By Jacqueline Carey

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She sighed. "I can, actually. Once upon a time, Satoris Third-Born, too, was much given to listening to the counsel of dragons; aye, and speaking with them, too. For good or ill, I know something of his nature. Although it is twisted, there is nobility in it—and pride, too. A Shaper's pride. " Aracus debated, then shook his head. " Beneath the dull, emberless stone of the Soumanië, his face was set. " With one stabbing finger, he pointed unerring at the red star that rode high overhead in the night skies.

Those were the hands that had nocked the Arrow of Fire, those the fingers that had drawn back the string of Oronin's Row. She did not want to feel their touch against her skin ever again. " She sipped at the water, studying Fianna's face. " A slow flush of color rose to the Archer's cheeks; half-anger, half-humiliation. " she spat, rising swift to her feet. Lilias shrugged and took another sip. " For a moment, she thought the other woman would strike her. Fianna stood, stooped in the tiny cabin, her hands clenching and unclenching at her sides.

His mood lightened. " 'Tis good to see you. " He opened the doors wider, inhaling deeply. His stomach rumbled in sympathy, hunger awakening in his starved tissues. It had been a long time since he had allowed himself a proper meal. "What have you brought? " Her tone was short. " She watched the second madling lay the table with care. "Forgive us, Lord General, that we cannot stay. " Tanaros frowned. "Does the Dreamspinner demand your presence, Meara? " She lifted her gaze to his. " He did, then; her weight, straddling him.

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