Okay, what about this, she began. We send out five teams to the water treatment facilities, and you can take a small group out to assess the situation there. Snap some photos.
Stop arguing and start undressing. Iseult slid from the saddle and looped her reins over a low branch. Then she began unbuttoning her blouse. A storm’s coming, Saf, and you’re at its eye. I can be the right hand and you can be the left.The left hand trusts the right, Mathew always said. The left hand never looks back until after the purse is grabbed.
Iseult had always been the left hand—she’d always trusted Safi to distract until the end. Which meant it was Safi’s turn to do the same.Charged air burst through the forest. It lashed into Safi, around her … and then gathered itself behind her. She flung a glance back, eyes watering. Storm clouds, dark as pitch, swirled above the treetops.I don’t like this, Safi said, really having to yell now. In fact, I hate this—the storm and the plan. Why does it have to be ‘we’? Why not just me?
Because ‘just me’ isn’t who we are, Iseult hollered back. I’ll always follow you, Safi, and you’ll always follow me. Threadsisters to the end.A fierce, burning need rose in Safi’s lungs at those words. She wanted to tell Iseult everything she felt—her gratitude, her love, her terror, her faith, but she didn’t. Instead, she smiled grimly. Threadsisters to the end.
Then she did as Iseult had ordered: she clambered from her mare and began peeling off her clothes.
Aeduan smelled his old mentor a mile away. Her scent—crisp spring water and salt-lined cliffs—was unmistakable. As familiar to Aeduan as his pulse.When I was sure I was reasonably okay, I got out, put on my own bra and underwear, and dressed in the first clothes I found: yoga pants and a workout tank. I saw the labels as I pulled them on, and almost took them off again. The top and pants combined probably cost more than a night at my hotel. But they were clean, and I had the feeling that if I kept digging through Sashi’s clothes I wasn’t going to find anything cheaper anyway.
When I was dressed, I wasn’t sure what to do next. I had my cell phone, since it had been in my jeans pocket, but I was effectively trapped in the bedroom until Sashi helped Cliff. If she could help him. I didn’t know anything about thaumaturge magic.I took my phone out of my jeans pocket, intending to fold the bloody clothes. A wad of paper fell out of the pocket, too. The list of missing vampires, with their last known locations. Right.
Relief flooded through me: I couldn’t help Cliff now, and I didn’t even have a way of contacting Jameson. But this was something I could do. I left the pile of stained clothes on top of a magazine and carried the list to a small armchair in Sashi’s bedroom. I’d glanced over the list earlier, but I hadn’t taken the time to actually study it yet. I sat on the floor with my back against the chair and spread the list out on the carpet in front of me, studying the names of the missing vampires.I didn’t recognize anyone, and I wasn’t familiar with a lot of the locations, either, so I started googling, using a pen from Sashi’s dresser to make little notes. I kept an ear out, but although I could hear movement in the kitchen, I didn’t want to risk getting any closer, even just by peeking my head out of the doorway. The thaumaturge witch had shown me a lot of trust by letting me into her house like this; it seemed only fair that I try to trust her with Cliff.