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. In one of the few times Flint had ventured from his
home in the last month, he had come upon a villager chok-
ing on a bite of meat. This very group had been summoned
to help, and after much desperate prodding from the small,
gathered crowd, the leader of the three, a pimply young
whelp, had sighed and gesticulated uselessly above his head
as if casting a clerical spell. No miracle appeared. The vil-
lager had gasped his last before the other two could try to
help him. The three had shrugged in unison and then headed
into the nearest inn, unconcerned.
Flint could feel his face tighten with anger now as he con-
sidered the cluster around the doorway. Novices, he noted,
from their coarse white robes edged with embroidered hem-
lock vine and the all-too-familiar emblem of a lighted torch
on the left breast.
"Who are you staring at, little man?" one of them de-
manded, his arms crossed insolently.
Flint's eyes narrowed in irritation, but he let a shake of his
head and a snort of disgust suffice to answer the question.
Tipping his head slightly, he made to squeeze his way be-
tween them and into the greengrocer's