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Into the Sunlits

Into the Sunlits

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Into the Sunlits

Length:
382 pages
6 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Oct 15, 2015
ISBN:
9781310648540
Format:
Book

Description

Nameless has lost nearly everything when the Web Mother rewarded his work, and now must rebuild from the ashes of his victory. With only his trainer, he journeys to another realm in search for new potential Silks to honor the oaths he gave to Her.

Developing a stable of potential fighters around an unusual group of captives, teaches Nameless some of who and what he is outside his rank and goddess’ living avatar. His single-minded self-imposed quest leads him into trouble that pulls him away from his new captives, leaving their care in the unstable hands of his trainer. When the group is reunited, the resentment expressed by one of the captives drives him to the edge of sanity. There he is tempered and forged into a new force. But is he a force of balance, or a force of chaos?

Publisher:
Released:
Oct 15, 2015
ISBN:
9781310648540
Format:
Book

About the author

K. Caffee is a full time graduate student who has bowed to the pressures of her muse to get the stories she likes to tell out into the big world. She has always enjoyed entertaining others with her flights of fancy, and now invites you to come along for the ride. When she is not writing, or studying, she is a willing servant to her two cats who sometimes provide inspiration for her stranger characters. Currently, she is working on her 5 book debut series Followers of Torments. Book 1 "Out of the Darkness" is now available Book 2 "Remember the Shadows" Is now available Book 3 "Into the Sunlits" Winning NaNoWriMo 2014 challenge will release this summer Book 4 "And Keep this in Mind" is being written now Book 5 "I am You while You are I" will be the epic wrap up of the series, is on the table awaiting further developments. If you enjoy delving into the world of the faerie, please feel free to contact me. I look forward to hearing from you!


Book Preview

Into the Sunlits - K Caffee

Followers of Torments: Book 3

Into the Sunlits

K. Caffee

Copyright 2014 K. Caffee

Smashwords Edition

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review. This is a work of dark fantasy fiction and may be not suitable for readers under the eighteen (18) years of age due to fictional violence.

Thank you for downloading this eBook. This book remains the copyrighted property of the author, and may not be redistributed to others for commercial or non-commercial purposes. If you enjoyed this book, please encourage your friends to download their own copy from their favorite authorized retailer. Thank you for your support.

Acknowledgements

I want to thank all of the wonderful folks who have helped me simply by being there when I had a flurry of questions during the odd hours. You know who you are. I also wish to acknowledge Tieve, Miraja, and Delicateaslace for their work in helping to develop the main character during our role-play sessions. Without you ladies, he never would have become someone to write about.

And, the last, but most important people I wish to thank, and cannot thank enough are Martin Frowd , Christina McMullen, and Hillary Kelly for your invaluable work in getting this edited. You took a monstrosity and tamed it into a civilized book.

Table of Contents

First Moonrise

Chasing the Wolf

Darma Finthil

Lessons in Vocabulary

Escape to the Town

Discovering the Past

Waiting

Saving Nameless

Collar for Celecanepo

Every Tale Has Two Sides

Pit Trap

Realm Walkers

Nisei Courts

From Crown to Crown

Sundered

About the Author

Sneak Preview of And Keep this in Mind

First Moonrise

Standing at the end of the strange path, Nameless turned to look back over where they had come from. To his amazement, the switchback path into and out of the chasm he and Akantheldama had painfully traversed through the night was not in evidence. Now, his gaze was met with just the growing darkness on the smooth floor of the crystal-lined old lava tube. He turned to look out over the sheltered valley below, wondering if it was an illusion as well. The chromatic display of oranges, golds, and coppers of the setting sun reflected off the surrounding peaks, leaving the valley itself in a growing pool of cool blues, enigmatic purples, and even darker grays.

He stood entranced watching the natural dance between day and night as the crystalline light of the stars took the lead. The unfamiliar display of beauty momentarily took his mind off the stolen possessions; specifically, the Matron’s Seal he should never have won.

Akantheldama emerged from her chosen patch of shadows in time to enjoy the finale of nature’s show. An evening breeze from the valley below began to creep into the cavern. It carried the scents of water, growing things, and damp earth as it playfully made its way to where the newly arrived pair stood. It teased Nameless’ dreadlocks and the Intuii’s matted hair before it whispered away into the tunnel system they had just left.

