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The last rays of the sun faded over the horizon.

“They aren’t coming.”

She glanced up as he paced back and forth, silhouetted against the darkening sky.

“They will come, bethuelien,” she said softly.

He stopped and looked at her, calmly fletching her arrows as she waited. “How can you be so sure?”

She smiled. “They will come because they must. They will represent their lands and their people.”

“They are late.”

At this she laughed out loud. “The meeting is at midnight. It is only now falling dark. If they seem a little sluggish in their timekeeping remember their lifespan. They must fit so much into so few years that they cannot waste time being early.”

He scuffed his shoe on the ground. “Yet we waste time waiting for them. And for what? So that they can shout, and clash steel on shield, and make empty threats?”

She slid her finished arrows into her quiver and stood up to face him. “Yes, little brother, they are combative, but their threats are not empty. Their lives are so short that their passion burns brightly, and they are more than willing to fight for their beliefs. You would do well to remember that, when you stand at the meeting with them.”

He was startled. “I? I thought that you-”

She shook her head. “I must ride out as soon as they arrive. There are threats at our borders that will not wait for the results of the meeting. Remember, bethuelien, you must temper their passion. You must help them persuade our father that it is time for the Adharrim to ride out once more. For the sake of the world, and our part in it.”

He closed his eyes and nodded. “For the sake of the world, and our part in it.”

She put her hand on his shoulder and nodded towards the horizon. “Lights,” she whispered. “They are perhaps not so late after all.”

© Kari Fay

(Author’s Note: A little vignette for this week’s Three Word Wednesday. The prompt words are Combative, Represent and Sluggish.)