I stood under a lamppost, its flickering light turning the street into an empty off-tempo night club. A tiny old man in front of me was hunched over smoking a cigarette, pointed ears sticking up through his white hair. He smelled like a barn.

“They’re gonna kill me,” he said.

“Who?” I asked.

“Phobetor’s gang. The Mares.” His eyes glowed softly.

“What’d you do?”

“Punched one of ’em and ran.” He sighed. “She hit her horse. I couldn’t stop myself.”

I shrugged. “I’ll protect you.”

“You?” A laugh shook his wiry body. “You’re just a Dreamer. Don’t know why I’m even talking to you.”

“There you are, Tom,” a voice rasped from across the street. A scarred, emaciated woman appeared, dressed in rags and riding a tall black horse. Her savage grin exposed sharp teeth.

“Leave him alone,” I said.

She cackled and raised a crossbow, firing at Tom. With a thought, I deflected the bolt, then lobbed a ball of energy so big it knocked her off the horse.

“You’re lucid!” Tom gasped.

I grinned and gave him a thumbs up.

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