Looking over the valley, now filled with inviting darkness, Nameless suddenly gave a shout, and took off running. He blindly careened down the slope, with complete disregard for his personal safety. He hit the gentler, grass-covered slope below where the cavern emerged, and tried to settle into a clean-striding run. The heavily loaded supply pack he carried disrupted his rhythm, so he shrugged out of the shoulder straps and let it fall where it would. It hit the ground, breaking the top flap’s tie, and threw his personal belongings everywhere before it tumbled to a stop.

Akantheldama, surprised by Nameless’ frantic departure, followed him into the valley with more caution. She sent a brief glance at the mountainous peaks to ensure the sun had descended far enough for her to remain unaffected. When she reached the valley floor, she paused long enough to pick up the pack and reclaim some of the scattered items.

Throwing the pack over her shoulders, on top of the provisions bag, she hunted for where her strangely acting master had vanished. She discovered a break in the tree line, and began the cat and mouse game of tracking him in unfamiliar territory. Her job was simplified some by the spore left from two bodies crashing through the brush heading in the same direction. As the woods thickened around her, she worried about missing any direction changes of the trail in the growing dusk, though it seemed to continue in an arrow-straight line.

Breaking through the final barrier, she crashed to a halt. The last line of brush screening her master rattled behind her from the forced passage. She was just in time to see Nameless bowl over a strange man with the bag of priceless possessions still clasped tightly in his hand.

Now, slave, give you back what took! Nameless was yelling, his hands frantically digging at the pouch’s mouth as he pinned the stranger to the ground.

He extracted the hank of Silk around the other’s balled fist, somehow, without spilling the rest of the bag’s contents. He worked a loose end out of the hank, and broke off several short lengths before he dropped the mass to the ground by his knee. He worked the pieces of special Silk into a cord formed with his own webs, and thrust it at the form pinned beneath his knees.

It took several attempts to get the cord around the luckless man’s neck before Nameless succeeded. In part because the captive kept wiggling and fighting to break free; in part because Nameless’ anger had erupted, and he had trouble focusing on the man’s form instead of his movement.

I promise no harm was intended! The man yelled in the common tongue of this new land. Akantheldama recognized it from her time before she had been embraced. Nameless did not. Despite all the languages Nameless had learned, Zertzese had never exposed the pukah to the languages of the Sunlits. No one had ever thought Nameless would have a reason to return to his father’s Realm.

Silence, ordered Nameless in the Melkreschen dialect, leaning down close to the newly captured man.

The oddly colored man, recognizing only an order by the tone of voice, not the word, whimpered his way into silence. With a sigh, Nameless stood and retrieved his bag from the stun-weakened grip with a jerk. He shoved a hand into the bag to verify the contents and was relieved to feel the crystal vial still present, though it was under the small hoard of coins. It seemed the stranger had not bothered to investigate his finds too thoroughly after all.

Nameless webbed the bag back into place on his belt. In the process, his hand brushed past the empty spot where his hardened pouch should have hung. With the reminder, he began a thorough examination of the captive’s person and possessions. Most of the discovered items, he discarded as unknowns. A few he placed into a pile as potentially useful, or things to be investigated later. What he did not find, was the specific pouch he sought.

He finally looked up from his work, and noted the arrival of Akantheldama. Standing, he pointed at the small pile of items he had gathered. Look through, if use has, pack. He tried to shrug out of the missing pack before he realized he had dropped it during the chase. Separate. I will pack when return I.

He started to push through the rim of brush behind her, but she stopped him first. If possessions seek, go no further, the find I carry now. If more you know, that I have lost, then spilled it did out yonder. I found what could, as traipse I did, to pace and find you here. For now I carry what you seek, what now from you is worried?

She shrugged out of her burdens, careful to catch the bag of provisions before it fell to the ground. The pack, she held out to Nameless fighting to hide a grimace and a glance at the still glowing mountain peaks. Her time underground in the Melkreschen Realm had eroded her memory of what daylight did to her speech patterns. Not exactly sure what we lost, but most should be here now. Look you should, I found what could, I give it to you, master.

Grunting an acknowledgement, Nameless flicked his gaze over where the captive should have been laying. His eyes met with a flattened patch of grass. No! Theft punishable is!

