Short Story

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Other than one awakening to use the chamber pot, Joan slept straight through until the following morning. The smell of warm oats and honey drifting over to the bed woke her. She sat, well-rested, but an undercurrent of tension was present. It was difficult to fully relax when images of the past few days flashed through her mind without warning: the beatings, Alis’s rape, and the forest where they’d almost frozen to death. She and Perceval had spoken about battle fatigue, and how memories of suffering and carnage seen in war could affect a man years later, and Joan wondered if this would be the same for her and her friends. How was one to lead a calm and peaceful life after having endured such terror whenever creak and boot fall made one …show more content…

He said he might be able to fix it…my hair.” “He also said exposure to more magic for your hair may not be prudent. I don’t care about your hair, Alis. It’ll grow back, and you’re still beautiful.” “Lionel, I can’t bear to look at myself with this hair! Every time I do, it reminds me of what happened. It may seem silly, but I must try. Tell me you understand.” There was a long pause. “All right. Do what you need to this morning, but we will meet again for the midday meal. And you must eat, Alis. You’re scaring me.” “I’ll try to eat, I promise.” There was movement within the chamber and, not wanting to get caught eavesdropping, Joan knocked, acting as if she’d just arrived. Alis flung open the door, her head covered in a kerchief, dark circles ringing her eyes, and her complexion still dangerously pale. “I need to get out of here,” she said. “I cannot stand being confined. I must move.” Lionel, appearing wounded in the background, said to Joan, “Please take care of her. And Alis, don’t forget your promise about the midday meal.” Alis’s shoulders sagged. “I won’t forget. I’m sorry I’m like this, Lionel.” “There’s nothing to forgive. We’ll eat in the garden later, if that makes you more comfortable.” With a halfhearted nod, Alis took Carina’s arm and swept down the corridor. Joan and Drea brought up the rear. Once they had crossed the parapet walk,

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