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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Standing on the dark street, Keita glared at Turgis and his offer of help, her grey eyes reflecting suspicion.

“No, I don’t trust this.”  She said as she planted her hands on her hips.   “Since I walked into that bar, you’ve explained nothing of yourself, nor your relationship with a boy who should be your enemy but you treat as like a nephew. Meanwhile, we’ve talked far too much of me, a stranger off the street. No, Turgis Balborkanon, before I accept your offer of help, you will tell me how you fit into this story first.”

Turgis eyed up the girl as she stared him down.  Mentally, he rolled his eyes then began walking down the street, away from the angry barbarian.

“Come on then.” He said gruffly, pulling up his hood against the drizzling rain.  Keita stood her ground a moment longer before realizing he wasn’t waiting.

“Where are you going?” She asked, not ready to give up ground so easily.

“To an inn,” He called back. “Unless you’d like to continue this conversation in the rain.” Keita considered this for a moment before falling in beside him, her long legs quickly closing the distance.

“Besides,” Turgis muttered under his breath, “If we just stand around here talking all night, the Wardens will be-“

“Right behind you?” Asked a young, clear voice. Turgis froze like a deer, turning slowly to see the sudden visitor. Behind them stood a young girl, no older than 16, with deep, brown skin and hair. Her eyes shone vibrantly green in the light of the lamp she carried, and Keita could see small, white flowers woven through her curly hair. She wore a green cloak, pinned at her throat with an emerald brooch in the shape of a leaf that glittered like her ageless eyes. Turgis gave a slight bow, subtly shifting his position to stand between the new arrival and Keita.

“Good evening, Gwendolyn. What brings a lovely lady like yourself out on a dreary night such as this?” Gwen smiled slightly at the compliment.

“A bar fight broke out at the World’s End tavern. I noticed tonight was the full moon again, I thought you and Prince Lucien may have been there still. But it seems you two left early tonight.” She jerked her head towards the bright patch of clouds left by the moon in the sky as she spoke, an edge of suspicion to her voice.  Turgis looked a little sheepish.

“Aye, Lucien was a little deep in the cups tonight, and you know how the boy can get.  I thought it would be best we left early. We left just as the fight was starting.” Gwen narrowed her eyes slightly.

“So you saw nothing then?”

“You’ve known me for twenty years, Gwen. If I was involved in a fight, I’d be ending it.”  Turgis stated bluntly.  Gwendolyn smiled slightly.

“That is true enough. Well, have a good night, Turgis.” As Turgis turned away, pushing Keita along in front of him, she added, “Oh, one more thing.” Pulling out a small hunting knife from her pocket,  she gave it a gentle toss in the air, catching it as it fell.

“Someone left this at the tavern. One of the Wardens said it looked like a traditional knife from the members of the Ora tribes.  He also mentioned that one had come through his station tonight, heading into town.” Her eyes flashed towards Keita’s stiffening back as she continued. “Some of the locals said you may have left with a woman with a similar description.  She would have strange, scarred markings on her face, with braided hair. If you see her, you can let her know she can pick it up with her bow when she leaves.” She smiled warmly to Turgis’s shocked expression as she turned to leave. “Have a good night.”

To be continued