Chapter Forty Two

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Selene took a deep breath and concentrated on controlling her breathing. She could feel the twine tighten around her fingers, the weight of the arrow as it slid back on her hand. The star was not much more than a small, indiscernible figure fifty feet away, but she aimed nonetheless. The wind was not a factor, so when she was certain that her arrow would fly true, she loosed the notch and watched it sail over the range towards the star. From the moment the arrow left her bow she knew where it would land and, when it buried itself in the hay target across the range, she did not even have to ask if it hit the center of the star.

Bryce whistled as he pulled the arrow out of the target. "I'll be damned. A fortnight ago you could scarce hold a bow, and now you place arrows better than seasoned archers." He shook his head as he returned to her the arrow.

She smiled and placed the arrow in the quiver at her back. "I am still slow. If I had to do it in a fight I fear I would only loose one arrow if I was lucky."

Bryce only shrugged. "That one arrow would strike true though, sure as the sun shines."

Over the span that Bryce had taught Selene, she had learned to like him. He was a brute of a man with an odd temperament and a taxing demeanor, but he was also one of the best archers in the brotherhood-other than Jon of course. He was teaching her how to make her own bow. It was surprisingly easier than she thought it would be.

"Tis all about the wood," he would say as he polished is favorite longbow.

When she wasn't shooting her bow she was practicing with daggers and dirks and small knives. Orran taught her most of what he knew in hand to hand combat, and she was surprising them all with her adaptability. Everything seemed to come easy for her, though she could not explain it. Despite her ability to catch on to all of the fighting styles, she still enjoyed the bow the most. Something about the distance it allowed for, the finesse.

The bell for supper rang and Selene unstrung her bow and put it behind her back. The dining hall was fairly empty and she found a seat at a table by herself near the door to the kitchen. She liked to stay close so that if Eli had any questions he could simply come out and ask her. The food quality had risen drastically since she had arrived, and that reason alone was enough for her to gain respect from at least some of the men of the brotherhood.

Fried potatoes covered in meat gravy was on the menu that night, but Eli found a new spice that he added to the night's meal. Selene took the first bite with caution. She was pleasantly surprised by the outcome. It was actually one of Eli's better dishes.

Just as she was about to take another bite, the door swung open and two men staggered in, the dirt and grime of travel apparent on their clothes and bodies. They were both exhausted and thirsty, so some of the men helped them find a seat at an empty table in the middle of the room while another ran to fetch a pale of water.

A man named Darrel spoke to them first. "Now you gents hang on a moment, we are getting you a bucket of cool water. It sure looks like you could use it." The pair of men both nodded at the same time. "Alright, good, now what are your names?"

The smaller of the two, though not by much, answered first. "My name is Gavin, Gavin Yary, and this is Dylon, my brother."

Darrel nodded his head steadily. "Good good, now where are you gents from?"

"We were brought up in Adremia. We joined the Silent Brotherhood six years ago; we are part of the chapter there."

A young boy sloshed the water pale into the room and dropped it on the table in front of the two men. Darrel grabbed the ladle from the boy and began giving them drinks. "I see... the Adremia chapter. It seems that ever since the wayward wind has blown..."

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