PART ONE: THE OUTCASTS
Following his rape of Lora, Dav returned to the life of virtual seclusion he had espoused during his early days in Haven. He no longer monitored the activity of his children, even though he suspected they continued to visit the elf. He also rarely saw Jod, not having the courage to face his friend after his coupling with a non-human.
Late one evening in the early days of the autumn of 578, Reg and Eya arrived at their house just as the sun dipped below the horizon. All around Haven, people hurried for their homes. Dav had already lit several candles and was seated on his sleeping pallet, whittling away at a block of wood, as had become his custom. He didn't look up when his children deposited a sack of food atop the only table.
"Father," began, approaching Dav, but not getting within striking range. She knew of her father's temper, and didn't want to risk getting hurt for the message she was about to deliver.
"What is it?" muttered Dav, not raising his eyes to his daughter.
"We - Reg and I, that is - were with Lora today. We've been seeing a lot of her lately," said Eya. She paused to see how her father would react, since this contradicted his wishes.
"I suspected as much," replied Dav, seeming neither surprised nor angry.
Bolstered by her father's mild reaction, Eya continued, "Lora says that because we spend so much time with her that we're outcasts too. The people in town don't talk to us any more and they've stopped giving us food. Everything this summer has been from Lora."
"You should have expected that," snarled Dav.
Eya tensed for a blow, but Dav continued to shave chips from the statuette that he was carving.
"Lora wants you to meet her at her hut this evening," said Eya.
At those words, Dav stopped whittling and lifted his head. "She wants me to go to her hut?? Now??"
Frightened, Eya took a step back. Reg moved to her side and added, "That's what she said, Father. She also said you owed her that much and when you came you would understand why."
"I damn well will not go down to that valley, especially not at this time of day!" roared Dav.
"She said if you don't come tonight, she'll come here tomorrow morning. She didn't think you'd want that."
Cursing, Dav rose to his feet, hurled the piece he was working on across the room, where it bounced off the wall and clattered to the floor, then snatched his cloak from beside his pallet and stormed from the house. On his way out, he snapped, "Lock the door and don't open it unless you know it's me!"
After Dav had left, Reg obeyed his command. As the boy slid the bolt into place and turned the key in the lock, Eya said to him, "He's mad at her."
"She's mad at him, too, Eya. It has something to do with what happened on the day he went there to bring us home."
"I hope he doesn't hit her the way he hits us," she said. "I don't want Lora getting hurt. She always seems so sad."
"I know," agreed Reg. "I hope so to."
"Do you think we should tell Father that the elders want to see him?"
"Lora said not to. It would just make things worse."
"You think we should listen to her?"
"She's our only friend. Of course we should listen to her."
"If Father hurts her, I'll..." Eya paused, as if unsure of a threat that would adequately express her feelings in the matter. Finally, she concluded, "I'll run away."
"And I'll go with you," added Reg, putting his arms around his sister's shoulders. Eya favored him with a smile.
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