"-- as much as I love the stench of rotting flesh, and the lies that come from your tongue."

"Oh darling," the woman said, "that's no way to speak to your wife."

"Ex-wife, Danrelle," the man said. "As in 'X' marks the spot they will find your body if you continue to bother me."

"Don't be so melodramatic Renato," Danrelle sighed as she slipped past him and entered the candle lit confines of the cottage. Three candles dripped wax onto the table in the middle of the room and cast flickering shadows over several open books. "You're up late tonight darling, having trouble sleeping again?"

Renato strode to the table in stony silence and closed the books before she could spy their contents. She gazed at the muscles traversing the ridges of his shoulders, the bulging outlines of his upper arms - strength gained long ago in fierce battle but not lost yet. Not yet. He turned to face her again, backlit by the flames.

Like a statue of a Greek god, Danrelle thought, not for the first time.

"What do you want from me this time woman? What great purpose has driven you to disturb my peace?"

"The people need you Renato, now more than during the last crisis. You must return, you must save them from -"

The End

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