An olive-skinned beauty stood before him whose hands had never known work. Elymas clutched the remaining bottle of Frennin White and wondered if he was going insane.
The woman was clearly not Casorian. Casorian women tended to be fair and light eyed, taller as well. Those that were not were short and large as beef. This woman wore kohl around her eyes and was delicately formed. She wore a gossamer gown which only accentuated the litheness of her body. A young body, just on the verge of womanhood. Youth. Memory nudged him, but whatever likeness was trying to come forth disappeared.
He’d treat her like a servant until he discovered who she really was. He wanted to treat her like a servant. She was laughing again, sly chuckles that incited his fury.
“Take the bottles and get out,” Somehow, he managed to sound bored. “Oh, and swipe the floor. I spilled some wine.”
He pointed to a puddle beneath the second bottle, which lay on its side.
She made no move to obey. Instead, she purred, “Ondred was right. You were a fool to poison the King.”
“What?” he sputtered. “I have done. . . your accusation speaks of treason. Do you know how traitors die?”
She stepped closer and laughed. Her beauty was flawless and he was afraid.
“Speak up, your voice is faint,” she said. “There’s no danger of being overheard. I’ve stilled the shadows, at least for now.”
At their mention, the shadows gathered round her like pets.
She was insane, Elymas decided, but the insane were known to have unusual strength. It was time to call for the guards. He tried to raise his hand to pull the bell rope, only he couldn’t move.
“What’s going on?” His voice was weak.
Instead of answering she crossed her arms and watched as the Earth Skyll strained against the invisible.
As for Elymas, his struggle gave him peace. He now knew who he was dealing with — a small time practitioner in the black arts or a village witch who wanted a place in the coming change. The poor deluded woman was showing him her skills. He was both angered and pleased.
It wasn’t hard to guess how she’d gained knowledge or his plans or even access to the castle. Root. Idly, Elymas wondered if he’d found her in a whipping booth at the docks.
He wondered if he’d whip her himself.
Dismissing the delightful notion, Elymas concentrated his remaining strength.