She followed him easily, excitedly. As soon as they were out of sight Lucas rounded on her, no longer the mild mannered elf he strove to potray in public. Now he towered above her, filled with fury and disgust. Instantly the pleased look on the woman's face disappeared and fear crossed it. "I will not commit an act of infidelity to my wife! I left the Guardians to be with her and I certinly won't leave her for the likes of you." Blood drained from the woman's face and Lucas wished he could make it drain from her body as well.

Her lower lip quivered and she spoke, "If you do not, you will not be invited back to work." Lucas did not pause, he would find employment elsewhere if this was a requirment. The woman saw his determination and she struggled to sway him, "You won't find employment anywhere, my father wil blacklist you!" Lucas left, leaving her desperate cry to hang in the air. At least he knew he would be paid for the day's labors. If he was denied that the Guardians could be called upon.

In the front yard the last of the laborers were gathering for their pay, Lucas stood beside his baskets. Grateful that his absence had not been noticed. The woman also emerged from the shed and headed directly to the owner of the field. Apprehensive Lucas watched her whisper into his ear and the anger on his face as he looked towards him.

The laborers were paid and dismissed, expected back the next day to begin the drying process. But the owner instructed his treasurer to skip Lucas. Obviously confused the treasurer did so, withholding the leather sack twice as large as the rest. Uncomfortable Lucas shifted from one foot to the other as the men and women around him took their pay and left until at last it was just him and the officials. Silence filled the area as Lucas waited for whatever was to happen, he watched the triumph on the woman's face and the anger on the owners.

At last when all the other field hands had long since disappeared down the path the owner began to speak in a quiet voice more dangerous than any shout. "You have brought dishonor on yourself, I am ashamed to know you. And I will ensure that every punishment that can be brought to bear will be." Lucas swallowed thinking of Trisha back at home. The owner still did not look at him choosing instead to continue staring at the sky, rage plastered all over his face. "Bring me Lucas's pay." The treasurer did so, holding out the small bag gingerly. The owner took it and opened the drawstrings looking inside. "Lucas, you worked well in the field today." Surprised at the new topic Lucas forced his dry tongue to move, "thank you sir." The man nodded and took a pouch from his belt, the money he had made that day at the market. Eyes wide in surprise Lucas, the woman, and the treasurer all watched as the owner poured a great sum of money out of the pouch and into the one Lucas would have received.

It was soon bulging, struggling to contain the coins. The owner stopped then, pulling the strings as tightly as he could. He then tossed the money to Lucas, "I apologize for the actions of this woman who was once my daughter. Consider this compensation and a request for your silence." Lucas caught the now full purse with ease staring at it with an open mouth. Finally he looked up, "I can't thank you enough for this sir. And you need not have any fears about my discretion." The man nodded and gestured for Lucas to leave. The last thing he saw was an enraged look on the woman's face.
*~*~*~*
Trisha was waiting for him when Lucas finally arrived home. "What took you so long?" Her worried question was swift as Lucas stepped inside. Smiling he looked at her and held up the pouch. "Bonus from the owner of the field." He enjoyed the astonishment that passed over Trisha's face as she gazed at the pouch. She stood and hugged him tightly, "I was so worried!" Confused Lucas pulled back a little, "What do you mean? I couldn't have been more than ten minutes late." She shuddered in his arms, again pulling herself close. "They're drafting Lucas, preparing for war on the South."

Lucas hugged his wife tightly, mind racing over the possible consequences of the war should it come to pass. "Maybe we should wait?" He could sense Trisha's confusion, they hadn't spoken about it in a while, never having felt the need to, the couple simply tried. There was a beat then Trisha realized what it was Lucas was referring too. She shook her head, "It's too late Lucas, we can't wait. I'm pregnant."

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