Dragonhearts - Page 17


Over the course of those years I regretted making that promise more than a few times, and if I could have wiggled my way out of it, I would have. But a promise is a promise, and I intended to keep it . . . technically.

I appeared to her as she lay upon her deathbed, positioning myself such that as she opened her eyes for the last time, she would see my image reflected in the mirror in the corner of her bedchamber. Oh, I could have simply sent her an image of myself at any time and still kept to the words of my promise, I suppose, but I wouldn't have been keeping the promise I spoke in my heart, so this was my compromise. I appeared expecting her to be shriveled away to almost nothing, or perhaps bloated and worn to the point of being unrecognizable – difficult sights to see, certainly – but I had prepared myself for them.

I should have known that nothing could have prepared me for seeing her again.

Oh, she had aged, of course, mostly in that her hair was now more the silver of the moon than the dark of the night sky, but her body had remained trim, and the lines in her face served more to accentuate her smile than anything else. I couldn't help but notice this because she was smiling at me when I arrived, her eyes focused precisely upon the spot of my appearance. Comfortably propped up on several pillows, her smile deepened at my obvious startle.

“Still wearing the mysterious hooded cloak, I see,” she observed with laughter in her voice. “Pity . . . I was hoping to see the look on your face.”

“You're . . .” I stammered.

“Supposed to be fated to be minutes away from my grave?” she finished for me with a wink. “Well I am, but you of all people should know that every foretelling has room for . . . interpretation.” She glanced meaningfully toward the corner of the chamber. “The mirror . . . really?” She shook her head in disapproval, a skill she had obviously mastered over the course of our separation. “After forty-nine years I think I deserve a bit more than that, don't you?”

Page 17

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