I dragged my fingers in the dirt before the fire. Just sitting with him like this, chatting by the fire, seemed too mundane to be real. I hadn’t been gone terribly long—a few weeks wasn’t a lifetime—but how long would it take to get back into the rhythm of the real world?
My fingers paused and I frowned at the mud and blood speckling the backs of my hands. “Do you know what happened at the garden?” I asked.
“Sure. I was there.”
“You were? I didn’t see you.”
“I followed,” he said, just a little sheepishly. “They told me to stay behind. Father said he would know if I followed, because we did that queer connection thing you Gabal Mages do—”
“I am not a Gabal Mage.”
“—I know. I’m sorry.” He picked up a twig from the grass next to him and prodded the fire. “I suppose Father was too distracted by the fight to feel me leave the camp. I hid in the bushes for a bit. I saw that—that thing,” he stammered, and he shook his head as if it would shake the memory of the monster from before his eyes. “I saw her raise the corpses. I watched the fight. I watched what they did to Sophie.”
A shudder ran through my body. I hadn’t seen what they did to Sophia, but seeing her wounds after the fact was more than enough.
“When Father told you to get her to safety, I could see that you didn’t have the energy to do it. You’re so skinny, Ree,” he whispered, eyes flicking my way. My stomach churned, but I said nothing. “I didn’t see much of what happened before the corpses were raised, but whatever happened… you looked exhausted. Then you collapsed, and that thing was pushing forward and started to light the air on fire—”
“Lightning,” I interrupted without thinking. “Aeromancy.”
“So I left the trees, grabbed you, and pulled you out. I got Sophie afterwards, then your mother trapped the thing in ice and we came back to our camp. I doubt you were unconscious long; Sonny said you fell asleep and that was why you didn’t wake up.”
I slumped and buried my face in my hands. “She is still alive?”
“Is she going to stay that way?” I lifted my face from my filthy palms and glanced across the camp. Hession was slouched against his bags, almost asleep, but Alistair was watching us with hooded eyes. There was something dark in his gaze that made my guts squirm. Gritting my teeth, I back at my hands.
Logan sighed and kicked at one of the logs. An explosion of sparks burst to life, and though their existences were short, they brought life to the darkness.
“I doubt it,” he said, and the last of the sparks died away.