"Well, we broke down the door and there you were, lying in a pool of blood, and we were all convinced you were dead," he said. "The leader of the soldiers turned to me and asked whether you were Merran, and without any hesitation I said yes. Jarvik did give me a funny look but he didn't say anything, and I think he approved. After all, our little lie was keeping the soldiers from pursuing Merran and Moire."

I groaned. "There are so many things wrong with this idea that I don't know where to start."

"I know," he said. "We just wanted to give Moire and Merran as much of a head start as we could. The Army was looking for Merran and they had seen the two of us together, so it would have been a matter of time before they'd figure out that he'd escaped."

"And Jarvik is playing along?"


"Do any of the soldiers know the real Merran?"

He seemed to consider that for a moment. "I don't think so," he said. "None of them showed any signs of recognising him, and most of them were too young to have been in Heartstone with him, anyway."

"So, the risk would be coming form our own men, then," I said. "I remember Merran telling me that Jarvik's men picked him up a couple of months ago, and I suppose that since then he's either been here or in Stillwater. There must be lots of law-men who know him. There are quite a few who know me as well."

"We might have a chance, then. I don't think any of the law-men were around when Merran escaped or when we found you, and since then we've been locked in here. The only one who's seen you here is the Army physician and the soldiers who bring us our food and medicine. Speaking of whom, they're late."


"Well, you did lose a lot of blood." He paused for a moment. "Also, you seemed to be very distraught about something, so we've been giving you something to help you rest."

There was that 'we' again, I thought. "Distraught?"

"You were screaming and crying in your sleep," he said. "Were you having bad dreams?"

"No, not that I remember."

It was true, I didn't remember anything that had happened after they had broken down the door and found me. And yet, I knew exactly what those bad dreams were and where they were coming from. I fully expected them to haunt me for the rest of my life.

To my surprise I felt my eyes filling with tears, and I turned my head away from the direction where his voice had been coming from. More tears came, and I wiped them away with the back of my hand.

I could sense Jadri bending over me and looking at me. "Are you alright?"

I tried to say that I was fine, but I choked and I began to cry even harder, embarrassed but unable to stop the tears.

There was a soft knock on the door and I folded my arms over my face, hoping that whoever it was would go away. I could hear Jadri get up and walk to the door.

"Who 's there?"

"Rodan," a male voice said.

I heard Jadri move the bolts and open the door. "Am I glad you're here."

"There's been some consternation, and I thought I might as well bring you your lunch myself since you must be… what's going on?"

I heard the sound of something being put down on a table, followed by footsteps moving in my direction. I lay on my back, still with one arm covering my eyes.

"He's been awake since late this morning," Jadri said. It sounded like he had wanted to say more, but he didn't.

The stranger took my hand and gently moved my arm away from my face. I closed my eyes, while the tears continue to flow.

"What seems to be the problem?" he asked me.

"I'm a lost soul, wandering in darkness," I said. I wasn't sure where those words came from and I regretted them as soon as I spoke them. They both must have thought I was mad.

"Do you wish to seek the light?"

I could hear Jadri whisper, "Rodan, what on earth are you doing?"

"Trust me."

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