It was still dark out when Corvala arrived at her house. The pair of guards assigned to watch over the house were half dozing. They shook off their sleep at the sound of Corvala’s approach and regarded her with looks of suspicion. What was she doing coming in at such a late hour? If she had been anyone else, the guards would have thrust some questions at her. But because she was the judge’s daughter, they left her alone. Corvala gave them a nod but no eye contact. She went inside and shut and locked the door behind her.
She went straight to her father’s room, finding him just as she had left him: barely breathing, making no other sound or movement. What Corvala was most concerned with was that he was still alive. She took away the night’s soiled sheets and clothing, averting her eyes as she did so. Getting him clean clothes and sheets, she dressed her father with as much dignity as she could give him. A guest was coming—albeit an unwanted guest.
Corvala went to the backroom and opened the window. Outside the sky was mostly black, but it was fringed with indigo at its eastern edge. Dawn was not far off. Corvala peered out into the darkness. The meadow lay still but for a lazy breeze. Then came a silent shadow padding over the grass. It came to the house and up to the window.
“Did anyone see you?” Corvala asked.
“No,” Serapha replied. Without waiting for Corvala’s permission, she slipped into the house through the window. “Where is your father?”
Corvala led Serapha into her father’s bedroom and to his bedside. Seeing her father lying there so weak and so vulnerable, Corvala immediately had second thoughts about letting this strange woman—whatever she was—into her house. But what could she do about that now?
Serapha produced a spur from out of where her palm and wrist met. She inserted the spur into Exodus’ neck. Corvala reached out to stop Serapha, but Serapha caught Corvala’s hand and met her eyes.
“Do not be afraid. I will heal him.”
Corvala bit her lip and reluctantly pulled back her hand.
Remember, Corvala thought to herself, this woman healed Trajan. She can heal your father.