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Neb didnt realize he had fallen asleep until he felt a hand shaking him awake. He opened his eyes, jerking alert. The redheaded woman knelt next to him. She was wearing a dark cloak, but the hood was pushed back and her hair was up.

She placed a finger over her lips. When he nodded, she spoke in a low voice. War is coming. Its not safe here. Do you understand?

He nodded.

Sethbert destroyed Windwir and is giddy with his handiwork. Hes keeping you alive so that your story can entertain him. Do you understand?

Neb swallowed. Hed wonder S#82"

Im leaving now. I want you to come with me. He nodded, scrambling out of the cot.

Stay near me, she said, drawing a pouch out from under her shirt where it hung on a cord around her neck. She loosed the drawstrings and poured a handful of powder into her hand. She cast it at her forehead, her shoulders and her feet, then licked the remainder of the powder from the palm of her hand.

Neb watched as her eyes rolled back, then watched as she faded to a shadow in front of his eyes. For a moment, he thought she might magick him as well, and the prospect terrified him. Hed read about

scout-magicks and knew how they could affect the untrained and inexperienced. But then she sealed the pouch and dropped it back inside her shirt.

Follow me, she said. She unraveled a silk string from her wrist and attached it to his wrist as well. Holding the string, he moved with her as she slipped out of the tent and into the predawn morning. Neb

followed her into the darker places of the darkened camp, sliding past tents where soldiers snored and

mumbled. He did the best he could to keep track of where they were, but it seemed she changed direction just as he would get oriented.

Finally, they left the camp altogether and moved silently through the forest. As they ran, the redheaded womans words sank into him.

Sethbert destroyed Windwir. Those words kept at him, pressing him, prodding him, but he did not know why. Hed heard the soldiers earlier, but agreed that Androfrancine curiosity was a more likely culprit than the Overseer, madness or not. But now, this woman not only believed it, but also said war was coming, and she could have just left. But she hadnt-she had come to him first, taking more risk

onto herself than she needed. Neb trusted that.

Sethbert destroyed Windwir. Again, it pressed and prodded. Something behind that wall of words crumbled a bit more, and light peeked through.


When it hit him, Neb stopped short and the string went taut. The redheaded woman stopped, and in the gray light Neb could see the faintest shimmer of her as she crouched.

Why have you stopped? Were nearly there.

He wished he could open his mouth and explain to her why he couldnt go with her. He wi Sithze=shed he could tell her about the bolt of electricity that passed through him when he realized the truth.

Sethbert destroyed Windwir.

Neb hadnt really killed his father-Sethbert had. And it changed everything. Because of that, he couldnt leave with her now.

Because of that, he had to go back and kill Sethbert.

Jin Li Tam | Psalms of Isaak 01 Lamentation | Petronus