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CH 6 | Of Us (Part 1)

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  1. Asha trudged through the snow, her wool cloak drawn tight around her - so tight that her knuckles were pale. Shivering, she continued walking though was not looking ahead. Her eyes only followed the next few feet of snow, barely glancing at the roots of the oak trees that were almost completely buried. It was all she could really think about. She simply had to keep walking forward until she found him and this continued until she ran into someone.

    The texture of feathers told her who it was.

    Asha looked up, giving her surroundings a glance. They were in a clearing, smaller than the one they found in the summer. Darrah looked down at her, but she wasn't able to focus enough to determine what his expression was. Eventually, he asked, "Shouldn't you be with your mother helping your village?"

    "I... I wanted to ask you something," she replied quietly, and then she was silent as though she expected him to turn her away, but the Crow Lord said nothing. Asha really looked at him and saw that he was entirely focused on her. Slowly, she stopped shaking as she stared back into his mismatched gaze.

    "Will it end soon?"

    Darrah nodded, "Come spring it will pass."

    Asha gave him a soft smile. "So your work will begin then?"

    "Yes."

    "That's good," she sighed, visibly relaxing, "Thank you, Darrah."

    "For what?"

    "For your time," Asha told him simply, "And your friendship. Thank you for being my friend."

    The Crow Lord was confused by her words, the way she said them, and by how pale she looked. Standing there in the sun's dimmed light, Asha was far paler than himself and stood as though she might collapse. Before he could ask her anything she turned away from him. As she disappeared from sight, the Crow Lord wondered if it had been truly her but knew it had been here then. He would never mistake her eyes and their brightness.

    However, when Asha was near her village after again walking slowly through the forest, she stopped and coughed harshly into her glove. Her lungs rattled and her entire body ached, but once it was over she ignored the blood left behind and continued on her way home. There was still work to be done, she still needed to help her mother with the sick and dying. But at the door to her home, she collapsed, more harsh coughing racking her entire body. Asha didn't know when the door opened, but when it did she heard her mother's gasp and felt her hands scoop her up and carry her to her room.

    Before darkness claimed her thoughts Asha heard her mother's choked sobs and barely voiced whisperings of, "No, not my daughter, not her too!"

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