The winds rushed up the stairs and against her, causing the light to sputter and go out. Pale silvery light cast over her and she lifted her chin only to gasp and reach for her hidden dagger. “Grendall!” she exclaimed and exhaled when he reached out to catch her hand.
“You should not be here,” he said roughly. His pale eyes seemed harder than ever, only now his dark hair looked more unkempt than usual, the lines about his mouth and forehead were more pronounced and he limped as he approached.
“What happened to you?” she whispered.
“Only what’s bound to happen to you, if you stay,” he said while tucking a loose curl behind her ear. His long fingers brushed the rose fixed at her neck and his gaze flickered back to meet hers. “What’s this?”
She tried to pull away only to find her bloody hand still trapped in his and she glowered. “Never mind that, Gate Keeper. Do you have what I need?”
He bowed his head to mask his contorted features. “Yes.”
When he did not speak she dared another step, and noticed the fresh scrapes on his neck that were hidden by his coat collar. “Grendall,” she said while reaching up to push the leather aside. “Is it true then?”
“Is what?” he grunted, low and somewhat harshly. He curled even more into himself when she touched the light cuts.
“Am I truly his last hope? Am I everyone’s last hope?”
He shook his head and when he looked up at her again, she was shocked to see something akin to remorse. “Vynasha, you must leave tonight, now before they smell your blood. It is so strong.” He stared at their joined hands a moment and his grip tightened. He clenched his square jaw and then quickly turned. “If you value your life and your brother’s, then come with me.”
“So you’ll help me?” she asked breathlessly, unable to contain her eagerness.“Cease your constant chatter and perhaps we can descend unnoticed…vile temptress,” he grumbled, his words falling to low murmuring as they moved down the winding stair.