She opened the door a little

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She opened the door a little. Maxwell again. Somehow, he always managed to show up. How did he keep finding them? There were no mages in his party, at least none that looked like one. As he rode atop his horse, dust stirred up and blew away. 

Footsteps from behind.

"They will kill you; why don't you com—" Parcival placed his hands on hers.

"Then what? They'll burn this town to ashes looking for me." She took her hands out of his. Did he really care, or was there another reason? She wrapped her pouch's ties around her fingers tightly. How am I to follow Olenus' teachings if... There wasn't any other choice.

Parcival's palms smacked the tabletop. "Takes only one hit from those spears of theirs, and you will be afflicted with the poison, paralyzed, waiting for a slow death when your heart explodes hours later."

She flinched.

"He won't be able to touch me, much less injure me. You forget who you're dealing with, human," she huffed. She glared at him. Insulting is what it was. Losing to a human?

"Do you know nothing of the Elven?" The hairs on her arms bristled.

"I admit my studies are lacking when it comes to your people, but only because they refuse to share much of their history and culture."

A pained expression crossed his face; it was at odds with his words.

"If you like, I could tell you a little, sometime?"

It was strange caring about this; everything inside was a warped mess. Have been hanging around with the man too long. Is this the weakness mother tried to explain? She scowled.

"Would you? I mean, it would be most interesting to learn about your history; so little is known." His face took on that look only young kids had and in his eyes, a spark kindled for just a minute. He smiled soft and sweet, usually so stiff and proper.

Everything they'd told her about humans just didn't fit, especially with how this one acted. She bit the inside of her cheek, pushing away a smile of her own that tried to break free. Reality sucked rotten hog hanks as Maxwell's voice lanced from outside.  There were no joys, not of this day.

Maxwell's voice broke through. "I want no mistakes, this time, understand? Capture them both and burn the town to the ground!"

It was hard to see through the tiny carved window, moving closer to it up above a Nekhawk circled the church, then swooped down and landed on Maxwell's shoulder. Its awful tentacles curled upwards as it preened a wing. Not that thing again.

Maxwell faced his men. They all nodded. They spread out, each standing by a house with an unlit torch in hand.

"Let me go out there. A woman should not do this. This is absurd!" Parcival held both her arms with his hands.

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