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~Meara

The rain doesn't let up as we follow the witch through the forest.

I rub at my throat, scowling at her back. She nearly killed me and now I'm supposed to trust her. Any moment now the ground may give out from under me and I may be sent into a pit full of snakes.

"What's your name?" Sire asks her.

"Kimsa," she says after a long moment of silence. "My home is this way."

She presses through the brush, not minding the branches that swing back at up from behind her. I want to hate her, because my throat is still raw, but I'm choosing to trust her in hopes she has the information that we need.

"Thank you for speaking with us," Sire exclaims, watching her. He doesn't trust her either.

For a girl who looks far younger than most witches I know, she has a lot of power. She must come from a powerful bloodline, especially since she has been able to nullify Sire's transportation magic in this bubble of sorts.

"I'm only doing this as a way to end the curse," she mutters, shaking her head slightly.

"So you do know something."

"I don't just know something, I can confirm exactly how to end the curse," she tells Sire sharply, increasing her pace to the point I'm worried I can't keep up, that I'm about to get left behind in this forest.

"How do you know?"

All of a sudden the distance between trees starts to lengthen before we emerge out from the forest line and into a pasture. At the centre, an old but stable looking home sits, taunting me.

"Ancestors," Kimsa explains, giving Sire a hard look. "Mine put you in that tomb."

To her credit, she doesn't seem afraid to tell him that, even knowing the extent of his power. Sire doesn't so much as flinch at that information, which is surprising. For him, it didn't feel like long ago that he was cursed, but for Kimsa and I, it was centuries ago.

"And now you're willing to help?" Sire asks sceptically.

Even if I'm mad at him right now, I'm grateful that he is putting away his anger to focus on ending this curse.

"The death of these people is on my hands as much as it's on yours," Kimsa says lowly, walking us toward her home.

I can hear the burden she carries, and has carried since the curse was unleashed. I know it so intimately because I too feel it.

Sire frowns at her. "It's not."

"It is, see, because I know how to end it. If I choose not to tell you, then I implicate myself," she explains, opening her front door, gesturing us inside.

I waste no time, desperately wanting out of this rain.

Her home is large and spacious inside, smelling like fresh linen and eucalyptus. Most importantly, it's dry.

"Why didn't you come and try find me sooner?" Sire questions, shaking a hand through his wet hair as he looks around the space.

Kimsa brushes past us. "My magic isn't that extensive."

She rushes to the fireplace, immediately kneeling beside it. I shuck off my soaking wet cloak, shivering. We've been trekking through that rain for hours, my skin having been made soft from it, now rubbed raw from the fabric of my clothing.

"Your place is lovely," I tell her, watching her stuff some wood into the fireplace before reaching for her matches.

She doesn't have to worry, Sire merely glances in it's direction and the wood catches alight. She jumps back a little before casting her gaze to him. She swallows uncomfortably, standing.

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