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In silence, the ship left anchor and headed out into deeper waters again. The flames of the funeral pyre grew smaller in the distance as Penelope watched. She shivered, wondering if the man who touched her was on the pyre.
"What are you thinking?" Odysseus asked, his voice a rough whisper, softened with weariness.
"How many died?" For a moment, she couldn't face him.
"Seven. Their leader among them. Dolios found him before I did," he added, one corner of his mouth rising for a second. "The ones who lived know who they were fighting. Maybe now they will not so easily attack travelers."
"They know ... you told them, and released them?" Penelope shook her head, trying to understand. "What if they call their kinsmen together for vengeance?"
"Who would justify them? Who would help them?" He sighed, closed his eyes, and leaned hard into the rudder. "Penelope, they took their lives into their hands in a wager, and lost."
"I will never understand battle, or what drives a man to cut the life from another."
"Sweet Penelope, I hope you never do."