A is for Aftermath

Kathil wakes, after the Archdemon.

It's quiet, wherever she is. She opens her eyes and looks at the ceiling, sees beams and planks and shadows, and for a moment or three doesn't remember a thing.

Then something moves inside her head and her stomach does a backflip and when she next comes back to herself there's a horrible metallic taste in her mouth and someone is trying to get her to drink something. "Just a little," coaxes the voice, and she thinks accent and Antivan and of course it's Zevran, who else would it be?

She drinks a little and the world goes away for a while.

When she wakes again, Alistair is there, sitting on a chair next to her bed, and her head is clearer. "How long?" she asks in a voice more croak than anything else.

He reaches out to brush her hair back from her forehead, and she flinches back from the familiar gesture. "Three weeks," he says. "Give or take. You ask that every time you wake up." He takes a long breath. "I'm trying to put off the…coronation. I'd like you to be there."

There's an uncomfortable fullness in the back of her head. It shifts with a sound like scale on scale. She can feel rage coiling in her chest, but it's not hers. She looks at Alistair, thinks coronation and king and he doesn't know.

Kathil pushes herself to a sitting position, and Alistair moves to the bed and wraps an arm around her. Her head swims, but she lets herself take comfort in his presence, the solidity of him.

She's going to live.

She doesn't know if the crushing disappointment belongs to her or to the thing in her head.