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“They say the bond is painless.”

Sharenni laughed bitterly. “They also said that the medicine they gave you for the Bialli Runs wasn’t bitter, and that the bloodletting in the Induction was only a little prick.”

Cenna looked down at her feet. Sharenni sighed and crossed the room to give her a hug.

“I’m sorry, mi’hennith. I shouldn’t take it out on you.”

“You’ve every right to grumble,” Cenna said quietly, looking nervously over her shoulder. “I mean, if you weren’t going to be bonded you’d be-”

“Far more trouble than this city deserves,” Sharenni said. “Now come here and help me pack.”

Cenna looked confused. “Pack? But… the bonded don’t take anything with them. They’re not allowed anything to remind them of their former lives.”

“I know,” Sharenni said, carefully folding a warm jerkin. It was too hot to wear it now, but it was perfect for travelling in winter. “I’m leaving. Running away. Better to be an exile than- than not-me, whatever I would turn out to be.”

She checked the edge of a small dagger, returned it to its sheath and tucked it under her shirt.

“You won’t tell, will you?”

© Kari Fay

(Author’s Note: This week the Three Word Wednesday prompts are Bond, Grumble and Painless.)

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