17 ~ Yarrow

Yarrow awoke with a hangover that could kill a treecat, vastly disappointed that the liquor hadn’t done its job. She nearly fell out of bed and staggered to her washroom to relieve herself. On the privy bowl, nausea overcame her in a rush and she pitched forward to retch in the tub of her shower.

She fell to her back on the cool floor and groaned. “I can see this day is going to be great,” she said, her voice a croak. “What is it about Midwinter that always bleeds me dry?”

With effort, she managed to stand and clean herself and the room a bit. The cold water of the shower shocked her to full wakefulness and cleared her head. As clear as it can be. She leaned outstretched arms against the wall of the shower, the stream of water beating down on her. She closed her eyes and let the cold water cleanse her face, her hair, her body. But not my soul.

Had Caelum come by while she slept? The door was locked, of course, but he would be stupid enough to try talking to her this soon afterwards. For his sake, she hoped he wouldn’t. She didn’t think she could stop herself from truly killing him the next time he came near.

“Feck,” she said out loud, turning off the water as a thought struck her. Tonight was the Midwinter Banquet. She had to be there, and so did Caelum. At the same table.

Nor could she disappear into conversation with Anala―her once-friend never spoke in public anymore, and certainly not to Yarrow. The Battle of Voco had changed more than just their ranks.

She’d be trapped amongst Caelum, Anala, Aro, Anita, and Leala, and the CMOs of the first three Regiments.

I can talk to Jules, I suppose.

Oh, it was going to be a long night. She could tell. And most likely will end with my death, if the spy has reported to Zardria already. Fitting I should join Mother on this night.

In only a few hours, it would begin, a quick glance at her clock told her as she stepped back into the bedroom, towels around her waist and hair. Her headache had not cleared with her mind. She needed tea.

With a string of invective keeping up a running commentary in her head, she got dressed in some civvies and pounded on her boots, not bothering to untie them again before putting them on. She didn’t bother to braid her damp hair. It needed time to dry a bit anyway. She strapped on her belt and dagger sheath and left the room, heading to the hospitalis.

She did smile a bit at the memory of Ghia’s threat should Yarrow begin to show up every day. She can keep me drugged up on valerian for as long as she likes at this point. That would certainly be safer for those around me.

Her smile became a grimace at that thought, her hand unconsciously resting on her dagger hilt. Like a first stone that tumbles down and triggers a rock slide, she could feel herself slowly slipping into madness.

I hope Zardria does the right thing before I lose my grip completely. Otherwise things could get very, very dark.

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