74

Nhulynolyn gripped the back of his chair like it was the last thing keep him from drowning as Rhyshladlyn watched them all with hooded orange-amber eyes that were all darkness and predatory glint. Watched those fathomless eyes and the face that surrounded them as Xefras took the seat that had once been Azriel’s with Ahdyfe moving slowly behind the Qishir to take the seat immediately to Xefras’ left, with Jerald taking up his normal position behind Rhyshladlyn. Eiod took his seat to the left of Nhulynolyn’s own, the Anglëtinean-Sinner’s discontent palpable but only because Nhulynolyn was so close to him. As Alaïs sat down and then Shadiranamen and Xheshmaryú and Sheieh, it felt like the intensity of his twin’s power clicked up a few notches.

“If you are not part of the Grey or Honorable Courts, get out.” Chebnir bowed low at the waist and all but ran for the doors. Though it was less out of fear of Rhyshladlyn and more out of respect. For ey knew Rhyshladlyn from as far back as Shiran City, after all ey was one of the reasons his twin was even alive today.

The moment the doors closed with a finality that rattled his joints, a look twisted those striking features and stole the life from those glowing eyes and Nhulynolyn felt his stomach drop out. Because he’d seen that look before and it meant nothing good. But he didn’t know it on Rhyshladlyn’s face. No, it existed in an echo-memory that danced along a link that no longer existed and one that had grown stronger in the first’s absence. It lived wrapped in nightmares and smoke-hazy pleas and screams that made no sound but hurt one’s ears despite that.

He felt Alaïs nudge the door between them a little wider, not so much that it overwhelmed them both, just enough to remind him that she was with him. And while he appreciated it, in that moment it did nothing to help quell the feeling of wrong that made him want to vomit at the sight of that look on his twin’s face.

Because in that moment his twin looked so much like Anislanzir it left him breathless, sweat trickling cold and sticky down his spine and pooling in the bends of his elbows and the juncture of his thighs. Made him wish with more fervor than he’d had since his rebirth that he could reach out and touch Rhyshladlyn. That he could read him in the way only an Other could read their kè. But that wasn’t something he was every going to be able to do again and by the Old Ones did he hate it. Hated it because standing there, watching that lithe body sit with a docility that was a farce, eyes clocking every single one of them as they moved about the table, mouth curved in that smile that would give even Hounds nightmares, Nhulynolyn felt lost. So lost. It was worse than when he’d spent three hundred years so close to Bayls but unable to reach her, able to feel the needs of his twin, of his family, and being utterly powerless to aid them.

He didn’t know what to do when faced with a twin who, for the first time in their long lives, had more than a passing resemblance to their sire. A twin he couldn’t read, couldn’t feel like he used to. Who was as alien to him as anyone else in the Court. Knew even less what to do with the guilt he felt at the relief that washed its way down his chest when he saw the way the scars that marred the right side of Rhyshladlyn’s face stood out starkly against his dark skin, the way they twisted and bunched like a road map of remembered agony. A relief he only felt because the sight of those scars were enough to dispel the illusion that their father had come back. Because for all that their father had been a prolific warrior, Anislanzir had never had any scarring, least none that Nhulynolyn had ever seen. And in that moment, he was grateful for it. Even if the scarring Rhyshladlyn had was a testament to the fact that Rhyshladlyn had survived the only battle Anislanzir had ever lost and only at great cost to himself.

Nhulynolyn slowly took his seat next to Bayls when his knees wobbled hard in a promise to abandon their duty to keep him upright, and tried to convince his stomach to chill the fuck out. Tried to convince his mind that while Rhyshladlyn looked like he was a ghost doing the Worlds’ shittiest job mimicking a nightmare, it was just that: a mimication. The thought didn’t help as much as he’d hoped it would. But given the situation he doubted much would lessen the unease that was making his skin itch.

As the tension and the silence it sprung from increased with Rhyshladlyn’s careful, muted watching, Nhulynolyn swallowed the urge to cry, to scream, to break something, because by all the Old Ones, just to break that silence. To unleash the feel of unfairness that he had lost the one thing that had meant more to him in all the Seven Worlds than anything else, even his own life. It wasn’t enough that he had the link between him and Alaïs still, that he was alive and had his mate and their unborn fledgling, that he had come back far more powerful and capable of protecting his twin than he had been before he’d died. And he wished desperately that it was. Wished that he hadn’t had to sacrifice the links between himself and his twin and the Others who remained with Rhyshladlyn in order to Awaken as the second living Greywalker in the Worlds in over ten thousand years.

