Return 22 pt2

(chapter continued from previous post) Kieran and Kaveri edged backwards, so there was less open ground between them and Neoma and Narcissa, more space between them and the ranged arc of opponents. Lysandra and Demetrios followed their lead, cautiously. It was something of a relief to have family and allies all clustered together and easier to protect, but Tyrel wasn’t sure he cared for where this was all going. Gernot wasn’t going to be swayed by any appeal to logic or emotion: he had too much of a vested interest in maintaining the current system, which justified even the worst …

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Return 22 pt1

The first tremor made Tyrel blink and look down. Had he imagined that? It quickly became obvious that he hadn’t. The first tile to come loose let a narrow shaft of moonlight into the darkness. It wasn’t close to any of them, but it was still a welcome sight. Another tile, another thin beam of moonlight, and as the shaking escalated, it became harder to count. One allowed a spear of light to fall on Kaveri, who sighed deeply—and, before her captors had time to drag her out of the way, she changed to her raccoon form, melting out of …

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Return 21

From here, Narcissa could see the door of the outbuilding, though not well and from an angle. The space in front of it she could see quite clearly, however. She saw a small shape, bright with Meyar’s light, plummet from the sky directly over the outbuilding, followed by an owl haloed with green-gold. Heart in her throat, she lost sight of her sister behind the building. Please let her be safe. Why did she come back here? She heard Gernot’s threat, echoing off the inside of the walls, and felt cold and sick. Could she let her moon-sister endure that? …

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Return 20

Tyrel paused in his account of their first visit to the Garden of Umako, as the door lock grated open to let someone in. Kieran, who had been lying quietly, roused instantly with a deep rumbling growl. “That’s Demetrios,” Juro said. Kieran, interestingly, subsided, though he stayed on alert. Tyrel wondered whether he was rational enough to accept Juro as a friend whose judgement could be trusted, or whether it was something else. The newcomer, who had a single oil lamp in hand, closed the door firmly and set the lamp on a ledge near it before approaching. That was …

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Return 19

Lysandra huddled under the eaves of a roof, tight against the wall and praying she was hidden by shadow, while the owl swooped back and forth. She’d barely escaped its talons twice in fleeing from the walled compound, and wasn’t sure how often she could continue to do so. At least it seemed to have lost her for now: it felt like she’d been hiding here for hours, though it had probably been minutes. What was she going to do? Her sister’s whereabouts were unknown. Obviously her deception had fallen through, but that didn’t mean she’d been captured. In fact, …

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