Mara transported. Once again on the banks of the creek, the sunlight stung her eyes and the sounds of the countryside invaded her senses. Startled, she sat upright.
"Oh!" Nina exclaimed. "Where did you come from?"
Mara looked up, squinting. "I've been here all along."
"You most certainly have not."
"Are you sure?"
"What do you mean, 'am I sure?' Of course I'm sure. We've all been looking for you. I'd best tell the others you're here."
"Oh, Nina, I did it! I traveled again." The Oathtaker jumped to her feet.
"Yes, now tell me again. Were you right here before you saw me? Just now I mean?"
"I've been standing here for several minutes. When I first came to find you and couldn't, I informed the others you were missing. We split up to look for you. I came back here and I've been standing right in this spot, looking up and down the creek. I thought you might've walked downstream. Then suddenly, you appeared."
"Oh, you've just answered a question for me!" Mara, positively giddy, embraced the young woman.
"I don't understand."
"When I traveled before, I couldn't be sure I wasn't just traveling in my mind and I didn't know if I was 'here' or 'there.' You see?"
"I think so."
"Now I know that when I travel, I'm no longer 'here.'"
"Oh, yes I see."
"Thank the Good One, you saw me."
"Yes, but we'd best let the others know you're safe. They're concerned for you."
The two returned to where they'd lunched.
Upon seeing Mara, Jules visibly relaxed.
"I apologize, Jules, for worrying you. Please let Samuel know all is well." She looked around. "Where is Therese?"
"I'm right here." Therese came out from behind some brush, holding Eden in one arm. Blood dripped from her free hand.
"Therese, where's all that blood from?" Mara rushed to her side. "Is Eden hurt? What happened? Are you all right?"
"Oh, it's nothing really, I just cut myself on a sharp rock over there."
"Let me see that," Mara insisted. She took the woman's hand.
"Nothing! This is very deep." Suddenly and unexpectedly, a stream of magic left the Oathtaker and entered into Therese. Both women gasped at the power of it, and at the sight of Therese's wound healing before their eyes. Moments later, only a light scar remained.
"Oh my!" she exclaimed as she brought her hand to her face and wiggled her fingers.
Mara stood with her mouth open. "Where did that come from? That healing power, I mean?"
"Seems your attendant powers keep coming."
"That was amazing!" Nina exclaimed.
"It sure was," Therese agreed. "Listen, Mara, not to make light of this or anything, because I appreciate it, I do. But where were you? You frightened me nearly to death."
"Oh, I did it!"
"You— Oh, you traveled again?"
"Yes!" Mara smiled, but then her countenance turned grim. "Oh, but I have to go back."
YOU ARE READING
An Oath Sworn. A Struggle Engaged. A Sacrifice Required. When Mara, a trained Oathtaker, is drawn by the scent of the Select to battle underworld beasts summoned by powers of evil to destroy the guardians of life, she swears a life oath for the prot...