He took a stride or two at random, then stopped when he realized he had no idea how to find the man. His skills at tracking were minimal, and in this strange land those skills were reduced to meaningless. Akantheldama startled when Nameless shouted again, having rarely heard him raise his voice in the years she had served as his trainer. She also paused to listen carefully to his voice. It had changed, and she did not understand why. Now, his voice sounded full of inflections she associated with the Leukresen, or perhaps the faerie folk of the Sunlits, not the common, guttural harshness of the Melkreschen languages.

She stepped over to where the fading imprint was and leaned down to sniff. Even with her House’s unusual gifts she could discover nothing worthwhile to track. Grass, fresh air, and seared earth, were the only scents she picked up. She opened her mouth slightly, and tried again. Just at the edge of her senses, she picked up the harder edge of her preferred food. The barely discernable scent of the escapee’s determination tickled and whetted her hunger. She stood once more, tasting the night breeze, and tried to filter out the faint flavor of the new captive from Nameless’ almost overwhelming miasma.

Pacing like a bloodhound seeking the scent, she began quartering the area, trying to get upwind of her master. For the moment, he ignored her antics, unpacking the haphazardly stowed items in the supply pack. In frustration, he finally dumped the entire pack, and began fresh. The two days of practice on the journey from the Gate made the process of repacking the larger items a quick job. When he only had the small items that should have resided in his pouch or that had been stowed between the cushioning layers he quickly sorted them into two piles. He picked through the piles destined for his bag and pouch to separate out the favor tokens. These he immediately deposited in the reclaimed bag. The other small items, he stowed back in the odd corners and protected cocoons he made for them.

He erupted into another bout of invectives at the missing captive when he realized the Matron’s seal was missing. It had not been misplaced, but had vanished entirely from the pack. He did not know if it had been stolen, or if it had been thrown clear when he dropped the pack, and Akantheldama had failed to pick it up. Neither result boded well for his captives.

Akantheldama stopped hunting for the elusive trail spore when she heard Nameless begin cursing again. Her waxy skin paled even more when she finally determined what had set her master off this time through the range of languages and mangled syntax he used.

Master, here to stay, to look I go, the path I followed here. To check again, I go to see what in the dimness missed, she gasped before bolting from the clearing.

She covered the distance back to the open valley at her fastest sprint before she slowed. With eyes glued to the ground, she quartered the area across which the collected items had scattered. She discovered a few more items, but failed to find the Matron’s seal. The gemstone box with its precious treasure eluded her searching eyes in the uncertain light. After almost a full glass of effort during which the sun completely set and took the warm colors from the sky, she had to admit the item was no longer in the valley. She paused to consider what would happen to her and the new captive if it had never been there at all. She returned to the clearing where Nameless paced impatiently for her return.

Master, it is gone. I searched along our route well past where it could have been thrown, but it is not there. If we want answers, then we will have to find your new captive, she reported, her head hanging dejectedly. With the sun’s setting her compulsion to rhyme had faded as well.

Nameless nodded, and shouldered his pack. Then, find him we shall. He cannot far have gone. Made I a fighter’s collar. Limits how far he go can.

The Intuii nodded. While she waited on her orders, she opened her mouth and drank in the emotion-laden night air to feed her hunger. She relished the depth and complexity in the determination she picked up from Nameless. Though he was just one man, it constantly surprised her just how many varieties of the same emotion he could harbor. Very rarely did she have to seed his mind or support his will, which let her become satiated faster.

The edge of her hunger appeased, she began once more to search for any sign of the new captive. She slipped through the under growth, her mouth slightly ajar as she hunted for the elusive wisp of determination he had given off before he disappeared.

Though she usually felt disdain for the other Houses, she heartily wished right now for one of the Imutii to just magically appear. Their ability to sense fear would be very welcome right about now. The last she had heard about members of that House had been just before her progenitor had taken her into the Melkreschen realm to begin her final education. Though she wanted one here now, she had no idea how to summon one.

She finally tasted a whiff of her quarry. The flavor faded almost as soon as it registered on her senses. She turned, frantically testing the wind as she tried to find where it came from.

She realized the rapidly fading scent had come from somewhere near their back trail, so worked her way across the uneven terrain. Careful of her footing and low-hanging branches she worked her way along the elusive trail. Once more, she ended her search just before Nameless did something irreversible.

Nameless remained in the clearing, with his eyes closed. Through his connection to the Web Mother, Voras, and the Silk he had used in the collar, he felt a faint pull in the direction the captive had fled. Barely aware of what he did, he slowly turned in place until the direction felt directly ahead of him. He opened his eyes, and began his own hunt.

