16-Knives at Night

  We were already running when a sentry shouted the alarm. More torches followed the first and the carriage started to smoke and burn. I drew my knives and saw blades flashing in Quill’s hands as we charged—barefoot—back toward the camp. Men ran toward the burning carriage, themselves just silhouettes against the dying campfires. “It’s…

15-Flames

When I left the Countess tucked in a blanket in the cushions, I thought she looked a little better. Less like she was going to shatter from all the feeling she couldn’t show to her subjects. I went to the neighboring tent and shucked my outer layer, sitting in the cushions and flipping a knife…

14-Sacrifices

I spent the rest of the day in the saddle, riding a few steps behind Druskin, rather than be trapped in box dragged by horses. Lunch had been mercifully short since we were trying to make it to Gar Morwen in four days. Brell, her legs tucked under her gracefully, had turned to Quill and…

13-Leaving

  The audiences went much as they had the day prior, except a bit hurried, as the guards were trying to get through everyone who’d come before the time for audiences was over at lunch. This time I recognized Hadella, sitting at a table off to the right with a couple scribes, feverishly writing while…

12-Tribute

I made a careful search of my tiny chambers before cleaning up and again crawling into the deliciously comfortable bed. I didn’t find any peep holes or slits in the walls, just a fresh set of clothes hanging in the wardrobe. It wasn’t unreasonable for the Captain of the Guard to talk to one of…

11-Debrief

  It was late when I walked into the long sitting room in the guest suite where I’d left the others the night before. Quill and Eliah were sitting in wing chairs by the fire, books ignored in their hands, eyes on the door as I entered. They both relaxed when they saw me. I…

10-Letters

At the end of the audiences, my muscles ached from standing and the only thing I wanted was the gorgeous sunken tub. And dinner, of course. The Countess also looked tired, and left the great hall immediately to have a private dinner in her chambers. A different set of leanyodi went with her while the…

9-Handmaiden

The great hall of Wuhnravinwel had a vaulted ceiling and was filled with sunlight from tall slender windows that were flanked by heavy drapes. It filled the entire top level of the keep, and long trestle tables ran the circumference. Braziers marked out a path from the huge double doors. It was petition day, and…

8 -Testing the Water

The rooms where Galo brought me were just down the hallway from the Countess’s chambers. They were small…but luxurious after weeks on the road. The walls were covered in tapestries depicting horsemen, falconers, and rolling hills of grass. Heavy curtains covered tall windows. The bed was set into the wall, and when I tested it,…

7-Proper Greetings

    The five of us fell in behind the servant. He hauled all our weapons in a roll of canvas as he led us down a different winding stair and down a long hallway lit by iron lamps faced with colored glass. A pair of heavy doors at the end of the hallway led…