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Old 12-03-2006, 09:10 AM   #130
The Pearl, The Lily Maid
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Lin looked down across the hillside, back down to the courtyard. Her eyes widened at the drama she saw playing its course on the packed dirt below, even Gurth's massive shape appearing like a puppet in the distance. She didn't hear Scyld's kind words, and the meal he handed her fell to the mossy ground, slipping unheeded through nerveless fingers.

"Fight!" she breathed through numb lips, and Scyld joined her, watching the battle below with a grim expression on his rugged features. Lin's hands clenched into fists as she urged her nameless champion to victory, but as the giant stepped into the fray and the unknown man's movements became haggard and desperate, the end of the duel became painfully apparent.

"No!" Lin cried in desperation, watching Sorn play with his opponent as a cat urges a mouse to its own doom. "The brute! the brute!" Hot and helpless tears dropped unheeded down her face as the man fell, and she pulled herself up tall and straight, the wind on the little knoll on which they stood whipping her stained and tattered yellow dress, that she'd took such shallow pleasure in only a few fateful days before, around her ankles and out into the air like a flag. Her eyes were locked on the fallen figure in the courtyard, and she saluted him gravely, tears adding more damp stains to her unfortunate frock.

Scyld, however, kept his eyes on the man's killers, and when they plunged into the brush just at the point where he had led Lin a scant half-hour before, he gripped his companion's arm roughly, jerking her back to earth and reality. "Look there!" he ordered, giving her barely enough time to see before pulling her back into the undergrowth, scrambling up the hill as swiftly as he could, food forgotten. He cursed himself for being so gentle with her; walking at a snail's pace, making allowances for her splinted arm. He knew, though, that even now, running breakneck through the brush, that they could not outrun their pursuers, and they were in their haste leaving as clear a trail as any amateur hunter could wish. He looked back and said as much to the girl.

"Then what do we do?" she asked, panting from the headlong pace, nursing the scratches the heavy brush had inflicted on her. Her eyes were wide and frightened, but the trust in them was clear, pinning Scyld to her like accusatory needles. He cursed that he couldn't just leave her; alone he might have a chance.

"We find a place to make a stand," he growled harshly, and she nodded and made to follow him where he led.

The chase was on, the endgame in the works. They dared not hope for any outside rescue.
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