“Stay close,” he warned. “The Elderwood is a treacherous old bitch.”
“The Elderwood is my second home,” she returned, but tightened her hold on Emer’s reins all the same. “If you can’t handle it, you should have stayed in yours.” A cold breeze raised goose bumps along her bare arms. Too quiet. The forest ought to have been buzzing with night creatures.
“Oh, that’s right. I forgot I was travelling with a foreskin-collecting savage.” Haig’s voice was tense, lacking his irreverent lilt of humor. Did he sense the same thing she did?
“There’s a glen not far from here. We can camp there for the rest of the night.” Water behaved in strange ways in the Elderwood, appearing and disappearing in the blink of an eye, leading travelers astray. Places where it remained static created watering holes that were considered sacred by humans as well as animals of all species. No blood could be spilled in them.
“How rustic,” he said. “I suppose it’s too much to ask for a traveler’s inn?”
“This close to the border, you wouldn’t find anything but thieves’ dens and brothels.”
“Excellent! Which way?”
Aislin bit back an annoyed growl. “Haven’t you had enough of that for one day?”
“My dear Ash, one can never have enough of that.”
An owl hooted not far ahead.
Aislin pulled her hunting knife out of her boot sheath. “We’re being watched.”
“The Elderwood’s eyes see all,” Haig quoted. “If you hear whispers, let me know immediately.”
“They might be forest nymphs looking for a lover.”
She rolled her eyes. “Forest nymphs are a myth.”
“You don’t know that!”
“And even if they weren’t, the legend you’re referring to says they kill their lovers upon sunrise.”
A pause. “I honestly can’t think of a better way to die.”
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