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A Prince and a Chief

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After the victory they drank hot mead together and watched the Orc corpses burn. Her people danced and chanted and cried out Hal - chief. She stood impassive. Silver strands flecked her red hair and dark pouches hung beneath her eyes, but Caranthir wanted her, this hawkish warrior woman - far more than the wife he'd left across the Sea.

At dawn he approached her, offering a fiefdom within Thargelion in exchange for his protection, but pride snapped in her grey eyes.

"No."

Her mouth was as taut as a bow's string. She did not need protection. Chief indeed.

Smiling, Caranthir withdrew.