Home > Cast in Honor (Chronicles of Elantra #11)(5)

Cast in Honor (Chronicles of Elantra #11)(5)
Michelle Sagara

“You’ve offered me help and guidance for years. You’ve taken care of me after training accidents. You were here when we almost lost a fight to a Dragon.” The small dragon, bored or silent until now, lifted his head and bit Kaylin’s hair.

“You,” Moran replied, “were here. Taking care of you here is my job. And you weren’t here for long.”

“There’s supposed to be give-and-take, Moran.”


“Whatever. This is the first time in my entire life that I’m able to offer you any help at all!”

“I don’t need it.”

“Fine.” Kaylin turned and walked out.

* * *

“If you were a Dragon,” Bellusdeo said, “you’d be steaming the halls. Possibly even melting parts of them.”

“It irritates me that my help isn’t good enough.”

“The sergeant probably doesn’t understand what you’re offering. I believe the entire department knew where you were living before the assassination attempt destroyed your home. She might assume you now live in similarly sized quarters—and frankly, the ceiling of your old apartment would be nearly crippling for an Aerian over the long term.”

Kaylin stomped down the long hall, but slowed her pace as Bellusdeo’s words caught up with her temper.

“I know you’re upset at the sight of her wings.”

“They told me—” Kaylin exhaled. “They told me she’d been damaged by the ancestor’s fire. I didn’t actually get to see the damage. It’s a wonder she didn’t die; there’s no way she could keep herself in the air with wings like that.”

“No. But I have noticed the Hawks keep an eye out for their own. She is alive, Kaylin. But she is an older woman, and she clearly does not care for...coddling.”

Kaylin gave a little shriek in response. The small dragon whacked her face with his wing.

* * *

Marcus appeared to be looking for a suitable target for his obvious frustration. His eyes were a steady orange, and his facial fur was almost standing on end. Kaylin picked up the thrum of his growl just after she had time to reconsider the wisdom of entering the office. Of course. Leontine anger was never quiet or invisible.

She headed directly for his desk, bypassing the duty roster and anyone else who stood between them—except for Caitlin, who waved her over.

“Have you seen Moran?” Kaylin demanded, as Caitlin opened her mouth.

“Yes, dear.”

“Why is she even in the office? She should be at home recovering!”

“It’s...complicated,” the office mother replied. The tone of her voice had a dampening effect on Kaylin’s outrage.

“Complicated how?”

“Given that you’ve seen her—you didn’t start an argument with her, did you?”

“I didn’t start the argument, no.”

Caitlin sighed. It was as close as she generally came to open disapproval. “If Moran didn’t discuss it with you, I can’t. She is having some difficulty at home.”

“She thinks she’s going to be living here.”

“Her living quarters are definitely not your problem.”

“In the Halls, Caitlin.”

“You’ve lived in far less optimal conditions in your life. She won’t starve and she won’t be hunted; she’ll have a solid roof over her head. The Halls were designed, in part, with Aerians in mind. She will not suffer.”

“I want her to live with me.”

Caitlin’s eyes flicked briefly to the side, in Bellusdeo’s direction. She did not, however, tell Kaylin that she thought it was a bad idea. “Let me speak with her,” she said, rising. “I know Marcus and Lord Grammayre have attempted to do so, but I might have better luck with a different approach. You’re certain you want this?”

Kaylin nodded, trying not to look as mutinous as she felt.

She was rewarded by Caitlin’s smile. “Good. I wouldn’t have suggested it—but I think that might be for the best. We’re not certain that—” She shook her head. “You’d best speak with Marcus. He’s been waiting for you—and not terribly patiently.”

* * *

Marcus immediately barked Kaylin’s name. Or Kaylin’s rank, at any rate. No other private rushed to fill the space in front of his disaster of a desk.

“Since Moran is back, you can stop moping around in the infirmary and get back to work.”

That was unfair, but life generally was. The Sergeant growled at the mirror on his desk; it flickered instantly to life as an image began to coalesce. “Corporal Korrin! Corporal Danelle!”

Teela and Tain materialized almost instantly, which meant they’d been eavesdropping from a safer distance than most mortals—at least the non-Leontine ones—could manage. Severn joined them before his name could also be barked.

This was two people too many for Elani beat work. Kaylin pushed thoughts of Moran aside.

“There was a triple murder reported up the Winding Path.” The Winding Path was both the road’s official map name and an accurate description. It crossed two market areas at its lowest point and then headed toward the Southern Reach. It was not a particularly short street.

“Where on the Winding Path?”

“At the Keffeer crossing.” As he spoke, the mirror showed a clearly marked spot on the map. “The bodies are to be moved to the morgue when you’re done.”

“What are you not telling us?”

“I am not telling you anything other than the location. You are expected there as soon as you can make it. Take the carriage.”

Kaylin glanced nervously at Teela and shook her head. “We’ll get there faster if we walk.”

“Not if I’m driving,” Teela said.

“We’ll get there alive if we walk.”

Marcus growled, but his eyes lost a touch of their orange; Teela’s driving was the stuff of legend in the office. “Teela, take a mirror kit. The quartermaster is waiting with it. Private, there are Imperial mages on the property. Attempt not to offend them.”

“Yes, sir.” She hesitated.

“Yessss?” He turned the full force of his gaze on the silent Dragon by Kaylin’s side. His exhale was rumbling. “You intend to follow the private?”

“If that is permissible.”

“I don’t like it. You’re not a Hawk, and this is serious Hawk work; it’s not patrolling fraud central.”

Bellusdeo was helpful; she smiled benignly and held the Sergeant’s glare until he growled again. “Keep an eye on her.”

Kaylin tried not to bristle.

“I will.”

“If any of the idiots in the office attempt to buy you a drink or grovel their gratitude, I’d appreciate it if you ignored them.”


“They’re grateful for your intervention. They’re not idiots. They’re aware that the Emperor wasn’t.”

Bellusdeo’s face stiffened. Had Kaylin been on the other side of the desk, she would’ve kicked him. She would’ve regretted it, of course—if he’d even noticed, that was.

“But they’re impressed, anyway. Private, are you going to stand around all day gaping like a new recruit?”

“No, sir.”

“Good. Head out.”

“Going, sir.”

“Good.” He ran a claw through what was fast becoming a collection of loosely connected splinters. “If you can talk sense into Sergeant Carafel, I’ll send your rank request up to the Tower immediately.” Seeing the change in her expression at the mention of Moran, he added, “No, I did not bring this up.”

“You’re at least the same rank—”

“And the Hawklord outranks her. She is not listening to either of us.”

Kaylin shrugged. “Caitlin went to talk to her. I want her to move in with me.”

He growled his way through a Leontine phrase for which there was no Elantran equivalent. Teela caught Kaylin’s arm and dragged her toward the nearest exit.

Kaylin shook her off as soon as they’d made it out the doors. “If it’s all the same to you, I’d rather not let the quartermaster see my face. He’s pissed off at Jenkins at the moment, and I’d like him to stay that way.”

“Jenkins has offended you? He’s a bit green, but—”

“No, he hasn’t. But it’s the first time in months that someone else has been the quartermaster’s official problem child.” Jenkins had recently lost a sword. “I’d just as soon not remind him that I exist.”

* * *

The Winding Path met Keffeer about a third of the way up the gentle incline on which the southern part of the city was built. It was well away from the Ablayne, although one small stream trickled down from the rocky heights of the unoccupied reach and fed into it.

The homes were not as fine as they were in the expensive districts around the Imperial Palace, but they weren’t as run-down as the buildings in the fiefs, either. There were fences and gates that fronted the street, but they weren’t uniform.

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