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Invisible Lines

Discussion in 'Mixed-genre & Uncategorized' started by aryamajor, Aug 2, 2018.

  1. Silence

    Silence Anonymous Me Benefactor Staff Member on Hiatus Warden

    Arames sat near the fire with his metal and simply let Talia go about as she wished. He stopped his work only temporarily when she suggested that he should kill anyone that came through the door that was not her. Like she thought he'd really do that again. Keeping his back to the door he rolled his eyes slightly and pounded the gold again. He wanted to make it thin before rolling it.

    It must have taken Talia a while to find whatever it was she was looking for because he was nearly done rolling the metal when she returned and he'd started to play with twisting it into filigree. Arames didn't have his usual patience tonight and he wanted to get to the better part first and do a little design before finishing hammering out the gold. Suddenly in the middle of his work the girl flopped food on the floor next to him. Arames didn't care to eat right now, but he knew he wouldn't hear the end of it if he refused. Taking one of the little pies in his big brown hand he started to unceremoniously shove it into his mouth one handful at a time. A few crumbles fell out of the corner of his mouth and more from between his fingers.

    With his cheeks bulging he tried to chew and it was impossible to keep his mouth closed. Bits of the bread and meat showed from between his lips as he forced the food between his teeth and mashed it down. When his mouth had a little more space he pushed the few crumbles he gathered from the floor and shoved them in with the rest of the food. She didn't ask it to be pretty, so he just ate and got it over with. No sooner had he finished shoving the last of the food into his still stuffed face then he felt her jerk his shirt up.

    With a grunt he jumped slightly and cast her a disapproving frown. His shirt had been stuck to the wound and plastered in place with a small bit of blood that had seeped from the injury. It wasn't bleeding anymore, at least not until she tore the shirt away from the wound. Turning from her again he continued to work on the filigree. When she finished caring for the wound he could hear her grumbling under breath and the groaning of the bed while it was shoved from one part of the room into the other part. Maybe it was backwards, but it felt satisfying to hear her try and thank herself on his behalf. If he really thought what she did was necessary he would thank her. In the meantime she could stand around and gripe all she wanted. The food and neither was her pestering with his wound necessary. She was just trying to fuss about and try to make herself more useful than she really was.

    ********************************

    Arames hadn't gone to bed until the wee hours of the morning. That girl could order him around all she wanted, but he was going to do as he pleased. He'd been a man long enough to know what his limits were. He wasn't at his limit yet even if she thought she was testing him. Morning came a little earlier than the day before and he narrowed his eyes slightly at her. Talia had gone to bed early and she wanted to see if he'd drag behind her today. His side felt better and he was going to be proving her wrong.

    The morning mist felt cold, but he tried to keep his arms moving and legs at a good pace. It was fast enough the girl had to jog to lead the way. Cold like this felt so strange ad made him feel heavy. Talia didn't act like it was cold, but that was probably because she was used to the cold by now. Arames much preferred the desert and the constant heat. It made moving easier and he felt more like a natural Chip instead of a giant wooden creature with stiff limbs and brittle bones. Once he got the pace going and his blood pumping a little bit the Chip felt better.

    About time it looked like they were making progress he felt Talia pull at him and he frowned at her and resisted for a brief moment. The girl practically hung on him and then he relented and went down to his knees. Thhhppp! A dull thud sounded as an arrow planted itself not far from where they were at. Instantly Arames started to feel a little panicky. He closed his eyes and focused for a few precious seconds while trying to ignore the girl behind him yelling. For that moment he was trying to envision where the arrow came from, the wind direction and approximately how hard it would be to get to that location. Opening his eyes again took a deep breath and stood, but only so high as a crouch. Letting out a long breath he started to dart off through the tall grass toward the forest. Sometimes he would dip low enough that he would disappear and then other times he would rise up a tiny bit.

    He wanted to do this like an animal would stock its prey. If they could see him then he would drop out of site again and change his direction slightly until he reached the forest. Once he was in the forest Arames scanned the area. He was sure he spotted the offender that had shot at them and he made a charge for them. His plan was to tackle them and then he really didn't know what he was going to do. With just a hint of hesitation he took one step and then launched himself full force at the offending party.
     
