‘Don’t you dare take the lord’s name!’
You cannot be serious with this request, Nicholas ground out. Fighting the urge to clench his jaw, he added, She could lose her life. You’re asking her to take a number of enormous risks, with only your word that she’ll be returned to her home.Etta of the twenty-first century. Etta of the distant, unforeseeable future. Etta with the pirate heart. This astrolabe had already cost three lives, and now he was demanding that she sacrifice hers, as well?
Cyrus eyed him. Has she proven herself to be spectacularly unsuited to this task? She has the motivation and the means to see this through, and she won’t run the risk of crossing paths with herself, unlike almost every other traveler. I hardly require more, beyond her discretion about our family, and that is easily maintained by notifying the guardians across time to watch for her appearances, to note her arrivals and departures through the passages.Etta would think she was working independently, none the wiser that the old man was like the mythical Argus, eyes scattered across the whole body of time. Would it be better or worse, he wondered, for Rose to have used other uncharted and unknown passages aside from the one across the road in the Royal Artillery Park? She would be able to travel without the interference of guardians stationed nearby to watch the passages, but if something were to happen—if she were to become hurt, or worse—who could help her?This is a task for your family—
This was a man who had hit him across the face so many times when he was a child that Nicholas had learned to listen for his voice and avoid his path entirely. Of course, the spineless sop had never raised a hand to Augustus, his monster of a son, even as he terrorized everyone around him with his maliciousness.Julian was all you had in life, and, still, you sent him to his death—
Cyrus slammed his fist down on the table, and Nicholas jumped at the bang. I gave him to you to protect—I live with the consequences of your failure every day.
Hardly. Nicholas’s bitterness turned inward, until it frosted his heart. He often dreamt of it: the last look of trust on Julian’s face before the glove slipped off his hand and he fell through the curtain of rain to the rocks below; the bursts of light reflected in the white haze; the cracking boom from the nearby passage, as it absorbed the surge of power that marked the end of a traveler’s life. He dreamt of it in rushes of panic and ice, just as he thought Cyrus must only dream in fire and blood.I was far more interested in this foreigner in my nightmare midst.
My fingers twined in the ugly skirt, seeking refuge from their cold fragility. It’d been so long since I’d been dressed; I’d forgotten how comforting a simple covering could be.Not that it protected my body.
Every part of me was still visible, just…shadowed. The white material didn’t hide my nipples through the tightness, and the skirt hinted at secret, violated places between my legs.I vaguely remembered my mother saying sometimes clothes were more provocative than downright nakedness. Maybe that was what this was? A tease? A reverse strip show?