His expression was melting before her eyes. Robbins set his cup down gently with one hand and, with the other, tightly gripped the edge of the table. Kezia stood up slowly and walked over to him, kneeling next to the chair he sat in, and wrapped her arms around the poor man’s body, a body which was now shivering from despair. The tough, grizzled man who had stood so bravely at the helm of the Maiden’s Gem in the midst of a gale was now simply a mortal, broken by a gaping anguish. His hands came halfway around her back, and patted her gently. She could feel wetness on her neck from his tears. His sobs began to quiet down more quickly than she expected, though, as he gathered back the strength needed by a sea vessel’s captain. She moved away from him just enough to look at his face.
“Thank you m’darlin’” he finally managed to say, holding her face in his hands, then clearing his throat. “I appreciate your caring.”