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Hello! I hope you had a goon night’s sleep. If not, I hope you have access to large amounts of really good coffee, tea, or coacoa, as befits your personal taste.

I have next to no time to post this so forgive the bluntness.

This is WIPpet Wednesday when WIPpeteers post snippets of their Works In Progress that have something to do with the date. Our hostess is the amazing K.L. Schwengel. You can join or peruse the snippets here.

Last week Arvid had just won a short argument with Oya about who was going into the mountains and who was not. This argument followed an “attack” by monsters. This week’s WIPpet is 431ish words, or pretty close to twice the length of last week’s post for the 2nd. (Sorry. This scene is hard to divide into smaller bits.)

          As soon as she had her donkey, Arvid started toward the mountains. Oya trailed behind, keeping her eyes on the road while her fingers massaged the donkey’s neck. The gatekeeper blocked the way, along with almost every other man in the village. Arvid groaned inwardly. The men faced her with tight-pressed lips, regretful eyes, and jaws set in grim determination. At least they all have clothes on.

She glanced at Oya, silently asking her to do the talking. Oya half-smiled and winked, stepping forward with her palms up. “We don’t want to fight anyone, gentlemen. My friend is just on a little trip into the mountains.”

The gatekeeper unfolded his arms to point at the donkey. “That’s not a problem, so long as you leave all of those behind.”

“But why? She’ll need weapons for hunting. And what if we come across a bear or a pack of wolves?”

The gatekeeper shook his head. “You won’t. Not in those mountains. All you’ll need is a dagger. Just one.”

“A dagger. And what if it’s not just wolves and bears she needs to worry about? Don’t tell me none of you heard that racket last night.”

“We heard it, alright. That’s why we can’t let you take those weapons. The monsters won’t attack if they’re not given any reason.”

“But she won’t give them any reason.”

Arvid decided now would not be a good time to point out that if Balak needed rescuing because of the monsters, she might indeed give them a reason to attack.

“Maybe she doesn’t intend to, but we can’t take any chances. Besides, no one who ever went into those mountains with more than a hunting knife has ever come out.”

Arvid thought about it. On the one hand, the prophecy gave her no clues about what to expect when she rescued the wizard. Whatever kept him in the mountains must be formidable and she’d probably want as many weapons as possible to handle it. On the other hand, keeping the weapons, it seemed, required fighting, most likely injuring, and maybe even killing several innocent villagers as well as bringing down the wrath of the monsters. The prophecy never mentioned any weapons, only a woman warrior. Therefore, assuming the prophecy was true, it shouldn’t matter what she took with her, only that she made the trip. Even so… “What about the armor?”

Oya looked back at her, eyebrow cocked, “Seriously?”

Arvid shrugged. “I can make due with a hunting knife well enough if they’re right about bears and wolves.”

“And if they’re wrong?”

“I’ll climb a tree.”

To be continued…

Random funny video selected from my watch history because it takes surprisingly long to find even barely relevant pictures: