Truthwitch by Dennard Susan

Truthwitch by Dennard Susan

Author:Dennard, Susan [Dennard, Susan]
Language: eng
Format: mobi, epub
Tags: Fantasy, young adult
ISBN: 9781466867321
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Published: 2016-01-05T05:00:00+00:00

It took Aeduan mere minutes to get Emperor Henrick to hire him, but any time saved was lost while getting his new companion, the foppish Prince Leopold—as well as eight Hell-Bard escorts—out of the palace.

Two hours after leaving the Doge’s personal office, Aeduan finally found himself jogging beside Leopold’s carriage and heading to the Southern Wharf District. Traffic was dense. People had come from all corners of Veñaza City to see “the Doge’s burned-down palace.” Or to see, as most people referred to it, “what the thrice-damned fire-eating Marstoks had done.”

Aeduan had no idea how that rumor had started, but he suspected it had been started. Perhaps a loudmouthed palace guard had blabbed or some war-hungry diplomat had intentionally let the rumor slip. Either way, animosities for the Marstoks were high as Aeduan jogged the streets and bridges of Veñaza City—a bad sign for the Twenty Year Truce renewal—and everything about the situation felt guided. Strategized. Someone wanted Marstok as the enemy.

Aeduan filed that away to tell his father.

He also filed away the fact that, of the eight Hell-Bards in Leopold’s employ, only the commander was still breathing normally inside his helm after two blocks of jogging.

So much for an elite fighting force.

Then again, Aeduan was shamefully exhausted himself by the time Leopold’s carriage clattered into the Southern Wharf District, where the Cartorran warships creaked.

It was almost evening—and Aeduan’s newly healed muscles burned from the exertion, his fresh skin was overheated from the crowded streets, and his old scars wept blood once more—which meant his only clean shirt was now stained through.

Oh, Aeduan couldn’t wait to exact revenge—somehow—when he saw that Threadwitch again.

Leopold staggered out of his carriage into the hot sunset. He wore a teal velvet suit that was far too fine for sailing, and at his hip was a cutting-rapier with a gold cage-hilt—more for flash than use.

But money was money, and Aeduan’s new lockbox of silver talers inside the carriage was easily worth baking in the sun and listening to this foppish prince’s endless stream of complaints.

“What,” the prince called out, a gloved hand over his mouth, “is that stench?”

When none of the Hell-Bards stepped forward to answer—when in fact they all stepped just out of earshot, as if intentionally avoiding conversation with their prince—the duty of a response fell to Aeduan.

“That stench,” he said flatly, “is fish.”

“And the feces of filthy Dalmottis,” hollered a bearded man striding down the pier. He wore the emerald green coat of the Cartorran navy and, judging by his high chin and the three men scurrying at his heels, he was the admiral that Leopold was supposed to meet.

The four officers formed a line before Leopold and popped curt bows along with four rounds of “Your Imperial Highness.”

Leopold smirked like a boy with a new toy, and as he adjusted his sword, he declared in Cartorran, “Board your ships, men. The fleet sets out with the tide and, according to this monk, it is a Nubrevnan that we hunt.”

The admiral shifted his weight, the captains traded glances, and somehow, the Hell-Bards slunk even farther away.



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