Although he seemed perfectly at ease on his dappled gray gelding, she could sense a tension in his shoulders beneath his armor and commander’s cloak. His high cheekbones and stubborn chin were a mirror of her own, but the similarities ended there. The braids beneath his helm were short and dark. Unlike his sister, who had inherited their father’s deep blue eyes, Golaron’s were a murky hazel, a match for the mother they had lost during childbirth. Although he was smiling, there was a tightness behind his expression.

Perhaps Father has been giving him a hard time. Again. No wonder he was so eager to go for a ride.

Not for the first time, Linwyn wished Golaron and their father could get along. She knew their father was to blame for the rift, but that didn’t make matters any easier for her when she ended up caught in the middle of one of their squabbles. She loved her father dearly, but Golaron was her twin. She and her brother shared a bond their father would never understand. Still, it made her wary of siding with Golaron against him. She worried her bond with Golaron might cloud her judgment, or that she would seem to be playing favorites.

A woman darted from the crowd to throw herself before Linwyn’s mount, scattering her thoughts. Linwyn jerked on the mare’s reins to avoid running the woman down. The mare reared for a moment, rolling her eyes in startled confusion before settling to stand on all four hooves with a snort.

“Lady Linwyn!” The woman grasped Linwyn’s stirrup and looked up at her with pleading eyes. “Please, you must help my son.”

Golaron maneuvered his gelding to stand on the other side of the woman, sandwiching her between them. His posture was wary. He shot his sister a questioning look.

Linwyn gave him a wave of reassurance, focusing on the woman. “What is wrong with your son?”

“He fell ill two days ago.” The woman was nearly sobbing. “A fever has taken him. He will not eat, he will not drink... He only lies on his pallet and moans. The herb woman tried to help, but there was nothing she could do for him. I cannot afford a healer... Please, will you come look at him?”

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