Authors: Clayton Emery
Sunbright rejected talk of himself to cling to the memory of Greenwillow. Talking of her lessened the ache within him. “Tell me something useful. Is there any way she can be saved?”
Candlemas blew out his breath, made the tiny blaze dance. “If she died there, as she must have, then no magic I know, or even suspect, can resurrect her to this plane. But her spirit may linger, trapped. With work, it mightmight, I saybe set free.”
“So.” Sunbright picked up a stick and prodded the fire. “If I work for you, will we try to find a way?”
“I’ll do what I can, if you will. That much I promise.” If Candlemas felt any thrill at getting his way, he didn’t show it. Mostly he sounded tired. “What I can’t promise is results.”
“No one can,” replied the barbarian.
The two were quiet a long time. They listened to the drip of rain in the forest, the soft rustle of leaves overhead. Far off, a strange bird gave a plaintive cry like the ring of a cowbell. Sunbright didn’t know that birdcall, but he’d learn it.
Abruptly he scooched onto his heels and caught the corner of the sodden blanket, tied off with a length of line. With nimble but cold fingers, the barbarian loosed the line and channeled the trapped water to splash on the fire and extinguish it.
Without the meager light, the forest loomed dark all around them. Candlemas, Sunbright knew, would be spooked by its damp, silent depths. But to the barbarian, it was an inviting home. And soon he’d know it even better, deeper. Truer.
And he’d show it to Greenwillow, somehow.
In the encroaching darkness, Sunbright’s voice was as clear as that birdcall. “If you’ll try, I’ll go with you.”
About the Author
Clayton Emery has been a blacksmith, a dishwasher, a schoolteacher in Australia, a carpenter, a zookeeper, a farmhand, a land surveyor, and a volunteer firefighter, among other things. He was an award-winning technical writer for ten years. His novels include Tales of Robin Hood; Shadow World #1: The Burning Goddess and Shadow World #3: City of Assassins; the Whispering Woods trilogy for Magic: The Gathering; the Robin & Marian stories in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, and other works. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife and son, and has played the dungeons & dragonsŽ game since forever.
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