I woke alone. Light streamed in through the weathered boards of the old barn. I sat up and pushed off the hay covering my body. It was cold out, and I shivered hard in the chilly morning air. My clothes lay in a pile on the loft floor a few feet away. They were still wet and cold, and I couldn't bring myself to put them back on. I carefully made my way down the ladder and stood in the middle of the barn, almost naked and unsure of what to do next.

I rubbed my hands up and down my arms for warmth. Where's Luke? Better yet, where am I? I didn't know the area—the last thing I wanted to do was start wandering around in the light of day in my underwear.

Were those men still looking for us?

The barn doors gave a loud creak as they swung open. I spun around, not sure what I was about to face, and found Luke standing in the entrance. His arms were full—he was now wearing an oversize blue-and-black flannel shirt and a pair of faded jeans. He looked away, but not before I caught his eyes lingering on the naked parts of my body. His reaction was both reassuring and embarrassing. Maybe he likes me after all, I thought, blushing at my state of undress. He gave me a wide smile, focusing on my face. "I have supplies." He walked over and laid his bounty on the floor in front of me. "I found some clothes." He rifled through a couple of plastic bags, pulled out a white T-shirt, and handed it to me.

I quickly pulled it over my head—the shirt came all the way down to my knees.

Luke handed me a blue flannel shirt. I put the flannel on over the T-shirt. It felt so good to be warm again.


"I broke into a house not far from here. I took what I needed. Desperate times call for desperate measures, right?" He handed me an orange.

I was starving. I quickly peeled the orange and shoved a piece in my mouth. It was sweet and delicious. I ate half and handed Luke the other half. "You stole all this?"

He nodded his head, making short work of the rest of the orange.

"Was the house empty?" I asked.

He pulled out a half loaf of French bread from one of the bags. "No, but I got in and got what I needed without anyone spotting me. It was early; the family was still sleeping." He tore a large piece of bread off and started eating. "I'll go back later and leave money to pay for all this. It's just some clothes and a bit of food. They won't miss what I took."

I gasped. "You could've been shot."

He handed me a piece of bread. "Not really. Way back when guns were first invented, they seemed like magic on par with the Death Arts. We were afraid that any non-magical person could take down a mage. So now all powerful death dealers learn to block bullets early on. It's one of the first spells we're taught. Death dealers all learn combat magic, just in case. I'm not quite good enough to bounce them back boomerang style, but I'm not in any danger from guns. There's no time for you to learn the spell now, so if we get shot at be sure to stay behind me. We aren't the most popular guild, after all." He pulled me into his arms and leaned back to study my face. "Are you okay? You didn't have another vision, did you? Another...bad dream?"

"No visions," I answered, looking up into his eyes. "I slept soundly this time."

His arms tightened around me. "I shouldn't have left without telling you. I thought it was best to check and see if the coast was clear. And when I saw it was, I figured I'd scout around."

He stepped back slightly with a half grin, and his hand came up to caress my cheek. "Now eat the bread before I try to talk you into giving me your piece. I'm still starving."

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