Here’s the last part of “The Promise”. Hope you enjoyed this story. Let me know what you thought of it in the comments below. Thanks so much for visiting my blog and reading my work 🙂
They rode on and on. It felt like days to Rose. They passed hills and plains and mountains and towns, yet it was all a blur. The horse kept at a constant gallop, which shook Rose so much she grew dizzy and feverish. Finally, as the day started to reach late afternoon, Edmond brought the horse to a stop in a small grove of trees, just a few miles from a small village. He dismounted, and it was then Rose realized that she had no strength to hold herself up. The moment his support was gone she began to fall, yet she hardly registered it. She was so tired and dizzy.
Edmond turned around just in time to catch Rose before she hit the ground. She went limp in his arms as he carried her over to a soft mound of grass, laying her down very gently, as if she would made of porcelain.
“Rose, Rose can you hear me?”
Her eyes had fluttered closed, and he held her face between his hands, worry gripping him fast. Finally her eyes reopened, and she looked up at him, and for a moment she had forgotten who he was, and wondered at this handsome young man who had rescued her. After a longer look she remembered, and her brow furrowed, confused and curious.
“Edmond…where have you been?” she muttered. Her throat was hoarse and dry from the ride. Edmond sighed with relief before answering her.
“I’m sorry, Rose. I’ve been…I’ve been through quite a lot to find you.”
As he told his story, Rose lay there, watching his eyes as he spoke, noticing how they had become greyer over the years. She remembered describing his eyes as the color of shining copper, but now they were rather like dull steel. Strangely, it saddened Rose. Yet they still had that glow, if not faint, when he turned his head.
“When we were separated, I was taken clean across to the western border while you went east. I was also put to work on a plantation, and I worked there for three years. Not a day went by that I didn’t think of escaping so I could go and find you. I tried several times, but every time I got caught and punished. After those three years I was traded to another plantation, one more east, which gave me some hope. Yet after one attempted escape I realized that their punishments were much worse than the previous place, so I didn’t try again at all. I felt like a coward every day. I lived in fear there for another two years. Then, one fateful day, a steward came to the plantation, and for some reason he chose to buy me and take me in as his personal servant. We traveled a lot, and we traveled east. I was ever hopeful, but I began to realize that I had no idea what plantation you were at, or if you were even at one at all, or even if you were…alive, still. My man stopped in a town called Brothem. I was too afraid to go out and look for you, partly because I didn’t know where to look, and partly I was still his servant and he could still punish me. I was with him for three years, and then we picked up and traveled east again. It was just last year that he promoted me as his right hand man. I did really like him, you know, and I think he had favor of me. Then we joined Lord Samson and the others, and traveled to your plantation.”
Edmond stopped a moment to catch his breath. He looked at Rose cautiously, as if he was afraid his story sounded ridiculous to her. But she was smiling, faintly and timidly, watching him attentively. He returned a smile and continued.
“And I saw you standing there, and though you had grown I recognized instantly. I swear, Rose, my heart must have leapt into my throat with joy, but then I saw the look on your face, and it brought me agony. You looked so exhausted, so weakened…,”
He paused, searching Rose’s face anxiously for a response. Only a confused tilt of an eyebrow was given.
“At that very moment, I made up my mind to do anything I could to get you out of there, to keep my promise.”
Rose lifted her head a bit, for all she could manage was a whisper.
“You remembered the promise?” she asked.
Edmond helped Rose out by resting a hand behind her head, holding it as gently as if it were a baby. He could see Rose’s eyes become misty as a smile grew across her beaming face. A single tear escaped down her cheek, and Rose closed her eyes quickly to prevent more from escaping, but reopened them when she felt Edmond’s hand softly brush it away.