Wished that he could have given anything else, even if he knew realistically that nothing else would have been enough. Wished that the prices those in the Court had to pay for the good of the Worlds weren’t so fucking steep. Wished that he had been given a choice. Because if he had? He wouldn’t have chosen this.

This… gods, this was worse than death. Because he had no idea what to do here, what could help, what could make things worse. And no amount of knowledge of how to read his twin’s body language, or lack thereof, was enough to make up the difference. Not when they all sat at a table with Rhyshladlyn’s Steward unconscious on the floor a few feet away, missing several key members of both Courts, as the Qishir’s power slithered around the room like a living, sentient predator looking for a meal. And not a single one of them was immune.

With each minute that passed in silence, the urge to scream increased until finally someone broke it.

“What is going on, Rhys?” Thayne asked, tone all what the fuck is the meaning of this, as she took her seat at the other end of the table, studiously not mentioning that technically by virtue of her rank in the Worlds that Rhyshladlyn couldn’t order her to do shit all.

Not that it would have mattered if she had. They all knew that the only reason Rhyshladlyn didn’t sit the Eighth Throne was because he thought himself unworthy of ruling anyone or anything. But that was it. After all, Rhyshladlyn was the only Dhaoine in recorded history strong enough to override an attend spoken by the Eighth Qishir and Thayne damned well knew that. So in moments like this when they were all navigating a mine field blind while his twin held the only map depicting the safest path across, Thayne said one thing but her tone said another. It was the only choice she had to save face.

Rhyshladlyn laughed, low and rumbling and utterly genuine as he stretched his arms in front of him, shrugged once lazily, and relaxed back against the chair. Nhulynolyn flinched and felt an echo of the motion from Alaïs who did it bodily enough her chair rattled and Thayne spoke her name. The side of his face prickled as Shadiranamen and Xheshmaryú turned identical looks at him, filled with a weight that a week ago he would have known the words behind but now could only guess at. But he didn’t look at them or anyone else around the table. Ignored them all because if he was worried before he was fucking afraid now.

The air vibrated with unspoken questions but neither he nor Alaïs needed to answer them. Everyone knew that there was only one thing that made the surviving members of the Ka’ahne family react as one unit simultaneously: a trigger to their mistreatment by Anislanzir. And the moment that thought registered he felt Thayne’s Call ripple out along the Oath Bonds she had to her Triad, summoning them to the meeting hall. Shivered at the silken-soft brush of it as it echoed down the link he had with her Companion.

Rhyshladlyn had always shared many mannerisms with that goat-fucking piece of filth that called himself their sire but it was rare that he ever showed them, let alone all of them, simultaneously. Until now, when his nonchalance was the calm before the storm. When his body and tone and energy said one thing but his eyes and his calmness and his silence said another. When his cordial tone, laughter, and body language was a falsity, despite the genuineness one heard behind them, that served one purpose and one purpose only: to lull those around him into a false sense of security. When he was Hunting but only those who knew him very well would recognize his actions, his words, his sounds, for the warning that they were.

Oh we are so fucked.

“Just need to talk with everyone, Thayne,” Rhyshladlyn answered and Nhulynolyn closed his eyes as the World swayed violently, grateful he was sitting. Even his twin’s voice sounded wrong, discordant almost. “I’ve already sent a runner to fetch our missing numbers so that we may have the entirety of both Courts present,” he tilted his head to the side and shrugged one shoulder. “Or rather, the missing numbers of my Court since you have already summoned the rest of your Triad here.”

The unspoken how the fuck did he know that was loud.

*Nully, what do we do?* Alaïs’ voice was small, careful. Like she was whispering without whispering, scared that if she spoke at all, made any noise whatsoever that she’d be caught by whatever, or whoever, she was trying to hide from.

He may not have been aware for the majority of Rhyshladlyn’s childhood but he’d shared his twin’s memories of that time. Remembered that Rhyshladlyn had learned that quietness, that smallness of voice, from his demure, publicly perfect sister as a means of survival. A means that added a layer to the warfare he’d been struggling to survive, to win, since birth. It made Nhulynolyn’s already upset stomach more angry at its continued existence. And it also made him angry at Rhyshladlyn, though it was short lived, because no matter what his twin had gone through, he had no right to remind any of them of the un-male who had started everything.

