[This post is from Matt’s point of view.]
Matt didn’t look back at the sound of boots hitting the ground as most of the riders dismounted. Carolyn fell in alongside him as he walked while Phelan lingered behind, studying the riders with an expression that Matt knew all too well. There was something both appraising and curious about that look Phelan could wear, something that was oddly reassuring at the same time. He’d seen it many times over the years and even now, it made him smile—an expression he kept carefully hidden from the riders behind him.
Until he could get their full measure, they still represented an unknown that could be dangerous.
And yet, I’ve invited them inside the walls.
Sometimes—only sometimes—he still listened to his gut.
Ahead of him, he could see Hecate and the kids standing in the gate’s gap, watching them. He could sense her concern even at this distance. His daughter and nephew, though—they were a mystery beyond reading the expression on their faces. Kailey was concerned—he could tell that at this distance—but Lin seemed oddly stoic and eager all at once.
Not sure what he sensed or saw, but whatever it is, at least he thinks it must be important.
Behind him, Phelan was asking a question.
“So what set you traveling in the first place?”
“More of a quest or a geas, really,” the lead rider said. “We rode out looking for something—and for someone. A few someones.”
“Have you found any of them yet?” Phelan pressed.
“I don’t know,” the lead rider answered. “It’s been a long ride already. We came from the east, from the mountains.”
“That’s a long ride,” Phelan said.
“It is,” the lead rider agreed. “But that’s what we had to do. Said if we looked hard enough, we’d find what we needed to find.”
There was the sound of rustling gear, then a loud thump. Matt spun, heart starting to hammer. One of the riders—a woman—cursed.
“Bryant you can tell them everything you damn well want to about finding the Taliesins,” the woman said, swinging down from her mount and quickly crossing around it and the one next to hers to crouch next to the crumpled figure who’d fallen from his saddle. “But David needs a healer now and it can’t wait another second.”