A Husband's Love

Disclaimer: See Chapter One.

*Chapter 3*

Meredith woke up a few days later, saddened. The village children did not want to play anymore, even when she made their favorite spectacles come to life from her fire. Daddy had kept her inside, but still she could feel the fear from the children and villagers. It cloyed the air and stung the back of her throat. She went to tell her father that she was hungry, but the visitors he was talking to astounded her.
They were like her and Mommy, with long hair and the tri-colored eyes, and the boneless grace, even sitting atop their horses.
" Daddy?" She whispered, coming out of the house to look closer.
" Is this her?" The woman of the two asked.
" Yes, this is Meredith." Connor beckoned her forwards, and then kneeled and put his hands on his daughter's slim shoulders. " Love, this is Roa and Vaya.
Meredith took this as a sign to curtsy, and then she bowed respectfully to both of them.
" Meria taught her well.." Roa murmured, his voice soft and whispery, watching her every move.
My Mommy taught me almost everything I know." Meredith said proudly, standing up for her mother when she herself could not, but why she felt she needed to defend her mother's pride from these beautiful strangers, she knew not.
" Almost everything?" Vaya arched a silver eyebrow above green eyes.
" Daddy taught me how to hunt, track, and survive in the wilderness without anything but the barest of nessecities." Meredith had quoted her father when he had first sat her down to teach her, but they didn't know it.
Roa looked at Meredith's eyes and closed his own black-grey-white ones, as if in some kind of small pain. " A halfling, Connor? You ask almost too much."
" You may give her as high or as low of a position as you like, just take her." His voice was full of pitiful pleading, high and breathy.
He would not lose his chance now! He'd already promised them four white whole wolf skins and a sword of pure silver with a ruby set in the hilt. He had nothing else to give but his soul, and even that was slowly fading.
" We shall take her." Vaya assured him, flipping the long silver braid over her shoulder and nodding at the bundle on the ground that held their payment. " Roa, collect that, and we will go."
" Meredith, would you like to take a ride on Bloodbane?" Vaya asked, suddenly sweet and kind as she slid off the tall mare.
" I would like to, but I have to help Mommy get better. She might die, you know." Meredith stared with longing at the elegant blood bay mare.
" Meredith, Mommy and I are going to meet you at the river cabin, but we have more things to take, so Roa and Vaya are to take you and watch over you until we arrive." Connor said down to his daughter, who appeared not to have heard his conversation with the elves.
" All right, but make sure Mommy gets a larger dose of the herbs. She's been feverish lately." Meredith piped as Vaya lifted her onto Bloodbane, got herself on, and rode off over the hill.
Connor handed Roa the bundle of fur and the wrapped sword and watched the elves take his daughter away. He looked at his hand, at the potion that had also been part of the deal. Stirring from inside the house told him that Meria had awoken finally and that he could set his plan into motion.

* *

" Bloodbane's pretty." Meredith told Vaya as she swayed on the mare's powerful shoulders.
" And Moonlight is not?" Roa asked playfully, patting the shoulder of his pure white stallion.
" Oh, he is. But Bloodbane is the color of Mommy's hair, all dark and red and soft." She breathed, combing lengths of black mane through her fingers. " How long 'till the cabin? It's getting a little dark."
Roa started to speak, but Vaya held a hand up." Duan mort me'an thiti Roe ne Vaya."
" What?" Meredith's eyes shone with a bright unearthly light for a moment, and then she became normal again, but still changed somehow.
" Ready to go home, Meredith?" Roa asked kindly, setting up a portal spell.
" Home? Yes, I want to go home." Meredith said quietly, trying to figure out why she was thinking of a woman with hair the color of Bloodbane's whithers and knees.
She shook off the feeling as Vaya led her mare through the portal. She she got off and landed on the marble steps of the palace, black veined with silver and blue. She sighed and hugged Vaya warmly.
" Mother, it is good to be home."