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Ellis Halstaff was concerned for her daughter's health.
Sahmantha lay still in the downstairs bedroom, a cold, wet cloth draped across her forehead, her breathing shallow.
Sahm had woken up the previous night, screaming. It had taken a fair amount of time to calm the girl down; when Ellis finally did, and asked what was wrong, her daughter replied that "it feels like there's something bad inside my head."
Bellik, Havenwood's healer, had visited earlier in the day. He had provided a tonic that would allow Sahm to rest, and prescribed a cold bath when opportunity allowed.
But Sahm was resting now, and Ellis's little son, Ralyn, would need to be fed, and there was still work to be done before nightfall. It was easier before—in the days when Sahm's father was still present, before he left without a word, without so much as a note, never to return.
Ellis looked down at Sahm now and thought of the girl's most recent birthday, when the precocious seven-year-old had declared brazenly that she would "manage her own affairs, moving forward," and that her daily routine would no longer include chores. She thought of Sahm's laughter, a hearty, unbridled guffaw. She thought of the night less than a week ago when Sahm had told her in the strictest confidence that she had a crush on little Joshua Gray, because his eyes were like a nice dream.
She thought of these things, and she prayed to Akarat that Sahm would get well soon, that she would have many more nice dreams and no longer be terrified by whatever ailment had befallen her.