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|Creators: Ellen Million (Writer)|
|Dareg is eager to get to Smokewater when he's hailed by another rider.|
|Posted: 04/17/13 [1 Comment]
~ 1592 words.|
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Trails of steam smudged the air above Smokewater Valley, buffeted by the irregular wind, and Dareg inhaled deeply, waiting for the sulphur tang of the mineral hot springs to touch his nose. He was too far off, yet, and only smelled snow and mountains as they crested a ridge just another valley away from their destination. He whistled an impatient 'hurry' to his mount, and felt Briar's pace quicken slightly in response. The riders behind him voiced no complaint for the new speed he set. They were all anxious for the luxuries of Smokewater, and the light was gaining strength. The path they traveled had only a dusting of snow over it; they didn't need to pick along as carefully as if they were breaking new trail through these familiar hills.
Driving Dareg forward as much as the lure of their trail's end was the press of Itrelir at his back. It was crowded and tense and unpleasant. 'And there's not room for both of us there,' he thought sourly. Fala. She was a thorn in his side again, all fire and confidence, nothing but scorn in her eyes for him where heat of a different sort had been once. Only a few days back in the village and they were battling over every detail of trail assignments and browsing locations. Even when they weren't clashing directly, her very presence was a disturbance; he'd been pleased when she left Itrelir for Itadesh, and had worked hard to restore the reputation she'd left in tatters, but having her around reminded people, and it set his teeth to watch other rangers turn to her for advice where they'd been accustomed to directing their questions to him. He recognized the tension in his back and forced his jaw to unclench. Two precious tendays at Smokewater, away from the memories she dredged up - he couldn't imagine anything he needed more.