*Nothing, Al. This is not our fight anymore. It’s his,* he answered and wiped all emotion from his face. Slammed a mask over his face and prayed that whatever had set Rhyshladlyn off like this was something he could talk his twin through. That it was something they would all survive.

*How is it not our fight?* his Other countered, some of her strength leaking back into her tone.

*Cuz he’s gotta learn to not just set his boundaries but uphold ’em. An’ so far, he’s only ever done one of those things,* he replied as Bayls’ hand slid along his thigh, fingers tapping out a beat that told him she was nervous and trying to hide it. *The moment he was collared by Relyt an’ enslaved through that collar by Lílrt, it ceased to be a mutual fight an’ became solely Rhys’ own.*

Alaïs said nothing else but she didn’t have to. He felt her displeasure clearly. Would have smiled if he wasn’t worried it would show up on his physical face and bring his twin’s cold fury swinging around to him. Their older sister had always been uncannily protective of them but especially of Rhyshladlyn. It gave him hope that after all this time, she still hadn’t lost any of that.

“That’s not really that informative, my Qishir,” Ahdyfe whispered. Nhulynolyn gave her credit for saying the words, even if he still didn’t trust her, because sure as fuck the rest of them weren’t going to.

*If only because we all know better,* Alaïs snarked and Nhulynolyn only barely kept from snorting aloud in response.

“I finally have answers,” Rhyshladlyn’s voice was like broken glass scraping across stone as it slithered across the table, leaving claw-like grooves carved into the wood in its wake, barely missing the satchel that lay just out of arm’s reach of his chair. “And I mean I have real answers.”

Bayls’ hand gripped his thigh hard enough to bruise, the barest waft of her fear tickling his nose before she smothered it. He wanted to wrap an arm around her shoulders, to pull her as close as their chairs would allow, but he couldn’t risk having his hands occupied if things went tits up and sideways with it. He eyed those grooves. Well, more so than they already have. It took a lot for a Dhaoine to physically affect their surroundings like that without focused intent. And while this was Rhyshladlyn and normal had never applied to him, Nhulynolyn still found himself struggling not to blanch.

“But there are pieces missing and I want to see the full picture. So…” the Qishir waved a hand and that dark, too wide smile dropped away from his face so fast it was like it had never been there, “we’re going to talk. And by every god in Existence, you all better not fucking hold out on me.”

The table jerked, making everyone but Rhyshladlyn jump and look over as Azriel half collapsed against it, only staying on his feet by the one-handed grip he had on the back of the chair across from Nhulynolyn, knuckles white and splotched with red from the effort it took to keep himself upright. The Anglëtinean bared his teeth though it was hard to tell if it was in pain or anger or some weird ass combination of both.

*Knowing Azriel, it’s probably both,* Alaïs snarked.

*Stop that shit, would you?* Nhulynolyn replied, *I am strugglin’ enough as it is to keep a blank face an’ your smartass comments ain’t helpin’.* The Sinner female just laughed in response and he rolled his eyes hard enough that he knew she’d feel it. Which only made her laugh harder.

Us hold out on you? Are you hearing yourself?” Azriel grunted as he pulled the chair to his left out with his foot, turning it so that he could half toss, half drop himself into it before turning that mismatched stare back on Rhyshladlyn. Nhulynolyn suppressed a groan and the urge to slap a hand to his forehead. Gods, Feather Duster, just shut the fuck up while you’re ahead. “You’re speaking as though we are all traitors who have conspired against you.”

Nhulynolyn dropped a hand to Bayls’ where it still gripped his thigh and laced their fingers together, wishing he could get her out of here. When Rhyshladlyn was in this dark of a mood very little calmed him down or even kept him controlled. Add Azriel on a self-deprecation kick and desperate to make something bleed to the mix? It was a recipe for absolute disaster. And that wasn’t even taking into account the bad blood that now filled the chasm between the two that served no other purpose besides to add fuel to the fire that was already licking at Azriel’s tunic, its blue-white flames a warning all on their own.

“Some of you are, Azriel Veratone,” Rhyshladlyn replied, voice flat, eyes even flatter. As though there was not a trace of warmth, of Dhaoinity, behind them. Just the cold, dark abyss of an the Oblivion that stretched beyond the jagged peaks of the Thirteen Cliffs.

Say something, Nul,” Eiod whisper-hissed from his left. “You’re the only one who can get him to think straight when he’s like this.”

