Breath of Angel

Breath of Angel by Karyn Henley

Book: Breath of Angel by Karyn Henley Read Free Book Online
Authors: Karyn Henley
tense.
    “One by one I’ve taken everything you’ve ever desired.” Lord Rejius casually examined his talon nails. “I believe Hanamel is next on my list.”
    “Hanni?” Melaia whispered.
    The hawkman’s eyes flicked to her. “Though I must say, this chantress becomes more interesting by the moment. I like the way she clings to you, Benasin.” He motioned to Trevin. “Open one of the empty cages.”
    As Trevin took a ring of keys from a peg, Melaia felt Benasin firmly grip her arm. She let him draw her behind him. “Hanamel is only a friend, Dandreij,” he said.
    Trevin shifted uneasily, keys in hand, intent on the conversation.
    “Only a friend?” said Lord Rejius. “You underplay your attachments. But I believe I befriended her first.”
    Benasin snorted. “I think not.”
    Melaia wrung her hands. She couldn’t tell what was truth. She knew Hanni relied on Benasin, yet how close they were, she didn’t know. She certainly couldn’t remember Hanni mentioning Lord Rejius. Or Dandreij, for that matter.
    “I assume you have some purpose in posing as King Laetham’s physician.” Benasin’s voice was low and calm. “Could it be that his melancholy is your doing?”
    Lord Rejius raised his eyebrows. “I’m crushed you would even think such a thing. The king fell into melancholy on his own. I only had to answer the callfor the most skillful physician that could be found. Though Queen Tahn never did quite trust me.”
    “And now she’s dead.” Benasin’s words echoed Melaia’s thoughts. She saw Dwin snatch the keys from Trevin and unlock the cage himself. Trevin stood like a tensed wildcat.
    “As you would assume,” said the Firstborn, “melancholy again struck the king after Tahn’s death. Woeful, isn’t it? But convenient. I simply bring him the peace he so richly deserves. It’s cruel to allow someone to linger too long, don’t you think? The greater mercy is to bring such affliction to an end. After all, he is mortal. His future is finite here. He’ll die sooner or later.”
    “Sooner happens to be to your advantage,” said Benasin.
    “Dear brother, I must look to the future. For Stalia’s sake.”
    Out of the corner of her eye, Melaia could see Trevin and Dwin exchanging sharp words. She wished she had not left the knife in her pack at the temple. Everyone else had a dagger.
    “You deceive yourself, Dandreij,” said Benasin. “You’re not providing for your daughter; you’re exacting revenge.”
    Melaia bit her lip. Stalia. Daughter of the Firstborn. Of course. She was entangled in this too.
    “You call it revenge,” said Lord Rejius. “I call it justice. You thought you could take refuge in Camrithia, but Camrithia will soon be mine, and then where will you run? You know that wherever you go, I’ll find you. Whatever you value will become mine.” He pointed a single taloned finger. A thin bolt of thunderlight hissed out.
    Melaia ducked as the bolt struck Benasin’s right arm. With a sharp cry he stumbled back into her. She steadied him.
    Trevin started toward them, then halted. Dwin grabbed the harp and carried it into the shadowed alcove.
    Benasin cradled his wounded arm. “Revenge will eat you alive, Dandreij. Steal your human soul. Turn you into an animal. It’s a trap. But you still have time to free yourself.”
    “Time?” Lord Rejius laughed. “What is time to an immortal? I have all eternity.”
    “Don’t count on it,” said Benasin. “When the Tree is restored—”
    “A dream, brother. A delusion. Once I have the third harp, my eternity is secured, and I shall be free.”
    “You’ll be bound,” said Benasin. “Bound forever. Vengeance is a demanding slave driver, and you, Dandreij, are the slave. By your own choice, no less.”
    “And whose choice was it to abduct my daughter, to send her to an early death?”
    “I’ve tried to explain—”
    “So have I. Everything I do is for Stalia.”
    “Everything you do is for you.”
    “Your

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