Read Kathir's Redemption (Book 6) Online

Authors: Kristian Alva

Tags: #YA fantasy, #epic fantasy, #dark fantasy, #fantasy, #dragons

Kathir's Redemption (Book 6) (24 page)

BOOK: Kathir's Redemption (Book 6)
8.12Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

There were a few challenges, but when she fought other assassins, the shadowkey protected her. So far, Skera-Kina had come through unscathed.


Please, Mistress
…”
he went to his knees.

Please, I did not mean it.


You called for my death. Don

t bother trying to deny it. I heard your voice in the crowd. So the question becomes

what am I going to do with you?

The apprentice bowed his head in submission.

I

m sorry, Your Grace.

Skera-Kina looked down at the unfortunate young man. She could feel the shadowkey pulsing in her chest, protecting her heart. She reached out, grabbing the apprentice

s injured arm at the shoulder. He gasped and winced.


Curatio.

It wasn

t a spell that Skera-Kina hadn

t used much for others, but she used it now. The healing magic flowed from her body, pouring into her former apprentice. She felt his damaged flesh move back into alignment. It was quick. For several seconds after the healing, he just knelt there, panting softly.


Come on, get up,

Skera-Kina said.

You have work to do.


Work?

the apprentice wobbled to his feet.

Skera-Kina gestured to the notes and letters.

You can read, can

t you? I am not going to spend my time going through all this paperwork. You are now my personal assistant.

The young man

s face brightened considerably.

Oh, that would be a great honor, Your Grace!

Clearly, this meeting had turned out better than he expected.


I want you to read through all these reports and letters,

Skera-Kina said.

Tell me what

s important

anything that requires a real decision to be made. You will provide me with the information that I need to know, and you will do so honestly, because I will be checking. And If I ever discover that you have lied to me or have withheld anything from me
…”

Gron gulped loudly. He nodded.

Skera-Kina left the threat hanging in the air. She knew that she didn

t need to finish the sentence. Gron knew perfectly well that to betray her would mean death, and he wouldn

t get a second chance next time.


When would you like me to begin, Mistress?

Gron asked.

Skera-Kina went to the window and looked out over the city.

Begin now. And have someone bring me the Brighthollow Scroll from the temple library.


Yes, High Priestess,

Gron said, running outside quickly to call a library messenger.

There were so many things to do, but the treaty was her top priority. The elf queen could take back what she had given her all too easily. Skera-Kina needed to read the treaty and to understand it completely. As long as she followed the terms of the pact, she would be free to rule as she wished. She could now bring someone

s life to an end simply by ordering it; no longer was she forced to go out and do the killing herself. Where Skera-Kina was once a blood soaked hammer, she was now the arm that did the swinging.

She went over to the desk where Gron was organizing the stacks by date; she could already tell that he would be a good addition to her inner circle.

I

m going to my quarters, and I

ll be back at sunset. Have your first report ready for me by then.

The apprentice bowed.

As you command, Your Grace.

She walked past the set of huge doors which opened into her new sleeping chambers. She frowned and looked around the room; the huge tapestry, the gaudy decorations

it was all too much.

It

s time to redecorate, I think.

She tore the garish tapestries from the walls, depositing them into a heap on the floor. Her servants would take them away later. She could finally see the stained glass windows, which had been covered up. She opened one of them, and a burst of wind entered the stuffy room. She inhaled deeply to enjoy the fresh air. Bright light streamed in through the windows, throwing a kaleidoscope of color against the walls.

She yanked the silk sheets and feather down pillows off the huge bed, throwing them into the corner with the tapestries. She would replace them later with cotton sheets and simple wool blankets. The last High Priest had been paranoid and self-obsessed. Skera-Kina was different. The time for change had come. She would see to that.

The people still needed to be kept in line, the yearly sacrifices still needed to be made, and the death gods still needed their due, but Skera-Kina was smart enough to know what was really important. She would appoint her councilors and learn how to rule. All the rest of it

the boring, day to day business of running a society

was simply a distraction. Skera-Kina had been trained for battle, not politics. She could see the path of her life stretching before her, and her mission was clear: she would be the one who would return Balbor to its former glory.

She did not fear death. She had felt its darkened shores. She had been there, on the very edge and had felt her life ebbing away. The elf queen had saved her, not the High Priest or her own magic. This made her believe that her new leadership role was all part of the prophesy

the prophesy which declared that the Balborites would rise to power once again and that they would become so great that no one would dare to oppose them.

She just had to figure a way to do make it happen without dragons.

