“We are almost done.” Ireic’s voice inches from her ear startled her into sitting straighter. “I can see the gates, but we have to stop for a moment. They are having some trouble clearing the street.” She could hear his exhaustion in his voice. Nodding so he could know that she understood, she leaned forward slightly. Something whistled past her ear followed by a muffled thump.
Ireic shouted and shoved her roughly to the floorboards. A heavy weight landed on top of her and pressed her body and face against the floor. Her nose filled with the scent of polish and aged wood. Overhead, voices rose as the tone of the crowd changed. Among them Isack cursed at the horses. Screams tore at her ears. Shrieks from the crowd set the horses into jostling the carriage. The vehicle rolled backwards and someone yelled above the mayhem “the king is dead!”
“Ireic!” she gasped.
“I am fine,” Ireic’s clipped voice assured her, inches from her ear. He was the weight on top of her. Just then something wet dripped onto her cheek. Horror tightened her chest as her nose identified the smell.
“You are bleeding,” she accused, pushing at the floor to try to get him off of her.
“Yes.” He groaned in pain as she succeeded in rolling him to one side. “It is only a scratch. It isn’t safe for you to get up.”
She ignored him and reached toward his voice. “Where is it?” She couldn’t lose him.
“Get down, Lirth! The archer is still out there and you are giving him a perfect shot.” Ireic grabbed her wrist and yanked it out from under her. Her chin struck the floor a painful crack to her jaw. “Liam!”
Someone replied, but his words were lost among the other shouts.
“Get us out of here.”
The carriage groaned and dipped as someone jumped onboard. A whip cracked and the horses lunged forward. The movement sent Lirth falling against Ireic. He grunted as she landed, but a strong arm came around her and pinned her there. “Don’t move,” he ordered fiercely. Obediently Lirth lay still, but she could not stop the pounding in her breast.
“Don’t die,” she whispered.
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