Sasha and Meramon. It has to be them. But how did they know to find me here? Or rather, to look for me here. They haven’t found me, nor I them. I did look. I even returned to the keep and did my very best to not look suspicious while I tried to catch a glimpse of one of them.
I was at the keep all morning, and halfway through the afternoon as well, and that landed me in trouble – when I returned to the tavern, that boy’s parents cornered me and questioned me, asked me where their son was, what I had done to him, and so on. The father grabbed me by my collar and shook me; his wife put her head in her hands and sobbed. I hadn’t even responded. I couldn’t. I could barely breathe, or think clearly. For a moment I think I actually believed that I’d somehow hurt the boy myself – then that thought faded. I remembered Eliana, and thought of how the refugees had accused her wrongly. I grabbed the father’s wrists and ripped them from my collar and glared at him. Then the boy walked in through the tavern door. His mother ran to him, wrapped him in an embrace of arms and tears. I shook myself off and left.
I went out of the tavern and mingled with a new boatload of arrivals. They were ushered to an inn further into Molash, closer to the keep. Neither Eliana nor the others were among them.
When I later returned to the tavern for the night, I did not look at the boy or his parents. The least they could have done was apologize… but no, just like while persecuting Eliana – they felt justified, resolute, stubborn. Let them take the consequences as well, then.
The harsh stares of those Brucian refugees looking at Eliana… right before they kindled a fire and dragged her to the stake… they were stares of hunger, malice, bloodthirst, conveyed by narrowing their eyes and stubborning their lips. Hateful. I say let hate take them for their hate.