Samara knocked on the door of Asa’s outer rooms. “Samara, come in!” Asa’s voice chimed out to her almost musically. She slid the door open and slipped in. “How was your bath? Did the heated water work out some of your muscles?” Asa’s eyes were the window of concern.
“It helped, thank you. I should be fine now. Ethan said you could show me where I will be staying.” Samara spoke briskly and to the point. He seems too kind. I want to tell him everything. How I can barely stand. But I don’t know if I can trust him.
“Samara.” Asa stared at her. “Are you quite sure?” He looked as if he could see through her. “It’s my responsibility to assess your physical condition. You took a fall bad enough not to stay awake. I can’t allow you to leave without being assessed.”
This is why Ethan didn’t tell me where else to go. I can’t leave, because I don’t even know where I’m going. Much less where I’m going to eat… “Well, I could really use some dinner. I haven’t eaten yet today.” Samara didn’t think through how her words would be taken carefully enough and saw a glimmer of anger flit across Asa’s face.
“You mean to tell me that they didn’t feed you at that abominable place you call Mercy? And you mean to tell me that Ethan didn’t feed you either? Of course you fell over then! Wait right here.” Asa glided out of the room and swiftly returned with a steaming bowl of the most savory smelling… something.
“What is that? I’ve never smelled anything like it.”
“It’s all right. This is a soup that I keep on hand when injured worn out warriors like yourself come through my doors.” His eyes twinkled at her, all signs of his anger gone.
“Me, a warrior?” Samara stifled a short laugh. “I think you’ve found the wrong girl, but I’ll definitely try your soup.”
Asa’s smile dimmed slightly. “Samara, do you really understand why you’re here? They did tell you, didn’t they, in your training?”
Samara quickly put a bite in her mouth. “Training? Now I think you do have the wrong girl. I was trained to read the scriptures and blessings of Mercy, but I have no skills – I – “ Samara cut herself off. I want to know what’s going on but I don’t know if I can let him know just how weak I am.
Asa’s face was not steady. It looked as if he was fighting back extreme anger while trying to stay composed. Samara wolfed down the bowl while trying to maintain a semblance of manners. “If you so claim to be untrained, I will be conducting a complete physical examination. I need to know whether you were more injured than we think.”
When she had finished the bowl, Asa led her to a small cot, and laid her down with her back to him. He’s supposed to be a healer. I’m supposed to trust him. Her heart raced. It was one thing being carried while she was supposedly unconscious, but this felt different. This is his profession. I need to trust him. Asa gently untied her uniform at the neckline and gently slid it down her back. His light fingers on her neck and upper back sent shivers down her spine. His touch is so unbelievably gentle.
“Samara…” Asa whispered. “Why did you tell me everything was all right?” Samara startled at the pain she could hear in his voice.
“What do you mean? It is just fine.”
“Everything’s out of place, Samara.” He traced a finger lightly down her spine, sending more shivers and a tingle in places that felt new. “You must have so much pain here.” Samara grasped as he pushed fingers along all the places her hips joined her legs. “And so many scars, Samara. Who did this to you?”
I can’t let him know. “I think I’m fine, Healer.” Samara said with a slightly colder edge to her voice, surprising herself.
“Samara.” Asa sounded on the edge of tears. “I’m going to help you, and I’m sorry it’s going to hurt.”