Far Horizons: Tales of Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror. Issue #13 April 2015 - Page 146

ing from the mouth. Hawn raised his hand as Elvienne stood in the doorway, small but defiant, arms folded across her chest. She shook her head. “You strike me, Hawn of Whitewood, and I’ll see to it you never use that hand again.” to her limbs. Her hands were at his throat before Elvienne could react. “Not the candles! I won’t let you!” The cooper may have been reluctant to raise his hand to Elvienne, but Onelle held no such threat. Eyes bulging, he caught her wrists in his hands and twisted until her flesh burned, and she was forced to let go. Something in her eyes must have made him hesitate. He pushed her with both hands, sending her stumbling His fist dropped back down to his belt. He was a bear against Elvienne, and he was inside the cottage before of a man, thick-chested and well muscled. “Is my wife either woman could stop him. His eyes fell on Roshere?” he demanded, trying to look past the healer into leen, huddled on the bed, and his scowl deepened. the room beyond. Onelle felt Rosleen shrink against her, and she drew the blanket over her by instinct, as if “Harlot!” he snarled. “Come with me and face your a thin shred of cloth could protect them both. punishment like a true woman of the Estmarch. Or will you hide here in the dark, like a witch in a hole?” “If she is, what of it?” Elvienne shifted to block his gaze. Rosleen straightened. “I’ve done nothing wrong,” she said, in a low, defiant voice. “I’ll tell you what of it. He – ” jabbing a thick finger at Cyrian, “has been seen with her three times this moon, “That’s for the candles to decide, isn’t it?” He and last night she vanishes. I went to her mother’s to grabbed her arm and jerked her to her feet, fending see if she was there, and who should I run into but off Onelle with his free hand as she made a grab him. him? A good beating soon drove the tale out of him -” “Out of my way, widow. If she’s as innocent as you say, she’s got nothing to fear, has she?” He pushed “If I may speak?” The voice from the crowd was com- Rosleen before him out of the doorway, smiling as he manding, and Hawn fell back, obviously fuming. The watched the elder bind her hands behind her, before he man who spoke carried the staff of the village elder; a turned back to Onelle. position which commanded respect despite his short stature and lined face. He cleared his throat. “Tomorrow morning,” he said bluntly. “You know the place.” “Mistress Elvienne, we have come to arrest Hawn’s wife. I trust she is within?” Rosleen looked back over her shoulder at her mother. “I’ll be fine, ma. Don’t do anything silly, now!” “Arrest her?” Onelle’s hand tightened on her daughter’s trembling fingers. Elvienne sounded more anElvienne caught Onelle’s arm as she stepped forward. noyed than shocked. “Why under Adeamus do you Onelle tried to shake her off, but the old woman was want to arrest her?” as implacable as stone, and she could only watch with tears stinging her eyes as the party rounded the corner “For adultery, of course! What did you -?” into the lane and disappeared from sight. As Elvienne let go her knees buckled, and she was forced to clutch “She must take the test,” Hawn interrupted his elat the doorframe for support. The healer helped her der with grim relish. “She must be tried at the White inside and sat her down on the bed. “Now,” she said, Tree.” “I’m going to brew up a calming infusion for you, and you’re going to tell me about this candle ceremony.” “No!” The cry rose up from deep in Onelle’s gut, like a wave of sickness. She threw the blankets asked and With the mug of steaming green liquid between her scrambled from the bed, fury and fear lending strength hands, scents of lemonthyme and sharpmint in her PAGE 145