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Nym rested back into her chair and feeling the chill of the night air and wrapped her blanket more securely around her shoulders. She wore only her petticoat dress, her amber hair falling fluidly over her shoulders. Her cog, which had been favoring the shape of a dragonfly, perched atop of her hat which she had discarded onto a chair a near the bed. Occasionally she could see a reflected light flash as it fluttered its wings and she took comfort in its presence.
From the next room she could hear Amos softly breathing in sleep as he was still recovering after being badly beaten. He had been confined to his bed for several days, and Nym had not left his side. After escaping the terror of SkyCaptain Magruder at Ghostraven’s Steampunk and Pirates, Nym had hidden them both away in a room at the Mists, an unassuming hotel in the merchant district of Meiville. She knew that Magruder and his men would be on alert for them, so Nym was making their stay as quiet as possible. She had told the managers and help that Amos was ill with Failing Syndrome which made it possible for them to share the small apartment room, send for medicines and to keep their distance without suspicion.
It was the small hours of the morning, and she could feel the tension in her eyes from reading and thinking. The journals, papers, and drawings that she had recovered in the room behind the Elderwood Door were scrawled out before her. She was trying to make sense of the peculiar life of Captain Marcel Ghostraven, and every page led her deeper into his mysteries.
She had not rested for days and needing a cup of tea, Nym stretched and wandered the small room. As the scent of chamomile warmed her senses she stopped to stare into the early morning streets of Meiville. At this hour it was peaceful and serene and the gaslights that wound their way down the lane were burning low, the stars beginning to fade into the dawn.
Nym missed her little table at the Archive and having its vast resources at her ready disposal, but she knew that returning there would be a mistake. The Crow was gone, and she was certain that the authorities, as well as Magruder’s men, would be watching Marcel’s store. She had played back the events of that evening so many times, and it troubled her that – while she was certain that she had done so – she could not distinctly recall closing the Elderwood Door. She feared what someone like Magruder might do with some of the objects hidden there. She felt certain relish that the object of his desire, the Apport Sextant, was safely in her satchel.
She tried to focus her miandering thoughts on the information that she had recovered from the room. While she had once been unable to act because of a lack of information, she was now overwhelmed with leads and had no clear idea where to start. She didn’t know what their next step should be once Amos was well enough to continue on and she wondered, with a sadness, if Amos would continue on with her after all they had been through.
She remembered how angry and rash she had been that day at the store- but she recognized that she had been overwhelmed by emotions that were complex and confusing. She felt that Amos had betrayed her and she struggled with that truth. Perhaps though if she had given him time to explain – he did seem a different man since the day she had met him at the jailhouse, but could she ever truly trust him knowing … her thoughts were interrupted by a soft, warm hand upon her shoulder.
“Amos!” Nym was surprised to see him on his feat, he had been barely conscious for days.
He was shirtless and his skin was warm and golden as if it were exhaling the sunlight it had adsorbed upon the sea -though in places it bloomed with purple black bruises. Nym remembered painfully how he had been almost beaten to death but continued to defend her and She was moved by his courage and his strength. He was a different man now, though his hair was disheveled from sleep which gave him a boyish sweetness.
She felt her face grow warm at the sight of him and then realized that she lacked proper attire – but her desire for modesty was abandoned when she realized that he needed her to help him to find a place to rest. He was entirely too weak to be out of bed. She took him gently under the arm and eased him onto the sofa.
“Why are you out of bed?” She scolded, gently. “You should be resting.”
“Peach,” he said softly, bracing his bruised ribs in discomfort as he sat. Nym had taken the blanket from her shoulders and was tucking it around him busily, “Do you know that you glow?”
“You’re delirious,” She placed the back of her hand on his forehead, testing for fever, but it was her own face flush with warmth. “Rest a minute and I will help you back to your room.”
“No.” He said, giving her a very serious look. “You glow. …From the inside.” He placed a gentle hand over her heart which was set ablaze by his touch, “Sometimes you walk through my room and all I see is a beautiful dancing light.” His words were getting weaker, but but his eyes sparkled.
Nym felt herself blushing and she avoided the intensity of his eyes -but as she looked away his strong hand cupped her chin and drew her back to him. The strap of her petticoat dress had slid down her pale shoulder and his eyes wandered over her neck and lips and settled into her own. She felt dizzy and confused by his gaze which was wide with wonder and awe. His fingers teased into her hair tenderly, pulling her closer to him, the heat of his skin overwhelming her. Softly his lips met hers, and she melted into him, her hands caressing the muscles of his broad shoulders and chest.
A beautiful moment later, he pulled away and held her, gently kissing her forehead and sighing.
“Such a little light but you illuminate everything,” he whispered. The act of kissing her had elated and exhausted him, and his eyes fluttered closed. Just before sleep took him , he secured her happily into his arms.
Nym lay silently cradled and , feeling safe in his nearness, fell asleep at last.