Chapter Twenty

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An almost constant thud of hooves lulled Selene’s consciousness, but she refused to let sleep take her, not while Kareth spoke. They rode all day and walked most of the night after leaving the small room hidden in the back of the stable. Kareth feared that one of the horses might stumble and break a leg in the gloom of night, but morning’s first was creeping its way through the trees and they took to the saddles once again. He looked back at her as they rode and she could not help but smile through the fatigue.

“It is true then, the stories about the Children of the Shadows?”

Kareth returned her smile. “Some,” he followed with a shrug, “but most tales of extraordinary talents are flourished with exaggerations. Shadowdancers are no different. It is when the world is graced with magik that stories truly take flight.” A mischievous grin snaked across his face. “However, I give my word that anything I speak will be the absolute truth. I have little reason to boast the dark order any more than I must.”

Selene had never seen magik, at least not that she knew of, but the thought of actually encountering it filled her with increasing excitement. “Magik…” The word danced off of her tongue.

“Aye, magik, but it is not so great a feat, my dear. Not in most cases.” His face grew serious and Selene wondered if she had offended him. “I have witnessed many meet their end due to the misuse of these forces. I pray you are never privy such a thing.”

She frowned at that and fought back a yawn. They were traveling longer and sleeping less the last couple of weeks. The toll was beginning to take effect on the both of them, though Kareth rarely showed any signs of weariness. He must have noticed her fatigue, because he slowed his horse and dropped from the saddle.

“We are but three days from Adremia, and less than one from the farmsteads and villages surrounding it. Perhaps we will find an inn not cluttered with king’s men somewhere in the vicinity.”

Selene nodded and slid off of her horse with far less grace than Kareth. “I would kill for a straw bed, fleas or not.”

After Kareth hobbled the horses he dropped his saddle bag to the ground and began digging through it. “We will take an hour to rest.” He pulled out some scraps of bread and dried venison he had wrapped in a piece of cloth and handed the larger portion to Selene.

“What is the City of Mirrors like?” Selene asked through a mouthful of food.

It took Kareth a moment to answer. “It is a city unlike any other, though I must admit, I have not been there in some time.”

Selene thought about that with a smile. “I have never seen a city, much less one made of mirrors.”

Kareth only grinned and sat back against a large tree. “It is no more made of mirrors than the Sunken City is submerged. Rather, it is a city built on water, or rather, surrounded by water and reflecting the mountains along with the buildings. During the day—and night, if the moon is right—the city reflects off of the glass-like water, and there you have the name.” He finished the small helping of food easily and rested his head. “Though Adremia is a sight to see, wait until you level your eyes upon the horizon of Garr. The Obsidian City with the Ruech Tower is not to be missed, not while one has the ability to see them.”

Selene had heard stories about Garr, and about the Merchant Lord that controlled it. It was said to be a dark city, filled with mercenaries and thieves, all under the employ of the Merchant Lord himself. “I do not think that I want to see Garr,” Selene said with a quick shake of her head.

“There is nothing to fear in Garr that you should not fear elsewhere. Besides, there are worse places in the realm, that is for certain.” Kareth had his eyes closed at this point.

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