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Thervade

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Earth

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do not poke the void

He sat on the back step of his wagon, tapping a dagger against one knee. Dresgar could tell when he was weighing options, like when he’d hauled her out of his wagon and thrown her to the ground, pausing and drawing in one long breath as he’d studied her. That breath had seemed to last forever, and then he’d exhaled into the smallest of smiles, like he’d landed not just a doe, but a buck or maybe a greyback.

 

He wasn’t smiling now. His expression was fixed in the pause—in the inhalation.

"I'm offering you a deal, child.  I want you to steal something from the Meergriffern for me, and if that’s too difficult a task, I can haul you right back to your village and fa-uncle.”

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Nicki took another step into the room. Even with her flashlight on, the darkness seemed to encroach and swallow her vision, and unlike the thangka, there was nothing beautiful about the shadows of this place. 

 

The interior door of the room—the one leading into the hallway—was broken. The wood around its latch and lock plate had splintered, leaving it hanging half-open.

 

Nicki’s veins tightened.

 

No one is there.

 

She repeated the thought again and again. 

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