Two moon cycles had passed since the meeting with the two healers. The green-eyed acolyte was a long-term guest. She moved and ate independently, but her spark was still missing. Losing her Temple home and acolyte position devastated her. She did not communicate for about fourteen moon rises; her ravenous appetite vanished.
All three girls were at the Temple of Peace courtyard while the matriarch washed morning meal dishes. As the last dish drained, she heard the door unlatch and a familiar voice call out, “Mom-mom, I’m home!”
“Except I’m not your mom-mom. Your voice is too deep, gruff, and sexy.” She turned and her brown-eyed outlander warrior caught her in his arms.
“It’s so good to be home,” he sighed as he nuzzled the curve of her neck.
“Caravan go well?” she giggled as she tried and failed to escape his embrace.
“This one went exceedingly well. I found a new way to order and itemize the cargo to save the animals’ strength. The animal-healers were delighted,” he said as his hand slid down the curve of her hip.
“You’ve missed so much. There’s a new problem from the outlands, and we have a green-eyed guest and…”
“I don’t see her or our girls. I just see you. A little less talk please…”
She obliged his request with a throaty chuckle and a hand along the trouser tie.
A few candle flickers later, the matriarch adjusted the union furs around her and her outlander warrior on the divan.
“Please explain why we can’t use our own sleeping quarters.”
“It’s a long story.”
“It always is.”
“About two moon cycles ago, on the way home from serving at the Temple of Peace, our girls found the green-eyed girl in really bad shape. We brought in my healer friends. The frame-healer left speechless, and the spirit-healer ended up in the Life Spice bazaar stall at the town line. We reconvened and shared notes. There’ll be another meeting with more people in two moon cycles. You’ll be home?”
“Thankfully no. I take such needling because you’re too strong.”
She threw a pillow at his head. He yelped, “I surrender.”
“Love, be careful. If the spirit-healer has good sources, you’ll run into some evil things out there. You’re good, but you’re tender. You might end up in the wrong place at the wrong time.” She blinked, hoping to hide her fear.
“You know, when the time comes, I’ll quit. But so far, I’ve been blessed with easy caravans. What about the green-eyed girl?”
“Unknown what happened to her and ours for now. After the meeting, I want my spirit-healer friend to find someplace the child can stay. I’m good at physical care, but the whole mind, body, heart-soul requires too much.”
“Yeah, you’re too driven to get things done.”
“True. You ever gonna fix me there?” she queried, hoping her blue eyes had an extra twinkle.
“Oh, I’ll fix you,” he gleefully replied as he flipped her into a standard brawler submission position.
“Whoa, big boy, the kids will be home soon. Let’s not send them into moon cycles of spirit-healing.”