Though he had no experience in woodcraft, his faerie blood provided him an innate understanding of the most common pitfalls for travelers. He stepped over the natural obstacles that barred his path, evaded the thorny plants with ease, and ducked under low-hanging branches most novice woodsmen would have found with their foreheads. When he covered a distance he judged to be the maximum possible for the captive to have fled, he repeated the hunt and seek procedure again.

Through this hot and cold method of location, he finally caught sight of his prey. The thief had exceeded the limits allowed by the Silk collar one time too many for a breath or two too long. He lay gasping on the ground, while his hands weakly clawed at the collar. Already it had constricted enough to cut into the muscles along the side of his neck. Nameless’ desire caused the Silk to react even more violently to the hands trying to rip it off. The new captive’s movement stopped moments before Nameless reached him.

The man was unconscious just inside the tree line of the valley floor. With a sigh, Nameless dug through the supply pack, and retrieved the small water skin kept there. Sloshing it, he confirmed there was enough water left for his purposes. He extracted the crystal vial from his bag, and carefully unstoppered it before he measured out two drops of Her venom into the skin. With a predatory grin, he forced the stranger’s mouth open, and dumped half of the spiked contents into his mouth.

Spluttering, and gagging from the unexpected drink, the man sat up, shoving violently at the hand that held the skin. Nameless allowed the skin to be pushed away, bringing it to his own lips and drawing off a large swig before stoppering it once more. As the venom worked into his system, it took away his exhaustion. He watched the stranger expectantly for a reaction.

The man saw Nameless so close to him, and his fight or flight reflex was overridden by the venom-laced water. He launched himself at his captor with no thoughts of finesse, or tactics, just brute strength.

His charge was met by Nameless’ first use of the techniques he had learned from Akantheldama. Nameless savagely slammed his forearm down across the man’s back just before the charging body collided with his own. The blow drove the captive face first into the soil, while momentum carried his feet over his head. Luck was the only thing that saved him. Nameless had mistimed his strike, which allowed the stranger to force his chin down enough to prevent his neck from breaking. The arc of his body caused his feet to hit a fraction of a breath before the rest of him, and absorbed much of the impact.

Grunting in surprise at his failure, Nameless found a nearby tree, and waited for the man to make another attempt. He waited in vain. The man lay on the ground, gasping stunned from the multiple shocks he had suffered so close together. He rolled his head to see where Nameless was.

Vermin. What have you done to me? If I had wanted to harm you, I would have stolen something worthwhile. He gasped out in a pidgin dialect often used on the rare occasions one of the Melkreschen traded legitimately with a Sunlit resident.

Nameless barely grasped what the man was saying, though he understood enough. Hearing the other admit to his theft, Nameless’ quieting temper flared into full flame again.

Stealing punishable is. Death is, but what I keep for Webs do! Steal from me not. Steal from Her do, to Her answer. Perhaps to Webs you go immediate, perhaps test others first will. He growled in the Melkreschen dialect, stomping over to where the new captive lay.

The lilt in his voice emerged even stronger, and distorted some of the words beyond recognition. His hand dipped into his reacquired bag, to pull out the Silk. When it struck the collection of tokens, he paused long enough to look down in surprise. He dug even deeper, thinking that the hank had settled under the tokens. Some of the tokens were scattered when he failed to find it, even with the more thorough search.

The flare of fury at the admission to the theft became mote compared to the maelstrom of destruction at this discovery. Nameless’ hand tore the pouch off his belt as he gave into his emotions. The raging beast within fed on the fury and slammed against its cage. Several of the bars used to control it cracked, and the hungry desire leeched away what sanity Nameless reacquired after the short brawl. Intent on justice to Her, Nameless intended to punish his captive. However, as the battle rage worried at its confinement, he shifted from punching his captive senseless to actively attempting to dismember the man. He was in the process of kicking the man’s ribcage in when Akantheldama arrived.

Master, no! She called in his native tongue, closing the distance and daring to place herself between the enraged pukah and the thief.

Nameless checked his attack, and glowered at her. The beast within slammed against the door to its cage even harder in rebellion at the lack of consistent signals. Despite the battle madness flooding his mind, Nameless forced himself to stay his attack. Akantheldama was property, with the slight protection this entailed. His eyes never left the unconscious man while he waited for the vampire to explain herself.

