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The Mage and the Warrior by Evelyn Ives

The Mage and the Warrior by Evelyn Ives

Author:Evelyn Ives [Ives, Evelyn]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Independent
Published: 2021-04-30T23:00:00+00:00


Chapter 10

“Do you think we were followed?” asked Agnes.

There was a shade of concern in her voice, but not overly so. She mostly just looked exhausted. Willa too was sagging drowsily behind Agnes in the saddle, leaning against her back, half-dozing. Thurstan knew that they all needed rest, the horses especially. There was no other option but to stop for a while.

It was a gray, chill morning. They had ridden through the blustery darkness of the night, pressing on as fast and as hard as they dared. They all knew they must put as many miles between themselves and the raiders as they could, lest the hunters become the hunted.

As the pale daylight failed to warm their shivering limbs they had reached the eves of the Witherwood Forest. Now, fully enveloped into the protective swathes of the ancient trees, they had at last halted to take stock of their situation.

Thurstan rubbed wearily at his forehead. “I think we can risk resting a while. Even if they sent out riders to search the road north and south, we still had a good start on them given the chaos you contrived in their encampment, Agnes.”

“Thank you,” said Agnes, sounding as tired as he felt, “I think we all played our part rather well.”

“Yes!” said Willa, suddenly perking up, “Did you like my work with the smoke? It was so thick it looked like one of Helena’s pea soups!”

Thurstan watched as Agnes managed a laugh. It brought an unbidden smile to his own lips.

“Aye Sister! You did well, and it was just in the nick of time. We were about to be caught had you not worked that little trick. But, you may well be thinking longingly about one of Helena’s soups by the time we make it back to Fordingbridge, our rations are scant enough.”

Thurstan knew the truth of it. In his drunken state, he had brought little upon their journey apart from a multitude of cider skins. They had subsisted mainly on the oatcakes Agnes had thought to bring with her, though there were few enough of them remaining now.

An idea was slowly forming in Thurstan’s mind. He may not have helped much in subsisting their journey so far, but there might be something he could do about that now. He made up his mind. “Let us go as far as we can from the road without risking getting lost. I see no sign that we are being pursued, but we would do well to be cautious.”

They dismounted and Thurstan led them away into the trees, until, upon turning, a small portion of the road could just be glimpsed through the clustered foliage.

Thurstan picked up the bow and quiver taken from the unfortunate lookout at the raider’s encampment.

“I will see if I can catch us something to eat.”

“Don’t stray too far,” said Agnes with a knowing grin. “I don’t want you getting waylaid by the Fae again!”

“The Fae!” cried Willa excitedly, “Did you meet them? I did wonder about this old forest when those blasted raiders carted me through here.



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