By Gerri Leen
The fire crackles, and Sirella watches as Kai lies with his eyes closed, pretending to sleep. She knows he’s pretending because his breathing is too soft. She’s heard his almost snores since the second night, when they’d both finally relaxed enough to sleep. She heard them and registered the strange, soft noises—realized they came from him and not from someone or something trying to sneak up on them in the dark of night—before falling back to sleep.
“Kai?” The word is a whisper. She isn’t sure what she wants to say to him. Just that she should say something.
His breathing stutters, but he doesn’t open his eyes.
“I’m sorry.” She looks away from him. She is sorry. But she doesn’t know who the people he lost were. She doesn’t know if they were innocents or not. She doesn’t know why they died, only that someone from her side killed them. She wishes he hadn’t lost people he loved. But he would have died if her shot hadn’t flown so damned wide. And then what? Would some other Vermayan have sat with some other person from one of the nations that make up the Revirian Confederation, and drawn out in strangely colored sand how Vrenden Kai was killed?
Vrenden Kai would have killed her if his shot hadn’t also gone wide.
They’re in the middle of a war. Killing is part of that. She can’t feel bad about it.
She mustn’t feel bad about it.
She feels bad about it.