Aelflaed jumped off her charger, the sharp winter wind tearing at her cloak, blowing snow into and under her armor.
She screamed his name into the gale, running across the frozen fields.
“JOLSTRAER TABORWYNN, CAN YE HEAR?!”
“Th’ hell are ye, Jol? I’m here. I’m back. Ye told me t’ bring ‘im, an’ I’m tryin’, an’ damn ye f’r all that ye laid on me about it. F’r makin’ me do it alone, an’ wha’ I couldna tell ye.”
There was no response, only an angry fire that started deep in her belly and felt like it would swallow her whole that subsided quickly into utter desperation. Sobs overtook her as she half-collapsed, sinking down into the snowy, sooty remains of his house.
“Damn ye, Jol Taborwynn. F’r all ay this. F’r leavin’. I cannae e’en let ye meet ‘im. Ligh’ but ye’d have made fun – a professor. Ye hear that? A teacher, Jols, nae a soldier. An’ I love ‘im. I love ‘im like ye said, an’ I’m no’ lettin’ go. Ligh’, Jol… please…”
The wind ripped at her face, turning tears into tiny icicles on her cheeks; it howled but had no words. She dug her fingers into the snow, ignoring the cold, until she found what was left of his charred hearth.
“He’s gone, Jol. Taken – like ye. Ligh’, an’ he’s gone.”
From deep within her chest she heard her name again – clearer this time, though soft. Her mind flashed to Dragonblight, to Jol diving out of the sky, his voice on the wind, searching for her. But this wasn’t Jol’s voice.
This voice was unmistakably Arrens.
“Arrens?” Aely looked around frantically before having a flash of realization. “Sweet Ligh’… Arrens! Love? Do ye hear me?” Her skin prickled and pain flashed through her mind briefly, before subsiding back to a dull ache.
And then his voice again, weak and hurting. “Aely.”
Aely blinked. “Ye… live?”
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