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Do you mind if I continue on a little way?” Tristan asked casually. “I thought I heard voices up ahead, and there’s that cursed smell of smoke again.”

All the more reason you should come back with us,” Alex said firmly. “None of your men are out here at this time of day. I can’t pretend to hear what you’re talking about, or smell it either, but if there is someone out there I don’t want you here alone.”

Tristan drew the sword he always carried when he left the estate, again, in spite of Mayra’s protests. “Alex, men are coming this way. I have no idea how many, but it sounds like at least twenty. They’re still a mile or two off. As you say, they aren’t ours, but I do hear sounds like armor and swords clashing. I need you to take the Lady Mayra back to the house and bring some of our men as quickly as you can.”

I can’t leave you here!” Alex cried.

I can’t run,” Tristan said desperately. “I can try to hide, and I will, but I have to know that you’re taking Mayra to safety.”

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