Skera-Kina touched the black key embedded in her flesh. She knew the truth of her own ancestry. She would not have to worry about death

s embrace for a long time to come, so she had plenty of time to plan.

Skera-Kina hadn

t made her mind up yet about what to do with the countless slaves, the brutal structure of Balborite life, or the endless killing that was the focus of their existence. Changing a whole society was a project that might take generations. But Skera-Kina had the time in which to make those changes. She sat down on the stripped bed and yawned. Minutes later, she was asleep.

She awoke after several hours and noticed that servants had removed the discarded tapestries and bedding. The room had been cleaned, and the doors and windows had been closed again. She rubbed her eyes and went back into the throne room. The apprentice was still in the same position, going through the stacks of paper. He had a steaming mug of tea and a half-eaten sandwich next to him.


Are you ready to tell me what is happening yet?

Skera-Kina said.

The young man looked up, startled.

Yes, Your Grace. I have gathered some information. There are a few spy reports, many requests, and several private letters. Most of the correspondence is from the priests or from freeborn citizens, but a few are from the mainland. I separated those out. Most of the requests are already outdated, and can probably be ignored. It seems that the former High Priest usually paid them no mind.


What types of requests are these?


Most of them are assassination requests. There is a request here to have the leader of a small village killed,

the apprentice said.

The man is suspected of stealing livestock. The sender has offered to pay fifty gold coins as a bounty.

Skera-Kina waved her hand dismissively.

I

m not going to use my assassins to settle petty local squabbles. The citizens must learn how to work out those differences amongst themselves.

Skera-Kina remembered too much of her own upbringing, where the violence had been constant and senseless. As a slave, she had no choices. Even as an apprentice, she had to kill or be killed. When she became one of the Blood Masters, she also became an instrument of the priests, who sent her to kill anyone they desired. Skera-Kina

s vision for the future included killing

but only when it made sense.


What else?

Skera-Kina asked.


There are several letters from Druknor, the governor of Sut-Burr. He says that his prices on future shipments of slaves will rise. He

s under closer scrutiny from the dragon riders, and it

s becoming more difficult for him to transport them.

Skera-Kina inhaled deeply.

Druknor Theoric.

In all the excitement since she had become High Priestess, Skera-Kina had managed to forget about Druknor. More than anyone else, it was Druknor that had doomed her to this life of servitude and violence. Her fists clenched involuntarily. If he had been in the room in that instant, Skera-Kina would have killed him without a second thought.


Your Grace? Do you wish to reply to this message?

Skera-Kina gave her assistant a cat-like smile.

Oh, yes

there will be a reply.


What do you wish to say? I could compose it for you. I

ve completed my scribal training.

She paused for a moment. She hadn

t been able to act of her own volition before. Of course, there were so many things that needed to be arranged here on Balbor. There

s so much work to do here

. But the memory of Druknor

s sneering face gnawed at her

there were some things that couldn

t be forgiven.

Of course, she was the High Priestess now; she could simply send someone else to kill him. She had hundreds of assassins at her disposal, but it just wouldn

t feel the same.

Skera-Kina shook her head.

I prefer to deal with Druknor myself

in person. I

ll go to the mainland.

The apprentice didn

t seem surprised and merely nodded. 

Would you like me to prepare supplies for your journey, Mistress?

Skera-Kina smiled.

Yes, prepare my bags. I need a fast horse, and send word to the shipmaster. I

ll need a small clipper waiting for me on the coast. I

ll leave tonight.


As you wish, Mistress,

he stood up and bowed again.

Is there anything in particular that you need for your journey?


Pack my things for the cold,

Skera-Kina said.

I

ve got one last piece of unfinished business.

14. Bad Blood

Tallin stood between Shesha and Kathir, but there was a part of him that wondered why he should. The other dragons had turned against the mercenary now and were growling and snapping along with Shesha. F
ë
anor and Amandila were standing to the side. They wouldn

t interfere.

Delthen and Komu stepped away from the fight with surprised expressions. Druknor also watched from the sidelines, but he was smiling.


Kathir is a dragon killer,

Duskeye said.


He deserves to die!

Shesha screamed as she lunged for Kathir again. Tallin stopped her with a magical shield, but the other dragons didn

t move to assist him. They clearly agreed with Shesha

s assessment.

BOOK: Kathir's Redemption (Book 6)
8.12Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Sparkling Steps by Sue Bentley
Polar City Blues by Katharine Kerr
Short Bus Hero by Shannon Giglio
The Praise Singer by Mary Renault
La Famiglia by Sienna Mynx
Hunted by William W. Johnstone
So Inn Love by Clark, Catherine
Wanderer's Escape by Goodson, Simon