A short story of 9.5k words.
Set in the expansive universe of Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar, this is about a young woman who works in an inn. She’s yearned and waited much of her life for a companion to walk past the gates, choose her, and carry her into a heroic, useful life.
This doesn’t happen. It never has. But she does meet a companion and her herald, Carris — the latter injured, with a mission that cost the life of his partner. The mission isn’t completed, and it’s critical.
Kelsey decides to help — and discovers why a herald and their companion were killed in commission of that mission. Can she survive? Can Carris?