Disclaimer: These characters belong to Karen Hancock and much thanks is due. However, I did suspect Trap/Carissa long before she ever stated it as a possibility.

by Banui Rochon

There is wind, and sand, and Trap thinks that they must make up some sort of eternity, as they pull the moisture (gently, viciously) from his body.

Beside him, Abramm raises his head from his dreary thoughts (his eyes are still blank with them) and words spill from him, dry sand over his tongue and in Trap's ears: "You ever been in love, Trap?"

Beneath him, Trap's horse still plods steadily through the sand, but Trap feels a lurch, pulling his mind, his memories. Why Abramm should choose to ask this, of all questions! And still, he remembers—blonde ringlets tossed askew in childish fervour, fierce Kalladorne eyes, a hawkish sharpness of face cast in female form. He is silent. The horses plod on (thud; thud; thud; each sand-whisper is itself a small eternity). And Carissa Kalladorne, fourteen and frightened, sets off for cold highland Balmark (so long, so long ago). All the better, he supposes (most of the time); she was a fairy princess with a mocking smile, thoroughly out of reach of the swordmaster's son. But he, in his ridiculous way, has never quite forgotten her (those blue Kalladorne eyes, they are sea against the sand).

Abramm is waiting for an answer (in the shroud of his own dead love). Trap shapes the words, stiff and difficult though they are burdens to his tongue.

"Yes, my lord, I have."

(Blue-eyed, bitter-tongued, Rennalf Balmark's lonely wife paces Springerlan halls, and only he watches her wring her pale hands. Only he watches.)