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Rachel woke up before the other ladies in their designated sleeping van, so she slipped quietly out the door and made her way, boots in hand, to where the fire had been the night before. Lansal was already there, kneeling over the few remaining hot embers and placing sticks strategically to kindle it anew.

“How did you rest?” Rachel sat down beside him, drew up her knees, and began putting on her boots.


“The nights are getting cold, now. And it was pretty damp last night, too.”


“Have we had a frost yet?”


Lansal shook his head. “I don’t think so. It could happen any time, though.”


Lansal put one more big stick on the fire then turned to Rachel. She thought he looked concerned, but he smiled, all the same.


“Your mind has not stopped planning and thinking for days.” She leaned back and could just reach a small log for the fire, so she took it and added it to Lansal’s efforts.


“I have had a few moments.” Lansal paused and Rachel felt like he relaxed a little for a breath or two before he sighed and looked back at the fire. “How do you feel about all this?”


Rachel leaned back on her arms. “I’ll never think of the world the same, knowing people like RaKon are turned loose by the Dark Council to do so much evil. I hope we can set things right.”


Lansal stood up and offered a hand to Rachel. “We’ve done pretty well, so far. We make a good team.”


Rachel took Lansal’s hand and let him help her get to her feet. “I think so, too.”

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