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  2. aryamajor

    aryamajor Curious Adventurer Benefactor

    Arames didn't listen. What in the wilds would possess him to do the exact opposite of what she said, but closing the gap rather than getting out of range? He was an 8ft tall target who thought he was being smart by running towards whoever was shooting. Not only could that be a trap, a single bowman to lure someone stupid enough to run at the full force into a barrage of arrows from all sides, but he had the nerve to leap into the underbrush where she couldn't see. "You idiot!" she hissed in Reylian, "You can't even fight!" She was supposed to be delivering him to the mountains alive and she'd had enough interruptions. She was tired, hungry, and more or less done with Arames foolishness altogether.

    Gritting her teeth, she moved with surprising speed across the meadow, keeping low to avoid any other fire. She was very much aware of exactly how stupid following him was and yet here she was doing it anyway. When she made it to the treeline she could see dirt being thrown in the air along with grass, marking the area where their assailant and Arames scuffle was continuing. With a shake of her head, she drew her scythe and slipped into the cloud of debris ready to take down whoever was firing at them.
     
  3. Silence

    Silence Anonymous Me Benefactor Staff Member on Hiatus Warden

    When Arames leaped for the figure of the bowman he felt their bony little body collapse. They were surprisingly light for their size. Whoever it was happened to be lithe as well, he could feel them slithering beneath him and desperately trying to get loose. What in the world he was doing, he didn't know, but he belly crawled right after them and dropped his whole weight over them again. After a few long moments of struggling he felt them go slack underneath him and he got up off of them.

    Almost as soon as the Chip got up off the well mashed archer he turned to glance at Talia and shrugged with a smirk on his face. He maybe didn't know how to fight, but he knew how to use his weight. The archer behind him was slowly peeling themselves out of the ground and wiping dust from themselves. Without any further need for communication Arames was ready to get going again and he beckoned for Talia to show him the way. If she thought her way was always better than she was mistaken. Even archers knew when they'd been had. He may not have been any good at fighting, but Arames did pride himself on a little wrestling and tackling. That was something he did enjoy from time to time and it was great to mix it in with a bit of stealth.
     
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  4. aryamajor

    aryamajor Curious Adventurer Benefactor

    Talia watched the scene unfold with no small amount of irritation and her mouth gaping. He could have easily taken an arrow to the head, though she doubted there was an arrow around that could crack that hard nut he had for a skull, or somewhere else vital. Did he enjoy making himself a big, fat target? She had half a mind to poke him with the pointy end of her own weapon by the time he popped back up, dusting himself off with a pleased look on his tan face.

    She walked over, sword still gripped in her hand and shook her head. "You don't listen and now you've gone and opened your wound again." Nodding to his side, she noted the fresh blood dotting his dirty, stained shirt. "Keep doing that and it will end up infected for sure. C'mon. There's no where clean to fix it until we hit the village anyways." With that, she motioned him toward the north side of the treeline shaking her head all the while.

    * * * * * * * * * * * *

    The terrain became rockier, inclining toward the base of the great mountains with evergreens growing thick and tall. Their fresh scent smelled like home and Talia took in deep lungfuls of the crisp air. Home smelled so much cleaner than the city or that hellish desert where even the meat stank in the heat. They followed along a broad mountain stream, climbing along the ridges where they had to and taking deer trails in other places until Talia paused. "Stop," she told him in common tongue, throwing out her hand to Arames, "Don't move."

    The soft cooing of a bird hidden in the hills paused as they did and Talia brought her hands to her mouth, letting out a long owl's call before her bright eyes scanned the treeline carefully. As if made of shadow, figures began to slip out of the trees. They wore black and grey stripes, lending near invisibility among the trees in daylight or moonlight. Some carried bows, while others had only their war scythes.

    "Talia Greiymare," she said simply. "This is my charge." Not bothering to look back, she motioned to Arames with a olive toned hand. "Take me to the Chief."

    They were silent, but she could see the silent exchange of looks. It was all the better a reception she could have hoped for. Upon further inspection she recognized a few of them, noting her cousin among the group as well as what had one been her best friend. In silence, they beckoned the two travelers forward and Talia stepped into the path, glancing back to the big man on her coat tail. "They wont hurt us. Let's go."

