28b (Argentum’s Song – PG)

Argent turned his attention to study the ground at his feet. The water had eroded away enough of the trail that it wasnt obvious unless you were looking for it. However, yes, there was evidence of horse prints leading north down the mountainside. That would certainly explain why they hadnt been able to overtake the sledge. In fact …

Actually Bildad, I think it might be two or more horses. These two hooves are not the same size. It looks to me like he met up with someone and they continued on together.

Well thats just great. Now there are even more people to split it with.

Martha snorted and started back down the trail again.

“What do you care? The finders fee is coming out of my half remember?”

Youve been delaying us on purpose. Dont think Im not noticing and dont think it wont have consequences.

Martha spun with a look of incredulity on her face.

“How does that make any sense at all? Your just throwing baseless accusations out of habit now.”

Argent could see another head coming to the constant tension between Bildad and Martha. He was searching his mind for an idea to diffuse it when he caught a sound coming from downhill.

Bildad, isnt that the sound of tack? Could that be horses around the far bend?

All three of them stopped to listen and then Bildad took off at a run.

Dont let the girl out of your sight, and dont let your guard down.

After Bildad disappeared around the corner, Martha brushed off a large rock at the side of the trail and shook her head free of her hood as she sat down.

Does he really think hell be able to outrun a horse?

Argent smiled, her voice was definitely less hostile when Bildad was absent.

Well he might actually, especially if its pulling a sledge and plodding. He might even be able to if it were trotting. I remember once watching him out sprint a fleeing weir.

Marthas face clouded over and Argent knew he had given the wrong example. But why? Why was that example wrong? Yes, Bildad was probably wrong about Marthas current condition but that didnt mean he was wrong to protect people from weirs.

Hes not a bad man Martha.

Could have fooled me.

He just hasnt ever heard of anyone coming back from being turned. No one has.

Im not turned.

Right, I know but that doesnt mean –

Martha had shut him out again and clearly wasnt interested in the conversation. Argent didnt know what else to say so he let it drop. After a few heartbeats her eyes came back up to his.

Look, I dont want to be enemies –

Enemies? Martha, havent I proved that Im your friend?

– and I cant afford to be your friend. At least not now, not until Ive proved to everyone that Im not a weir.

I know youre not a weir.

No you dont. Ive seen the way you look at me. You dont know that, and I dont either. Not for sure, not until I quest. So I cant be your friend. But as your acquaintance, an acquaintance that might one day be your friend. Can I ask you a favour?

Of course.

Would you play your flute again?

The request caught Argent off guard. He didnt know why as she clearly liked his playing. He also didnt know why he hadnt played at all since meeting up with Bildad. It had just slipped his mind in the hurry to get down the hill. He fished out the Argentum whistle and brought it to his lips. Marthas eyes lit up as he began to play.

Three notes in he was interrupted by Simon’s sentry horn.


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