But Azriel continued before Nhulynolyn could even open his mouth to retort that that was only because he’d been inside Rhyshladlyn’s head.

“Do you have proof of this?” Azriel retorted, tone full of barbs, as though making up for the ones Rhyshladlyn’s own lacked. “Or are you just flinging out accusations until something sticks?”

“Oh, what, like I did with all the mistreatment you’ve shown me over the last forty years?” The continued lack of life and emotion in his twin’s voice made him nervous.

“That is irrelevant in this discussion,” Azriel waved the question aside in the same manner one would swat away a fly and Nhulynolyn growled lowly and he wasn’t the only one, though his was the loudest. “What is relevant is this is the what, fifth time you’ve claimed there were traitors among the Court? And how often were you right?”

“Peace, Rhys,” Xefras touched Rhyshladlyn’s shoulder, Balance sighing through the hall at the contact. “Azriel is merely in pain and still malcontent where you are concerned and is looking to fight about it.”

Nhulynolyn raised both his eyebrows at that, shocked not just at the balls the Dragaen had but the fact that Xefras’ touch alone had brought his twin back from the steel-sharp edge of Danger. A Danger no one had registered except Xefras, so caught up were they in the Else that lurked behind Rhyshladlyn’s eyes, that peaked out in his stillness and his even tone. One touch and Xefras had calmed him, had engaged the natural Greywalker ability in the Qishir to bring Balance. Not even Rhyshladlyn’s Bond with Azriel had been able to do that when it was at its most pure, at its strongest. He glanced at Alaïs who looked just as shocked as he was as she met his gaze and mouthed holy shit.

He agreed wholeheartedly. If this was what their Bond was like before they Oathed, Nhulynolyn was almost afraid to see what it would be like after.

“I’m not–“

Yes,” Xefras interrupted, “you are, Azriel.”

“How the fuck would you know?”

The smile the Dragaen flicked at the Anglëtinean had a heat to it that had nothing to do with bedroom games and everything to do with funeral pyres.

“I can smell it on you,” Xefras leaned forward, free hand tapping the table, nails clacking against the wood. “You reek of regret and missed opportunity and the spicy tang of self-hatred. But you’re too cowardly to do anything about it yourself so you’re goading Rhys into doing it for you. Just like you always have. It’s pathetic.”

“Oh my gods,” someone muttered, he didn’t know who though it sounded like Thayne.

“May the Many See us,” Sheieh whispered from where he sat across from Sheieh next to Shadi.

*That was… terrifyingly perceptive of him,* Alaïs murmured.

*An’ stupidly dangerous,* he replied.

Her mirth at his response was a balm that soothed some of his frayed nerves. *He’ll fit right in then.*

“You know nothing about m–“

Enough,” Rhyshladlyn snapped, cutting Azriel off mid-word and sighed, rubbing a hand over his face. And all at once he was the twin Nhulynolyn knew. Only he looked so much older and exhausted in a way that no amount of restful sleep would ever properly cure. No one moved or even seemed to breathe as they all waited for Rhyshladlyn to continue.

And when he did, Nhulynolyn found himself wishing he hadn’t.

“I only needed to be right the once, Az,” the Qishir said at length and lifted his head, showing the ring of scar tissue that encircled his neck in the perfect thickness of a collar with the barest hints of runic script running between the two distinct lines of where the collar’s edges had been. Eiod made a noise that brought tears to Nhulynolyn’s eyes before the male shot out of his chair and took several steps away from the table, shoulders trembling as he stood with his back to them all. “Once was all it took for me to be collared, to have my magick and my magickal ties to my Others and my qahllyn stripped from me. To be rendered Imènian-blind and alone for three centuries.”

The silence was sickly sweet and loud and Nhulynolyn rubbed at his arm as though to wipe off the feeling of wrongness that had settled there, his other hand squeezing Bayls’ who squeezed back as she tipped her head back and to the side, thunking it against his shoulder. He wasn’t the only one brushing at their arms around the table, all save Eiod who was still standing a few paces away, looking like he wanted to push his fingers in his eyes and burn the image of Rhyshladlyn’s newest scar, one none of them had seen yet, from his memory.

