Vol. 4 - The Other Shoe | i

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"I still don't think we should be doing this."

Fionn was not hearing this for the first time. He always dragged Nerina along on his little adventures and each time she voiced her concerns, she sighed, rolled her eyes and went along. He smiled now as he kept his eyes on the men guarding the stone-fortified prison. Eight men from what he could see all armed and armored for war. This was another stop in their little crusade to help innocent people sentenced to death for supposed links to the supernatural. No witch with half a brain, not even the marauding crusader type, would allow humans to capture him or her.

It was just humans killing humans out of fear and ignorance. Nerina saw no reason to meddle in that but Fionn was not one to stand back and watch innocent people die for nothing. He felt responsible. She felt the need to remain hidden. For everyone, they saved two more somewhere else died but that was not the point—they had to do what they could. The man had a big heart, Nerina was just selfishly anxious to live her life—finally—in peace.

"Squeamish, Marjorie," Fionn called her by that name to mock her. The high from the hunt glinted mischief in his eyes when he looked over at her. On their bellies, they hid in the high grass along the perimeter of the prison.

"Squeamish does not fit into this context. Lunacy. A slight touch of—"

"Adventure," he finished.

"Hardly the word I would use either for your hair-brained schemes."

"Yet you always come along."

Nerina smiled. "Someone has to keep you alive."

"Hardly necessary seeing that I am immortal."

Fionn moved keeping low and hidden in the grass before she could respond, smiling as she slanted her eyes at him. Yes, he was immortal in the true sense of it. Nothing could kill him. Nothing he had mentioned so far. It was eerie on one hand, settling on the other. Nerina, though it had not come to the fore of her mind until recently, had been uneasy about spending eternity alone. Now reluctantly she opened herself to the possibility that she might not have to. Then she thought of the heads in the fire and figured she might not live so long in any case. Fionn was a hunted man and she was his Achilles heel.

This latest adventure involved one of the most secure prisons in England. Along with the guards, there was a moat. It was not hard to picture the snapping jaws lurking in the cold depth of the dark water. The guards they saw did not include the ones along the wall or the ones on the other side of the colossal, gray, stone wall. The objective—save some poor soul wrongly accused of a crime involving magic. His wife had made an impassioned plea that had fallen on Fionn's ear. A plea he could no more ignore than she could tell him to leave it be. Human affairs — in her opinion—was their business to handle as they saw fit. Fit being hanging, burning and drowning. Their savagery towards each other left much to be desired.

If they felt it justified to burn each other at the stake or drown each other or hang each other from the gallows, far be it from her to intervene. They would have done the same to her. Fionn thought her crass for holding such a bleak point of view. No fault of hers, he had said because everyone was shaped by their pasts, their experiences. Her experiences had hardened her. There had been no infliction or condemnation when he had said it only understanding. A kind of unspoken sadness for her situation. She had managed to hold on to some parts of herself but she had to admit some parts were missing and she would never get them back.

Fionn had taken it upon himself to save the hopeless; she was his trusty sidekick.

Her role in this one was to play distraction. Plan A to her plan B that was to cut out the act, kill them all, and free the man and gone long before dawn. His was to distract, debilitate, infiltrate, and leave without a trace and no casualties. They had come for one man; they would leave with one man and no blood on their hands.

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