Sirian, I'm certain this is where - -
"My last two journeys from Tiyan ended in bloodshed, Sirian," she said even more quietly.
"And I've told you more than once that you need not travel, but you insist," Sirian said.
Sirian edged closer, his wise gaze and silvering hair the only signs of aging on his otherwise lean frame.
The last time she entrusted the Springs to Sirian, they ended up in the hands of her enemies.
And yet she long knew the demon to be right: Sirian was no ally of hers.
She stepped into the cool night ahead of an occupied Sirian and threw her head back to see the half-moon.
"It'll get easier," Sirian said, pausing beside her.
"Sirian, cease!" she ordered.
"Sirian, I'm not well," Rissa continued.
Sirian sheathed his sword.
Sirian and Rissa led him back to the impressive hold at the center of the city and up a set of stairs to the second level and down a wide hallway.
Sirian opened one of the few closed doors, escorting Rissa.
What if I am the threat Sirian believes me to be?
Sirian waited, his dark eyes going from Rissa to Taran, where they settled.
Several burly guards bowed to Sirian and Rissa and trailed them into the street.
Rissa, Sirian, and the guards headed toward the sparring men.
Sirian partnered with Rissa while the guards fanned out around them, one alert while the other four paired up to spar.
He looked in time to see Sirian fling Rissa over his shoulder.
Sirian stood over her and planted his hands on his hips, frowning.
Sirian and Rissa glared at each other with animosity that bespoke a brittle relationship.
Sirian snatched his tunic and stalked away.
He grudgingly admitted that Sirian had trained her well.
It would not be wise to tire yourself, Sirian informed her.
"I'm actually learning from him, Sirian," was Rissa's arch response.
Taran stayed the sudden urge to challenge Sirian to a round.
Taran obeyed before Sirian contradicted her.
Sirian gave him a cold look as he passed.
Aside from the dark moods of Rissa and Sirian, Taran sensed nervousness in the guards.
"This is a safe route," Sirian returned, unconcerned.
"The route is safe, Rissa," Sirian said firmly.
He amused himself briefly with the thought of eliminating Sirian himself once the battle began.
Her guards watched in surprise as Sirian and his horse disappeared around the bend.
"Sirian was quick to leave you," he said as he rose.
"Start sending Sirian," he suggested.
"Sirian is my much trusted advisor," she grated finally.
Sirian appeared, clean and newly clothed.
Sirian managed a relieved note in his tone.
"And you, Sirian," she responded less warmly.
"You're exhausted," Sirian said.
Taran handed off the horse to a stable hand and turned to watch as Sirian took Rissa's arm, leading her into a squat stone building at the center of the fortress.
Sirian and Rissa wound through the fortress before disappearing into a door guarded by two men.