"Don't be dead. Don't be dead. Oh Please don't be dead."
Asadel spat out a mouthful of Tegwin's hair. She had laid her head on his chest, her hair spreading out like a fan. Asadel eye's flickered for a moment and then when he worked out where he was, he opened them. Tegwin's face was tear streaked, and pale. Her treacle brown eyes watery and red. She had managed pulled him back into the cabin and laid him on the blankets and cushions. She was stronger than she looked. She half crying and laughing as she hugged him hard. He sat up wincing.
"I thought you were dead," she said.
He hurt so much, he wished was.
He examined the wounds on his arms and his legs. Tegwin had cleaned his wounds, but he needed smear them with honey. He discovered last summer that scratches healed much faster when he did that. Tegwin offered him a bowl of his honey drink. He noticed she had a scratch on her left cheek. He peered over the bowl at her as he drank. He wanted to...he wasn't sure what he wanted to do, but a big emotion welled up from the pit of his stomach, making him wish he could express it somehow. She made him feel strange. He wasn't sure if that was a good thing, seeing as unusual things had been happening since she appeared.
"I saw a green flame." Tegwin's whispers cut through his thoughts. Although Asadel didn't understand what Tegwin was saying, he knew what she meant by her hand gestures. His stomach twisted. He didn't know how that happened. He couldn't do it again if he tried. He looked at his left hand in wonder.
Tegwin stifled a yawn; Asadel caught it in the corner of his eye. Tegwin looked as though she couldn't keep her eyes open any longer. Unsteady, Asadel got up onto his feet, wincing with pain. Tegwin watched him as he limped over to the strange tent structure. He opened the front revealing something that resembled a bed. He beckoned Tegwin over to him, and motioned her to get in. While she crawled inside Asadel banked the fire, and blew out the candles which were still alight. With some relief he crawled inside beside Tegwin and he pulled the blankets up around them and happily succumbed to sleep.
She awoke suddenly in the night to Asadel whimpering and crying in his sleep. He had rolled away from her. She stroked his hair and sang softly, just like her mother did when she was unsettled in her sleep. He relaxed then, his breathing deepening. Tegwin wrapped her arms around Asadel and snuggled into his body. He was very warm, and the odd bed was cosy and warm. It was a mattress of hay on which fur pelts and old blankets had been layer over. Their covering was much the same, fur and old wool blankets. Tegwin wondered how he came to be living in the forest alone without parents, or anyone else.
"You're not alone now." She whispered into his ear as she breathed in his scent. It reminded her of grass and freshly tilled earth after a rain storm. She hummed to herself a soft lullaby, and then she grew silent as sleep washed over her.
Asadel awoke with the dawn as he always did. He felt a warm weight beside him, and turned to see what it was. Memories from the night before came flooding back, as he recognised the sleeping figure of Tegwin. He propped himself up on his elbow, looking at her for a moment. She looked peaceful and relaxed, lying on her side. Her features were very young and fragile, and Asadel felt that strange feeling that made him want to touch her. He should take her back to the road today. He was sure her family would be looking for her and He'd barely make through the winter by himself. He didn't have enough food for two, even if he did start stockpiling more from now on. In fact he was very worried about the winter. He nearly didn't have enough food last winter and it was worse this year. Sadness welled in his stomach. He hadn't known he was lonely, and He didn't want to say good bye, but he had too. He reached out to touch Tegwin's cheek, which felt soft and cool against his cheek. Tegwin stirred and rolled over.
Asadel lay on his back, and mulled over everything that happened. He needed to leave here. There had been signs for weeks, and now Tegwin had appeared. It wouldn't be safe for him any longer. Maybe he should go find his people? But It didn't feel like the right time for that. First he had to make sure Tegwin was safe.
With that decision made, he crawled out of the tent and began to gather and prepare food and water for the day.
She woke with a start, sometime later. She thought she could hear her father calling for her, and She didn't know where she was. She crawled out of the tent and saw Asadel with his back turned away from her. She remembered w then and realised her father couldn't possibly be calling for her. Yet she couldn't shake the feeling.
"Morning, Asadel." She had a headache and felt sore all over.
Asadel waved her quiet. He was watching out the window, and he looked ready to flee at any moment. Tegwin could almost see his ears pricking up, trying to hear something. She heard the sound, and without thinking, she ran across the room, and out of the cabin door.
"I'm here, Father! I'm here!"
Her father came running through the trees, and Tegwin ran towards him. He caught her in her arms, sweeping her off her feet into a spine cracking embrace. "Oh my little girl! Oh, thank the goddess, I found you!" Her father was crying, and so was Tegwin. The other men with her father filed in behind him. They were farmers, field hands and people who lived nearby.
"Don't ever walk off like that again, Tegwin. Never." Her father shook her then hugged her again, "Your mother and I thought I'd lost you."
"I'm sorry, father."
"Don't ever do that again, or I tan your hide back and blue next time" he shook her again.
"I won't, I won't!"
Her father hugged her again as the other men stood by.
Asadel stood outside of the cabin. He was terrified with all the people around him. He prepared to run as all the men came into the clearing.
"What's a Moacai doing here?" one of the men asked, pointing at Asadel.
Asadel's eyes widened when they saw him. He bolted and trying to dash past the men, but one of them caught him by the collar.
Asadel tried to pull free, but the farmer had picked him up firmly ensconced in his arms as Asadel kicked and squirmed, screaming.
"Don't hurt him!" Tegwin shrieked, pulling away from her father, "He didn't do anything!"
Asadel grunted and snarled trying to get away from the farmer's grasp. The farmer struggled to hold him.
"Stop squirming, you little worm."
"He's not a worm, he saved my life," She struggle to get down from her father's arms.
"Bring him here." Tegwin's father said, taking control of the situation, "Let me see him."
The farmer unceremoniously dropped the squirming Asadel at his feet.
"You're better off to kill the little bugger."
Asadel looked up, snarling, his green eyes flashing. His wounds on his arms had come open, and he was smeared with blood from the struggle. Tegwin went to his side and tried to comfort him but Asadel shook her off with a snarl. Tegwin's father crouched down to Asadel. He took one of Asadel's arms and pulled it out inspecting his wounds. Asadel stiffened.
"Who did this?"
"A Gévaudan," Tegwin answered.
"Where are your parents? Surely someone looking is after you?"
Asadel's eye brows were drawn together as he looked up, trying to make out what Tegwin's father was saying.
"I don't think he understands," One of the farmers suggested.
"Father? I don't think he has family," Tegwin looked up at her father.
"I had a wee look in the cabin. There's nothing of worth. A few rabbit pelts. The boy doesn't have enough food to last him the winter," Another man offered.
Tegwin's father gave Asadel a thoughtful look. "I think the Moacai had better come with us."