“Rendevous” – excerpted from Legends of Tirum, Book 2: PHOENIX RISING
copyright 2010 by Esther Mitchell
(This scene is unedited and may differ from the final published version)
By the time Telyn reached their agreed rendezvous place, she could tell how aggravated Nacaris was. It wasn’t that he was acting annoyed. If she hadn’t known him so well, she might never have known his mood. He crouched by the trunk of a tree, his sword balanced loosely across his knees and his head resting back against the rough bark, looking all for the world as if he was meditating, or asleep. But the tense set of his shoulders told a very different story, and Telyn hesitated for an all-new reason. What if he truly didn’t want to listen to her reason? Had she already pushed him too far?
“Nacaris,” she whispered his name as she stepped out of the brush to his left. Let it never be said Telyn Gwndal was a coward. She’d face his wrath head-on. He deserved that much.
Instantly, Nacaris was on his feet, facing her, his blade in hand and the point aimed straight at her heart. He froze then, and they stared at one another over the dim glow of the steel, bathed in moonlight.
Telyn shoved away her trepidation and, from deep inside, summoned up a teasing grin. “If you kill me now, this’ll amount to the shortest partnership in history.”
For a long moment, he didn’t move, and the pain and anger in his eyes tore at Telyn’s soul, and raised her doubts again.
With a weary sigh, he relaxed, his arm dropping until the blade hung loosely in his grip at his side. “I swear you’re going to be the death of us both.”
She drew a breath, and ignored the pang of prophecy she heard in those words. She didn’t want to contemplate that possible future. “But not tonight.”
The sword thudded into the grass at his feet, and he took a wary step toward her, and then another with more confidence, until they stood toe-to-toe, their breath mingling on the cool night air. His hand raised, and Telyn trembled as Nacaris’ fingers lightly skimmed her face, before his whispered words met her ears. “No. Not tonight.”