Kilasha watched Fenton’s retreating back grimly. The leather vest he wore over his clothing when inside was richly tooled, designs tracing the entire surface. Her fingers itched to explore it. She closed her eyes, more to refocus herself than anything else. When she looked back, the Abbot was seated where Fenton had been.
She wondered suddenly if he had any food in those robes of his.
“You are lucky we found you when we did,” Abbot Katzn announced, startling her a little.
She managed to keep the frown off her face, but stared at him anyway. He raised an eyebrow in response to her direct eye contact, and she looked at her lap. “Yes, sir,” she said demurely.
“Your companion is dead, sadly,” the Abbot continued. “We’re still searching for your other accomplice.”
She wanted to laugh. Moarven would love that.
“Was it a Mage from this Order?” he asked then.
She blinked. He thought it was a Mage? She felt herself flush with rage but answered him calmly enough. “I don’t know, sir.”
The Abbot stood. “Get some rest, my dear. Food will be here shortly. I don’t know what those soldiers were thinking, putting you here. Your Family has been alerted to your presence here and will be here shortly to retrieve you.”
She felt a stab of worry. Her family? What a disaster that would be. The Abbot and his entourage trouped out. She slipped to the door, less injured than she’d made out even to Fenton. The two guards on either side of her door were oblivious to her and she pointed a finger at each of them.
“Sleep,” she commanded.
They obligingly slid down the wall like a matched pair. She felt the door and grimaced; unlocked. They truly didn’t think she was any threat. Fenton, at least, saw her for what she was. That one was dangerous. The rest were just irritating at best.
It took her nearly a half hour of searching the rabbit-warren of a Castle before she found the passage to the stables. She took a side trip to Cook’s domain and liberated another of those compelling cheeses that Fenton had been eating, along with a loaf of bread and two apples. She dashed through the low stone passageway to the back door of the stables and slipped through.
A moment’s work yielded her a strong runner, brown with black mane and tail. The young male sniffed at her and seemed excited to be going outside of the walls with her. She saddled him efficiently and vaulted up, her silks filthy past caring. What would one more scent hurt? So what if she smelled like a horse.
They broke into a gallop once under the shelter of the trees. She wanted to get as far away from the castle as possible before her ‘family’ showed up. She hadn’t seen nor heard from her father or brother since her mother had died. That suited the men just fine. They were uncomfortable with a Seer for a daughter, felt it was a stigma. The Council was all the family she needed now.
She set her face toward the mountains and steered her enthusiastic mount through the trees. The gathering darkness seeped out from between the trees, cloaking her passage. She urged her mount into a trot, then a canter. A run through the evening wouldn’t hurt him, and would put her closer to home.
A brief pang speared her at the thought of Setira, lying cold on some stone bed behind her. There was nothing Kilasha could do for her at this point, but she wished she’d been able to carry her body home with her.
The sun set, lighting the sky with brilliant color. An owl, hunting early, hooted somewhere above her in the trees as she rode on.