silhouettes of three hounds sitting among the shadows. Dread settled on his mind, and uneasestopped his stride. The creaky door to the hut opened abruptly, revealing the tall figure of a fair-
haired man in hunter’s g
“This is not the night to travel.” The stranger’s voice was deep, and carried easily to Owain’s
. “Come inside for shelter and a warm fire.”
Every instinct told Owain to turn and flee, but he found himself moving forward and crossinginto the warm interior of the hut. The stranger shut the door firmly, once they were inside.
“There is a seat by the fire.”
The stranger waved his hand at the hearth, and Owain settledupon the indicated
bench. “I am
, who might you be?”
“I am called Owain.”
“What brings you out on this night, Owain? Few souls dare journey on Samhain.”
Owain stared for a moment into the fire, memories surfacing.
“I did not mean to be out after
dark, but I tarried too long...
” Owain hesitated, trying to arrange his tangled thoughts, searchingfor excuses. “I
-I was delayed...with my
The stranger tilted his head, and flashed Owain an odd smile.
“She must be a very
indeed, if she kept you so occupied that you neglected to notice the darkening sky.”
Owain fidgeted over Gwyn
’s words, their intent making him uncomfortable. “Events did not
go as I had planned, I-
” Owain could not continue, he could not voice what had happened.
“Are you ashamed of what you did, Owain?”
The sharp tone of Gwyn
’s voice made Owain stare at the man
, and the unexpected,threatening air of his manner chilled him. Owain shivered, and glanced at the door, twisting andtwitching his hands.
“You seem nervous, Owain. Do you have reason to be
“No, of course not. You are simply asking far too many private questions.”
“Am I? Why would such things bother you, Owain? Do you have a
secret to hide?”
Owain swallowed, screwed his courage, and challenged this impertinent stranger. “What if I
do? It certainly is none of your affair!
How mistaken you are, foolish man. The whole world is my concern, this eve. Did youtruly believe your actions would go unnoticed tonight, Owain, of all nights? That spilled blood
would not call out for vengeance?”