    Talia followed the interrupted hunting group further into the trees until the area began to thin out, having obviously been inhabited. If someone were to simply walk without taking in the entire view of the forest around them, or kept their feet down, the village would be easy to miss, particularly in the dark. However, she could hear the ongoings of village life despite the absence of dwellings. "Look up."

    Above them was an intricate neighborhood network built among the trees and hidden nearly 50ft or more in the air. Wide verandas swept in spirals down the massive tree trunks and homes with thatched roofs, common rooms, and fire pits sat among them. Children played on the rope bridges between broad islands of dwellings, all solidly framed. A call came out from above and a rope was dropped with a simple loop at the bottom. They werent meant to put their feet into the loop and a pulley system would haul them upward into the rafters using a counter weight. There was an immediate problem with that when it came to Arames and she sighed. "Nai. Send the ladder!"

    A call went out but no ladder came. After a few minutes of debate, a host of warriors in full dress came down from the trees. They landed with soft, almost silent thuds before releasing their ropes with well practiced hands. She recognized them immediately and dread crept into her stomach like an ivy vine threatening to climb her throat and choke her. To the right was her mother in her robes and to the left was the First Warrior Symek. The tall man in the middle with high cheek bones and eyes bright as her own stepped up to her with a war scythe in his hands. A cap of gold and red cyrn feathers were braided into his long, curly hair as he took her in with an unreadable expression. Talia stood her ground as they gazed at each other, then made a fist, clapping it over her chest and offering the knuckles as a greeting. "Brother?" she said carefully.

    The Chief, her brother, stared her down before curling his fingers into a fist and smacking his chest in return. Then with the same fist he reared back and punched her in the jaw. Talia's world was met with an explosion of stunning pain and she pitched to the side into the leaves with a vain effort to catch herself. Her face stung as blood began to pool in the corner of her lip. He hadn't hit her hard enough to knock her teeth out at least. "Why did you come back?" he asked flatly.

    "Because..." the word sputtered out of her mouth, "I found a male cryn, Orey. I can make our people whole again. I can save the birds." She wiped at her mouth and climbed with shaking shoulders to her feet in order to look her brother in the eye again. "If you want that, you wont hurt him or me."

    Orey's golden eyes flicked to Arames, studying the big brute of a man before snapping his fingers. Ropes dropped down from the platform high above them along with a singular rope ladder made of strong vines. "You are welcome here so long as you obey the rules. No harm to the people, no harm to the birds, no theft."

    Then the chief turned back to his sister. "If you enter, you know what will be expected," he said to her, "And if you are lying you know what will happen."

    "Yes brother," she said, spitting out a wad of blood from her mouth.

    With that, the Chief and his first warriors slipped their feet into the waiting ropes before zipping upward into the trees. Talia looked to Arames and sighed, the side of her face already bruising. "Let's go." Offering over the heavy duty vine ladder, she waited for him to take it.
     
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  5. Silence

    Silence Anonymous Me Benefactor Staff Member on Hiatus Warden

    Talia had to ruin the moment and Arames just narrowed his eyes slightly. She could say what she wanted, but he was going to enjoy the fact that he'd done exactly what she was too scared to do. Someone had to take care of the archer and if she wasn't going to do anything about it he would and did. Besides, he was fairly certain by now that she was built very delicate like the one he had accidentally killed the other day. Just thinking of it made him feel sick and he quickly lost the smug expression.

    Since they had a ways to go Arames held a hand over his side. It was sore to say the least and the trek seemed to be ridiculously long. Part way up the mountain he had to stop to catch his breath. Arames was in good shape, but he was not used to being in the higher elevation. To make it worse the air was cool and he didn't have nearly enough to keep himself warm. By the time he they reached a good place to stop for a few minutes so he could rest he had both his arms wrapped tightly around himself and he almost jogged in place just to keep generating some kind of body heat.

