I watched Kesar leave the room, sad but knowing he had his own things to do. Beside me, Verah cleaned the table, humming to herself. I listened, not having heard the sound before. I liked it. I wanted to ask what she was humming, but didn know how. So, I sat, watching her.

A few minutes later, she disappeared through a doorway then returned with a large piece of white cloth. It looked like the one Einnig helped me with before he slapped me. What were they called?

”I have a bath waiting. Ready to get cleaned up? ”

I looked down at my broken leg, remembering how I ended up on the floor before Kesar appeared this morning. I glanced at the nurse with a worried look.

Verah smiled. ”Ill help you. Don worry, Jose. I won let you fall. ”

I nod, happy she was going to help, even though I was confused why anyone bothered. Verah walked over as I moved the blankets off. She helped me slide my legs to one side and slowly stand up. I hissed out a breath when I put pressure on my broken one.

”Don use that one, ” Verah said. ”Hop on your good leg and Ill keep you from falling. ”

I blinked at her. She sat me back down and began to hop one foot. I nodded, somewhat excited to try this. She came back and I only used my good leg, holding onto the nurse for support. I began to hop.

Forty-five minutes later, I returned to bed, exhausted. Verah sat behind me, brushing my hair as I played with the strings of the flimsy dress I wore. I didn like it, but Verah said it was only while I stayed I stayed in the infirmary. Once I was released, I would get real clothes.

After a few minutes, the door opened and the girl who was kissing the scary black-winged dragon came in, her arms full of books. She set them on the tray and hugged. ”Remind me to get fewer next time! ” she gasped.

Verah giggled. ”Or maybe ones not so big? ”

The girl looked at her stack and nodded. ”You
e right. ” She turned and smiled at me. ”Feel better after your bath? ”

I nodded.

She sat down. ”I know I introduced myself earlier, but Im going to do it again. I am Thelia. I was asked to keep you company and answer any questions you have. ”

I pointed to the window, wanting to go outside.

Thelia furrowed her brows. I took my pad and pen and drew myself outside.

When the girl saw it, she smiled. ”Not today, but I would certainly love to take you out and show you around when you
e better. ”

I pointed to the books.

”I thought you might like something to do. Being here doesn seem fun. ” Thelia grabbed one and handed it to me. I opened it and saw it was full of scribbles Kesar called writing. I closed it and shook my head. ”Do you know how to read? ”

I shrugged.

Thelia sighed. Thought for a long time, then grabbed her own pen and paper. She drew something then showed it to me. I recognized it as my name. I smiled and pointed to myself.

Thelia nodded. ”Good. Do you know the letters? ”

I blinked at her.

Thelia smiled and came closer. Pointing to the first figure, she said, ”J. ” She moved to the next. ”O. ” ”S. ” ”E. ”

I had never known what each figure meant, but knew combined, they made one bigger figure.

I drew on my pad and showed her. Thelia grinned. ”Kesar. ”

I did another one.

Thelia frowned. ”Komlak? ”

I nod.

”Who is Komlak? ”

I drew my mistress holding a thick rope that held the mutts at the other end.

Thelia turned white when she saw the picture. ”Jose, she was your master, wasn she? ”

I nod.

Thelia drew something and showed it to me. ”Citron was my master. He didn have dogs though. ”

I frowned and pointed to my broken leg then to her.

She nodded. ”Yes, he hurt me. If I did something wrong, he would hit and kick until I couldn stand. ”

I drew her dragon and pointed to my leg.

Thelia smiled. ”You
e a wonderful artist, Jose. But Zargis has only hurt me once. He has never done it again. ”

I curl my lip in a silent snarl.

Thelia laughed. ”It was my own fault, Jose. I did something I knew would make him mad and he slapped me for it. After, though, we both apologized. He never raises a hand to hurt me again. ”

Her story of the dragon was both scary and heart warming. I drew Kesar in question.

”Kesar has never hurt women or children. Not even those on enemy lines. ” Thelia shook her head slowly. ”He is a gentle dragon. It is a quality we all love about him, but it is his greatest weakness. ”

I frowned. I could see Kesar was soft. But what I wasn sure about was how he would be if I made him angry.

”This is how Zargiss name looks. ” Thelia showed me her dragons name. I put it into my memory.

I point to her, then to her drawing, then to me.

She smiled. ”Of course I can. I will help you with anything! ”

With that, Thelia began to teach me the letters then how to ”write ” them. We started with simple words like names, then began to put them into sentences. I mouthed each word, saying them under my breath, learning their formation in my mouth, learning how to move my tongue, learning how to ask for what I wanted when the time came that I began to speak.

It was late when the door to the infirmary opened. We both looked up to see the male Thelia said whose name was Otreg.

”Zargis needs you, ” he said to Thelia.

”What for? ”

”Its about the searches. ”

”Where is Kesar? ”

”With him. He has information that could help. You
e the only one whose good with this kind of stuff. ”

Thelia sighed, putting her pen down. She turned to me and smiled. ”If I don return tonight, Ill be back tomorrow, okay? ”

I write a word down. ”Wrong ”

Thelia shook her head. ”Its hard to explain and I need to go. Don worry about it though. Have a good night, Jose. ”

She set all the books and her materials under my bed then hurriedly left with Otreg. I was left alone, nothing to do, and no one to talk to.

I fell asleep waiting for someone to come talk to me, and woke up to the feeling of falling backwards. I jerked upwards, furiously looking around. ”Its okay, ”said a familiar voice. I saw Verah beside me, the light dim. ”I was just laying you back so you were comfortable. ”

I nod, feeling my eyes grow heavy again. But I wanted to stay awake. So, I grab my pen and paper and write ”Kesar ”

Verah read it and shook her head. ”Im not sure where he is, Jose. I can go ask if you wish? ”

I nod, wanting to go find him myself, but knew I couldn . ”

Verah left, promising to be back soon.

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