Riona steered Connor and Ollivan away from the river, deeper into the forest, to an intimidatingly cramped clearing. There, the trees were thinner and more tightly packed, but at least the ground was level. Tall grass reached Connor’s midriff and under Riona’s quiet instruction, they scythed it from the ground. A difficult, dangerous task in the dark; necessary to create a small fire. Ollivan made a feeble attempt to find kindling. With every footfall, every time Ollivan swore at nothing, or rustled the surrounding greenery, or picked up a twig, Connor became more tense. More bandits—or anyone else—could be hiding, waiting for them to let down their guard. He swung his knife cautiously. Deliberately.
Riona bumped into him constantly as she misjudged her movements in the darkness. He found and took her arm to steady her. She stiffened.
“Sorry,” he said and released her.
“No,” she replied. “It’s just—”