[ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]
.Small animals scuttle through the shadows.I come in through the front door and Dust is there, her thatchy, multicoloured hair all over her face, tiny bones tangled in the knots.She’s sitting on the bare floorboards in the middle of a chalk circle, surrounded by incense pots.A fireclaw pipe is loose in her hand, and she looks comatose, but somehow she’s still in a slumped-yet-upright position.Her head hangs, chin resting on her breastbone.I make my way across the room, picking through the strewn bits of arcane junk that she uses to connect with her inner force, or something.I’m almost at the stairs when her head snaps up and she gives me a filmy glare.‘Blood on your hands!’ she screeches, then trembles and begins to sob.‘So much blood.’I’ve heard it before, and I didn’t care then.So I head upstairs, to my dim little room.I don’t bother lighting the lantern.This place is cold and there’s nothing here but a shabby bed that reeks of dust, and a chest of drawers, half of which don’t open for reasons I frankly cannot fathom.I lie down and try to think of other things I could be doing, other leads I could follow.But I daren’t expose myself for now, so all I can do is wait.I’ll find you, Jai.I just have to see you one more time.I’ll tell you how much I love you and I’ll explain everything.But first, oh please, just let me know you’re safe.Because I should have fought your father harder, I shouldn’t have been weak.You’re where you are because of me.Maybe nothing can change that now.But at least I can say sorry.At least I can do that.At least.I wake to the sound of a tread on the stairs, and I’m off the bed and across the room almost before I realise that I’d fallen asleep.My shortblades are out, held ready as I press myself against the wall to the left of the doorway.There’s two of them, one lighter than the other, male and female.They’re coming up tentatively, the boards creaking beneath their shoes.Either they’re trying to sneak, and making a bad job of it, or they’ve guessed I’m waiting for them.Both say assassin to me.Closer.Almost at the top now.I keep my muscles loose, ready, blade pointed down to plunge into the collar of the foremost.Closer.How did you find me, Ledo?‘Orna?’I exhale.Keren steps through the doorway, scanning the empty room.He catches sight of me standing next to him in the dark and jumps out of his skin.‘Fuck me! Orna, you creepy bitch.What in the Abyss are you doing standing there?’I sheathe my shortblades as I walk into the centre of the room.‘Thought you were someone else.’ Then I catch sight of a frightened-looking face peering into the room from the stairway, and my relief becomes amazement.A beautiful girl, dark and intelligent.The girl my son loves.‘Reitha!’‘She was already in Veya,’ Keren explains.‘Here for a conference that her master was attending.My man in Coldwash found her.Once I told her you were in the city, she demanded to see you.Wish all my jobs were so easy.’‘It’s okay, Reitha,’ I say, as she’s clearly still alarmed by my reception.‘I’m so glad you could come.’She hurries into the room and clutches me in a tight hug that takes me by surprise.There’s desperation in it.Something dreadful makes its chill way towards my heart.No.I won’t think it.She steps back, and holds out a letter to me.It’s an official communication.High-quality paper, a broken Army seal, a postmark from three dozen turns ago.I don’t look at it, but at her.Her lip is trembling, eyes filled with salt water.No.Please, no.My hand moves of its own accord, reaching out to take it from her, trembling.I swear I don’t know whether I’m going to rip it up or read it, but it doesn’t matter.My fingers are palsied, and it slips through my grip and on to the floor.Keren has worked out that something is really, really wrong.Reitha obviously hadn’t told him.He doesn’t have any idea.‘He heard what happened at Korok,’ she said.‘He thought you were dead.’ Her voice chokes off, throat swollen with grief.‘How?’ I can barely manage the whisper.‘Poison,’ she says.‘He took poison.’ Tears spill down her cheeks and she has this look, this empty look of incomprehension.‘He thought you were dead,’ she says again.My legs go from under me.Suddenly they can’t hold me up any more.Keren half-catches me, but he only succeeds in slowing my fall.My vision is swarming.I can’t breathe properly.He killed himself while I was in prison.All of this, everything, and I was too late all along.He took his own life.He took his own life because of what happened at Korok.He killed himself because of what Ledo did [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]