Chapter no 47 – Jase

Dance of Thieves

We had the timing worked out so it would look like chance. Zane was just unlocking the back gate into Cave’s End to make a delivery when I came riding down the road from the stables.

Patrei!” he called. “Where are you off to?”

“Unexpected business that I need a quick answer for. What else is new, right?” I stopped my horse as if mulling something over. “Actually, I had a question for Garvin, but you might be able to save me a trip. It’s about Venda. You ever run wagons there?”

“Sure. But it’s been years. What’s the question?”

“In Sanctum City, they have something called the jen-der, the ja—” “The jehendra? Yes, that’s their marketplace.”

“So you delivered goods there?”

“Lots of times. Whatever the Komizar didn’t want, we’d unload there.

It’s huge, but nothing like the arena.”

I got down from my horse. “Here, let me help you.” I opened the gate while he drove his cart in and then I explained I had a visitor, a merchant from the jehendra who had a deal that seemed too good to be true. I was skeptical but still intrigued. It might give us the first inroads into trade with Venda, and she offered me a very good deal I at least had to investigate. “She claims that she runs the largest textile shop in the jehendra—”

Zane nodded. “I might know her. I always had some fabrics in my load.

The Komizar liked to keep certain friends well dressed.”

“Good. I’d feel better if you’d eye her for me. Discreetly. Confirm she’s really who she says she is.”

I led him through the tunnel that ran to Darkcottage, saying that when I left she was walking in the gardens with Gunner and maybe she was still there. I watched him walk ahead of me on the cellar stairs, his steps heavy and confident, not the steps of a man who had anything to hide, his arms swinging as he walked. The detail I had ignored a hundred times was now all I could see—the mole on his wrist. When we reached the front drawing room, I opened the shutter and looked through the window. “There they are,” I said. “Over by the fountain.”

Her back was to us, but Gunner saw the signal of me opening the shutter and coaxed Kazi around to face us. The distance and reflection on the window would be enough to hide us from her view, but I was no longer watching Kazi. I only watched Zane. If he was really the one Kazi had seen, I doubted he could recognize her after all these years—but her mother was another matter, and I took a gamble that Kazi looked enough like her that she might spark some recognition.

He stared at Kazi, his head turning slightly to the side, as if he was confused. He studied her, and his expression went slack as though he were seeing a ghost. His mouth hung open, and he turned to me, his pupils pinpoints. He sensed a trick. “No, I don’t know her.”

But it was already too late. “You son of a bitch!” I grabbed him and slammed him up against the wall. Kazi had described him perfectly, right down to his onyx eyes. They were terrified now. He wanted me too, but couldn’t find me. The room around me spun, dark and furious. Zane pushed back, fighting against me, but I slammed him back again. “You filthy flesh trader!” I yelled and swung, my fist colliding with his jaw. He fell over a table, but jumped to his feet quickly, drawing a knife from his boot, but then he saw Mason, Titus, Drake, and Tiago enter the room. He dropped the knife, knowing it was useless. His eyes grew wide. Blood ran from his nose.

“I swear! I don’t know her!”

I shoved him toward Drake and Tiago. “I have to go meet Kazi. She’s waiting for me. When it’s clear, take him to the warehouse.”

Screams couldn’t be heard from there.

Zane would be answering our questions, if it took one fingernail—or fingertip—at a time.

You'll Also Like