She ran over the fields, laughing merrily as the soft grass tickled the undersides of her feet. Coming to an abrupt halt, she stared at the man walking over the gentle hills, eyes wide at the strange garments he wore. Curious, she followed him for a bit before finally approaching him cautiously.

“Hello,” she offered as a quiet greeting, receiving a hearty hello in return.

Her head tilted, eyes peering at him. “You wear odd clothing, Hunter.”

He patted his clothing with a frown and looked down upon himself. “Odd how? You mean last season’s colors?”

There was a rapid shake of her head, which sent long tendrils of raven locks dancing over slim shoulders. “No, you wear a symbol upon your chest. Is that a mark of the Goddess’ favor?”

Her gaze then fell on an object that jutted out from his lips. She crept closer to sniff at him, eying the thing he holds in his mouth.

The strange man looked down at his top and the red cross there. “Oh this…it’s a strawberry jam smear.”

She frowned. “Jam? How do strawberries become jammed? There are no pieces to interlock. And what is that thing in your mouth?” She leans into him to sniff again, nose wrinkling in dislike at the smell.

The Hunter sat down for a moment to rest his feet and follows her gaze to his pipe. Taking it out, he offers it over.

The young female cautiously took it, turning it over and over in her small hands.

A loud rumble of laughter shook the man as he realize her fruit preserve misunderstanding, then watched her inspect his pipe. “You put it in your mouth and breath in.”

She shook her head. “Put it in your mouth? But it is not food…” She places the end in her mouth like she saw him do, and breaths in, suddenly coughing violently as she turns a sickly green shade.

He roared with laughter again before soothing. “Slowly… and not such a deep breath.” With a grin, he added, “And don’t hold it in long.”

The wild girl shook her head hard and threw the object down to the ground. “Vile!!!” She started to stomp on it, then felt a small amount of heat against her skin, gasping. “Magician!!”

He watched in near horror as his hand crafted pipe is brought under an assault. Leaning forward, he grabbed for it and exclaimed, “Whoa there, Nelly! You’ll hurt your foot!”

She pouted, tiny tears filling her pretty blue eyes. “I already did!” She canted her head at him as she backed away a bit nervously, though still too curious to run from him. “You use magic to make that thing warm? Magic is forbidden here.”

The Hunter chuckled. “No magic or conjuring involved. Here….” He reached into his pouch, fishing around for two metallic looking sticks. “Watch. They’re flints.” He rubbed the sticks together, causing tiny bright orange sparks.

She nodded. She had seen other Hunters use such things in place of rubbing sticks together. Still, her chin lifted stubbornly; she had heard him utter the incantation of “Whoa there, Nelly” and knew him for what he was: a Magician. She turned to run from him, not wishing to be near when the Branded attacked and killed him.


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