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Before we could leave for Pumn Overhang I asked and was granted use of the tavern’s kitchen. I was holding the animosity towards Galienne, and yet she showed none towards me, she had even given me a new skirt to cover my dirty petticoats. I made an an antivenom potion for Raziel. If this did not work I would need Grandmother’s book. I had left it at home, it was too big, too heavy, cumbersome and thick. I said extra prayers to the Earth Mother that this potion might work. I just hoped that she’d overlook my transgression of harming Raziel’s family to save Raziel himself.

“Here, drink this,” I offered to Raziel the potion in a small cup. I admit it smelled awful and most likely would taste worst, but seeing the black lines under his skin was disconserting. The fact Ezekiel and Galienne did not seem to notice them bothered me even more. I was hoping this was just a simple spider venom, but I had a feeling I was looking at magic not venom.
Raziel took the potion from me and looked at it. He really hadn’t spoken to me all morning, Galienne had dressed and was readying to open the tavern for the day. Ezekiel was trying to procure us some mounts. I worried for him, I wasn’t sure how to break him out of prison if he should get captured by the town guard.

“Hopefully it’ll stop the venom, I don’t know what will happen if it reaches your heart,” I didn’t want to express my true fear that once the black lines reached his heart, it would kill him. I stared dumbfounded as he poured the cup back into the small bowl I had mixed it in. Did he have a death wish? He turned and walked out of the kitchen.

“Raziel?” I asked, unsure what to do. Do I argue with him? Force it down his throat? I doubted many won arguments with Raziel. Maybe Ezekiel would help. I emptied out one of Galienne’s bottles of herbs, poured the antivenom into and corked it.

 

Ezekiel returned with two horses and a burro. One of the horses looked like it was on its last legs, the other horse looked too green to be carrying a rider, and the burro, which I suddenly found adorable, seemed uninterested in everything. When it came time to leave there seemed to be a problem with the horses. Both seemed to shy away from Raziel as he approached but the burro was indiffernt. I had claimed the burro as my mount and Raziel being the better horseman, according to Ezekiel, was to ride the young gelding. Thde gelding trembled under Raziel who had swung onto its back before it could run away.

 

“Here,” Galienne said giving Ezekiel a sack of provisions. He thanked her and she moved to me. “This will help keep the road dust from your hair, and it has always brought me luck.” She offerd me a gorgeous head scarf of such a deep royal blue with silver embroidery of stars and crescent moons.

“I cannot, it is too pretty,” I tried to decline. I couldn’t imagine myself getting it dirty.

“When I was a child, a wise old woman came to Prachull. She gave me this scarf and said one day I would find someone to give it to, someone who needed it,” Galienne placed it in my hands. I didn’t know what to say.

“Thank you,” I whispered. She went to Raziel last, placed her hand on his thigh and he leaned down from the back of the skittish horse and kissed her like he was never going to see her again. No words were exchanged but I bristled at the affection. What was she to him that he treated her with such kindness? What spell had she cast on him? It wasn’t until we had left Prachull, and were on the stone bridge spanning the Sribus that I finally asked Ezekiel about it.

“I want to know about Galienne,” I stated to Ezekiel, Raziel was riding in front, he was keeping amazing control over the young gelding. “Is she Raziel’s betrothed?” Ezekiel suddenly guffawed so loud that Raziel stopped his horse and turned it to look at us.

“Keep going brother,” Ezekiel said and Raziel turned his horse back around.

“What is so funny?” I asked, I had not placed the scarf on my head, I found myself fingering the the stitching.

“Gretchen is the only one Raziel’s heart belongs to. Galienne is just… warm womanly comfort, a distraction.” I felt relieved at his words. I didn’t understand why I felt better knowing that even though I would never have Raziel, that Galienne wouldn’t have him either, but I still didn’t like the idea that she shared her bed with him. I looked at the scarf in my hands.

“Tell me about Galienne anyway.”

“The tavern used to be her dad’s before he got sick, she cared for him and ran the tavern at the same time. Her dad was a friend of our father, he would send Galienne’s dad money to help keep the tavern afloat,” Ezekiel explained and I felt bad for not liking Galienne. She’d been nice to me, and from Ezekiel’s words a good person. What had I done? I had cared for my own sick relative, and tried to help the villagers of Blomuset, but I had cursed Raziel, hurt his family, hurt him, if he found comfort with Galienne, then he should have it.

“You’ve gone all quiet,” Ezekiel stated and I looked over at him. His face showed a genuine interest and kindness.

“Is there a girl in some town that is your warm womanly comfort?” I asked.

“No, there isn’t. I’m not the womanizer that my brother is,” Ezekiel answered and I was surprised. “I’m waiting for the right one,” he suddenly blushed, “I think I’ve met her, but I’m not sure she sees me in the light I want her to.”

“Ezekiel, you romantic,” I said with a smile.

“Zeke, you can call me Zeke,” he stated softly.

“Alright, Zeke.”

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