NB: The characters are not mine. They belong to Alison Croggon who is a MASTER story-writer!

Little Fears

"Ha ha!"

Cadvan's triumphant yell bellowed behind Maerad, making her jump and spill her soup, and then, before she could do anything, a pair of hands seized her waist and whirled her into a crazy dance led only by Cadvan's merry whistling.

"You're cheerful today!" Maerad laughed once she had got used to the woods around their camp spinning.

"Not cheerful," Cadvan objected. "I just feel like dancing!" And he whirled her around like a top.

"Dancing?" Maerad snorted breathlessly. "You call this dancing?"

Cadvan endevoured to look offended.

"I'll have you know I'm a fine dancer, Mistress Maerad!"

"I'm sure you are." Maerad weaved under his arm, then spun back into the ordered steps. "For Annaren dances. But the Pilani dances..."

"Ah yes. The dance that burns before the darkness and reveals true emotions. Well, it takes one of true bravery to dance that particular dance..." He spun her out to arm's length and continued, "I confess, I do not have the courage!"

Maerad swirled back into his arms so that they were almost nose to nose.

"You're joking," she teased incredulously as they swayed, a little more slowly now. "Cadvan of Lirigon, the great Cadvan, who has faced Hulls and Wights and Elidhu, frightened by a little dance?"

Cadvan clutched at his chest dramatically.

"Alas!" he cried. "My great shame!"

Maerad smiled and he continued,

"It is but a little fear."

They paraded around the campsite silently for a while, then Cadvan said quietly,
"But perhaps it is the littlest fears that truly frighten us so."

Maerad thought of her nightmares of reaching Hulls, of her faint fear that her sense of Hem's whereabouts would vanish, her undeniable feelings for Cadvan himself.

"Perhaps you are right," she answered.

They said no more then, and instead danced silently into the darkness.

The End.

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