Wolves at the Door (part 109)

As Gil drew nearer to the indistinct figure, he saw it stop and turn towards him. He slowed his approach, as it dropped into an unmistakeably hostile, if defensive, stance.

“You can stop there. Attack me out here and no one will ever find your body.”

Gil did his best to look non-threatening, as he slowed to a casual walk.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you. I was just excited to see someone out here, and I was hoping we could talk.”

“Looks like your wish was granted. Now that’s done, you can turn around and bog off back where you came from.”

The voice had been enough to tell Gil he was facing a woman, and now he was near enough to make out her facial expression. There was nothing there to suggest this was any kind of playful banter. She was expecting a fight for her life. Gil stopped, not wishing to alarm her any further. He was already close enough to converse without having to shout. He was also close enough to see she wore plenty of jewellery. Bracelets on each arm, and several amulets hung around her neck. Out here alone, they were unlikely to be for show. Gil had already been on the receiving end of defensive magic once. That had been a mild deterrent, but had left his arm paralysed for the best part of an hour. He had no intention of finding out what might happen in a real fight.

“Seriously, I just wanted to ask a few questions. I was curious about what happens out here.”

“And you think I’ve got nothing better to do than stand around chipping away at your ignorance? Some people have to work for our living.”

“I won’t get in the way. Maybe there’s some way I can help.”

“Help? Fat chance. You’re already causing problems, putting me behind schedule. Now I have to make it up. Do yourself a favour, go back to the well-trod path while you still can.”

With that she took off, sprinting away into the mist.


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