Warm arms wrap around him, but the owner is unable to hold him and falls to the ground with him.
“Jaxon,” Meah cries, her voice trembling.
Opening his eyes, Jaxon sees Meah trying to lift him up, tears swelling in her eyes. He shakes his head. “You have to escape.”
“Stay still.” Meah lays him down on the floor and places her hands on his wound. “I’m going to heal you.”
Jaxon sees his blood on her arms and clothes where she held him. “Meah.”
“Quiet. I need to concentrate.” Her hands are shaking and she squeezes her eyes shut. Jaxon can feel her magic moving frantically from wound to wound, closing the smaller injuries quickly. But even her magic is unable to heal so many serious wounds fast enough with her mind unfocused.
“Come on. Come on.” Her voice shakes with rage as she realizes there are too many injuries. There’s too much blood.
Jaxon tries to place a hand on her cheek, but he can’t raise his hand above his chest. Instead, he places his hand on top of Meah’s and she opens her eyes.
“I’m sorry,” Jaxon wheezes, coughing as more blood enters his lungs.
Tears drop onto his face and Meah shakes her head, squeezing the cloth of Jaxon’s shirt. “No. Don’t talk as though you’re going to die. I’m going to save you.”
“You’re wasting time. You have to escape and make it to Ime before someone finds out what happened.”
Meah’s eyes widen slightly. “But you’ll die.”
“I deserve this kind of end for what I’ve done. Besides, if you heal me, I’ll only be killed in a more horrible way. I’d rather die now.”
Leaning forward, Meah places her forehead on his. “I wasn’t lying when I said I forgive you.” She kisses his lips softly. “I owe you my life.”
Jaxon smiles. “Thank you. Please, run.” His head falls to the side and his hand falls from his chest.
Jerking her head back, Meah’s eyes scan Jaxon’s peaceful face. She panics and places her ear on his chest. She hears his heart beating softly. He’s still alive. Relief fills her, but she knows it’s going to be short lived.
Staring at his peaceful face, another trickle of blood rolls from his mouth and she rolls him onto his side to prevent him from drowning on his own blood. She leans down and kisses him on the side of his face before wiping the tears from her face.
A chill runs up her spine as something moves across her back. Magic circles her, encasing her body in an invisible force. She raises herself to her knees, readying to run for the exit. The magic tightens around her, freezing her body in place.
Fear fills her as she realizes the magic not only is keeping her still, its exploring her, feeling her magic hiding deep inside her.
Footsteps grow steadily louder behind her, the owner moving closer. She doesn’t need to turn her head to know who it is, but having the inability to do it causes her breathing to increase.
The magic trapping her body forces Meah to her feet, her heart pounding loudly in her ears. Her body is screaming for her to run, but the magic only seems to feed on her fear and the pressure around her intensifies.
Meah feels the magic turning her to face Klaeon as he enters the room. He glances around the room at the dead men strewn about the floor. They rest on Jaxon for a moment longer before moving to the ashes that used to be Loken.
Finally, his eyes lock onto Meah.