Dirt clods thudded against the wooden coffin. Pain shuddered through Ariadne as if the gravediggers’ threw their burden at her. She bit her lip, refusing to bare her grief in front of strangers, especially the Healer. That one’s sympathy was nothing more than a sham. Even now his eyes bored into her like a vulture waiting to peck.
Ariadne shifted her gaze away, searching the surrounding trees without success for a glimpse of Tristin or Flitter, her flerdragon. Sight of either of them would make her feel less alone.
Throat tight, vision blurry, Ari fought back tears. She thought she had shed them all the previous evening, but watching the men seal her mother away in a box beneath the earth tore open the grief anew.
Lise who always healed any who needed it, Kalieri or animal, would never again smell the flowers, walk in the rain, or sing while she mended a tree, fixed an injured wing or paw. Never again fearlessly tend those with the Chorkan sent plague, or deliver new life into the world. No one else’s injury or illness had survived Lise’s healing touch, but she hadn’t been able to cure herself.
Whatever had afflicted her mother had also proved beyond the Elder’s and Ariadne’s skills, and those of the visiting Healer, although she did wonder how hard he had tried. That one had seemed much more intent on prying and asking questions about her life, then tending her mother’s illness. But … done was done and Lise had died. A sideways glance from lowered eyes proved the man continued to stare at her.
Jaelyn, a city born and raised Healer, is assigned to a post in the ‘back of beyond’. With her twentieth natal-day approaching, Jaelyn is feeling lonely because Fenwood Valley is a close-knit community and they don’t readily welcome strangers, especially not a young inexperienced female Healer. On her trudge home after helping deliver a baby, Jaelyn discovers unexpected friends when she is kidnapped.