I will take him, master. She looked back at the badly injured man before continuing. I know the ways of the Clans. He stole more than just your possessions, and for that, he must be punished. There is no Child here to feed, so his punishment must be delayed. He shall not be idle while he waits, master. Nor, shall I teach him my ways for the Sands.

Nameless listened, noting her quick glances at the stranger. When she finished, he nodded once, then turned to push through the undergrowth into the open valley to search for the second most valuable item he had lost.

He was stopped by the sight of the newly risen moon. The stars, when he had first seen them, were something he could accept. There had been occasions before he left the Realm, when the Cities had produced enough light for gems hidden in the cavern’s ceilings to sparkle in the reflected glow. Nowhere in the Realm, had there been anything like the delicate ring of light which emerged thumb length by thumb length from behind the mountain peaks.

The vampire, seeing her master’s distracted state, looked to see what had captured his attention. Seeing the ring moon, she nodded to herself in understanding. Then, she turned her attention to the captive.

We are nice, slave. We allow you to keep your name unless you prove to us that you do not deserve it. What do you call yourself? she demanded abruptly in the common tongue of the locals.

The man stopped trying to crawl out of visual range unobtrusively when the Intuii turned her attention back to him. He frowned, and visibly clamped his jaws together. His response brought a fleeting look of hunger to the vampire’s face. Suddenly fearing for his life, having not understood what had been exchanged between Nameless and Akantheldama, his determination to remain silent crumbled.

Raonal he muttered, the lilt in his voice similar to what she had heard in Nameless’ the last time he had raged.

Raonal. The vampire repeated, her gaze intense. What are you doing here, Raonal?

Nothing. He looked up at Akantheldama, his eyes shouting his innocence to whatever accusation she leveled at him.

Right. And, did that ‘nothing’ involve taking something from the master? she asked quietly.

Raonal paused for several heartbeats. When his head moved, his chin described an indecipherable circle along his chest.

Answer me, slave. Did you or did you not steal something from the master? she repeated in a harsh voice.

No, I stole nothing. It was laying out where I could find it.

With a grunt, Akantheldama squatted down so she was closer to Raonal’s eye level. Let me tell you something about the master. He expects his orders to be obeyed. He expects his personal items to be left untouched. He also expects you to die painfully. I do not care one way or another what happens to you. I have my orders, and I will obey them. What you decide is up to you. Nevertheless, if you decide to work against what master expects, you will wish you had died the moment he put that collar on you. Do you understand?

Raonal started listening to the list with a glib expression and a relaxed posture. Hearing his life had an expected termination date; he tensed and winced as cracked bones were pulled slightly out of place. When asked if he understood, he looked wildly around for any escape. When none could be found that offered hope of getting past the vampire, he gulped and nodded.

Good. Now, since you are the cause of this mess tonight, you can start making amends. Grab the pack, and let us find the master. He has lost something almost as valuable as what he found in your hands, she stated simply, rising to her feet.

She glanced around for the pack and provisions bag. When they were not in sight, she shook her head in amazement. Never had she been around someone with such disregard for personal possessions as Nameless exhibited. Outside of the hank of Her Silk and the Matron’s seal, it was as if he only remembered about the pack because it was in his line of sight.

She just hoped he learned to keep better track of their supplies. Here in the forested wilderness, she knew finding food would not be that difficult for him. Supplying food for the extra mouth might pose a small problem, however without some way of preserving it. And, water for either of the living men would prove even more annoying should the water skins be lost. She remembered very little of her time among the living after her decades of undead life, but she did remember that much.

Motioning for Raonal to follow her, she backtracked along the path Nameless had forced through the forest’s undergrowth back to the clearing where the initial capture had occurred. When she arrived, she spotted the two packs.

She picked up the provisions bag and slung it across her back. She pointed to the supply pack. Shoulder that, and keep up.

When she did not hear movement behind her, she glanced along the back trail. The man was not behind her. In his place was an unusually large wolf wearing a fighter’s collar standing just inside the edge to the clearing.

Raonal, is that you? she demanded, stalking over to the large animal. When it lay its ears back and tucked its tail, she made a snap decision. Good. That just makes it easier.

