“Azara gave me her life, so that I would not die before my vow was fulfilled. I figure I’m close to four hundred years old.” He smiled again, a faint shadow of a grin that was quickly gone. “I’ve lost track of a few years here and there.”
Everything he was saying was pure nonsense. It had to be. Her fantasies of what it would be like to meet him crumbled away, leaving a hollow disappointment behind. Either he was playing a stupid, cruel joke on her—and there was nothing in his manner to suggest this, only absolute sincerity—or he was only a madman, a wandering beggar lost in dreams and tales of long ago and, for some reason, obsessed with her pendant.
If he was indeed mad, she realized, he might be dangerous if she refused to give him what he wanted. With a pang at giving up the gift her mother had given her, she unclasped the slender chain with the crystal vial from around her neck and held it out for him. “Here. If all you want is my pendant, you can have it. You don’t have to make up these stories to get me to give it to you. Just take it and leave.”
He took her hand in his, laid the crystal pendant on her palm, and gently closed her fingers around it. He held her closed hand for a moment—why did she have to like the feel of him holding her hand so much?—then released it. “That won’t work,” he said. “The power in that token can only be used by a daughter of Juzeva’s blood. I need you to come back to Savaru with me and use that power to restore Savaru to life.”
The outrageous request left her stunned—she wasn’t sure she could have possibly heard him correctly. “Excuse me?” she finally managed to say. “You want me to go away with you?”