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(Read by Author Esther Mitchell)

Telyn lounged against the inside of Bloodcloud's stall, comforted by her old friend's presence. Eyes closed, she tried to rest, but the uncertainty of her current situation kept her alert for any sign of trouble, and her night sleepless. Following Sala's instructions about meditation, she forced her muscles to relax and drew deep breaths, hoping to draw calmness into herself. Unfortunately, the chilly, pre-dawn air only made her blood pump faster, and adrenaline coursed through her body to know the morning might bring battle. Restless, she shifted, and a deep chuckle caused her eyes to pop open, only to see Nacaris crouched near her.


"What's so funny?"


"Can't sleep, huh?" Laughter colored his voice.


She glowered at him. "Aren't you supposed to be on watch? That means watching the enemy, not me."


The tenderness in his grin melted her annoyance, even as he shifted closer and his voice dropped to a sensual murmur. "Who says I can't do both?"


She opened her mouth to reply, but stopped mid-spate, her breath sucked away as her vision went dark for an instant, and an overwhelming sense of dread covered her. Netta used to call it someone walking on my grave. Only, it wasn't her own life Telyn had a sudden, all-consuming fear for. Nacaris was in danger.


The fine hairs along the back of her neck rose, and she knew it was close. In an instant, she launched forward, intent on getting him out of harm's way. They crashed to the stable floor, just as a violent burst of air passed above her head, and the sound of impact jarred through her.


"What the--" Nacaris spluttered. Telyn silenced him with a gesture as she slowly levered herself up from on top of him.


She glanced toward the wall where she'd just been sitting, and her gaze narrowed on the black-fletched arrow now lodged, quivering, in the wall where she'd just been sitting. Nacaris' quiet oath told her he saw it as well.


"How did you know?"


She shook her head. She couldn't explain. This sense she'd always relied on, she called her battle senses. But now, she wasn't so sure. She wasn't sure of anything anymore.


"Thank you." Nacaris' voice dropped to a quiet rumble, and his tone shot through Telyn's tightly strung nerves, arrowing straight to her erogenous zones. Adrenaline zipped along her nerves, and she closed her eyes to keep from revealing her thoughts. Warmth touched her backside, and her eyes flew open as she realized that warmth was Nacaris' hands.


Staring down into his eyes, her breath hitched, and a fluttering ache took up residence in her belly. She wanted to give in to the ache, to melt against the hardness of his body beneath hers and damn the consequences. But she knew that was impossible. She made her choice, and Nacaris wasn't part of the future she had charted.

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