“Darian,” she whispered, barely breathing. Her leg felt as if it was on fire. That was how she had almost died. It had been so close . . .
Tears flooded her eyes. She was battered and broken, but still alive for him.
“You scared us,” said a smooth, gentle voice. A woman leaned over her, applying a cool cloth to her forehead.
The woman looked strange. She had large golden eyes that took up the majority of the top half of her head, and swirling crimson hair.
“Who are you?”
The woman smiled. “My name is Verna, but I know what you’re really meaning to ask is what am I. I am a member of the Zahteva tribe. We’ve lived in these woods since ancient times.”
Andrea opened her mouth to speak, but a wave of exhaustion hit her, and fever worked its way through her muscles.
“Just sleep now, dear. You have a lot to work through,” Verna said softly. Andrea obeyed. Her body almost instantly fell back asleep. Cool droplets of kind silver water mixed with strands of her red, angry fever in her spiraling, never ending dreams. Eventually the fog from her mind cleared, leaving only falling flakes of snow.
She was ready. She just needed to find the cure . . .
She awoke, stronger this time. She turned to see Darian, a deep crease between his eyebrows.
“What’s . . . wrong?” she asked, her voice hoarse. She was surprised to see he looked well-nourished and clean. The people were taking care of him.
Or, wait . . . were there people?
There were gaps in her memories, so much time she had lost since she almost perished in the wolf attack.
“Your wound was infected,” he explained, his voice cracking. “We almost lost you again.”
“I’m . . . alive,” she promised.
“Drink,” said the sudden voice of Verna, tipping a glass against her lips. Andrea was greatful for the water that sloshed into her empty stomach, but the water was taken away as soon as it came.
“Please,” she moaned. “More.”
“We need to wait so your body doesn’t expel the fluids,” Verna explained. “It’s been a very long time since you’ve had anything in your stomach.”
“How long?” Andrea asked. She had to know.
“Three weeks,” Darian whispered.