Scent of Magic Page 115

“Then what are you waiting for, Avry? Everyone expected you two to disappear as soon as we returned.” Odd headed to his bedroll.

“What was that about?” Kerrick asked as soon as Odd left.

“Sergeant Wynn. She and Odd were...close.”

He took my hand. Warmth spread up my arm. I realized how ridiculous I was being with Kerrick. Every moment counted. Every breath precious.

I led him to the sleeping cavern, thinking to gather my bedroll to take to a private spot. I stopped at the entrance. Only my things remained by the small fire pit.

“Looks like everyone cleared out for tonight,” Kerrick said. “But I’m not letting you out of my sight even if that means I have to sleep on the cold, hard ground.”

I turned and kissed him. His surprise didn’t last. Wrapping his arms around me, he pulled me against him as he deepened the kiss.

Fire raced through me, igniting all my senses.

He broke off the kiss and smiled. “Feeling better?”

“Oh, yes.” I pushed him toward my bedroll. “You’re not sleeping tonight.”


Avry snuggled closer as she slept. Lying on his side, Kerrick propped his head up on his hand so he could see her better, still amazed that they had both lived through the day. When he had seen her trapped in Tohon’s arms... No, he wouldn’t dwell on that moment of pure agony. Unlike any other in his lifetime.

They had so much to catch up on, but he savored the feel of her body pressed against his. He studied every inch of her face. Her hair had grown, and her skin appeared lighter than before. Kerrick resisted the urge to wake her for another round of getting reacquainted. She needed her sleep. And from the new collection of scars on her body, he knew she’d been devoting all her energy to healing others.

He settled his head back onto the pillow. Kerrick never wanted to leave her side. Even if Ryne ordered him to lead a squad and fight, he would stay with Avry. Being apart just hurt too damn much.

Of course, he realized just how selfish that would be. Belen had to be found. And he needed to fetch Danny and find out if Noak’s warriors would join them. It was doubtful Avry would agree to accompany him. She was needed here.

One day they’d be like a normal couple, living together with Danny and Zila. Perhaps married with children of their own. Belen, Loren, Quain and Flea acting like uncles and living close by. The war would be a faint memory and recited to the kids as exaggerated tales of epic battles and impossible heroics.

He smiled at his silly thoughts. Although they weren’t that silly. That future image gave him more motivation to stop the nonsense. Just thinking about Cellina and Jael turned his stomach.

Another wave of nausea swelled. Perhaps he should have eaten more tonight. So worried about Avry’s reaction to his arrival, he’d hardly eaten.

Yes, that was the reason for his sour stomach.

It had to be.

As the night wore on, he grew sicker. Sweat poured off his skin, but he wouldn’t wake Avry. It was a little stomach bug and not the Death Lily toxin. Bile pushed up his throat. Clamping down on the need to vomit, Kerrick slipped from the covers, yanked on his pants and bolted outside.

He connected to the living green and felt a bit better. The night breeze cooled him, sending a shiver along his skin. Kerrick leaned against a tree. His respite didn’t last long. The forest soon spun around him. Nausea swelled, and he bent over to expel his meager supper onto the ground.

The sickness battered his body. Weak-kneed, he sprawled on the ground as he fought the urge to pass out, concentrating on the tree canopy above him. He had promised Avry not to die.

In his delirium, he must have pulled power. Vines crept over his legs and chest. They twined around his arms. He struggled to free himself. Kerrick had to return to the cave. To Avry.

The living green spoke to him for the first time in his life.

Relax, it said in his mind. Be at peace.

Avry, I’m sorry.

The sickness claimed him.

And he was lost to fever dreams.