Warin arrived home leading a laden pack horse. The door swung open at his touch, unlatched; he tripped on an empty water bucket just inside. Ashes filled the stone-cold hearth.
He called for Emmae, but no answer came. He ran outside and called again, ran to all the places he thought she might be, but he didn't find her. His heart gave a great thud, and he ran back to the cottage. There, beside the hearth, he found the newly-shined silver tray. A message glowed on the table top, burned into the wood:
Warin seized the tray. "Show me Hildin of Tremont!" he shouted, but it reflected only his own stricken face. He threw the tray against the chimney to clatter against the hearthstones.Read the rest of this post