Bringer of Light

Bringer of Light by Jaine Fenn

Book: Bringer of Light by Jaine Fenn Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jaine Fenn
comment save to tut at the interruption, and follow her over to the rich red velvet hanging covering the wall between her bed and Damaru’s newer, smaller one. When she drew the hanging back, the rock wall behind looked unusually smooth. A closer inspection revealed faint lines and markings.
    Kerin pointed to a slightly darker patch to one side of the hidden door. ‘If you please, Damaru,’ she said.
    He pressed his palm where she had indicated, and the door slid smoothly and silently into the wall, just like the doors Kerin had seen on the Setting Sun. ‘Thank you,’ she said as she slipped through. ‘I will not be too long.’
    She had learned not to jump when the door closed noiselessly behind her and the light globes on the rock walls lit themselves; unlike the lock on the secret passage, they did not require the touch of a Sidhe to operate. Though Sais had tried to explain, using terms like ‘latent expression’, ‘recessive traits’ and ‘sub-type mutation’, she still did not know how she, an ordinary woman, could have given birth to a child who was, at least as far as the machines of the Tyr were concerned, a Sidhe. She was not convinced Sais understood it himself.
    She came to some steps, and descended. At the bottom, the passage turned and at the end she collected the items she had left here previously: a basket with a purse of coins in the bottom and a short, sturdy log. She rolled the log up to the door at the end of the passage, which slid open by itself, and kicked the log into place to hold it open, then went back for her basket. The door was not only hidden by a sacking curtain, far less opulent than the one in her chamber, but it was located behind packed shelves in a rarely-used grain storeroom. As Kerin pulled aside the sack curtain her nose was filled with the burnt odour of malted barley. She paused for a moment, recalling the glow of the hearth in her hut back in Dangwern. Then she put the memory aside. Save for the few happy years with her long-dead husband, her old life was not something she looked back on with fondness.
    The scant light from the half-open door was barely enough to see by, and she had to take care crossing the packed storeroom. She made a mental note to bring a lamp next time; this was only the third time she had used the hidden exit from her room and she was still working out the details. She listened at the wooden door to make sure no one was outside. A lowly kitchen-maid such as she now appeared to be would not normally be permitted in this part of the Tyr; she must procure other disguises if she was going to make a habit of this.
    All was silent, so Kerin opened the door, slipped out and pulled it closed behind her. She crept along the passage, taking the third left, then the second right, following the route she had memorised. When she heard voices from up ahead she ducked into a side-turning and pressed herself against the wall. Somewhat to her surprise, the two approaching speakers were female. One was saying, ‘The Escori of Frythil? As well as the young Consort, you mean?’
    ‘Aye,’ said the other, who sounded older, ‘or so I hear.’
    ‘’Tis her right, of course.’ The younger one laughed delicately, then added, ‘But for her Divinity to take all these lovers, after not letting any man grace her bed for so long – one cannot help but wonder what she is thinking!’
    They passed the end of the passage and Kerin had a glimpse of revealing white robes, carefully curled and sculpted hair and pale, painted faces: Putain Glan. The older one said, ‘Nothing that we should question, that is for sure. You should watch your tongue when you speak of the Beloved Daughter of Heaven!’
    ‘Of course, I meant no disrespect . . .’
    As the voices died away, the waft of their perfume reached Kerin, and bile rose in her throat. The Putain Glan were allowed to move freely about the Tyr, and Kerin had considered disguising herself as one of them, but even if she knew

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