She retrieved the pack, keeping an eye on the wolf. She arranged the pack so that it draped across the wolf’s back like an over-full saddle bag. She made short work of adjusting the man-sized shoulder straps to cross the wolf’s chest, which anchored the pack in place. She tugged on the burden hard enough to stagger the animal, and grinned when it did not move.

Now, follow. Do not get too far away, or you will regret it, she ordered once again.

She led the way back to the open valley floor, Raonal-as-wolf dogging her heels with his ears laid back and tail hanging. Breaking out of the forest, she saw Nameless searching the area she had already covered. Knowing what he was looking for, she stepped forward. How far along this line have you searched, master? Perhaps I can range a little further afield and see if it was thrown out there.

No, slope search must next. Know you where fell pack first? He answered her offer.

Akantheldama had to think about the order of events before she could nod.

Good, then begin there will next. If not find, return to cave again start, Nameless decided.

The Intuii inhaled sharply at the thought of the odd path, and prayed to her House’s progenitor that the Matron’s seal was out on the slope. Someone or something answered her prayer. As she started in the direction of the slope, she felt her foot roll out from under her uncomfortably. Squeaking in surprise as she tumbled, she tried to see the cause of her unexpected fall. Nameless turned at her squeak in time to see her ungraceful tumble. A cruelly hungry smile played across his face as he waited for her movement to stop. Raonal-as-man stood behind her, hands clasped behind his back as he hunched into the too-small shoulder straps constricting his chest. He rocked back and forth on his feet, and looked anywhere but at Akantheldama.

Nameless lunged at the box, snatching it up from the ground as he passed. He held it close, gently stroking the still warm faces as he inspected it for any signs of damage. He carefully wiped it clean with the edge of his over shirt until he found the release. Gently, he opened the precious box, and looked inside. He let out a deep sigh of when he saw the large blood diamond resting in its cushioned depression.

Where from come? he demanded, his eyes lashing between the sprawled vampire and the new captive.

Akantheldama reached down to test her ankle by touch for any broken bones before answering. One minute it was not there, the next it was. I was looking ahead, and I know I searched this area properly. Perhaps Raonal can tell you.

Raonal continued to stand where he had shifted, waiting on an eruption of laughter from the fall. Instead, the two other members of the party continued to jabber away in whatever ugly language it was they used between themselves. He debated about trying to make another run for it. The collar on his neck seared into his neck at the thought. Puzzled, he let his thoughts wander back to trying to understand the two, and the searing sensation faded, leaving a welt beneath as a reminder.

Raonal? Who is? Nameless demanded.

Akantheldama pointed at the form following her. Then, did a double take – he had been a wolf just before her fall. She pulled herself to her feet, testing the twisted ankle, her eyes on the new Silk.

Limping over to where she could loom, she asked him in a language he could understand. "Just what exactly are you? Wolf, Leukreschen, what?"

With a cheeky lilt in his voice, Raonal spread his hands. I am me. I am myself. I am I. There is no other like me, myself, and I. I am unique. What are you? What is he?

Think that is funny do you? She growled in the Leukreschen tongue, then turned her attention to Nameless. Placing a hand on Raonal’s shoulder to keep him still she continued in the language the shifter could not understand. This is Raonal. I have no idea what he is, other than he is some sort of form shifter. Nor do I know how suitable he will be for your stable. I do know he is not one of the werebeasts that roam this Realm. Those are always proud to announce their heritage. He hides his and says he is unique.

Nameless shrugged, not understanding the importance of what the Intuii was trying to say. In the Melkreschen Realm, there were three types of beings – the free, the fighters, and the Menials. Most of the free were Melkreschen, though there were small enclaves of the Nikaven from elsewhere. The fighters typically were Melkreschen with only a few he could think of that had been born to the Sands directly. Only amongst the Menials could he recall any wide variety of races. However, to his way of thinking, the Menials were unimportant. They were worth less than the fighters, and were found everywhere.

With a sigh, Akantheldama tried again. He has already lied to me once. Now, he says he is unique. I am not as familiar with all the races as I used to be, but that strikes me as another lie. I am not certain, without the House’s references to check, but there is one race that comes to mind. If he is what I am thinking, then there is a simple test. Where did you pack the steel pieces for trade?

Nameless gave her a sharp look at the mention of the trade steel. He had been doing his best to forget that they even carried it. He nodded at the pack, then changed his mind. Without warning, he walked

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