Thirty-seven – 08

[This post is from Marin’s point of view.]

There were more people clustered around the fire now than there had been when we’d left—when I’d left and Phelan had chased after me, as he always seemed to do when I really needed it. It had been the same all those centuries ago when I’d been Brighíd, too. He was always there when I needed him.

I could only hope that he always would be.

Rory was the first to meet my gaze as I rejoined the cluster by the fire and his was measuring, appraising. I stared back at him, half wondering what he saw in my gaze.

“They didn’t see anything riding back,” he said quietly as I stopped a few feet away from the fire, close enough to feel the heat of it against my thighs and bare knees.

I glanced toward Stasia, standing nearby with her arms crossed. My brow quirked slightly. “Where’s Paul?”

“Washed up and took over the watchtower,” she said quietly. “Seamus is still out there and we saw some of the Hunt starting to filter in.”

Next to me, Phelan shifted his weight almost uncomfortably. I drew a deep breath, inhaling the scent of woodsmoke and falling rain.

“Good,” I said softly. My gaze scythed across all of them, more than a dozen of us gathered around that one cookfire. Tala was crouched between the baskets holding her twins, though she wasn’t looking at them, but instead at me.

“What’s coming, Mar?” she asked softly. “Have you seen something?”

“No,” I said softly. “No, this time we’re relying on the Hunt and our people on watch. They’ll sound the alarm but we have to be ready. Gather your weapons and get ready for a fight. We can’t be sure one’s coming but I’ll be damned if we’re not ready for one.” I took a deep breath. “And get ready in case the wind kicks up and any trees come down. We should be okay where we are but if it gets really bad we could be in for some nasty surprises. Get going. Spread the word.”

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