Elveric thinks he has found a loophole in the deal. He doesn’t come against them directly, but he kills their livestock, figuring to starve them out. Itza has her own doubts about letting him live, but she is a woman of her word. Unless Elveric violates their agreement directly, she hopes to honor it.
The men were already gathering up the dead animals, lining them up for dressing as the women set up cook pots, brine barrels and smoke racks. It wasn’t going to be a happy day, but it would be a busy one. Even the children would work.
They were just setting up the smoke houses, stoking them with hardwood for a slow, long burn, when they heard it; the rumble of hooves. What was making the racket? They could not imagine what it might be. Terrified mothers grabbed their children, running for the village hall in the…
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