Copyright © 2012 by Jennifer Bresnick

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The Earth-stepper’s Bargain

The soft green scent of the warm, loamy shore in the distance made Cal think of his childhood home, the one he had raided and burnt to the ground last year. There had been no survivors, but he hadn’t intended for there to be. Geilya was dead, and so the place was dead to him. He had had no other choice. But he was returning to the mainland out of duty only; the sea had long ago swept the last of his sentiment away. Roland Ironhand had called him, and his chief was not to be disobeyed, no matter how reluctant he had been to answer the summons.

You need to stop that, Cal,” Hewryn said, leaning on the rail beside him. “Thinking has never done you any good before, and it certainly won’t start now.”

I’m not thinking, I’m remembering.”

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