“I knew Rel had been into some fucked up shit during the war but it wasn’t until I’d been forced to sit for the start of gretluos being inked into my skin that I realized just how fucked up and how involved. I knew that Tee and Adïm,” he paused as the doors opened and the Dreamweaver and Lupherinre walked in alongside Ishmariel and Y’adtrik. Waited until they all took their seats before continuing, “I knew that Tee and Adïm, while not outright involved, had suspected Rel of the same things I did only where I sought answers and retribution, they sought to remain neutral and when that neutrality backfired and the Worlds lost the Balance I provided, they sought instead to justify Relyt’s actions, to excuse them away.”

Rhyshladlyn rubbed at his face again, this time with both hands, and Nhulynolyn felt his chest grow tight. Found himself wishing yet again that he still had the link that had bound them as and Other. Wishing that so many things had been different. But this time he cursed Fate and Azriel and Relyt and Azhuri and Anislanzir and every other spineless, pathetic piece of shit that had ever fucked with, fucked up, or outright abused his twin. Prayed to whatever gods handled retribution and vengeance that come every last Dhaoine on that list suffered three fold what Rhyshladlyn had.

Prayed, too, that he was there to watch it when it happened.

“Sheieh took an Oath of Guardianship not because he was Called to do so but rather because Lílrt had ordered him to. Had stuck by my Steward’s side in an effort to control him and the memories that could have exposed them all. Ahdyfe was the only Healer ever called to my rooms while I was collared and from the first time she ever laid eyes on me, I knew she knew who I was. But she had allowed her misplaced loyalty to Lílrt and his cause, her twisted love for the un-male, to override her Healer duties to free an unwilling slave from confinement.” Orange-amber eyes glanced at the Snake Shiftkin who was staring hard at the table, absolutely still except for the way her chest heaved with the deep, rattling breaths she took. Rhyshladlyn dropped his hands to the table and swung those intense, burning eyes back to Azriel who rocked in his chair under their weight, his own mismatched ones wide.

“And if you hadn’t stopped me from killing Relyt that day in the Steward Corps camp, if you had killed him yourself as was your right as my Oathed Companion, I would not have this,” Rhyshladlyn gestured at that new scarring around his neck. “I would not have been subjected to atrocities that made what my sire did to me and my siblings look tame and ethical by comparison.”

Eiod slowly returned to his seat then but was careful to not look up at Rhyshladlyn, to keep his eyes only on the table, face bleached of color, eyes muted as one hand gently, absently, rubbed at his own throat. Nhulynolyn frowned slightly but knew now wasn’t the time to ask. But still Eiod sat as witness, even though doing so clearly pained him. Listened because the male knew what it was like to suffer as Rhyshladlyn had.

*Thayne’s mother saved him from slavers who had, to some small degree, succeeded in doing what Lílrt tried to do with, to, Rhys,* Alaïs’ voice was cold, furious, and Nhulynolyn swallowed hard at the memories he received that she had gotten from Thayne.

“You asked me how often I was right out of the some five times I’ve said there were traitors in the Court, Azriel Kasuske of House Veratone,” Rhyshladlyn’s voice was a living thing that touched places no voice, magick-backed or otherwise, should be able to reach, “well now you have it.”

In the silence that followed, Rhyshladlyn sat back in the chair and relaxed in increments, eyes slowly losing their flatness, face thawing out enough that he didn’t look like a very detailed statue. Until that Else was no longer as noticeable. But his twin remained reserved, cold, distant, and he hated to see it even if he understood why. Hated even more that he had only the vaguest sense of connection because they were finally of the same race.

“Any other stupid questions?” the Qishir asked, looking at each other them. No one said a word. Which is the smartest thing any of us have done in ages, I’d wager. “Good.” The shift of that focus away from the table was strong enough Nhulynolyn felt like if he lifted a hand he could physically pluck it out of the air. “Relyt Greymend, wake up,” the attend was a cold snap that was as unforgiving as the tone it was spoken with and Nhulynolyn closed his eyes on the sight of his twin looking even more like their father than he had before. Bowed his head and found himself not caring about the consequences of being blind should things go even more fucked than they already were.

Relyt’s scream as the Soul Healer came awake at that command made him shudder. Sent a ripple of unease and discontent and the barest tang of anger around the table. But he didn’t open his eyes. Not when Rhyshladlyn’s chair moved, not when his footsteps echoed in the too silent hall, not when the sound of scuffling feet and muted pleas filled that eerie quiet.

