The city was quiet as Cymbyliene rode in on her one horse. No wagon nor
luggage accompanied her. It had been several years since she had deserted
Stormpoint, running away from memories too fresh and too devastating to live
amongst. Merchant's Row loomed ahead and she entered that street, riding ahead,
holding her breath until her clinic came into view.
Lochinvar Clinic read the sign suspended over the doorway, and then, in the window a hastily painted sign reading, "Closed until further notice". Several years, Cymbyliene had paid for a citizen of the city to watch over and maintain her clinic in her absence. Now, the pensive healer withdrew a key from her waistcoat pocket and tried to ignore how it jingled softly against the other keys as her hands trembled softly. The money was gone now, and she had to return to Stormpoint herself, to either remain, or to discharge her property and leave forever. The door swung open and dust motes swirled gently in the beams created by the sinking sun. It was all here; glass jars lined the shelves, colored glass bottles on her marble countertop. Her legs felt like rubber as she walked past that counter to the curtained examination room. It was dusty, but it was in perfect condition.
She walked back to the clinic door and closed it behind her, loathe for any to find her here now, and wish to speak to her. Some homecomings were best done in solitude. Her thoughts resisted but could not stop her from climbing the staircase to the modest living quarters above. Her bedroom lingered at the top, still tidy. The checked quilt lay undisturbed on the wooden frame bed. Simple clapboard walls painted a soft rose and ivory lace curtains that needed a good washing greeted her. Ceremic pitcher and basin, and rocking chair by the fire place. She had even left her books behind, and her journal; for the memories contained therein were too happy in contrast with her departure.
Her throat closed at the thought, but she still walked across the hall to the one spare room; the room where he had slept. The room where she had nursed him until he reached his full strength once again. The room in which they spent much time together until he had wrapped around her heart like the sunrise. Marcus......her heart cried gently. Her eyes followed suit and warm teardrops struck the oak planks of the floor in tiny splatters. She stepped out and closed the door behind her. Memories flooded her thoughts of Marcus, the Ranger who had been badly beaten and lost his memory and then was left on her doorstep. Marcus, who had risked his life in this city to protect people like her. She wrapped her arms around her body in memory of their shopping day once he was well....finding for him all new clothing, and looking at a wedding gown for herself, watching his expression, her heart filled with hope that neither of them had found words to express just yet.
And then, out in the street, the careening carriage that had ended their short time together as Marcus shoved her out of its path and gave his own life to be crushed for her sake. It had just been a simple accident. The tears flowed freely now. She had left Stormpoint that very afternoon, locking everything, taking nothing but her sorrow and fleeing the city gate like a woman condemned. She had often felt him with her, in her thoughts, in her night dreams, and now in the poignant memory that pressed down upon her like a blanket of sadness.
Before long, she felt the familiar experience of numbness and drew a breath of free air. Not to feel too much ever again....that was the way to survive. She wiped away her tears and looked at the glistening drops upon her fingers as if they belonged to someone else. Absently, she wiped them on her skirts and walked downstairs to the clinic. There was dusting to be done and sweeping. She walked to the front window and opened the blinds, taking down the "closed" sign. The little bell on the door tinkled slightly as she touched it with a soft finger. Lochinvar clinic was open.
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