They were watching Catia’s fangs again as she spoke. Their gazes drifted down when she opened her mouth, and they met her eyes again on a pause, a little too purposefully. Over and over again. Catia touched one tooth with her tongue and glanced uselessly at the mirror behind their little table. She could guess at how each fang must cut her smile, twist her expression. But she had never seen them.
Before they had sunk in below her other teeth, her reflection had started to smear. In low light, she was nothing but an annoying smudge. The sort of thing that made her want to spit on the glass and scrub it with her cuff. In brighter lights she was a shadow that should not exist. Disconcerting. Stomach-turning, and impossible.
She had avoided daylight for months, just to keep herself believing that she was more than that shade in the glass. And to keep the others from seeing the strange way her skin bent the light even under their eyes.
And yet, the most irritating aspect of coming back from the dead was that no one believed she hadn’t gone evil.
The rage surging across her skin was probably making her stupid, funny how she didn’t care. For just a moment, she tried not to smile, then forgot every reason why she should hold back. She smiled up at him from her seat and pushed herself back in her chair. Leaning one elbow on the carved wooden arm, she tilted her head toward her hand as if she might hide her mouth. She touched her lips with two fingers and covered nothing.
She tried to understand how it was that someone else’s anger could make her so reckless. Then she watched him a moment longer as he leaned against the table in front of her, jaw working at throwing his words out loud and sharp and fast, and understood she had swallowed a piece of it. She wasn’t only face forward in the gale of it, she was breathing it in, and there was just enough heat under her skin now to relax her into this stupidity.
It barely took him a moment to take in her smile, though he finished his sentence before he held himself to a brief silence.
“Are you mocking me, Lady Marike?” he asked.
Answers served with a sixty second break to learn how to spell “curlicue”
Trebez searched: Do you have a method of curbing or quelling internet rage?
Methods require a pre-determined, concrete plan. As a person who runs from any plan that doesn’t have opportunities for improvisation down every line of sight, I definitely do not have a method.
What I do have is a thick skin and one simple question:
Is there something beneficial I can do with my anger, or is it time to get off the computer?
I don’t think we should be shy about being angry. And I don’t think we should hesitate at showing the computer a cutting smile, giving it a boldly honest I’m done with you, and walking away.
Kate Kearney searched: Rage or finesse?
I can appreciate Berserker Rage as much as the next girl, and understand that there’s no finesse in such a thing, but I don’t like the idea that I have to choose between fury and the pleasure of an artful execution. I’ll take both. Continue reading
Kadelyn allowed her bodyguard to step through the door ahead of her, let him sweep the hall for all the usual dangers, then gently dismissed him. He looked at her questioningly and glanced over his shoulder as he went. She left the door open, and stepped farther inside.
“I called for your brother, not you,” Damion said, sitting at the long redwood table under the windows. He was leaning his chin against his bent fingers, one eye lit by the afternoon sunlight and the rest of his face cut by shadow.
“I know,” she said, without looking at him.
She stopped in front of the servant standing at the ready near the door. “You can go,” she said. The girl bent in a quick bow, and hurried out.
Kadelyn turned, eying her father over her shoulder. “But I know what’s coming.”
Answers served with one very good argument near the end
Kathryn searched: What is the line between responsibility and irresponsibility?
The line between accidentally breaking a rule and being surprised by the fallout, and purposefully breaking a rule and planning how you will handle the consequences ahead of time.
Flip the Otter searched: How do we get addicted to things that are not actually entering the bloodstream, for instance, TV shows, games, etc.?
Oh so easily. [hides her Amazon.com purchase history]
Turning away from the door, Kadelyn heard Noach shift as well, and realized he was watching her. It was rare to feel his attention so firmly without asking for it, and today, it was not altogether comforting. She would have liked to turn around and look him in the eye, to assure him everything was fine, but she didn’t have the balance to finish that lie. She would have liked him to return to his usual wariness, monitoring doors and windows and sounds beyond the walls. She would have liked anything that would let this instant stride onward instead of hesitating on the doorstep the way it was.