“My Qishir, I’m–”

“Save it. Your excuses, your reasons mean nothing to me. Not anymore,” Rhyshladlyn interrupted and Nhulynolyn opened his eyes then. Drank in the sight of him standing with his hands fisted in Relyt’s blood soaked tunic, the wounds his twin had inflicted gone, Healed away with the amount of effort it took Rhyshladlyn to breathe. Something done without any thought, without any hesitation. Something that any other Dhaoine would have struggled with and even if they added a Working behind it would’t have been guaranteed such perfect results.

*I always forget just how powerful he really is until he does shit like this and reminds me,* Alaïs commented and he glanced sidelong at her but she wasn’t looking at him. Instead her clear blue eyes were riveted on their brother, bottom lip pulled between her teeth, the slope of her shoulders where they led into her neck tense like she wanted to run but hadn’t decided if it was the safest option yet. *And I am never ready for it when he does.*

*To be fair, Al,* he looked back at Rhyshladlyn as the Qishir half dragged, half walked Relyt over to the table and the empty seat he hadn’t really sat in for over forty years, *none of us are.*

“What matters,” Rhyshladlyn jerked his chin and the Steward’s chair slipped out from its place tucked under the table, “is your honesty. If you’re even capable of it anymore.” With all the ease of one tossing a blanket off their legs on the couch, Rhyshladlyn dropped Relyt into that chair, spun it with one foot to face the table and pushed it forward as he walked behind it back to his own chair. “Now, since we’re all here — well, save Jaro, though I’m certain Sheieh will be willing to relay this information to the Soulless on my behalf?” At Sheieh’s nod, Rhyshladlyn smiled and continued, tone sweet and gentle and an absolute trap though for the life of him Nhulynolyn couldn’t see where that trap was, only knew it was there, “Good, good. Now… who wants to go first?”

It was like they were all fledglings caught out by their parents for misbehaving but they didn’t know if their parents knew who had done what and when, so they adopted the rule of silence is safety. Only this time, even that wasn’t enough to keep them from being punished. Merely delay the inevitable.

Guess it’s up to me then. He took a deep breath, squeezed Bayls’ hand and let go so he could place both his hands on the table, bringing that orange-amber gaze swinging round to him. He met it as squarely as he could, even tossing out a grin that only barely tugged at his lips but it was worth it to see the way those eyes softened around the edges.

“You want answers?” Ahdyfe’s voice was soft, gentle, but filled with a strength that reminded him of the day they’d learned she was Rhyshladlyn’s qahllyn Healer. Rhyshladlyn’s attention shifted from him to the Shiftkin who gestured at the satchel on the table between them. “Some of them are in there.”

“Such as?” Rhyshladlyn quipped as he pulled the satchel to him and upended it onto the table, scattering a leather bound journal, papers, and a few pens. He picked up the nearest paper, one that looked like it had the drawing of an hourglass on it.

“Such as how Lílrt fooled the entire Seven Worlds that the three hundred years you were his slave didn’t happen and that he was your Steward,” the Shiftkin answered, her mouth curling up in a gotcha grin as she relaxed back in her chair, arms crossing under her breasts, diamond-white eyes filled with an emotion Nhulynolyn couldn’t place. “And why it failed.”

All at once the air sucked out of the room and Rhyshladlyn was suddenly standing between Ahdyfe’s chair and the table, the hand that held the paper he’d picked up shaking as he bared teeth that suddenly were far larger than his mouth could hold. The female cried out at the Else that leaned into her personal space and growled at a register that was barely in the vocal range, “Where the fuck did he get them and are they still active?”

“Where did he get what?” Xefras asked and Rhyshladlyn tossed the paper onto the table behind him, eyes never leaving Ahdyfe.

Bayls got to it first, letting go of his hand so she could half climb onto the table to reach it before anyone else did.

“Oh by the Great Mother’s quivering clit,” his mate said breathlessly as she dropped back into her chair, the blood draining from her face as she read the paper in her shaking hands. “That bastard found motherfucking Shiëtzirs.”

“Shee…ett… sh–what?” Ishmariel asked, stumbling over the Sinxhët word.

Shiëtzirs,” Nhulynolyn corrected almost absently as he looked at Shadiranamen and Xheshmaryú who were already staring at him with faces that were a riot of horror and disbelief. “How many does he have?”

He didn’t know who he was posing the question to but it was Rhyshladlyn who answered, “He has ten.”

The pain of the Otherborn and Dreamweaver languages bouncing around the hall wasn’t enough to override the terror those three words filled him with.

6 thoughts on “74

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