On the face of a tall, flat cliff was a cleft that dipped from the top down a few hundred feet. A thin layer of orange and yellow trees covered the surface, the rocks broken and piled beautifully by nature. It was almost like a bowl of trees, a place safe from attack. It would be safest there, rather than luring an army to Estiahn’s home.
Lirra’s wings were stretched out, gliding to the cleft. She landed on the edge, and Kiaran fumbled with the ties, her hands feeling numb and useless. Her entire body was sore--not only from the hours of flight, but from the fighting she had endured nearly all night long. She hardly rested and couldn’t remember sleeping since the previous night.
Kiaran’s body filled with pain as it trembled. Grumbling, she got herself and Davin free and slid off of Lirra. Davin slid down with her. She faced him, unable to look away. After so long, she couldn’t tear her eyes off him.
He gazed at her in disbelief. So broken-hearted, and utterly lost...it was clear that he was going to need time to fully heal.
Kiaran pulled him against her again. She hugged him tightly, though he remained stiff and cold. Her fingertips trembled as they dug into the back of his shoulders. As the warmth of her life sank into him, he slowly melted into her embrace. He hugged her back as they fell to their knees.
He cried against her chest as she cradled him, tears in her own eyes. Smoothing a gentle hand over his head, she spoke softly, saying, “It is alright to rest, Davin.”
She had found herself sitting on her knees, Davin falling into her lap. He used her legs as a pillow, his arms still wrapped tightly around her hips as he fell asleep.
Still petting his hair, she bit at her lips. He fell asleep, breathing long and deep, his body heavy atop her lap. Tears spilled out over her cheeks, dripping from her chin to his hair. Wiping her face clean, she leaned forward, as if shielding him from the world.
The golden rays shined across his hair as it blew in the breeze. What a wonderful thing to have him back. Closing her eyes, she allowed her warmth to sink through him. And eventually, sleep took her as well.
Once Kiaran woke again, she found that she had been moved. She laid on her side, curled up alone in the sunlight. Davin sat, his back to hers, as he gazed at his hands. Rolling onto her back, she sat up.
“Why did you come get me?” he asked. She was taken by the question. Rather than being thankful, he was upset with her decision.
“What?” she asked.
“It would be so much easier on you, and Torin, and my parents...if you had just...let me...” he trailed off. His eyes remained distant as his brows creased.
“Die?” she asked. “How could I?” He gazed at her over his shoulder. “Davin,” she said, desperately. She moved to sit before him, leaning close. “I came because I wanted to. I wanted you safe. What have you done to believe you should die?”
His eyes dropped, the sun now lowering in the far west. She eyed him closely, though he couldn’t match her gaze. Then, he said, “You’d hate me, Kiaran. You should just leave.”
Her heart sank and she took in a sharp breath. Finally, she touched a hand to the side of his neck. His muscles flinched at her touch. When he refused to look at her, she said, “Davin...” she leaned into his view, “I never hated you.”
His jaws tightened as he stared at her.
“It might be easier if I did,” she smiled sadly as her heart quickened. Her insides burned and her tongue felt as though it was swollen. Then, she said, “Davin, tell me what has happened?”
He looked over her blood and soot covered clothing. The matted hair which brushed at her shoulders. Then, his gaze locked to her silver eyes. A crease formed in his brows as he frowned deeply.
“I’ve killed!” he growled. “For Sterjia! I killed a city, and she killed numbers of people back at home because of me. For all I know, my family could be dead, rotting in a puddle of their own filth--”
Kiaran grabbed his shoulder, her eyes glaring into his. “Davin, you have done nothing wrong.” His hands trembled.
She moved her hand up to his forehead, running a thumb over it. Something seemed odd...as if something deep within her was sparking and throbbing like a strange energy. She could sense something. Something like magic in his forehead.
"He’s had many spells in that mind of his,” Lirra spoke with a rumbling purr. ”So many trials...breaking...torturing...burning... He should have died many times...That is what you are feeling; yet, there is something more...A blessing. A spell from Livlasor. A ward.”
“Destine?” Lirra questioned. Kiaran’s eyes met the dragon’s. “The young magic-user. She takes the title of Destine?”
Kiaran shifted her gaze back to Davin, wondering what to do. What could she possibly say? The look in his eyes was overwhelming, making her body shake. He looked terrified and excited, content and broken. How was it possible to have so many emotions at the same time?
She gently rested her arms across his shoulders. Their faces were close together, eyes locked. She gripped the sides of his head, fingers in his hair. “Davin, I am so sorry,” she breathed. He frowned further and her eyes filled with tears. “I am lucky you are alive,” she admitted. She couldn’t say how he was lucky to be alive, seeing him in his current state of despair and self-deprecation “...How did you survive?” she whispered.
“I don’t know,” he breathed uneasily.
He yanked her into an embrace, his arms wrapped tightly around her. Kiaran pressed her lips to Davin’s cheek, gathering tears as she did so. He was no longer a prisoner of Sterjia, though she believed it would take long for him to accept that.
Stroking his hair, she spoke very softly, at a whisper, “Perhaps you could use some more rest…” She knew, however, he’d likely not be able to. Not well for a while, anyhow.
How many nights did it take for her to sleep without waking in terror? Without thinking that Nathanial could be there at any moment to rape her? To beat her into submission? It was certainly more than a few nights.
It was still a problem. He would always haunt her. And he was just a pathetic man.
Davin was against a mage--tortured and forced to kill a whole city. As strong and warm-hearted as he was, how was he to overcome something so terrible?
Seeming to sense her thoughts, Davin only tightened his hold on her, his muscles trembling. After a moment, he finally said, “It’s alright, Kiaran.”
“...What is?” she asked slowly.
“I’ll be fine,” he finally forced out. He leaned back, his hands still holding her arms.
“Davin,” she forced him to stop before he could pull away completely. “Promise me, something,” she said, desperation seasoning her voice. It bled into her eyes, drawing him in deep. “Promise me you’ll never leave my side again.”
He was taken aback by the sudden demand. With widened eyes and a look of disbelief, he slowly ran a hand over her hair. It was shorter now, only just to her shoulders.
“I don’t care what Sterjia made you do,” she said. “I know it wasn’t you.”
“How do you know?”
“I know you,” she replied.
Before he had a chance to counter her, she placed a very much needed kiss on his lips. They leaned into each other, neither able to breath for the duration. The one kiss turned into several as they fought off fears and anxieties.
It was warm, the feelings amplified by adrenaline. Until, finally, he withdrew. Stunned. They were both stunned.
It was silent and still for a moment. Neither of them knew what to do next.
“Perhaps rest is required for both parties before venturing further into unknown territory, hm?” Lirra spoke to them both. Kiaran knew her term wasn’t meant for the countryside.
They faced her, both flushed and confused.
“You are tired,” Davin finally said, pulling her hand. “Sleeping outside the cell is...ideal,” he admitted. “Would probably do us some good to sleep the rest of the night.”
Kiaran watched him, surprised by her openness. What surprised her even more was that she didn’t want to sleep yet. She didn’t want to let him go.
And it seemed as if, perhaps, he was feeling similarly.
“Davin,” she hesitated. Why couldn’t she bring herself to say it? Her mouth refused to spit it out.
“Perhaps, your confession is meant for another time,” Lirra purred.
Perhaps it was.
"Sleep well," Kiaran finally told him. "And should you need anything, I am here."
He smiled, though only a fraction, and kissed her forehead. "Thank you," he whispered. He kissed her head again, giving her one last hug before turning in for bed.
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