    Above him the bird kept circling, but he could tell by the way it flew higher and higher that it was getting nervous. The bird knew this land and it remembered the dangers of it. Again the momentary guilt rose up. What if he was taking the bird's trust and using it in a way that would cause harm to it. This creature trusted him to care for it and know what was good. It was still young and it was learning. Still, he knew that the bird needed to find a mate and at some point the birds here would die out if this was truly the last male of the birds. Arames grimaced a bit at the thought and tried to tell himself that it would all turn out for the better. When they finally started moving again he winced. His side was getting to be quite tender between all the heavy breathing, and the strenuous climb.

    At last they stopped though he didn't see anything right away and then the little forms of people started to appear. Talia was perfectly fine with it from what he could tell so he waited to see what else would happen. Only a few moments later a group of people came down the ladder that Talia had asked fr. One of them from the sounds of it was her brother and Arames watched with a blank expression. Even when her brother hit her he glanced at Talia and then back to her brother.

    These people had no sense of sophistication. He just listened to the most pathetic rules and he gathered a little spit wad in his mouth. Making a loud hacking sound he made sure that everyone within hearing distance would be able to know exactly what he was about to do and then Arames spit on the ground near the feet of her retreating brother. The oaf deserved it. Somehow he had acted as though such rudimentary rules were all Arames was capable of understanding and the Chip didn't take to being treated like an idiot.

    The next plan was to try and find a good place among the rocks in the mountain to set up a little camp. Rocks could be cold and cause the area around them to be cooler, but if he could get a fire going and heat up the rocks too and then create a shelter around it he could be plenty warm and he liked that thought. Glancing to Talia he examined her face for a moment. Once he had a shelter he might consider making a little salve for his wound and bit to help soothe the ache that would likely be starting in her jaw. Without a word he turned on his heel and started for the first and best looking place among the rocks on the side of the mountain to begin building a little place to stay.
     
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  6. aryamajor

    aryamajor Curious Adventurer Benefactor

    Talia heard her brother growl at her as he ascended into the tree tops. "You'd do well to watch that ward of yours. His safety depends on you from without and within." She nodded in understanding as he disappeared into the treetop city, but inwardly she winced. Arames made dumb decisions when it came to combat and her brother had essentially made him her responsibility. If Arames didn't behave whether against a stranger or one of her own, it would be her that had to answer a challenge. It was tradition, and meant to keep those who didn't know the rules from succumbing to them by accident. There would be someone else she would have to face when she walked into her cabin too, and she wasn't exactly looking forward to that thrilling conversation either. She'd have to make sure to angle herself so the hit would be administered on the opposite cheek of the one her brother bruised.

    Her jaw was already starting to throb from her brother's punch, but she ignored the thumping in her cheek entirely. No sooner had she arranged for a ladder to be dropped down was he marching away as if he had somewhere else to be besides exactly where he was. Did he not understand he was supposed to go up? Of course he did. He was always smarter than what he let on and this time no different. He was being a stubborn mule and doing what he wanted, which seemed to include leaving. Gritting her teeth, she mustered what patience she had left with the man and called up to the sentry at the top, "I'll be right back."

    Scowling, she dashed after the big man and caught up to him easily to walk along side him. Her strides were as large as she could make them to match his in order to keep up. "Wait, Arames where are you going? There is a bed and food waiting that way. We have to get your side looked at too or it will get infected. I'm supposed to look out for you here." He didn't seem to slow down at all and she reached out, grabbing his arm to slow him down. "Are you really going to bail on me after coming all the way here?"
     
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  7. Silence

    Silence Anonymous Me Benefactor Staff Member on Hiatus Warden

    The girl wanted to know where he was going and Arames kept right on walking. He had no intention of allowing any of these strangers know that he could speak. Then there was the added bonus that whoever her people were, they weren't too happy to see her. If they weren't happy to see her then he could only imagine that they were not happy to see him and the bird was the only reason they were doing well. This all came to one great conclusion. He was not going to be sleeping up in a tree with any of them.

    Even if he didn't say anything the girl seemed insistent and she acted as if she knew what he wanted. Food did sound good, but he wasn't sure it would be good enough to tempt him to sleep near any of her people. They were just as bad as the men that attacked him in the street because he refused to sell them swords. Perhaps he had come here for the birds, but he was starting to wonder what would happen if he did try to leave. Would they kill him just so the bird wouldn't want to go? So the bird would have no reason to fly out over the desert again? More than likely this was going to turn out bleak and he was going to be trapped in this miserable little mountain kingdom with mush headed people that had horrible tempers.

