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"You're leaving?!" Sonia shakes her head in disbelief.

Father Martin places a hand on her shoulder. "It's only a while. The priest in Veros is gone now, and they need my help. If I don't go..."

She scowls at the ground. "The monks..."

"You know they can't leave here for that. I promise you, everything will be fine. It's in God's hands, after all."

Arms crossed, she turns her gaze to the window. "Well, y'know where t'find me if I get kicked out of here," she mutters.

"Sonia... have faith," he says seriously, turning her face back to his. "God has seen you safe this far. Nothing will happen that isn't necessary."

Silent, she steps backwards, eyes on the floor. "Take some garlic and laurels, okay? It's got quieter out here, but... I can't be everywhere." Her head snaps up again. "Wait- I'll go, too. I can-"

He cuts her off with one hand. "Your place is here, Sonia. I walk under God's protection, but this town... The fiend was strongest here. Your place is in Jova, guarding the flock." With a smile, he adds, "I'll make sure to pack enough to protect myself."

She watches him walk away toward his room. One hand rises to reach after his shrinking figure.

"God keep you, Father," she murmurs, turning away, "Hope He'll keep me, too... With you gone."
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Sonia Belmont

February 2008

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