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The steele wolf, p.23
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       The Steele Wolf, p.23

           Chanda Hahn
 
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  Kael nodded impressed. “You’ll do.”

  What also impressed Kael was when Hemi and Fanny brought Mona to the Jesai’s. Fanny had fashioned handcuffs lined with leather and various lengths of chain.

  “That won’t hold a Denai,” Darren had scoffed.

  Fanny raised her eyebrows in challenge. “Care to try them on? They can mute a Denai power more than the misty veils.” Darren and everyone in the room dropped their mouths in disbelief.

  “I’ve never heard of anything like that,” Nero muttered.

  “Nonsense, the knowledge has been around for hundreds of years, but many people forgot how to forge them. It’s a special technique passed down through my family. I will not be sharing this one, thank you very much. But I thought it would help us.”

  That had finalized our traveling party of Darren, Hemi, Fanny, Mona, Kael, Joss and me. Joss had not spoken to me, other than to ask if I was ready to leave, since the awkward kiss with Kael. I hadn’t sought him out either to discuss what had happened between him and Mona.

  It was never the right time or place, but the road to Haven left us plenty of awkward silences to fill.

  I tended to ride next to Darren as much as possible but that meant I was right in the middle of the pack. Kael refused to allow me to ride rear guard in case of attack, but he also didn’t want me near Mona.

  Hemi and Fanny were designated as Mona’s personal guard. Hemi volunteered because the obvious threat to me came from Mona so he wanted to keep a personal eye on her. I also couldn’t help but wonder if my fearsome clansman was starting to get sweet on Fanny. The strong, silent warrior would tend to get even more quiet and awkward whenever the strong-willed, copper-haired woman came near him.

  I couldn’t help smiling as Hemi blushed bright red, as red as his beard, when she leaned close and whispered something to him.

  “Now that’s the first smile I’ve seen on your face in three days,” Darren chuckled as he turned his head to study me. “You’ve been quiet.”

  “I’ve been thinking,” I intoned.

  “Careful, that could be dangerous to your health,” Darren said out of the side of his mouth, eyes twinkling.

  I couldn’t help but laugh. That was why I loved Darren, his easygoing manner and quick wit.

  “No, I’m not kidding,” he chuckled as he nodded towards Kael and Joss riding front guard, both of them with backs straight as they rode. Neither one was willing to pick up with small talk. “I know what you are thinking about and upsetting those two could be hazardous to all of our health.”

  Tongue in cheek, I agreed with a silent nod. He was right. We were all walking a very narrow tight rope and no one wanted to upset anything. But we would have to talk and soon.

  “The sooner you speak with them the better, Little Fish. None of us want to drown in the tidal waves of the storm that’s brewing.” Darren had slipped back into calling me the nickname that Joss and he had given me when we’d first met. They had fished me out of a river and saved my life after my escape from the Septori.

  “Darren, can I tell you something that I haven’t told anyone yet?”

  “You can tell me anything, I know how to keep a secret.” He made a motion of putting a lock in his mouth and throwing away the key.

  “I don’t think Talbot was the Raven.”

  “What do you mean? He admitted it, didn’t he?”

  “I know, I think he was there. No, I know he was there in the room. It’s just…” I was finding it so hard to explain the terrible feeling I was having in the pit of my stomach. “The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced he was there, but he’s not the Raven.”

  “You’re joking, right?”

  I shook my head. “I’m remembering more and more as the time passes and I’m having these dreams. Talbot is too short to be the Raven. Or at least he was too short some of the time.”

  “Thalia, girl, you’re not making any sense.”

  “No, I’m making perfect sense. Every night, the Raven wore a silver hook-nosed mask and he always had other fellow Septori in the room who were hidden by hoods. Sometimes his voice was high, other times it was raspy. Sometimes he was taller, while other times he felt short, but never as short as Talbot. I don’t know— maybe I’m crazy.”

  “You are not crazy and I think you should spit out what is plaguing you.”

  “It’s something my uncle had said about a master and apprentice. Also how Talbot used the words us and we. I think there are multiple Septori posing as the Raven. I think they are duplicating these experiments in various places and traveling between them. We’ve already encountered quite a few Septori, but now we have to kill the heads.”

  “That is quite a secret.”

  I sighed, feeling better. “Thanks for listening.”

  “When are you going to tell the others?” He nodded his head to Kael and Joss.

  “Soon. As soon as I’m absolutely certain. But what I am certain of, is that we’ve probably already met the Raven, whoever he or she is, and Talbot is taking the fall for his master.”

  “Let’s just pray that the Adepts can help.”

  “Yes,” I said slowly chewing on the inside of my cheek in thought. “The Adepts.”

  We had accomplished a lot in a few short days. We had saved Gloria and captured Mona. She would hopefully, with the help of a truth serum, tell us how to find the rest of the Septori and Raven. Granted, we hadn’t found Joss’ sister yet, but I knew we would. I could feel it in my bones. I knew she had to be alive and I knew that I would be the one to find her.

  But first we had to take Mona to Adept Lorna, and then I would hunt her down and find the Raven—all of them. It was time and I wasn’t going to be afraid anymore. I was definitely not the same person I had been a year ago or even two years. Now, I was a powerful Denai with a vengeance.

  The search for the Septori was only beginning. Even now, I could tell I was still changing, the fevers, lack of appetite, headaches etc. Talbot confirmed it. I was evolving into a stronger monster. The Septori made me into what I am today. And now it’s time for me to hunt down my maker’s and kill them. The master and apprentice.

  About the Author

  Chanda Hahn takes her experience as a children's pastor, children's librarian and bookseller to write compelling and popular fiction for teens. She was born in Seattle, WA, grew up in Nebraska and currently resides in Portland, Oregon with her husband and their twins; Aiden and Ashley.

  Visit Chanda Hahn’s website to learn more about her other forthcoming books.

  www.chandahahn.com

  Connect with Me Online at:

  Blog: www.chandahahn.blogspot.com

  Twitter: www.twitter.com/chandahahn

  Discover other titles by Chanda Hahn at Smashwords.com:

  UnFortunate Fairy Tale Series

  UnEnchanted: An Unfortunate Fairy Tale

  Fairest: An Unfortunate Fairy Tale

  The Iron Butterfly

  The Steele Wolf

 


 

  Chanda Hahn, The Steele Wolf

 


 

 
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