Chapter 4 

Fear

Pallu rode home, escorted by Sardena’s oldest brother. The family would not allow her to ride into town alone. She figured they would be so angry at her they would verily kick her out of the house.

“You and my sister seem to have hit it off.”

 

“She’s a very nice young lady.”

 

“I’d watch her if I were you. She’s wild, that one. Was always trying to play with the boys until Ma put an end to it. I suspect she’s still got her old ways.”

 

“There’s naught wrong with wanting to have fun.”

 

He considered her for a moment. “You meant all that stuff you said in there, didn’t you?”

 

“Why would I say it if I didn’t?”

 

“You’re not afraid of anything, are you?”

 

“Of course I fear things. I’m not so prideful as to not fear.”

 

“Name something?”

 

“I’ll not tell you. It’s none of your business.”

 

His response was a silent chuckle.

 

“Do you always question those you escort?”

 

“Only those who peak my interest,” he retorted without so much as a blush.

 

Pallu controlled the desire to reach out with her mind and yank his hood. Really. She should consider that a compliment of sorts. “It sounds as though Sardena is not the only one who enjoys a bit of danger.”

 

“You are not dangerous.”

 

This time Pallu laughed. “My ideas are dangerous, Yunin. I’m harmless.”

 

“I doubt the latter but not the former.”

 

Pallu tilted her head. “Do you think Turinum will complete the week?”

 

“Oh he will. He’ll not lose face before his family. He could careless about those outside it. And if he doesn’t my father will ensure he does. He’d not miss seeing Turinum being made a fool of.”

 

“My intentions were not that he would be considered a joke.”

 

“No matter your intentions, Lady Pallu, he will provide comic relief for the family for many years. And we are in your debt.” He bowed with as much flourish as he could atop his horse.

 

Pallu did not answer but looked ahead to Selaras and the few lighted candles lingering in the windows. The entire town seemed to be readying for sleep early so they would be well rested for the morrow.

 

“Give your mother my thanks again and that I will see her and your sister tomorrow as planned.”

 

“I will.” He pulled his horse to a halt and watched her enter the safety of the town. “Good Night, Pallu the Dangerous.”

 

“Sleep well, Yunin the Inquisitor,” she called with a wave. A chuckle drifted to her ears from the direction of the young man.

 

****

Rumah rubbed her forehead, hoping to massage her headache away. She stretched her shoulder blades and stood. Why could she not move this tiny feather when just a few nights ago she could hold a flame still? The first few incidents Rumah excused as either hallucinations or dreams, but over the past months the foreign thoughts and emotions and strange mental abilities all proved one thing. All this was real. Very real.

She blew out a long stream of air and tried to recall what holding the flame felt like. Her mind concentrated on the operation after several minutes the feather moved straight up and then down. Rumah nearly jumped up and out of her skin. With determined hands on each side of the feather, she began again. She pushed her mind harder now that she knew she was capable of the ability on her own and not with someone else in her head. No sooner than she began than she felt like her mind exploded. Pain speared through her head as surely as if someone bludgeoned her.

 

Her mouth let out a silent scream of agony as she dropped to her knees and again she felt that Other in her head. Rumah guessed the Other was a female from her cries of pain. Help me! Rumah screamed to the Other.

What are you doing?! Other yelled back with a mixture of annoyance and sympathy.

I tried ta do whatcha ya made me do.

Rumah felt a sigh of resignation shutter through her. You’ve pushed yourself to hard. Remember this feeling and you won’t do it again. Give it three days before you try again. Understand?

Aye. Just make it stop.

All you have to do is calm yourself. You’ll have a bad headache afterwards, but you’ll have to calm yourself.

Calm meself!? Calm meself!? How am I ta do that when I feel like me head’s being smashed ta bits!

Other sighed. You cannot make it stop on your own. It just dissipates. Mine’s already leaving me.

Several curses ran swiftly through Rumah’s mind at Other’s words. Dissipates. If her trying to move something with her mind made the pain, why couldn’t she just turn it off?

Because just like when you overuse a muscle it gets sore and cramps so does your mind. This is a mind cramp.

Another stream of curses came to mind which to Rumah’s surprise Other did not balk at Rumah’s thoughts but laughed heartily. That’s how I felt the first time.

Other’s words were somewhat of a comfort and gave this strange female whose thoughts she could hear in her head a less frightening feel. Rumah relaxed a bit and just as Other said the pain began to slowly die away.

What’s your name?

Rumah hesitated before saying, Rumah.

Well met, Rumah. I’m…

The young woman waited for the female’s reply. None came. Rumah tapped the side of her head as if the action would make

Other’s voice come back. It didn’t. Hey, come back. I’m not done. Where ya be? Hullo?

 

Nothing.

 

Rumah slapped her hand on the table and with that gesture of frustration the headache Other had spoke of came blaring into her thoughts. Three days she had told Rumah. Though the young woman did not understand why she had to wait so long to begin again with the feather she began to realize that her headache was lasting an awful long time. Three whole days in fact.

 

****

“Pallu,” Sardena called, her voice full of fear and concern. “Are you alright?”

Why did this happen now? Why not when Pallu was alone? After her mental conversation with this Rumah woman, Pallu rose to her feet and nodded to Sardena. “I’m fine now.”

 

“What happened? You looked like you would pass out. I’ve never seen anyone in that much pain before. Are you sure you’re alright?”

 

“I’ll have a bit of a headache for a while, but that’s it.”

 

“Come on. Let’s get you something to drink and have a seat.” Sardena ushered Pallu to the inn and had drinks brought out. Normally Pallu did not drink wine or mead as it slows her mind, but at that moment Pallu’s mind needed to be slowed. There was nothing good about hearing voices other than her own in her head. She downed the tankard of mead in three swift gulps.

 

“Good. Let’s get you to bed. I know there’s not for me to do but get some sleep when I’ve got a headache.”

 

“Oh no, Sardena. I can’t do that. I was to start showing you sword stuff today.”

 

“That’ll wait ’til tomorrow or the next day. You must rest.” Sardena dragged Pallu up the stairs and forced her to lay in bed. “I’ll be back to get you for the Festival. Rest until then.”

 

Rest did not immediately come to Pallu as she laid in bed. She considered trying to contact this Rumah again but realized that Pallu may hurt her more by doing so. One thing was for certain. Rumah must be trained before she hurt herself. And starting in three days that is what Pallu planned on trying to do.

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