Outside the Camp House, Telyn wished she hadn't been so hasty to leave. Against her will, her gaze traveled to the mountain, and her insides twisted in a mixture of pain and longing.

 

Raiador.

 

"Quite a sight, isn't it?"

 

Her attention whipped to her left at the query, to find a man standing beside her. He had the long, plaited hair of a Borderlander, and his tarnished armor screamed mercenary loud enough to wake the dead. Yet, something told her he was neither. Something about his voice tugged at her memory.

 

"Excuse me?"

 

He nodded toward Raiador. "The mountain. Never seen anything quite like it."

 

She peered closer in the diming light, trying to discover what about this man convinced her he wasn't exactly what he appeared. Why did she feel like she knew him from somewhere?

 

He was tall, even compared her Bathron blood, which could be a Borderlander trait -- the few she met were easily as tall as she was. His mud-brown hair hung midway down his back, woven into the traditional Borderlander plaits. However, the secrets in his smoky-green gaze told her he wasn't a Borderlander at all. A sense of kinship to this man blanketed her -- she was more than she appeared, as well, even if she wasn't sure what, yet. This man's charisma told her he was far from the mercenary his garb declared him to be. He carried himself with the authority and confidence of a leader or nobleman.

 

A well-worn scabbard hung from an equally abused leather belt, but his sword hilt had the gleam of care, and the glint of metal at the top of his scuffed black boots hinted he was well armed. He wasn't a man to take lightly, and she had to wonder if he was friend, or foe.

 

"And you are?" She frowned up at him, daring him to meet her gaze.

 

He did, but his eyes remained shuttered, not allowing her access to his thoughts. "No one of consequence, Sera."

 

Her hand fell to her anaqueri as it thrummed at her side. She couldn't be sure if the presence of man or mountain was responsible for the surge of energy from the weapon against her thigh.

Contact Esther Mitchell at:

esthermitchell@esthermitchell.com

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