    Arames turned slightly when she grabbed his arm and he narrowed his eyes. "You think these blood thirsty, mush headed animals would let me?" Grumbling a little he turned to go back with her toward the ladder he was supposed to climb. If she was going to be part of the reason he was allowed to live instead of them enslaving the bird then he was going to make sure they didn't hit her this time.

    Pushing Talia to the side Arames climbed up the ladder first and he watched as she slowly made her way up. It didn't take a genius, or even a trained man to see which one of these mush heads were planning on hitting her. As soon as he saw the fist go flying Arames stepped in the way and let them knuckles crack against his ribs. It probably hurt their knuckles more than it hurt him. At most he'd get a little bruise, but it wouldn't be enough to make him swell and smart like her. Meeting the foreigners gaze he sneered. "Touch the bird, or her and I'll break your hand next time." Breaking a hand was something easy to accomplish and he was sure he could do that without needing any great training. Arames wasn't about to make an idle threat and he was sure that whoever this stranger was knew it.
     
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  8. aryamajor

    aryamajor Curious Adventurer Benefactor

    Despite what anyone else thought, Arames could speak and he could do it with intelligence. She had discovered that quickly and his rebuttal didn't surprise her other than the fact that he had answered to begin with. Of course, he thought they were all animals. He was as backwards as she had ever seen, treating animals better than people and seeing people as animals. Sometimes they were and sometimes they werent. She'd seen both sorts and while she agreed in part, it didn't make her see him as any less nutty. He pushed her to the side and began to scale the ladder ahead of her with heavy thumps of his feet. His movements caused the entire rope ladder to pitch and wobble as she climbed up behind him.

    When they neared the top, she climbed onto the platform with a practiced hand before taking a look around. A cursory glance told her there were several men around them, all of which looked familiar and one of which she knew entirely too well. He was the first to move in. A meaty fist came swinging at her and she prepared to block the blow, but somehow she didn't have to. A yowling cry erupted from the man as he withdrew his hand, shaking it vigorously to dispel what sounded like a fair amount of pain. His fist had connected with Arames solid torso and it was obvious which man had one that little contest. Why was he suddenly taking up for her? Who knew. The best she could figure is that he logically came to the conclusion her health meant his too. Which was entirely true.

    As the threat growled from the big man's mouth, the first attacker shored himself up and reached out to her from in front of Arames. A deadly finger was pointed at her by the thick fisted man. "You disappear and come back with another male?" he hissed. At Arames words, his focus shifted to Arames. "I'll do what I want with my wife," he spat back, "She has been unfaithful and disobedient to me. Now, move stranger."

    Talia's eyes connect with her husband's and she could tell time had done little to soften his temper in the slightest. He was a short man, leaving her taller by an inch though he was older and his head was shaved on either side while his dreadlocks piled down his back with leather ties of red. His brown eyes remained forceful and cool as ever while he assessed her. Nothing about him had changed at all. "Go to hell, Teylous. I came back for the birds sake and my people. This is my ward. Touch him again and I'll challenge you." That comment sent a nerve spiking through Teylous in the form of a popping vein on his temple and he didn't waste his time trying to shove past Arames to get to her with a roar of anger.
     
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  9. Silence

    Silence Anonymous Me Benefactor Staff Member on Hiatus Warden

    The command to move didn't do Arames' temper any good. He could see the man was struggling with an ugly temper himself and there was only way to cool it down. They both had to get it out of their system. Naturally the girl seemed to think that talking to the oaf was a good idea and it made things worse. Arames planted himself directly in the man's way and he only took a slight step back when the man collided with him. Grasping for one of the man's hands Arames decided to make good on his promise. He was going to break one hand because this 'husband' of hers was an idiot.

