Neesa Khazeni was exhausted, nauseated, and all she wanted to do was crawl into her bed and die. She did not often feel this way. Rarer still were the occasions when she felt this particular sort of weakness. It was the sort that made one's soul feel heavy, and let the façade of the hardened Amazon crumble, allowing others a glimpse of the frail humanity that lay beneath its surface.
That night, cold and particularly dark, happened to be one of those occasions. Fortunately for the weary newly-appointed Preceptor of the Knights of the Cross, the only one who would bear witness to her compromised state was Sir Tieger Quardez.
It felt comforting to have him near, as she went about this awful task. It was a cruel thing, but life was filled with myriad cruelties—a stark fact that Neesa was all too familiar with. She picked up a beautiful silver mirror, encrusted with gems, and gazed at her reflection. Perhaps it was a trick of the dim candlelight, but Neesa thought she saw a shadow in the mirror for a split second. For a moment, just a single moment, she thought she saw a pair of large hazel eyes staring back at her, beautiful in their doe-like innocence.
"Neesa?" Tieger asked, raising an eyebrow when Neesa didn't put the mirror in the chest on the floor beside them, with the rest of the late commander's effects.
"I miss her," Neesa said, clutching the mirror to her breast. "My heart bleeds for her and I fear it will not stop."
Tieger sighed knowingly, and reached out to Neesa, but the proud woman turned away.
"Tch," she scoffed, swiping at her red eyes with the back of her hand. "I've given enough water to the dead."
"Do not scold yourself," Tieger said, frowning at her. "She is one we loved—"
"We've grown water fat, Tieger," Neesa insisted. And, it was true. The Church plucked them both out of the slums of Dorter when they were mere children, and they had not wanted for anything since. But, there was no place for sentimentality in the heart of a true Kildean warrior.
Not even one who wore the livery of St. Iocus.