Kyra’s head felt like a blacksmith’s anvil. What was that pounding noise? She rolled over and opened her eyes. A cedar paneled room spun. Her mouth plastered to a lambskin, she pushed herself to a sitting position, but bent over immediately when her stomach turned. The pounding in her head intensified. Her legs would not cooperate and she collapsed on her way to the chamber pot. Whose house was she in? And where was Jery?
Kyra crawled on her hands and knees and threw up in the pot. She lay on the rug, breathing and waiting for her hands and feet to regain feeling. Was she trapped in a dream? The walls wove and shook. She rubbed the rug—richly textured and colorful. She was in a chamber of some sort, a richly decorated one with dark wooden furniture and a glittering mosaic on one wall.
She sat and rubbed her face. Her mouth tasted like dry wool. Why was she dressed in a silken robe? She patted her chest and side. Her weapons were missing. Stumbling to a table, she poured herself a cup of water from a glazed pitcher.
The door opened and three maids stepped in.
“My lady,” said the maid in front. “You’re awake. The master said to prepare you breakfast.”
“Where am I?”
“Mama,” Jery cried from the arms of another maid. She set him down and he ran to her bed, his cheeks ruddy and his eyes sparkling.
Kyra picked him up, but fell back into the arms of the maids when her legs wobbled. Kyra hugged the boy closely. Why couldn’t she remember how she arrived here?
“My baby’s healed. How did we get here?”
The first maid smiled and opened the windows. “You’ve been here a week. The master fetched Jery and took him to a doctor. You also fell ill and had a high fever. The master will be back any day now.”
Kyra relaxed and allowed the maids to bathe and dress her. She and Jery ate a delicious meal of barley cakes, toasted grain, and honeyed yogurt.
Something important nagged at Kyra’s mind. But Jery bounced in her lap and threw cake crumbs in her drink. Her dizziness receding, she spent the rest of the morning rolling a leather ball as he chased after it and threw it back at her.
Kyra tucked Jery into a plush cot for his nap. The door opened behind her and Baar stepped through. He opened his hands and smiled. “My dear, how are you feeling?”
Kyra stood carefully, the weakness had almost abated, but she was still a little unsteady. “I am well. What am I doing here?”
He took her elbow to steady her. “You mean you don’t remember?”
She blinked and tried to shake the fog from her mind. “No, well, maybe.”
He pressed her hand. “I’ve come to take the evening meal with you. Have you seen much of my house?”
“No, I’ve only been between the room I woke in and the nursery. Jery and I played a bit in the courtyard outside his door.”
“If you’re up for it, I’d like to show you after we eat. Are you sure you don’t remember anything?” His mellifluous voice caressed the edges of Kyra’s headache and soothed her.
“Baar, how long have we been friends?” She didn't seem to recall how handsome he was. Strange. Did he really have gold-tipped eyelashes and a dimple on one side of his grin? His brownish red hair rippled like fall leaves strewn over a secluded walkway and Kyra wondered why she had thought him scruffy and uncouth.
He chuckled and led her into a dining room set for two. “I’m hurt that you don’t remember. We’re more than friends, Kyra.”
A sharp twinge poked Kyra’s ribs from the inside. “What are you saying?”
He sat her on down in front of him and leaned over the table. “You’re really hurting my feelings now.”
Kyra swallowed a lump and sucked in her cheeks. She grasped at threads in her mind, but like the hem of a fraying garment, the thoughts disintegrated before she could twist them together.
A servant set platters of poached fish, lentils, and quails with onion before them. Baar poured golden wine into a goblet and handed it to Kyra.
He toasted her and smiled. “To my wife. May your memories of our wedding return.”
Kyra dropped the goblet. It hurtled off the table and rolled onto the carpet.