Crown of Chaos by Sarah E Burr

Crown of Chaos by Sarah E Burr

Author:Sarah E Burr [Burr, Sarah E]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Published: 2019-10-28T23:00:00+00:00

Ziri inched open one of the grand hall’s bronze doors and ushered Jax and Perry to follow her lithe shadow. They each took a section of the circular chamber, lighting the remaining sconces with their abandoned torches, flooding the room with a warm glow.

Much better than that cold, haunting moonstone. Jax rubbed her arms, feeling a slight chill in the air. Whatever heat the moonstone maintained within its core had already begun to wear off as the night stretched on.

Ziri stood over Florian’s body, her arms folded. “He has not been disturbed. That is a good sign, at least.”

Jax knelt beside the dead man, taking more careful stock of the scene, now that they had ample lighting. Before Savant had come barging in, interrupting them, Perry had suggested they check Florian’s body for any signs of a struggle. “We believe he knew his attacker.” Jax pointed out the discarded sword to Ziri. “Florian was a skilled swordsman. Even though his health has deteriorated in recent months, it wouldn’t have been easy for anyone to disarm him and use his own weapon against him in such violent a manner.”

Perry squatted next to her, his knee bumping her leg. “Though, it looks like he wasn’t completely taken off guard.”

Following his gaze, Jax noted Florian’s left hand was covered with blood.

“He must have fought back,” Perry guessed.

She wasn’t so sure. “That amount of blood…it could simply have come from him grappling at his own wound.”

Like a noiseless phantom, Ziri glided around the fallen man, her dark gaze darting all around. She paused, stooping to examine the gash across Florian’s disfigured neck. “It’s a clean cut, Duquessa. No bloody fingerprints to suggest he managed to raise his hand to the laceration.”

Jax frowned at her pronouncement and edged closer to Florian’s bloodied hand. Besides the caked blood, she found nothing. “No cuts or even a bruise.” Strange, where did the blood come from?

“Perhaps he managed to nick his attacker?” Perry murmured, more to himself.

With her husband’s theory in mind, Jax’s gaze danced from the caked blood on Florian’s hand to the glistening pool fanning out around his head like a crimson halo. “Virtues,” she breathed, finally realizing what didn’t add up. “Florian’s blood is still relatively fresh.” She gingerly picked up Florian’s left arm by the cuff of his tunic sleeve. “This has been exposed to air for a significantly longer time. Look,” she said, scraping Florian’s palm with a tepid fingernail, “the blood practically chips off.”

Perry and Ziri watched with growing intrigue as flecks of dried blood floated to the stone floor.

Jax met each of their astute gazes. “Given there are no other traces of blood in the grand hall, I’d say Florian’s hand was bloodied well before he found his way in here.”

Ziri’s full lips pursed in a concentrated frown. “If this isn’t his blood, whose is it?”

There was only one answer that made sense, considering the circumstances. “Ziri, how long had you been guarding the fort’s main entrance before Perry and I arrived?”

The acolyte answered quickly.


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