Welcome Home (Talia, p. 39)

The door opens and a man in red robes motions her in.  “The orders are complete?”

“Yes,” she nods, handing over a large bundle of carefully folded clothing.

He takes the bundle, walking to the far end of the table carefully laying the contents out.  “Excellent, as always, your work impresses.”

“Was there anything else I could do for you?” She glances at a slight movement as a fair skinned woman in black enters the room behind her. She smiles to the familiar face, which smiles back.

“No. These are exactly what I asked for.”  The man in red looks up, his smile smooth, yet somewhat sinister.  “Though I think it is time your role here changed.” He makes a quick motion with one hand, barely speaking a word. Suddenly, tendrils of light and fire spring up from the floor. Before she can move, they ensnare both arms and legs. It does not burn, but she can feel the dangerous heat through her clothing. The man in red steps forward, “It is definitely time for a change.” He nods to the woman behind her, but she cannot turn to look. She hears the soft padding of a woman’s feet, and the sound of steel being drawn. She struggles against the tendrils, their heat pulsing in time to her heart. The man’s smile broadens  “Welcome home.” She feels a sharp crack as the hilt of a sword is brought down on her head, then darkness.

In a cold room of the inn, a slender figure sleeps alone. A cry and a whimper are the only sounds that can be heard. The rest of the night passes in silence.

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