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During their travels, Tate had met other Mercesti like Zachariah and his chosen class leaders. But then there were Mercesti like these, she thought sourly, bringing up her nunchucks to block a slicing sword. Mercesti who refused to fall in line with Zachariah’s leadership. Mercesti who thought they should have the right to take anything they wanted, including the lives of any Estilorians who got in their way.
Mercesti who stood between her and her wedding day.
This group was larger than most of the others had been, Tate observed as she used Tiege’s bent knee to launch herself at another opponent. They were also more trained and organized.
Their leader was a tall, dark-skinned male named Cain. Zachariah had barely approached Cain and introduced himself before the aggressive male and his followers raised their weapons to fight. It seemed they had already heard of Zachariah’s ascension to elder and had been seeking him out to challenge him. Now, Cain and Zachariah were battling across the forest clearing where the combat had initiated.
Fighting this group was the last thing Tate had wanted, though. She had even asked Zachariah to pass them by. After all, she, Zachariah, Tiege, Ariana, and the Mercesti who had been invited to the wedding were on their way to the protected area surrounding her family’s home. Her mother and aunts were all waiting for them to arrive to begin the celebration.
Her stubborn avowed could not be swayed, however. Tate wasn’t actually that upset about the delay. She was proud of Sparky’s determination to clean up his class and integrate them with the nine other Estilorian classes. But lord, she was tired.
She had lost count of the number of small battles they had waged since Eirik’s defeat. It felt as though they finished one battle, got a few hours of sleep, and headed on to the next. Yes, there were days when they met up with friendly Mercesti and took some time to introduce themselves and get to know them, but those moments hardly made up for the time they were fighting.
We’ll wrap this up soon enough, Beautiful.
Tate heard her avowed’s thought as she spun out of the way of an axe’s downward swing. Her gaze lifted to Zachariah’s across clearing. She realized she had unintentionally broadcasted her thoughts to him.
I know, Sparky, she returned.
If she could keep herself focused, she privately added.
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