    Talia was ready to meet Teylous head on. Getting beaten on by him once was his shame, letting him do it again with out a fight or defense was a shame on her. Baring her fists, she gritted her teeth and side stepped, intending to let him barrelling past her before taking him down with a well placed hit. Instead, he was met with the solid wall that was Arames. The man hardly budged, though Teylous was strong as an ox, and promptly grabbed up one of her husbands thick wrists. A resounding snap echoed through the tree tops followed by another pained bellow and the elite warrior tried to retreat with his newly broken wrist. Talia blinked once and it didnt take much to see that some of his friends would move in and Talia changed her tactic, freeing the sword from its sheath with an easy swing to point it at the encroaching men. "Uhuh. Attack my ward and I protect him. Go before someone else gets a broken wrist." They all regarded each other with cautious looks and she knew no one would challenge her right now. She was still the chieftain's sister and formidable even without Arames.

    With the man focused on his hand Arames figured everyone else would leave him be. Typically with a pack of animals all you had to do was disable one and others would begin to shy away. Sometimes hurting one, or two more would be enough, but most of the time the first one was good. Instead they acted like rabid beasts that wanted their maddening fill of whatever it was they craved. Arames hated people when they were like this. It was only fair that he gave warning and the man that claimed to be Talia's husband was stupid.

    Most of the commotion was settled down a bit after Talia drew her sword. Here it was, all his concerns confirmed. These people were hardly worth the time they took to look at. All of them were violent and they were eager to kill. Looked like the girl was about the same as they were and she used the sword so flippantly. Clenching his jaw he looked from her to the men that faced them and then decided to pick a spot to sit down. He was going to get some of that food and then pile in with some blankets and get a good night's rest. Wasn't any point in waiting around for more trouble.

    Pushing past a few of those left gawking he made his way over to the pot of food and took one of the plates near it. Digging into the pot hot food he piled some on the plate and began eating without a care for who was watching, or who might care that he could have eaten out of turn.
     
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  10. aryamajor

    aryamajor Curious Adventurer Benefactor

    With the others stayed, things seemed to be calming down again in short order besides the sound of Teylous taking in unsteady breaths as he clutched his broken wrist. It served him right. She had expected such a welcome from him, given when she left he tried to stop her by force. Talia shot the man, technically her husband, a harsh look and waved her hand sending him on to wherever it was he would sulk or drink away his troubles. Then she turned to Arames who had started to talk off with a scowl and plopped down on a nearby platform to help himself to someone elses dinner they had left on the family table outside. And he thought her people were uncouth. The man had practically plopped down to a families well earned dinner to consume it himself without asking.

    Talia grumbled to herself as she hid the sword again and walked away, rubbing at her jaw. He could eat for now so long as he didn't leave. The way to her cabin was familiar enough even after nearly a half a year gone and she found it exactly as she left it. There were only a few things she was able to keep hidden from Teylous inside and it didn't look as if he'd bothered to go hunting for anything. She hadn't bothered to move in with the man even after they'd wed and he'd only managed to take her once or twice. Not moving in was considered acceptable because of her social status. Her hammock remained hung on the far wall, a small wooden table carried an oil lamp and the box beneath that held her clothing which was admittedly richer than most. She had certain ceremonies to attend as Chieftan's daughter and now sister. There were a few of her weapons, mostly knives, and her hunting bow in the corner. Tossing off her travel worn shirt, she plucked a fresh, loose fitting tunic from her box and a matching pair of flowing pants which she tucked into her boots. Changing into fresh clothes felt so much better and she resolved to find Arames some too.

    Her next stop was her grandmothers. The woman wasn't home, but the cabin was open to visitors. Talia stepped inside and took an oversized shirt from her grandmother's pile then payed a visit to the medicine man. "Honey and herb. Bandage," she said simply. It was best to stay simple right now. She could hear people whispering about her as she walked to where she left Arames.

    By the time she arrived, there were two wide eyes children with dark, frizzy hair staring at Arames with their mouths open. "He's so big," one of the gasped, "I think he's a giant!" The other one just groaned back and pouted. "He ate most of the stew." Talia smirked a little at the children and ruffled the hair of the closet one. "Go tell your mother your a guest in the chief-mother's cabin for dinner tonight. Go on." There was a great flurry of excitement before the two dashed off. Sidling up to Arames, she plopped down next to him with her item in hand. "You did eat their dinner," she told him, "If you're done, I brought some stuff to make salve for your side and a fresh shirt for you. I think it will fit."
     
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