Freida barely heard Anders or the odd, rhythmic sound his fingers made running down the fletches. Her mind was full of memories of the battle she’d seen last time—when she had been the one needing rescue from the minions of Kahrnahrgx. Although she’d been rescued, these memories were not comforting; she knew how close she’d come to death. Her rescuers, too.
“What?” Freida asked, turning to focus on Anders.
“Oh,” Anders replied softly, “I was just saying that I’m grateful to be able to use this bow. It might prove useful. You know…if…when…”
“We’ll find him, Anders,” Freida said, sounding more confident than she felt. “We’ll find him and he’ll be all right. Now we have Ercen here to help us.”
“You know, Freida,” Anders replied, “we had a lot of help the other times. Ercen didn’t seem all that certain that Kimar and any of the others were able to go with us this time.”
Before Freida could say anything, her mother and Gudrun came out from the kitchen and onto the stone landing, packs slung over their shoulders, with her father right behind them. He was awkwardly holding his pack, bow, a quiver bristling with long arrows and two, long walking staffs.
Anders jumped up. “Jah, Mr. Skulstad! Let me help you with all that.”
“Tusen takk, Anders!” Johann bellowed, grateful for the help.
A moment later, each human stood, forming a rough circle facing Ercen. They all held whatever gear wasn’t slung over an arm or on their backs.
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