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2% The Tiger Within / Chapter 14: Thirteen Men on Horseback Part 2

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Chapter 14: Thirteen Men on Horseback Part 2

Indeed the rosey smell of rosewood filled her nose, as well as Kiln grass, mandrake root and silver pine sap. The smells mingled and danced on a thin strand of steam rising from a kettle in the corner. Kyera chuckled, realizing that the brew was the antidote she had intended to make herself. This would cut so much time and give him a better chance to live, even if she took her time to leave.

"You are a lifesaver Wise One." Kyera replied smiling and giving her a soft chuckle. The amount of tension in her body quickly lessened knowing now the chances nearly tripled for her success. Aggie pulled a box from under the cabinet, with a silver latch. She flipped the latch and opened the box to show 4 rows of vials, each stoppered with cork.

"I prepared a set to go. This should last you a while. One vial should be fine as long as they drink it all. If they don't get better in about 6 hours then you can give them a second. Do not give more than two doses. It will have some very bad results." Aggie offered and Kyera hugged her. There was warmth and gratitude in her heart for this old woman's kindness. "Have the trap springer crew carry a vial each if you can." She advised pressing the box into Kyera's hand. There was a certain earnesty in her eyes, a look struck a chord deep in the younger woman's chest.

"Bless you, My Friend, May the shadows guard you well." Kyera murmured into her ear before putting the box carefully into her bag. "how much do I owe you?" kyera asked pulling out her coin purse. She bagan counting out the coins discreetly, waiting for a number. The old woman thought for a moment.

"10 gold will be enough. I will have another batch ready soon. Please keep it on hand." Aggie asked hopefully. This was important, not just business but for the good of the Shifting Folk. Kyera nodded and handed her the coins from the bag. Aggie nodded as Kyera turned to walk away, her dress swirling around her legs from the motion. Casting a look over her shoulder Kyera caught Aggie's eyes.

"I will, Aggie. Also, tell Fayna I will see her soon. I missed her at the circle." Kyera offerered her a smile but was met with sadness and tears gathering in the elder's eyes. A deep unease raised in Kyera's stomach as she turned back to face the woman. "Aggie?" gentle concern laced with fear in her voice. Something wasn't right, Kyera prayed her instincts were wrong.

The old one took a deep breath and steeled herself against the words she must speak. "Kyera, Fayna will never again Grace the circle with her talents. My granddaughter was taken by the Trappers as a slave to huntsmen." Aggie forced the words to sound as though she was once again offering her wares but Kyera's heart was broken. Her soul howled with anguish as the loss of her dear friend. Instead of crying she controlled the raging torrent within.

"I am sorry Wise One. If there is anything I can do…" Kyera offered but let the offer stand. There was no reason to finish the sentence as the understanding passed between them. "how did it…" she asked after a few long moments.

"The Hunters have a shifting beast who is helping them set their traps. She never saw it coming. It's a rope net that hides camouflaged on the earth. The only hint of its existence is a rope, so thin its nearly see through except the way it glints in the light. Hidden in the shadows…" Aggie shrugged and Kyera looked worried. "There was no breaking the net. We had to leave her there or we all would have been captured."

Kyera saw the pain in the old woman's eyes and the shame in her words. As a leader, Aggie had to leave. Even with her own grandaughter's life at stake the tribe came first. It always had, Just as Kyera shouldered the burden of the Tiger, Aggie shouldered the burden of the Leopard.

The scenario was almost too hard to believe, With Fayna being so agile, so well prepared and alert… it would be nearly impossible to catch her by traditional means. Even with a trap as such. Dark shadows found their way into her once bright eyes.


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