You notch an arrow in an ancient bow.

Once upon a time you could have approached undetected, waited and assessed, a shadow between the leaves, but you haven't been that you in a very long time.

"You there — Show yourself." barks the man encased in armour dull as lead.

Sword in hand, sure enough, though he is resting the murderous length of it against his shoulder. The girl is making it difficult for him, effectively dancing with him, very effectively keeping the thin young trees of the thicket between her and his clear intention.

Of course it is her. You had come to this forest because of a dream. And she at the heart of it. And of course some serious seeming knight has caught up with her before you.

To those who couldn’t know, here but a village girl in plain frock, and fair of face, as the bards might sing. Her eyes gleaming, just as a real and living girl's should. And, knowing that you know, she glances, again, again, as you decide not to rile the dangerous knight – who also evidently knows – and step from the shadows, where he can see you. And see your bow lowered. So you can get closer.

"Come you hunting this abomination, too?" barks the knight.

You hesitate. The lie will not send him away. The truth – the man couldn’t possibly understand. The wonders he would call magic, or abomination, and you call the world.

Because you hesitate, he rounds on you. And you have lost the chance this night might end agreeably.

"You come for Her. Dare deny it."

The End

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