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They trudged through the back streets of the town, taking care to avoid the patrolling guards who would, no doubt, question why a woman was out walking late at night accompanied by an extremely muddy man and elf. Mirra led them to the stables hidden behind the bar.

“Stay here,” she said. “I’ll wake the boy up and set him fetching water for you.”

Herrin threw himself down on a pile of straw and stared up at the ceiling, but Tryls followed Mirra back out into the courtyard. She sighed and turned to face him.

“You’re going to say you owe me a debt now, aren’t you?”

He shook his head and smiled, his teeth white against his mud caked skin.

“I think I can pay this one off quite quickly,” he said. He reached into his tunic and pulled out a mead horn encrusted with sparkling jewels. It was so brightly adorned that even in the dim light of the courtyard it shone as if covered with stars.

Mirra stared. “The horn? You got it? But what about Herrin?”

Tryls shrugged. “If you are who I think you are, I think that perhaps you need the money more than either of us do.”

Her eyes widened for a fraction of a second, then narrowed.  “What do you-”

He shook his head. “Not here. Not now. Herrin will be wondering about his bath.”

He winked at her and went back into the stable.
© Kari Fay

(Author’s Note: The plot thickens! If you’re just joining me, the story of Herrin and Tryls started with Herrin’s Escape, and is looking set to continue until… well, until it ends, I suppose!)