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Westie sits, framed in an open window of a covered bridge that spans…

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Westie sits, framed in an open window of a covered bridge that spans a gurgling stream, feeling rather lost. Thinking that she doesn't even know the landscape here anymore. Doesn't know where the once-familiar paths will lead. Yes, she knows the village is in that direction, and that the full moon is rising over the mountain lake (no, not a tarn, a LAKE) there, but that's about the extent of it. It's an odd feeling. No panic, no despair, just odd.

In the darkening sky above the lake she sees a crowd of crows heading for their roost. They pass silently overhead, not even one caw in her direction. More oddness. "Silent and still, even in flight," she thinks. "Like me." She sighs, slips from her window-perch and whistles softly. Hoofbeats echo up to the rafters of the bridge, and Westie's roan nickers softly as she crosses the wooden planks. Westie buries her face in the roan's neck and breathes deeply. "Let's go home," she murmurs.

The horse knows the way back to the village, so Westie closes her eyes, her head arching back as she rides, breathing in the night air. She catches the scents of night-blooming jasmine, of the sweet stands of pine at the base of the mountain, of the night phlox that grows along the village gate. She smells nicotiana and woodsmoke and smiles as the horse slows to a stop, opening her eyes in front of Shadowchase. The front door is open, and light spills invitingly out onto the porch. Inside, she can hear Ban softly singing an old, lilting tune. She kisses the top of the horse's head and slips to the ground. "You dinna think I should go home quite yet, then? I suppose a cup of tea would do me good..."
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