Caltha couldn’t remember the last time she slammed the door. It was not like her. She didn’t often let frustration take hold of her. Yet, she knew what they said was right. She felt helpless, and she didn’t like being that way.
She sighed. There was so much wrong in this world, the last thing she wanted was her freedom taken as well.
Rebelling against wishes was the last thing she had in mind. Crolis was only doing his job because of a promise he made to her parents. But she’s a grown woman, for Idianale’s sake!
What would Rastite be like without all the trouble in the streets? Can’t a woman work in peace without having to look behind her back every now and then?
Caltha opened the balcony doors and stepped outside. At least the breeze was calming enough as opposed to the suffocating air inside. She wrapped her arms around herself after a strong gust flew by.
She inhaled. Exhaled. She repeated it a few more times, allowing the calmness of the night to take hold. Turning around to go back inside, she jumped. She placed a hand on her chest accompanied by a gasp.
From the corner of the balcony, Sirius was sitting, a knee was drawn up while he rested an arm on it. He leaned against the wall, looking at her in silence.
“What are you doing?” She was about to scream the words, but they ended in a frustrated whisper. How long had he been there?
“I would’ve waited inside, but you were stomping all over. I figured you didn’t want to see anyone right now.”
Caltha stared at him, realizing the tone of voice she used ended up being rather harsh. She looked away. “Sorry, I just, well...”
“Crolis sounded mad.”
She stared at him, wanting to hide the fact that she was, in a way, grounded. Now that Sirius knew, there was no point in hiding it.
“I just happen to hear,” he added.
Caltha had no idea three consecutive bad things could happen in a single night. Laid off from a job. Restricted like a child. The attack on the shop.
She settled beside him, drew her knees up and wrapped her arms around them. She leaned against the wall to look up at the night sky. A bit misty, but it would do.
Twice thugs attempted to abduct her. And both times, she was able to escape. At least there was one good thing about those events. But could she rely on him all the time?
“Are you hurt anywhere?” She noticed a twitch in his right hand after asking.
“I didn’t tell them. In case you’re wondering.”
Trust was established between them since the day she told him not to speak about her mahiqa. He did well to keep his end of it. She likewise did the same where his job was concerned.
“What did you do to them?” Was the question she almost didn’t want to ask. Curiosity got the better of her.
Sirius took a minute. “Why do you want to know?”
At this, Caltha looked at him. In her face was pity and disturbance. His answer gave her a glimpse of what could’ve happened after their escape. She could only speculate, but she felt it in her knees. “Have you ever stopped to consider whether they had families?”
He shrugged. “They didn’t stop to consider whether they’d hurt you or not.”
Caltha shook her head. “That’s not how the system works, Rius. You can’t just off people like that every time you get the chance. You need to take them to the proper authorities to face judgement.”
“You won’t be saying that the next time your life’s on the line.” Sirius said matter-of-factly.
It wasn’t like she was often in danger, nor had she invited it. All she wanted was normality, but it would seem even the work she wanted to do put her role in peril.
There was a part of her that knew he was right about some of the things he said. He was only doing what he thought was right. It did save the three of them in the end.
“You didn’t just happen to be there, were you?” She thought the odds of him being around the emporium were slim at best. Unless...
Sirius chose not to answer as he tilted his head to the side.
Caltha wouldn’t force it from him, so she decided to move on to the next. “What’s that about the High King anyway?”
At this, Sirius told her the details about the bounty. About the things happening in the city that concerned the reward, those that were involved as sacrificial lambs in the matter. The imminent danger people like her faced should she encounter another one of them.
Sirius noticed her staring at him. Eyes rendered in worry not of herself, but for the others who became victims. To his disquiet, she seemed to fit everything mentioned in the initial intel. Mahiqa. No ordinary healer. Female.
He blinked twice in slow intervals. “You’re the one the High King wants.”
“No,” Caltha shook her head in disbelief. “No. Are you sure? What if there’s someone else?”
Sirius gave her a look that stated the obvious. “Unless there are two of you, I guess you have nothing to worry about. But I doubt it. You know how they say that one type of mahiqa is limited to one person?”
She knew this too. She just didn’t want to believe that she was the one involved in all this. That much he understood.
His tone held no sympathy, stating only the facts. He was right though. Should the damage be done, perhaps even her mahiqa might fail to save her.
She didn’t know why she was the one chosen. She had that gift ever since she was young. How she acquired it was the real question. There was no one that could provide the answer to that.
There were only two people who knew about her gift. Sirius and Crolis. Three, if she considered the High King, but her identity to him was a question.
It dawned on her that she might as well be putting the people close to her in danger.
She glanced at Sirius. His eyes were closed, shoulders slumped. In a way, he appeared relaxed. He might as well be sleeping. She wondered how he could act so calm with all that he told her?
Then again, he wasn’t the one concerned in all this.
What was she to him then? Why go to all that trouble? The answer? Because he could.
The sky urged her to look at it. The night bathed in stillness. If there were screams somewhere, she was pleased about not being able to hear them. If there were cries, she was grateful the barrier of distance drove them away. It was selfish, and she disliked being that way.
It was a grim reminder. Voices of a chaotic affair that would haunt her. These were the people, of names she might never meet, who suffered on her behalf. It was heavy. Unpleasant. Torturous.
He laid on her shoulder with eyes closed.
How nice, she thought. How she wished she had the kind of luxury Sirius did. To be at ease from all the worries. But with the recent news, would she ever find one in between?
She glanced at his hand, palms up. It rested on the space between them. He could lie when he felt like it, but some of his reactions gave him away.
She covered his hand with hers and let the subtle glow of her mahiqa mend the small cut he got from fighting. He could be careless. Reckless. She thought it would do him good to take a break sometimes.
“Thank you,” she laid her head atop his. If there was a way to create a knot for promises, even in silence, then she prayed.
I hope I'll always find you there.