acerbically.

-- It had to be done. I had to know. -- Gabriella replied, unshaken. She dropped her pack and began to load supplies quietly into the wagon.

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