Chapter 20: Every Choice has a Price
I kept jumping in and out of the conscious world for what I assumed was a long while. I was still powerless over my eyes; I could not force them open in order to see what was going on around me, but I felt the stinging cold lingering on my skin, and my body rocking unpleasantly as the horse under me moved. For more than once, I felt the same things around me as I began to claw onto the edges consciousness, but I would lose my grip every single time, and fall back into oblivion.
This time when I came around to consciousness I was able to pry my eyes open. I was no longer cold or on horseback, I lay in a soft bed wrapped up in a thick blanket warming me up. I could not recollect how I ended up in that position, and thinking was proving to be a task harder than I ever believed it was. The more I tried to recall what happened for me to end up like that the more the pounding of a headache at the back of my head grew. Massaging my temples with my fingers, investing great effort I managed to push myself up into sitting position, and looked around.
It was a moderate sized room, with walls and the roof lined with thick stones, and the floor paneled with thick cheap worn out wood. The room was almost completely dipped into darkness; the only resistance to the lurking shadows came from the small fire burning in the blackened with years of use fireplace. Next to the fire place stood a half-naked Adrian adding more unevenly chopped wood pieces to the fire, preventing it from burning out. Only his side was visible to me, as he worked the fuel into the fire making it hiss. Seeing him brought back the memories, of the events that had transpired before I had blacked out, with a crashing intensity that left me with an even ferocious headache.
“Where are we?”
I managed to croak out in a raspy voice.
Letting the poker fall to the ground with a clank he turned to me.
“Why are we in Beygul?”
“Because I believe you will be safe here, Ms. Black.”
With that he turned around and walked into the shadows lingering densely in the corners of the roughly rectangular room. For an instant panic began to surge in me as he disappeared from my sight, but it quelled just as fast as it took roots in my heart, as he walked back into my sight with a glass and handed it to me. Uncertainly I took the glass, and brought it slowly to my lips to find sweet, cold, and utterly heavenly water moisten my cracking lips and sandy tongue. Within a brink of an eye I downed the contents of the glass greedily.
“More?” came his voice softly, as his eyes watched me intently. I nodded my head in affirmation, and traced his movements as he went and got me another glass of water, which I drank at a slightly slower pace than before.
“Are you sure we are safe here?”
“At this point I say nothing with surety, situations take no time turning all the way around.”
“Where exactly are we in Beygul?”
“One of the houses for the very poor in the main market. No one will suspect someone of your and Ms. Carter’s caliber will ever opt to stay in an area as run down as this one.”
Now that he mentioned Genevieve I could recall all that she had suffered through on account of her friendship with me. A giant wave of guilt came crashing on me; making it hard to breathe, but I struggled to not show my inner turmoil to Adrian.
“How is Genevieve, and where did you get her sent?”
“She fell asleep not so long ago, and she resides in the room right next to the one we are in.”
“Does she have to live in this place too, can she not return home or to one of her aunts or uncle.”
“Believe me I would not love anything more than to provide her some form of comfort in all her pain, but she cannot be seen anywhere just like you. People are out there looking for you, and they believe Ms. Carter will always know every detail of your plan on account of being a dear friend of yours, so they will try to get her and torture her to the point that she breaks.”
“ Before you say she is clueless to the whole situation, I would like to say that I am familiar with that fact, your are familiar with that fact, but the fact that you were found at her home with her makes doubts of people unflinchingly strong that she knows all your whereabouts and plans.”
I shook my head showing my understanding that he had a valid point. My stupidity had now caused my friend not only to lose her parents, but also placed in grave danger and caused her to spend her life in hiding. I had no idea how I was going to look Genevieve in the eyes; she must hate me by now. Meeting Genevieve; a thing that I loved in past more than almost everything, I dreaded now more than almost everything. How right Vincent was when he had told me I was hell bent on delving into one very stupid, useless, pointless, and expensive game, I get now. Now I wish I could turn back the hands of time, and erase the moment I met Andre from my life. Had I not been there on the forest trail that night, things would have turned out entirely too different, and far less bleak.
“You should rest; you took quite a few very harsh hits.”
Without any word of disagreement I lay back on the bed, and pulled the blanket on me. For what seemed like ages I tossed and turned in the bed tortured by my thoughts, and the memories of the recent past. The relief of sleep never came; frustrated I pushed off the blanket and got out of bed. I had just walked halfway to the door when Adrian stepped in followed by Genevieve close on his heels.
“Good you are up, we were just leaving.”
He looked away before answering to that, discomfort showed clear as crystal on his face. I knew the answer before he said it out loud; it was not that hard to figure out or even unexpected.
“Yes us, me and Ms. Carter.”
“Did you not say Genevieve will stay here as she needs safety?”
“Yes I said so, but Ms. Carter wishes to go along with me, and live at my humble abode, and I think she would be safe there.”
Sorrow surrounded my being, but I said nothing in disagreement to his words. There was nothing to say. Adrian handed me a pouch full of gold and silver coins just in case I needed them, and explain to me that someone will bring me food every once in a while, and I was not to leave under any circumstances the walls of the small house. Handing me one of his daggers, Adrian pulled the cloak over his head. Genevieve followed his suit before grabbing his hand as they walked out of the house in to the market blending in the ever existent rush. I watched them grow smaller and smaller in my sight until I could see them no more, before stepping back inside the house, and closing the door behind me. It felt like I had lost my friend, my sister, and it broke my heart knowing that I was the only one to blame for that. With my back against the door I lost the power to keep up a facade any longer, tears began to stream down my face. The silent tears turned to sobs, and sobs turned to screams, before I fell into a quite spell staring into space. I had not even realized when I slid down to floor or how I ended up lying on the floor in a fetal position, but I stayed like that for a long while motionless staring into nothing.