“Your ward,” the brown cloaked traveler gasped for breath, “It’s set too wide. Please.”
Odell hesitated, one eye on the distance kick of dust that marked their pursuer’s passage through the far fields. She’d set the ward broadly on purpose, protecting against those who would do her harm and those who would bring harm in their wake. No point in bringing some one else’s misfortunes down on her head as well. But she’d never had to use it before.
With a curse she reworded the ward, narrowing the protection down to those who would do her harm, and the traveler staggered through the door, collapsing on the hardened dirt floor of the entryway. She grabbed a cup from the nearest table she rolled him over and forced down the two sips that bound him as a guest under her wards.
“Colby, get him into the cellar, now.” She turned back to the approaching riders, strengthening the wards and whistling for the dogs. She’d had them blessed, years ago, after the first attack. They’d be little use in a fight against men, but they were her only defense against magic.
She turned to find Peter and Salim standing behind her, hands clasped and the faint ripple of power hazing the air between the couple. They looked worried so she gave what she hoped was a confident grimace and stepped into the inn’s massive doorway.