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A hand came down on her shoulder, and she whirled around, pulling away from it. Facing Eirnin, she held her knife out in an aggressive stance.

“Don’t you touch me!”

His eyes looked like fire, the silver almost completely masked by bright red and yellow swirls of color. This time it was no reflection from the firelight. He was angry.

“Are you completely mad? What were you thinking going off alone into the forest with a bunch of fey? And the Faerie Prince himself no less!” He jabbed a finger in her direction, punctuating his words. “And then, just when we have him, you let him go!” He threw his hands up in the air and started pacing. Eying the knife she still had pointed at him, he rolled his eyes. “What are you pointing that thing at me for? I’m not the one who tried to kill you!”

“Yet! You’re not the one who tried to kill me yet,” she bit out as she maneuvered away from him.

“What are you going on about?” He stopped pacing and glared at her.

“Just what it sounds like. I know all about your elvish prophecy. You know, the one about getting a ‘blood sacrifice’ from someone from another world.” She’d managed to position the stone altar between them at this point, and began backing toward the tree line, keeping Eirnin in her line of sight the entire time.

“Story, wait! It’s not like that. You don’t understand!” He moved to intercept her. “I don’t know what the Faerie Prince told you, but it clearly wasn’t the truth.”

She paused and lowered her knife. “Faerie Prince? You mean Morrigann was…”

Eirnin nodded and took a hesitant step forward. She immediately brandished her knife again. “Stay right where you are, elf-boy. At this point I don’t trust anyone, least of all you. How do I know you aren’t going to cloud my thoughts the way that faerie bastard did?”

He sighed and closed his eyes. “For the last time, Story, elves can’t use magic. If we could, I’d have sent you back to your own world long before now.” He pinched the bridge of his nose before muttering, “Believe me on that one.”

“Well, then why don’t you explain what the hell just happened?”

“Fine, I’d be happy to. Only please put the knife away, and let’s get out of here.”

“No way. Start talking. Now. I’m not going anywhere until I have some answers.”

“Really, Story, a Faerie Ring is not the safest place in the world to sit down and have a chat. Can we please go back to the campsite?”

It was not his words but the hint of desperation and fear in his voice that convinced her to trust him, at least for now. Eirnin had yet to show any discomfort in their travels, but it was obvious that being inside the meadow was making him anxious. His eyes kept darting around as if he expected to be attacked at any moment.

“Alright.” She sheathed her knife at her side and pointed a finger at him. “But don’t think this means I trust or believe you.”

The walk back to the camp was surprisingly quick, if awkwardly silent. Ultimately, she was grateful for how short it was since she found herself first dwelling on, and then berating herself for, her stupidity concerning Morrigann. How could she have been so naïve? Perhaps she could forgive herself for trusting him, since, as a general rule she tended to assume the best of people.

Unless, like Eirnin, they start out as a jerk. She watched his broad shoulders bob up and down as he walked the path ahead of her, and she let out a sigh; even then she tended to give people a second chance.

War of the Seasons, book one: The HumanWhere stories live. Discover now