DARK MAGICK RISING (Part 3)
Copyright 2016 by M.L. Rhodes
“I’m going to get a fire started before I leave, though,” Wesley said. It was far too cold in the tent…even he had begun to shiver now. He rose and went to arrange wood in the stone-lined pit.
Another wave of nausea hit him as he knelt, but he didn’t want Wen to know, so he kept his back to him and tried to hide it by working on the fire and dragging in slow, controlled breaths. The last thing he needed was to have Wen see or sense he wasn’t well because that would just start another round of bickering.
As the ill sensation passed, he wondered what was causing it, but quickly answered his own question. He was tired. Actually, he was beyond tired. He was physically and emotionally gutted from last night. But he didn’t have time to sleep just yet.
When he had a good-sized blaze going, he doubled up one of Wen’s shirts he found draped over a wooden trunk, then used it to pick up and wrap around a fire-heated stone. He took it to the bed and tucked it in under the covers near Wen’s feet. “This will help warm you faster,” he said.
He looked up to find Wen intently watching him.
“What?” Wesley asked, suddenly self-conscious.
“You. Like I said, you never stop surprising me.”
“With my amazing fire-building skills or the fact I know how to make a handy foot warmer?” Wesley questioned, once again going for lightness.
Wen didn’t take the bait, and the intensity of his gaze didn’t falter. In fact, the heat of it seemed to sear right through Wesley, leaving him a little breathless.
“With your strength and determination,” Wen said. “All those weeks I trained you and was such an ass to you…even when you were pissed at me you never argued, never failed to give your all. And you’re doing it again now.”
Wesley shrugged, uncomfortable at the praise. “I just know what I want.”
“During training I wanted to prove myself.” He left out that he’d specifically wanted to prove himself to Wen. “And I wanted to join the draeganjhere.”
Wesley sighed. “Right now I want you whole and healthy again. I…” His voice caught and he shifted his gaze to the fire and took a hard swallow, not wanting to continue because he didn’t want to come across as a sentimental fool.
“You what?” Wen gently prodded.
Wesley sighed again and looked back at him. “I don’t want to be in a world that you’re not part of. You are my world now.”
The admission sounded weak and pathetically mushy to Wesley, but Wen’s green eyes shimmered with emotion. And Wesley felt a ripple of understanding pass between them.
“The feeling’s mutual, you know,” Wen said softly. He held out his hand and Wesley took it, and for a moment they simply savored the closeness.
“Try to talk to Iann first, if you can find him,” Wen said.
“What are you going to tell him?”
“The truth,” Wesley said. “As much of it as possible. Certainly about the fight last night and Byram’s soldiers.”
“And how are you going to explain why I’m not there with you? Iann will think it’s odd that I’m not making the report.”
“I’ll tell him the truth about that, too. That you were injured.”
Wen winced. “I don’t know if that’s a good idea, Wes. It’ll just make Iann or my mum or even Lord Rizik, if he’s around, ask questions. They’ll send Lilia to see me, and she’s going to take one look and know I was healed with magick. And that will bring up even more questions neither of us wants to answer right now.”
Stricken, Wesley sank to his knees beside the bed again. “That’s why you were so insistent about wanting to go with me to report, isn’t it? So you could protect me and no one would have to find out what I can do…what I am.”
Gods, it was starting already, with Wen now part of his secret and having to lie and cover up because of it.