Three Irons

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6. Mourning. Sunset.

“This way!” The Constable sped up his pace.

The splatters of gore left distinct stains on the monotone landscape.

“My legs,” Kannen’s swords clanged on her back, “aren’t as long as yours.”

Her complaint fell on deaf ears. The lawman sped to a jog once he had found a shallow trough in the drifts. “Less chatter, more running.”

She waded through the last few paces worth of powder, then sped up the incline after him. The Constable froze in his tracks at the knoll’s summit. As Kannen reached his side, the lawman knelt and let his hand drift over the congealed puddles of blood.

“He’s awake.” Kannen kicked a ball of snow into a shimmering cloud in the fading daylight. “I never should’ve stopped here.”

Her companion lifted his low-crowned hat and scratched a mess of his dusty blond mop. “The Miller.” He motioned toward the knit hat poking out of some snow.

Kannen picked it up, studying it. The acrid reek of death and decay suffocated her. “Think they dragged him?”

He shook his head. The Constable strode to the cluster of trees near the knoll’s edge. “No tracks.” He poked a finger at the sets of prints in the shifting snow. “Two sets. No drag marks.”

His weary glare met her eyes which she dropped to her boots.

The Constable moved a shaky hand inside his cloak and rested it on a long silver throwing dagger. “Care to tell me what we’re hunting?”

“He’s---” she unsheathed the short sword on her back “not entirely human.”

Kannen felt his seasoned stare probing her. “When the sun goes down, we’re all in trouble.”

He pulled out the throwing dagger from its pocket. “Can he be killed?”

“Of course.”

The Constable trotted off down the far side of the hill in the remnant tracks.

Kannen took reluctant steps after him. “Where are you going?”

He aimed a blade at the far side of the chapel in town below. “Their trail leads into the catacombs.”

“You want to go in there after him barely armed and half frozen?”

He shook his head. “Not yet.” He made a turn as they reached the bottom. “We need to check on the Smithy first, and tell the others about the Miller.”

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