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no protection, but still...
In that moment, the possibility of returning to Bela with Wynn had slipped
out before he realized what he was saying. He should not have allowed himself
such a fantasy nor pushed it upon her. She was a true intellect and understood
that truths could never be forgotten there was no way to change what was. Like
trying to take back words that had already been spoken.
His father's cruelty had taught him to defend himself, to look out for
himself above all others. Wynn was the only person besides his mother that
he'd ever wished to protect more than himself. He'd failed his mother; he
might yet save Wynn.
Welstiel stirred, and Chane cautiously tapped his shoulder. "Are you awake?"
"Yes. We should ready ourselves. "
"Do you wish to pack, or are we returning here?"
"We leave directly from the manor. Pack everything. "
When Welstiel began assisting with preparations, Chane was surprised. It was
clear early in their acquaintance that Welstiel had been raised a noble,
accustomed to having things done for him. He struck Chane as lacking in
self-sufficiency; regardless of his own noble upbringing, Chane preferred to
rely upon himself.
He saddled both horses and strapped the tent over the rump of his own mount.
He handed Welstiel his cloak.
"You lead, " he said. "I'm still uncertain why you want to question this
captain. "
"Information, " Welstiel answered.
How enlightening,Chane thought, but kept silent on the matter. It was
puzzling, too, when Welstiel led them around the town to the east end rather
than inland to the manor.
"How will you find this captain?" Chane asked.
Welstiel sat watching the main road through town and occasionally the sparse
forest around them. There was little activity past dusk. Then Chane heard a
clattering bell off through the trees.
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A skinny young boy with thick black hair and freckled skin, not quite in his
teens, was herding a group of goats through. The sound came from a crude bell
hanging on the collar of the one male in the herd. The boy must have taken his
charges out too far, or perhaps they had wandered on their own, and he was
returning late.
"Can you charm that boy into fetching his lord's captain?" Welstiel asked.
"You seem to have a way with these peasants. "
"I will try, " Chane answered, ignoring the barb.
He didn't care for these commoners either, but Welstiel's distaste was more
acute. Chane understood the crude minds of peasants and how to use them when
necessary.
The boy swung a switch to drive his small herd on to the main road, and Chane
urged his horse forward through the trees. He kept his distance so as not to
startle his would-be messenger.
"Ho there, " he called.
The boy stopped to look him over before answering. "Who are you?"
"Friends of the dhampir, " Chane said, gesturing to Welstiel back in the
trees. He spoke Droevinkan fairly well but with an accent. "Did you meet her?"
The boy shook his head but his face lit up.
"She's the one who saved us! They say she's white as ghost and can pull down
a horse with her bare hands. You know her?"
Chane's eyebrows rose. How quickly truth became legend and sometimes
myth among the masses. If only they knew who had truly "saved" them.
"Yes, and she sent us with an urgent message. It is of great importance but
must be handled quietly, only given to your lord's captain. "
"Captain Geza?" The boy nodded. "His Elena handles things at the common house
for us. "
"Can you fetch the captain but not let anyone else hear you? Tell him the
dhampir sent us with urgent news, and he should meet us here, away from any
ears. Can you do that?"
The boy looked at his flock.
"We'll keep an eye on your herd, " Chane said with a compassionate smile.
"This is important, my boy. "
The boy straightened himself as though a great duty had been placed upon him
in service to this legendary dhampir. He nodded once and was off.
Welstiel urged his horse forward beside Chane's. "At times, you astonish me.
"
Chane shrugged. "You handled the innkeeper in Bela well enough. "
"Greed and ignorance require little more than a flash of coin. This is going
to be a more... open interrogation. There can be no witnesses, you
understand?"
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Chane suppressed an indignant retort. "Of course. "
They dismounted, leading the horses into the trees but remaining in sight of
the main road. The goats wandered by the roadside, and evening rapidly turned
to night as the world grew darker.
Chane wondered how this Geza would react to a boy's tale of strange men with
a secret message from the dhampir. Had this happened in Chane's mortal life,
he would have gathered a retinue of guards before setting foot outside. But
Magiere appeared to inspire confidence, and he believed the captain would come
alone. Soon a short man in a leather hauberk and gray-blue cape followed the
boy up the road out of the town. Chane stepped out, raising a hand to hail
them, with Welstiel close behind.
The captain's expression was apprehensive, but he approached with little
hesitation and spoke in a lowered voice.
"Young Tenan here says you have a message from Magiere. Has something [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]