Heartstone Snippet #3
Eric caught the Stonebearer before she hit the ground.
Great. After fighting off the Gawan-spawn, she'd taken one look at him and keeled over like a terror-struck chuba.
Feeling vaguely insulted, he laid her on the ground. He'd left his clothes in a nearby tree when he'd arrived on this planet. Perhaps, if he dressed, when she regained consciousness she'd be more amenable to his newly altered plan. He had to see to her safety. At least until she revealed the location of the Heartstone.
When he realized that he'd knelt beside her absently stroking her hair, he yanked his hand away and took a deep, calming breath. It wasn't lost on him that he'd called her by name, even used the less formal clan name, rather than the title her status demanded. A title, he reminded himself, that would keep distance between them. When he thought he could maintain a certain detachment, he looked at her again.
She appeared unhurt, thank the Stones. Her breathing was steady. He pried her mouth open. It didn't appear the Gawan-spawn had had time to Infest her. He hoped it hadn't.
Hearing a noise, his head whipped around. His entire body tensed, poised on the brink of shape shifting. The wind whispered through the clearing. A curious tree-rodent scampered higher among the branches of its tree home. Near the stream, a small, hornless herbivore cautiously dipped its head toward the burbling water. From a farther distance, he heard a dog bark, then fall silent.
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