Return to Alastair

Return to Alastair by L. A. Kelly Read Free Book Online

Book: Return to Alastair by L. A. Kelly Read Free Book Online
Authors: L. A. Kelly
Tags: Ebook
“Yes. My name is Lucas. Can you stand?”
    She rose to her feet with his careful help. “I’ve never seen you there,” she said.
    “It’s been four months,” he replied. “And I’ve never seen you there.”
    She scowled. “I haven’t been there for three years, and I’m not going back! When your God shows a care for this awful world, I’ll come and thank him. And not until then!” She pulled away from him and took a limping step.
    “I am sorry about the loss of your bag, my lady. May I help you to your home?”
    Tiarra stood in silence for a moment. She hadn’t even remembered the bag. But it had held the gain of all Martica had left in this world. She had done right by the old woman, only to lose it, and she would have to face her empty handed.
    The tears filled her eyes quickly, and she hated that this stranger would see them.
    “Let me help you,” he said. “You’re hurt.”
    But she turned away.
    “Ti?” Mikal’s voice called from somewhere down the street, but she made no attempt to answer. Instead, she moved away with small steps, drying her eyes. For Mikal to see the tears would be even worse than the stranger seeing them.
    She could hear him running toward them. But she could get no distance even from Lucas the someday-priest, who seemed to be following her in his concern.
    “Wait a minute, Ti.” Mikal touched her arm as soon as he was close enough and stopped her determined steps. “I’ve been looking for you.”
    She tried to turn away, but he held her and moved to see her face. She would have sizable bruises tomorrow, and she knew that was probably plain already. He stood in tense silence, having come upon the scene too late to know what had happened.
    “Who did this?”
    “Three of the dark angels who used to haunt the mountain,” Lucas replied. “The lady is hurt. She should not go on alone.”
    Mikal looked at her carefully. But Tiarra shook her head. “They stole Martica’s bag,” she told him. “I’ll have to go and tell her.”
    “Thank you for being here, Reverend sir,” Mikal told the stranger. “I know where she lives. I’ll help her.”
    Tiarra looked up at the Reverend Lucas, who still stood so close. “I owe you a thanks,” she said. “I am grateful, but I need no more help now, thank you.”
    Mikal took her arm again, but she pulled away. “Let me carry you, Ti, please,” he said.
    She turned to him angrily, unable to stop new tears. “No! I’ll not be owing you anything. Leave me alone! I know my own way home.”
    He stared at her, and Tiarra thought she could see anger in his face.
    “I’m only trying to help! Can’t you see I’m trying to be your friend? Maybe I should have been quicker to tell you about your stupid brother. Maybe you had a right to be angry then. But now? Tiarra—”
    “No!” she shouted again. “Don’t even talk to me! Vale dismissed me, Mikal. Because I fought at you and left. Why couldn’t you just leave me alone?”
    He stood in silence, just looking at her. She hated that he was probably seeing the anguish in her eyes. She hated that he had come upon her when she was so weak. Robbed and beaten. Without money, or work, or a father to provide her anything.
    By the expression on his face, it seemed he understood. “I’ll speak to Vale. Surely if I explain—”
    “Go away.”
    “I’ll speak to him,” he repeated. “Right now.” He turned to the man with the cross beside them. “Please see her home. She’ll not have me at the moment.”
    Tiarra turned away from them both. “I told you I know my own way!”
    The man named Lucas followed her anyway. She didn’t like it. But she knew she should be grateful. He would be watchful lest her attackers show themselves again, a very real possibility were she walking alone.

    As they entered Vermeel Street, Lucas could see here and there a child peering out at the young woman he was trying to escort. But because he was behind her, they would not come near. He knew what it

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