Kyra awoke to the sounds of Leah screaming. She quickly jumped from her bed and woke her friend.
“Leah, Leah, it’s all right, it’s me. You’re safe, shh, it’s safe.” Kyra held Leah close, trying to soothe her trembles.
“Here, child,” Byron said as he opened the door and handed Kyra a cup of hot tea. Kyra blew away the steam and lifted the small wooden cup to Leah’s lips. Kyra rocked Leah gently as the morning sun sent its first rays of light through the wooden shutters. Kyra could see the warm smile on Byron’s face.
“Thank you,” Leah managed as her tears subsided.
“Come, we will go to work early today,” Byron said before leaving their room.
For the last four months, Byron had strengthened not only their bodies but also their minds. For Leah, the lessons in botany and alchemy were fascinating, and Kyra found comfort in continuing the routines of her childhood. This morning’s exercises were particularly difficult for Kyra. Sparring left her breathless and dizzy. She walked to the shade of a tall oak tree and sat down.
“What’s wrong?” Leah asked.
“I don’t feel well,” Kyra said dropping her head between her knees.
“The nausea again?”
“Yes,” Kyra said through slow deep breaths.
“It’s more often lately isn’t it?” Leah asked solemnly.
“Yes,” Kyra whispered.
“You should ask Byron about it. He might know what’s causing it.”
“I know what’s causing it, Le,” Kyra snapped. “I haven’t had my moon blood since we’ve been here. I can’t keep down food, and the laces on my pants no longer fit.”
“You mean you’re… but you can’t be.”
“Why not Leah?” Kyra lashed out.
“I didn’t mean you can’t. Didn’t Byron give you moon tea? He gave it to me,” Leah rambled quickly.
“Yes, but it doesn’t always work. I wasn’t keeping food down then either, thanks to my wounds.”
“What about Byron? You need to tell him. Maybe he can help you.”
“No!” Kyra said firmly.
“He’s going to figure it out soon enough.”
“I’ll tell him when I am ready to give him the full explanation.” Kyra sat up.
“Anything you want me to do I will,” Leah consoled her. “You know that right?”
“Yes.” Kyra closed her eyes as Leah slipped her arm around her. “Please Le, not now,” Kyra pushed her friend away.
“Sorry. Still feel ill?”
“Yes,” Kyra said, hoping Leah could not tell she was lying. The truth was that Kyra felt a little too close to Leah lately. A little too dependent. She was lost for a moment until Leah spoke.
“Do you still want to come into town with me? You don’t have to.”
“No it’s all right I’ll go.” Kyra steadied herself and stood up, slowly following Leah down the hill to the stable.
After all the times Kyra has entered the town of Port Sands, it still amazed her to gaze upon the brick stone streets and tall shops. Leah paused to watch a small fishing boat pull into dock. “Let’s see what they’ve caught.”
They walked over to the dock and bought a few whole fish before setting off to complete their list of supplies.
“What else do we need?” Leah asked upon exiting the general store.
“Found everything except Byron’s inks. They will not have them until next week.”
“He will be a bit displeased,” Leah frowned. “He’s already waited for a long time.”
“He will accept it fine enough. You want to get some supper?”
“Sure, you want to?” Leah said hopefully.
“Yes, I’m starved.” Kyra led Leah to the inn and tethered the horse, but before they entered they were interrupted.
“You there! Are you Kyra of Verona?” They were being questioned by two guards holding a scroll stating a description of her and a reward for her capture.
“Who wants to know?” Kyra asked, reaching for the sword at her belt.
“Not a wise decision,” one guard said, pointing a crossbow at Leah. “We are servants to Lord Corrin who have an order for your arrest. Lord Corrin has petitioned Queen Jocelyn and was granted permission to enforce it.” Kyra slowly removed her weapon and handed it to Leah.
“Return to Byron. Tell him what is happening. He will know how to find me. Do not come with him,” Kyra said before turning herself over to the men. Leah watched them chain Kyra in the back of a wagon before following her instructions.
Leah burst through the cottage door and into Byron’s arms. She told him what had happened and about Kyra’s condition.
“Come quickly. We must go now,” was Byron’s only reply.
Kyra stood in open court as her sentencing was announced.
“The jury council has come to the decision that you, Kyra of Verona, are guilty of murder. You are hereby sentenced to twenty years in a work prison.” With time enough only for a glancing nod to her friends, Kyra was taken to the cells below.
Kyra sat in her cell trying to ignore the noise and stench when a guard approached.
“You there, you’ve got a visitor.”
Kyra looked up to see Leah’s sweet face.
“I told you not to come.” Kyra turned her back to her friend.
“I’m sure you know it is much worse arguing with Byron than you, so, here I am. He says it will be all right. There is much opposition for Lord Corrin to handle. Can you please look at me?” Leah reached for Kyra’s hand through the bars and slipped her a letter. Kyra quickly stuffed it up her sleeve and said good-bye to Leah. After gently kissing Kyra’s hand, Leah turned and left. Kyra waited for nightfall to read the letter. The moonlight shone through a small window not far away and she could just make out the words.
Be patient, child. Soon the clan will be strong enough for a full attack. Leah told me you are with child and assured me it was not your lack of character that caused it. I have found her a place to stay in town, and she will be bringing you tea and nourishment. Our thoughts and love are with you.
Kyra clutched the letter to her chest as she cried herself to sleep.
Continued in our next issue, Winter 2023!