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   Chapter 37 No.37

The Book of Deacon By Joseph R. Lallo Characters: 5444

Updated: 2018-01-19 12:03


"Horses are for those who require speed. A sore shoulder can wait, but targets of opportunity open and close like the blink of an eye. Two steps too late and a chance is gone forever. Wolloff's tower is just on the north side of Ravenwood. On this terrain, on foot, I cannot imagine it taking you more than five days. So, eat, rest, and leave. We've much to do, " Caya stated.

In a few moments, a clay bowl filled with perhaps the worst porridge Myranda had ever eaten was set before her. When she'd managed to swallow the horrid stuff, a cot and blanket were placed mercifully near to the rekindled fire. She settled stiffly onto the bed, such as it was, and basked in the warmth of the fire. Her body had dealt with such extremes of heat and cold, it was fairly screaming. Cramps twisted her muscles through the whole night. She closed her eyes and an instant later she was awakened by a rough prodding from Tus. The sun had yet to peek over the mountains.

"Food. Eat it slow. It will last, " Tus said, tossing her a pack.

She managed to catch it, much to the detriment of the injured shoulder.

"Flint, " he said, holding up a second pack. "And tinder. One night, one fire. It will last. Walk close to the mountains. Too close to the roads, the patrols will kill you. Too close to the mountains, other things will kill you."

With that ominous warning, she was sent on her way.

#

The cottage was not even out of sight when Myranda began to regret not asking for a new cloak. Fortunately, though, it was not nearly so difficult to walk in the forest as it had been in the field. The dense needles of the evergree

ountain. Whole sections of the slope had been swept clean by the wind, and in one such section there was a large, hollow opening. It extended far enough back that its end was shrouded in darkness.

Ice crystals were beginning to sting her face when she reached the mouth of the cave. To escape the powerful wind, she had to make her way much deeper than she had expected. The darkness was complete, save for the bit of light that found its way back from the mouth. She leaned her pack-covered back against the cave wall and slid to a seat. A bit winded from the rush to shelter, each breath burned her lungs with sheer cold. As she slowly recovered, she realized how much warmer the cave was than the outside. She brushed some of the more tenacious ice crystals from her cloak and took a deep breath through her nose. It was not the dank, moldy smell she expected, though there was a hint of it. Instead there was a rich, earthy smell, with a hint of smoke behind it.

"I suppose I am not the first person to shelter in this cave, " she said aloud. Only her echoes came as a reply.

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