Home > Dryad-Born (Whispers from Mirrowen #2)(22)

Dryad-Born (Whispers from Mirrowen #2)(22)
Jeff Wheeler

“You are free,” he whispered.

Hettie bent the hoop wider and unattached it from her ear. She studied it in her hand, noticing the dull gleam from the tarnished gold. The feeling of nakedness on her ear was startling. She touched her skin gingerly.

Then she stared Paedrin in the eye. “I will never lie to you again,” she promised, crushing the hoop in her hand and throwing it down on the ground.

His gaze narrowed. “Someone just entered the alley behind us.”

Hettie turned and saw the Preachán immediately. He saw them, turned, and ran.

Paedrin started to go after him, but Hettie grabbed the front of his tunic. “We don’t have enough time. You said you needed to see Master Shivu to learn where the Shatalin temple is. This may be our only chance.”

His look turned to anger and he shook his head with frustration. “How I despise it when you are right.”

Paedrin had been raised in the city of Kenatos and he knew the streets and byways. He wore the traditional tunic and sandals of a Bhikhu that made him an ordinary sight in the city. Even escorting Hettie would not seem that odd, since the Bhikhu were known for their charity and integrity and she looked more like someone raised in the woods than a Romani girl. He glanced back at her for a fraction of a moment, unable to stop the pain in his heart every time he saw her.

He had been fighting his growing affection for her for some time. He had buried it beneath the layers of his duty, but still felt it squirming to break free. It was her betrayal that had finally forced him to come to terms with how he truly felt about her. When she was Tyrus’s abandoned niece, struggling against the odds to find a treasure to buy her freedom, she had been nearly irresistible to his sensibilities. That she was Aeduan by race had caused him some concern, but having grown up amidst all the races in Kenatos, it was not that unusual. She was beautiful in a natural way, not as the painted faces in the city in their expensive gowns. And her Romani accent had grown on him, along with all its witty sayings. Now that she was unmasked as Kiranrao’s tool, the entire facade crumbled. The basis of his feelings was as shattered as the Paracelsus Towers they had just left.

But Paedrin was not as hasty as the city to begin rebuilding it straightaway.

Despite his anger and resentment, her apology rang true and she did genuinely seem interested in mending the breach. It would take time to regain her standing. What troubled him was the kind of character she had developed. They were truly as different as chalk and cheese.

But there was one thing he knew they could agree on. Tyrus’s quest to banish the Plague was an effort they could unite on. That needed to be the top focus and they could sort out the nuances of their relationship afterward. Tyrus had charged him to find a lost relic—the Sword of Winds. Master Shivu had mentioned it to him while he languished in the Arch-Rike’s dungeon. Now he understood that Tyrus had made a pact with Shivu to help restore the lost Shatalin temple and that his master had been training him all along to face the dangers of the Scourgelands. It had been subtle training, but always his master had hinted at greater things beyond the walls of the city. As a child he had been encouraged to float up to the roof of the temple and gaze at the lake waters surrounding the city.

Defeating the Arch-Rike. Ending the Plague. Traveling the world. It was everything that appealed to Paedrin. When it was over, he was certain he would be allowed to live anywhere he chose. A hero among his own people, the Vaettir.

He stopped the thought, remembering Master Shivu’s training. He could almost hear the old man’s words in his mind, so often he had heard them repeated. A desire to be observed, considered, esteemed, praised, beloved, and admired by his fellows is one of the earliest as well as the keenest dispositions discovered in the heart of man. Beware of those desires.

Paedrin had always been ambitious. He had felt destined to do great things, being one of the few Vaettir orphans in the city. It was important to check that ambition, to be sure he was doing it for the right reason, lest he become a true renegade like Cruw Reon who had stolen the blade and brought on the downfall of the Shatalin temple.

“There it is,” Hettie said. “How should we do this? Should we go in together?”

“The temple has so few visitors that the bell ringing brings an inordinate amount of attention. Let me float over the walls and see if I can find Master Shivu alone. You watch for trouble and ring the bell if any comes.”

“What information do you need from him?” she asked.

“Where to start looking,” he answered. “The Shatalin temple could be anywhere. I did not even know it existed.”

Hot Novels
  • Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Chris
  • Fifty Shades Freed (Fifty Shades #3)
  • Never Too Far (Too Far Trilogy #2)
  • Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades #2)
  • Library of Souls (Miss Peregrine’s Peculi
  • Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades #1)
  • Fallen Too Far (Too Far Trilogy #1)
  • Forever Too Far (Too Far Trilogy #3)
  • Ugly Love
  • Allegiant (Divergent #3)
  • Hold on Tight (Sea Breeze #8)
  • Bared to You (Crossfire #1)
  • The Destiny of Violet & Luke (The Coinc
  • Captivated by You (Crossfire #4)
  • Uprooted