Noach shifted again. “Is there anything else I can do for you, my lady?” he asked.
“No,” Kadelyn said flatly.
There was a pause, then the jitter of chainmail as he bowed.
Kadelyn whirled around, catching him in his first step toward the door. “Don’t you dare,” she murmured.
Kadelyn paused in the hall as she neared her rooms, listening to an echo from behind her door that didn’t match her footsteps. Noach slowed behind her. She could feel him glance down at her, catch the look on her face and drop into immediate silence. The echoes continued, and the shuffling behind her door sounded clearly in the open hall.
Immediately, Noach stepped in front of her and put a hand to the sword on his hip. He glanced behind them, sighting down the empty hall for anything they might have missed as they walked past. Kadelyn listened closely, trying to still even her own breath. Whoever was inside was slowing as well, as if he’d heard them coming. Silence settled in heavily, like ice, echoing everything that didn’t belong.
Slowly, Noach turned back to the door. “Wait here,” he said, and gently pressed her toward the stone wall. She straightened her spine and pressed her hands to the stones, watching him slide his sword out of its sheath. Holding the blade between him and the door, he eased the latch open. Kadelyn watched his face as the light from the room slid across it. His eyes turned with the door, scanning the room the instant it was revealed. After a moment, he stepped inside.
“Good evening, Lord Brance,” he said evenly.
It had been months since The Zealot sank. The gray starred night and icy water had settled deep enough into Zain’s memory to become knowledge instead of feeling.
It had been the coldest water he’d ever been in. Cold, because it bit, harder than anything had a right to. Colder, because it too quickly soothed itself away and faded into nothing at all. Coldest, for the way it had driven down to his bones, and after he’d been pulled out and the sun had come up and his skin had remembered its color, it still shook him, from the inside out. Cold.
But it was just a thought now. Leaning in a breezy doorway on his cousin’s estate, jacket open over a thin shirt, hands tucked idly in his pockets, he couldn’t drag up the sensation of it. His cousin, leaning over the table in the center of the room with his jacket buttoned close to his chest, still curled his shoulders, like he’d never left the water.
The man was wrapped in a blanket, hugging his own arms, curled over a steaming cup, and still shaking with cold. He had come a long way, too far, too fast. His face was flushed, hands rosy, and each breath was just a little too deep, like his body was gulping in air it had needed for hours. He didn’t look up from the floor as Sabeen approached, though she made enough clatter with a guard at her back and Naven striding down the stairs beside her. He only moved to roll his fingers in the air, dull white smoke sifting through them. The heat of it soothed him, and the breath of it under his skin as he made it kept him awake. Sabeen watched the smoke fade into the air, like a drop of blood into water. He needed sleep, and everything he did to keep his eyes open would only hurt him more.
Pate stood beside the man. He watched Sabeen until she came to a full stop in the small stone hall. Then he spoke slowly. “I’m sorry to call you away, my lady.”
Sabeen barely looked at him, unable to drag her attention away from the huddled man. “So, tell me,” she said. It came out sharply, but maybe too low for anyone to feel the bite but herself.
The man grabbed Connell from behind, one rough hand bunched in his collar, and the other driving in hard at his hip. He had Connell halfway to ground before he let him see his face. Connell went taut as a bow line, then dropped into a relaxed roll through the fall. Arms up in front of his face, he landed on his back, laughing.
“Galen!” he said.
Galen stood over him, face carefully blank, but Connell could see both the amusement and confusion on his face. When they were standing, Galen had a few inches on him, but now he towered over Connell, the lines of his shoulders smeared in the sunlight behind him. “You used t’be better than that,” he said.
Connell laughed a little harder, then peeled himself off the street. “You used t’be scrawnier.” He clapped his friend on the shoulder. “You didn’t hit that hard.”