Twelve – 03

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

Above, in the watchtower, Gideon whistled. The rider whistled back. In the space of a few heartbeats, he was near enough to see, and Matt took a slow breath.

“I know him,” he murmured. The words earned a sharp look from Phelan.

“You do?”

He nodded.

“You don’t know very many of them anymore.”

“More than you think, but most of them not well,” Matt admitted, jaw tightening for a second. He glanced back toward Hecate, still standing in the shadows of the watchtower, then forward again. “A lot of the ones I knew are gone now.”

Being a rider of the Hunt in some ways had been safer than being a part of any other army back in those days—save perhaps one or two that Cíar never would have thought to dream of then but Matt could imagine now—but it had never truly been safe. The attrition rate was high enough to guarantee that many of those who’d ridden with Cíar mac Dúbhshláin were long since passed—especially in an organization where attrition was basically synonymous with death. Matt tried not to think about it too much, since the ache was soul-deep for some of the men now likely long dead and the memories and pain belonged to a man now long dead himself.

At least that was what he told himself sometimes when the nightmares stirred.

Phelan put his hand on Matt’s shoulder and squeezed. Matt exhaled, shivering slightly as he squeezed his eyes shut, head drooping until his chin touched his collarbone.

“Sorry,” he murmured.

“There’s nothing to be sorry for,” Phelan said, squeezing again. “Don’t worry about it.”

Matt just nodded and opened his eyes again, gaze snagging on the rider.

“It’s Daegon,” he said quietly. “And if anyone truly knows what he’s seen is real, it will be him.”

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