80-Simple

  Our new little apartment was situated in a warehouse, above the tiny office, in the heart of the warehouse district by the wharfs. Normally, it would’ve housed the clerk or bookkeeper who staffed the office, but we’d stuffed two cots into the tiny room. The apartment’s solitary window looked out on a dirty street,…

79-Gifted

  We both straightened at the sound of movement in the King’s bedroom, and then Namal entered the sitting room, having come from the hidden entrance. I scrambled to my feet in time for him to gather me into a crushing embrace. “Zare, you stupid, lucky girl,” his voice was muffled by my shoulder. I…

78-Sundering

While Quill was gone, I changed into a billowy pair of pajama trousers and one of Tarr’s night shirts. I picked the softest and thickest robe from the dressing room, not caring which of us it belonged to, and pulled all the pins from my hair and pulled at the braids until it tumbled around…

77-Lost and Found

My headache returned and my stomach wobbled as I walked purposefully through the halls, head high, having no idea where I was going. I’d never been in this part of the palace before, and didn’t know where I was in relationship to anything else. I didn’t look at any of the people I saw, didn’t…

76-Slippery

Sounds of a door opening and closing, then of Bel moving around and muttering to himself. Lightning coursed through me as I realized he might, at any moment, decide to come check on me. I spun, looking around the bedroom for anything useful. There was a small table by the sofa. A sideboard held a…

75-Voices

I was waiting for my cue, but something was wrong. I couldn’t hear the music. The horses shifted under me, eager to run into the darkened tent. The tent shouldn’t be dark. The show didn’t go that way—or had I missed my part? Where was the music? Without waiting, the horses surged forward, charging into…

74-Intoxicating

  “Do you like to ride, Miss Meredithe?” Lucius asked. “Oh, I love riding whenever I can.” “Then you must come out to our estate sometime, because it’s truly spectacular territory.” I agreed that this would be a simply wonderful thing. The conversation continued; amiably discussing horses, hounds, tack and terrain. It was a pretty…

73-Belle of the Party

  Khattmali was the perfect hostess. She put her arm through mine and led me from group to group, presenting me as only a socialite could. People who had never spoken two words to me out in the halls were now all smiles and bows. As if they hadn’t been painting me with disdain whenever…

72- Armor

I was delirious with exhaustion by the time Namal and I made it back to the palace. It was a long walk to start with, but add in avoiding patrols and making certain we weren’t followed and it became a lengthy, predawn walking tour of the city. One of the royal guard, one we’d traveled…

71-Lamp in the Night

  The warehouse smelled like fish and fresh water. Huge empty crates sat in rows awaiting the morning’s catch, though no catch had come for weeks. I was perched on top of a desolate crate, swathed in a fur lined cloak, watching shadowy figures arrive by ones and twos, and listening to the siren call…