Sadra groaned when she felt a ray of sun hit her face, warm against her skin. Her head throbbed horribly, and her whole body ached as though she’d been sick with a fever. When she moved to push herself up, her left hand throbbed horribly. She hissed in pain, noticing that her palm had been bandaged. Suddenly remembering the events of the night before, she looked around at her surroundings. She was in a tiny bedroom with wooden walls and a small wooden wardrobe against the wall opposite her bed. The sound of birds singing outside the window sounded oddly familiar, but she couldn’t put her finger on where she’d heard them before.
Desperate to find her sister, she threw the sheets off of her and staggered out of bed. Her legs gave way and she tumbled to the ground, snarling as her knees hit the wooden floor, followed by the rest of her. Chest heaving, she pushed herself up to a kneeling position. Why was this so difficult? What had happened? All she remembered was fleeing Ist’Heom. Had they been captured? If they had, she had absolutely no idea where she was now. After a few failed attempts, she managed to stagger to her feet and stumble towards the door. She collided with it, missing the knob twice before finally grasping it and pulling the door open.
“Sadra! You’re awake!” A woman sat in the living room on the other side of the door, with two teen boys opposite her on the loveseat. It took her a minute to realize that they were Seida’s apprentices, Tauren and Gregorim. They seemed to be well, so she was guessing that they hadn’t been captured after all. The woman almost knocked her chair over as she stood up and ran over to her, catching Sadra as her legs gave way again.
“Mamae?” Sadra looked up at her. Surely it had to be her mother. She bore such a startling resemblance to Seida that she could be no one else. Tears stung at her eyes. Was it shameful she barely recognized her own mother? “Mamae, where’s Seida?”
“She’s in the market getting supplies. She should be back any minute. Let’s get you back to bed; you’re too weak to stand, my love.” Her mother helped her walk back into the bedroom and sat her on the bed. Sadra laid back down, feeling much better. Her head had begun to swim to the point of making her nauseous.
“How did we get here?” Sadra asked her.
“Seida brought you here. The healers were beginning to fear you’d never wake up.” Her mother brushed a few strands of hair from Sadra’s face, a concerned look on her face. “You’ve been unconscious for almost two weeks. ”
“Two weeks?!” Sadra tried to sit up again, but her mother pushed her back down. That couldn’t possibly be right. They’d only just left Ist’Heom, or at least it felt that way to her.
“You need to lie down and rest, Sadra,” her mother said sternly. “You’re in no condition to be out of bed. Stay here. I’ll fix you something to eat.”
She stood up and left the room. Almost immediately after she left, the boys stuck their heads in the doorway to look at her. She smiled at them, lifting her hand to wave them in. She slowly pushed herself up to a seated position with her good hand as they tentatively stepped into the room. Gregorim stayed standing while Tauren took a seat at the foot of the bed, studying her face.
“How’s your hand feeling? The healer said the burn had been pretty severe,” Tauren asked.
“Tender,” she answered, examining the bandages. It was a relief to see white linen bandages rather than Kirada’s mark. She couldn’t bear to look at it after Kirada’s harsh words. All her dedication had been ignored, and now she had been punished for taking matters into her own hands. “What happened after we left? I don’t remember much.”
“You collapsed and Kirada... cursed you, I guess. That’s what the healers believe anyway. There’s been three different...