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Chapter 43



Kevesk left the room and went downstairs in search of Leylau. He'd finished doing what he needed to do , and now what Derrl needed most was rest, and care from a real healer, someone like Leylau. He found her downstairs sitting across the bar from Mensk. She was bent over a mug of springbrew. Judging by the level in the mug, she hadn't touched it at all. He approached her quietly and tapped her gently on the shoulder. She turned in her seat and looked up at Kevesk. Her eyes were red and glistening, evidence that she had recently been crying, no doubt for Derrl's sake.

"You can go up and see him now." The words came out gentle and soft. Leylau reminded him very much of the woman that he had once loved. No, that wasn't quite right, he still loved her, but she had passed away many, many, years ago. Her soul had been at rest for some time now, and Kevesk wanted to let her memory rest in peace. But the resemblance that Leylau bore her was striking, uncanny. They were both very small women, both healers, same tendency to react strongly to emotion, it seemed to go with the profession. Oddly enough, both of them had that beautiful flax-coloured hair, and a proclivity for the darker, hunter greens. Same small, pointed chin and vaguely elfin face, but no distortion of the ears that would have evidenced elvish ancestry. Enough, he thought to himself, I've got to leave her behind, in the past, where she belongs. All of his reminiscing had dampened his eyes. He scrubbed at them momentarily to chase away the tears that threatened. Leylau looked up at him inquiringly, though now with more compassion for the old, wrinkled, tattooed man. That she was a healer seemed to lend her abilities that verged on empathic. Thus, people's emotions were clearer to her. As she looked up at the stranger she sensed feelings of great loss, sorrow, and longing emanating from him.

"He needs you now, he needs your care, especially as a healer but also as someone who I can see cares a great deal about him. Go on, go see him. He needs you." He could feel a tear rolling down his cheek, but he didn't care anymore. She smiled up at him, embraced him, kissed him gently on the cheek, and went quietly upstairs to keep an eye on Derrl. Once she was on her way up the stairs the lonely old mage gathered up his things, and left quietly for his home. It seemed that the general tone of the evening was rather subdued and silent.

She opened the door softly and stepped lightly over to the bed, closing the door behind her. The young, blonde-haired healer sat on the edge of the bed beside the somnolent form of the man she now knew she loved. As she sat, she laid the back of her hand gently across his forehead. She saw the bloodstains on the pillow by his nose and reached for the washcloth from the basin. She tilted his face towards her and began to clean him up.

She rinsed out the rag in the washbasin, wrung it out, and folded it over the edge of the basin. She cleaned herself up a little, and then lay down and curled up alongside Derrl. She tried to stay up and keep watch over him, but the combination of warmth, comfort, lack of sleep, and emotional exhaustion caused her to drift into slumber shortly after she had lain down.

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