They walked down the short corridor in silence while I kept my head down. When they reached the sofa Richard sat down. "Richard Kelling?" I asked "Are you Richard Kelling?" not looking him in the eye.
He answered "Yes I am, do I know you?"
"Yes you did" I answered. "Have you worked out who I am?"
"No you can't be, Ellie Rim?"
"Yes, Sir, Ellie Rim at your service" and with that I stood up and bowed low before looking Richard straight in the eye, and glared at him with all the hate I could muster. "You...You...He...He told me...you...you had died" and with that Richard placed his head in his hands.
Looking away from him disgusted, I turned to Otter "you must be wondering what is going on" and though I didn't hate Otter the hate still came out and out of the corner of my eye I saw Richard wince
"Yes, I am a little confused" he said, smiling uncertainly.
"Richard and I went to the same ground school, the school where you learn the basics of reading and writing. Richard and I were partnered together a lot, I trusted him, and then he promised me he would claim me when my time came because he said he didn't want to see me hurt by anyone, but he didn't manage to keep that promise"
"I tried hard to, I had my claim put in, but I was still only a student at ground school, you started and I didn't have the power to beat a Teacher, I had to let you go, but every day you were under his claim I visited you, he never let me see you, but I tried, I really did. Then one day, I came and he...he said you had...had run away, and were probably dead" At the end of his speech he started crying.
Looking at Otter I spoke quietly "do you understand now?"
"Yes," he answered "but I don't see why you still leave him crying, imagine you had made a promise to me to stop anyone hurting me, and then not only did you break that, because you did he died, wouldn't you feel bad, and then imagine having to have that guilt forever more, don't you think that would hurt? Do you not feel sorry for him?"
"No, not if you had spent three years stuck in a Teachers basement trying to survive on less than one meal a day and only a dictionary, history book and book of magic to keep you occupied" But though I had said that, thinking about it, I did feel sorry for him. I would have found it hard to cope with that guilt hanging round me every second of my life. Looking at Otter I tried to still hold that hate, but it floated out of me before I could hold onto it. I knew he was right and I ought to forgive Richard but I didn't want to. Otter watched me as I stood indecisively until he finally gestured to Richard.
I turned to look at him, he watching me, tears running down his face, but his eyes never left my face "I'm sorry Ellie, but I thought you were dead, it's hard to live with that weight on your chest"
"Yes" I sighed "It would be, but it's hard to forgive you after blaming you for all those long years"
He nodded "It would be" and with that he stood up, wiped his eyes and said "I'm sorry Ellie, I truly am, and I'm so glad you're still alive. I didn't mean to bother you, let along upset you, I'm sorry" and with that he left for the door, while tears started to streak my face.