East (Chapter Four, page 3 of 11)


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I didn't think twice about waking him and instead, went to the food to pick through it. There was meat of some kind, most of which appeared to have been gnawed on. I found a few chunks without teeth marks and gobbled them down, drank warm milk and then rounded it off with flat bread.

The wine was much smoother than I expected, and I drank a full goblet before the horror of my trip began to fade and warmth filled me. Only when I was calm once more did I approach the snoring man.

He was out cold. After my run in with Batu, I wasn't really excited about meeting another of the ears-first-questions-later approach of the warriors. Instead, I stood once more and shook out my nerves then decided to do what I always did when I was stressed: yoga.

I wasn't remotely good at it. The deceptively simple movements took all of my concentration and helped me shift my thoughts from the nightmare of the city to my awkward attempts to balance and move. Soon, I was in the zone, centering my emotions and suppressing the images of the massacre in the part of my mind that also stored Taylor's death. My body moved less fluidly than usual, a side effect of being frozen or immobilized for almost a century. Even so, I was amazed to be in the shape I was.

"What spell is this?"

I didn't notice the snoring had stopped. Dropping my arms from the warrior two pose, I straightened and turned to face the man. He was on his feet, propped against a pole, his bloodshot eyes on me yet glazed from too much alcohol. His face was jaundiced, an unhealthy shade of yellow, which I took to mean he'd pickled his liver with alcohol over the years.

"It's not a spell," I said, puzzled. "I'm … uh, Moonbeam. Batu dropped me off here."

"I know who you are." He was staring at me hard. "I do not know what magic you were performing."

"It wasn't magic. I was stretching."

"You will refrain from such stretching in my ger."

"Okay." What did I say to that?

"Tomeid!" He belted.

I jumped.

Seconds later, a man poked his head into the tent. "Yes, my lord?"

"Bow before the Goddess of the White Path, fool."

The man named Tomeid's eyes widened. He obeyed and dropped to the ground.

"Fetch her robes and milk!"

He crawled out of the tent and disappeared. I started to say something but stopped, not liking the way Batu's uncle was looking at me. As if making some internal decision, he strode towards me and snatched my wrist. He drew a knife.

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