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@urwen-starial @esmeralda-gramilton @mayacat @kayla-skywriter @naiya-dyani @emberynus-the-dragonslayer

And the next Megyn/Kedori/Kiet part.

“You want me to release him from the Tower?” the Warden exclaimed. He twisted around as he strode ahead of her, eyes rounded in shock.

“Only temporarily,” she assured him, almost sprinting trying to keep up with him. “He’s too ill to be kept here. He needs nursing, something he’s not going to receive here.” She flipped away a stray strand of hair with a toss of her head. “I know, there are a lot of legalities and protocols at stake, but if you want Hulsba to survive for any questioning, I–I beg that you will allow me to admit him to the hospital until he recovers.”

As they entered the cell, Kedori looked up at her with swimming eyes.

It’s okay, she signed, kneeling beside Kiet. I’m talking to him.

The Warden laid a hand on Kiet’s forehead. “He is–very sick,” he admitted as he quickly lifted his hand away.

Megyn caught hold of his arm. Urgency tensed her voice as she lifted wide eyes. “Please, Sir, if you have any affection left for your fellow man–”

He held up a hand. “No begging is necessary, Miss Harris. You may take him.”

She sighed as a flood of relief overflowed her. “Thank you, Sir.”

He eyed her closely. “However, precautions must be taken to ensure he does not run. Any attempts to free him on your part will be met with severe consequences.” He reached to his belt, unhooked a pair of handcuffs and handed them to her.

A flicker of nervousness passed through Megyn as she took those thick chains into her hands. But she nodded as she hooked them around a clip on her own belt. “Of course.”

Satisfied, the warden slipped his arms under Kiet. Megyn felt her eyes widen with surprise as he lifted Kiet from the floor. “Let’s go,” he ordered, turning to the door.

With a nod, she snatched her backpack from the floor, flipping her coat over her arm. She swung her backpack over her shoulder as they hurried out of the cell. “Thank you, Warden,” she murmured as she grabbed Kedori’s hand and squeezed it.

“Only until we get into the courtyard. You’re on your own then.”

Her heart sank even as she replied confidently. “We’ll manage.” Lord, help us manage.

Out of the corner of her eye, she caught sight of dark eyes, gazing at her from a cell. The tears ran in silver rivulets down his face. With quivering lips, the young boy reached out his hand to her again. This time a voice spoke, though his lips barely moved. “Help . . .”

“I will return,” she promised in a hasty whisper. She grabbed his hand, squeezing it for a moment as she passed. The next she let it go as she hurried after the warden.

Minutes later, they burst out of the Tower into the courtyard. A rush of bitter wind bore down upon them, thick with bits of ice and snow.

The Warden stopped. “I’m sorry, Miss Harris,” he said as he awkwardly set Kiet on the ground, “but I have to stay here.”

Kiet swayed, nearly falling on his side as the warden stepped back. Megyn sprang toward him, throwing her arms around him to steady him. Kedori, she signed with one hand as he came up beside her, Support him on the other side for a minute. 

The warden rubbed his jaw. “If you can get one of the guards to help you, go ahead. I had the intention of sending one later anyway, to ensure Hulsaba was properly secured.” He lifted his hand in a polite salute. “You must excuse me. Good day, Miss.”

“Thank you,” She managed a clumsy salute back. “Good day, Warden.”

She shrugged her coat off her arm. With one hand, she draped it over Kiet’s shoulders. “I’ll try to keep you warm.” she whispered to him. Let’s lay him down, she signed to Kedori. Careful.

As they laid in him on a snow drift, she glanced around. A few guards stood by the gate. One of them watched with an eyebrow angled down. As their eyes met, he lifted it higher in a blend of amusement and curiosity.

Megyn turned to Kedori. Stay here with him. I’ll be right back. With a determined sigh, she lifted her head to eye that guard for a moment, then hurried over, crunching the snow of half-trodden drifts with every step. As she approached, he folded his arms.

“Excuse me, Sir,” she said, giving a slight nod to the guard standing next to him.

Something glittered in his dark eyes.“Yes?”

“I need some help. I have a prisoner I need to take to the hospital for treatment, and I–”

The guard next to him guffawed. “Why bother with those miserable–” He cursed with a sneer as she bit her lip. “Who even are you anyway? What–”

The other guard jabbed him in the shoulder with his elbow. “Quit it,” he hissed.

“F.R.M.S Agent Megyn Harris,” she told the mocker in a quiet tone. “It’s my duty to help those who are injured or ill.” She turned back to the first guard. “Would you–be willing to carry him to the hospital for me?”

The mocker snorted. The first man licked his lips, obviously hesitant. He glanced at Kiet, then back at her. “I don’t. . . think so. Sorry.”

