LIAB Epilogue 02:2/Text

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"Of course, I can," he said. "What...would you have me call you?"

She wrinkled her nose with irritation. Behind her, Chief Parson was issuing some whispered orders. "Call me what you please. But can you speak? Of...what we forswore to?" She clutched his upper arm and looked at him urgently.

He blinked, thinking far, far back in time. A version of her, not so lovely or so whole. A day when lifelong oaths were sworn. "Of Charlie," he said, nodding as he remembered. "Yes. His contract ended with my life."

"Tell him as soon as you can," she ordered, yielding him a rare and conspiratorial smile.

And now perhaps he understood her eagerness to croak and decrypt him.

"Of course," he said, tentatively returning the smile, "Sister Wanda."