Lovers, part two

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"How did you do it?" Escha's voice was hoarse with fatigue born of fear.

"I transferred his wounds. He should be fine. Better than before as I didn't bother to sort out which scars fresh enough to heal he had received from previous mishaps," Neritan answered.

"Those were burn wounds. The pain should prevent you from concentrating enough to use the gift." Escha shifted uneasily on his seat.

"Let me make one thing clear," Neritan said, her voice taking on a sharp edge. "You may think yourself to be the greatest Transport Khar in living memory, and as far as you short lived ones go it may very well be that you're correct, but I've met mages with powers you couldn't imagine." Neritan gave him a tired smile while she gathered up hair that had become tangled during her healing sleep. "I may not be the greatest Magehealer living, but I still have few peers. It wasn't easy. If I hadn't been here he'd be dead now."

"You risked killing yourself?"

"Don't be stupid. If there had been any risk to my life I would have let him die. I'm far too valuable to my people to die for one of you, unless you're a taleweaver, like the one two anointed Khars and hundreds of soldiers managed to misplace."

Escha stared at her. There was a coldness in her scaring him, and now he knew why some of the golden mages were thought of as arrogant. They were rumored to consider themselves peerless, and now he had seen that rumor come true.

The finest of the magehealers were to be found in Khi, but he knew she hadn't thought of any of them when she referred to her peers. All golden mages were associated with either the tower in Kastari or the one in Gaz. The tower of Khars in Khanati were only occasionally visited by one of them.

"I thank you nonetheless, Khar Hwain," Escha said at last, uncertain if it was the correct title or not.

"As you should do."

Escha decided against saying anything in response. Instead he turned his attention to Trai who still looked disorientated. His face did indeed show fewer scars than before. There was love there as well, and relief. Escha forgot where he was and who were there with them. With desperation pushing away all sense of proper behavior he went to his knees and hugged Trai to himself afraid to ever let go.

Too close, he'd been too close to losing the only one who really mattered, but for now everything was good and life smiled upon the two of them again. The shock, and anger, Escha knew, would come later.

"I'll never understand your kind," Neritan said as she rose to leave. "There are beautiful women enough in Khanati for the both of you. Well..." She shook her head and climbed out of the wagon, the other magehealers following her.

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