“Please!” She took a step forward, eyes glistening as she met his gaze. “He has a bad infection. If I don’t get him to the hospital and treat him, he may die.”

The other guard shrugged.“Who cares? It’s not our job to help that filth.”

Heat surged through Megyn. She straightened her back as she turned flashing eyes to him for a moment. “Sir,” she managed in an even tone, “I am trying to talk to this man. Would you be so kind as to be quiet?”

With one last snort, he turned away. “Don’t let her talk you into it!” he called over his shoulder as he walked away.

How can people be so heartless! she cried out within as she turned back to the first guard. “Please . . .” She lifted her gaze to him again.

He looked back at her, his lips pressed tightly together. “Well . . .” His arms fell to his sides as he heaved a sigh. “I suppose. . .”

A smile flitted over her face a moment as she sighed in relief. “Thank you, Sir.” She turned to hurry back to Kedori.

“Anthyr,” he corrected as he fell in step with her.

“Thank you, Father,” she whispered under her breath as they approached the boys. Anthyr bent down to lift Kiet up in his arms. This man will help us, she signed to Kedori. Let’s go. 

“Lead on,” Anthyr said as she turned back to him. He watched her in silence as she made sure Kiet was comfortable in his arms and smoothed her coat over him. “There,” she murmured.

With a sigh, she lifted her head. “I’ll need to walk next to you, to monitor his condition.” She sent a glance at Kedori as she walked to the gate. Satisfied that he was following them, she nodded to the porter, who swung that gate open wide.

“Whatever you say, Miss Harris,” he replied.

Megyn darted a glance around. Where’s Pasha? She wondered. She’d fully expected him to spring to Kedori’s side and raise his hackles at Anthyr. But the big white dog didn’t appear as the gates crashed closed behind them.

Kedori crept up beside her, touching her arm as the gates crashed closed behind them. She turned. Will he be alright? he signed.

Her heart twinged. What can I say? Kiet is alive. But with the fever and infection…? She bit her lip as she signed, He is very sick. I think he will recover if treated properly. I will do my best, and pray for him. I’m sorry about all this. She reached out her arm for a one-sided hug.

His eyes met hers. He bit his lip, then slipped his arms around her.

Poor guy, Megyn thought. Her fingers wrapped around his shoulder, holding him close. “It’ll be okay,” she whispered.

As she released him, a bitter gust shoved against their backs. Megyn shivered at the touch of its icy breath. Without her coat, it sliced through her tan suede shirt to her bones. It’s going to be a long walk. With a slight lift of her chin, she set her teeth and lengthened her steps to keep her position by Anthyr’s elbow.

“How far is it, Miss?” he asked, as though to make some kind of conversation.

“About a mile,” she replied, gritting her teeth to keep them from chattering.

“Long way to go, especially for nothing. And it’s freezing cold.” He glanced down at her, with a hint of human affection in his eyes. “And without your coat.”

The wind swirled wisps of her hair around her face as she looked him squarely in the eyes. “To me, it’s not for nothing. It’s my duty, my desire to serve and love these people, no matter what the cost may be.”

At the word “love”, his eyebrow lifted. That hint in his eyes brightened as he commented, “Really? You love the rotting prisoners in those cells?”

“I love everyone.” She pressed her lips together for a moment. “Trying just to be love that gives all it has, serves with all its strength and lays down its own life so another might live.” Her eyes glowed as she gazed earnestly at him. “There is no greater love than that.”

Without a word, he turned his face back to the street. Something bumped her arm. She glanced over at Kedori, just in time to see him unfasten his coat. Here, take it, he signed.

Her eyes widened as she vehemently shook her head. No, you keep it on. I’ll be fine. She signed in reply. Please just keep it. I don’t want you to freeze. 

His lip quivered as the wind gusted again, swirling snowflakes in and out of his hair. But you’re cold. 

I’ll be fine, she responded. Please, keep your coat on.

His chin set. Determination filled his eyes as he took the coat off. He walked faster to match her pace. We’ll keep trading, he signed. You wear it for a while, then I will. Please . . .

Kedori . . . Emotion glistened in her eyes as she looked at him. He is so caring. One of the others in Outopia who cares and yet needs someone to care for them. She bit her lip at the thought.

Alright, she signed, then reached out a hand to take the coat.

He laid it over her shoulders, holding out the sleeves for her to slip her arms through. As she did, he smoothed it out, then walked close beside her.

Thank you, she signed, gratitude shining in her eyes.

He nodded. You’re welcome.

Maybe the walk won’t be so long after all, she thought as she guided them to the hospital.

Psalm 119:11
Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.

Story Embers

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