The Sword Of Angels (Gollancz S.F.)

The Sword Of Angels (Gollancz S.F.) by John Marco

Book: The Sword Of Angels (Gollancz S.F.) by John Marco Read Free Book Online
Authors: John Marco
Tags: Fantasy
White-Eye distracted herself. She had not expected the invitation. She had thought – hoped, in fact – that her fellow Inhumans had given up asking her. She pretended to toy with the spinning wheel Minikin had given her, though she still did not know how to use it and hadn’t really tried. It was work to keep her mind busy, after all, and distract her from her loss. She shrugged as she sat on the stool, pretending to move the wheel with her hand.
    ‘I am just learning this, Monster,’ she replied. ‘Tomorrow perhaps.’
    The man called Monster inched a bit closer. White-Eye heard his shuffling feet on the stone of her chamber. She was completely blind now, and without her Akari could not see his chiseled face, a face she had always found comforting and oddly handsome. Monster, who was hunch-backed, had served her for years. His forwardness surprised her.
    ‘My lady, I should reconsider if I were you. You have not been down to see any of us in weeks. You are missed.’
    White-Eye frowned. It was the same thing Minikin had been telling her. Since her blinding, she had spent precious little time out of her chambers, taking her meals alone and speaking to no one. Losing her Akari had not been what she expected. It had been far, far worse, and White-Eye had not recovered from the violence of it or been able to understand the crushing blankness of the truly blind. She had not been born with normal eyes. Instead, she had two milky, sightless orbs, but Faralok had showed her the world with his Akari magic, saving her from a life of walking into walls. Without him, blackness had enveloped her. Every sound, strange and familiar, made her fearful.
    ‘You should get downstairs, Monster, before all the food is gone or cold.’
    She didn’t like refusing him, but there was no choice for her. She was a shut-in now, and too old to learn the ways of the blind. She would not have them all staring, pitying her.
    ‘Will you sup alone again, then?’ Monster probed. ‘It is not good to eat alone, my lady. My dear mother taught me that when I was just a child.’ She could hear him smile, and knew the anecdote was meant to coax her out. ‘Eating alone does strange things to the stomach, she would say. She didn’t want me to feel different from others, you see.’ Again he stepped closer, coming to stop in front of the spinning wheel. White-Eye could feel his kind eyes looking down at her. ‘It’s that way for you now, my lady. You need to be with the rest of us.’
    White-Eye felt terror knotting in her stomach. Why was he pushing her so? As kahana, she could order him away, but even that was too much for her. How could she possibly give orders now, so weak and useless she couldn’t even feed herself? She was no kahana, not any more.
    ‘I cannot, Monster,’ she said. She shook her head, trying to rid herself of the desperate feelings. ‘I am not ready.’
    Monster’s face came very close to her as he whispered, ‘We are all Inhumans, my lady. This is Grimhold. No one will judge you.’
    ‘They will,’ said White-Eye. ‘They will not mean to, but they will. I do not want them to see me like this, blind and weak.’
    ‘You are afraid, I know,’ said Monster gently, ‘but I am here, right here with you. And anyone who laughs will have to deal with me!’ He punched his thumb into his chest so that White-Eye could hear the thump. ‘Now, shall you walk or will I have to carry you? I can do it, you know. Not very fitting for a Jadori kahana.’
    He was only half-joking, and White-Eye didn’t laugh. Though horribly hunched from birth, Monster’s Akari had given him amazing strength. He could easily hoist her over his shoulder and carry her down to the dining chamber. Since Lukien had gone and Gilwyn after him, Monster seemed to have pronounced himself her protector. White-Eye, though, had trouble trusting him. He was, quite probably, just one more man who would leave her.
    ‘And what will you do when I stick a fork in my

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