Heavy-shod hooves clip-clopped over the shoddy bridge as the party made their way single file across the River Hafran into the Village of Girion. Owain was the last to cross, his mount giving a nervous snort. Boards creaked and shifted under his horse’s weight, and fear of the structure collapsing almost made him forget the throbbing ache in his rear end and thighs.

“I want this business done quickly,” said Agata from the head of the column. She titled her head, put a hand to her brow, and glanced westward. “We must reach the hermitage before sunset.”

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Chapter 2: Girion

The company arrives at the Village of Girion. As expected, their welcome is not a warm one.