The wicked heroine, p.77
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       The Wicked Heroine, p.77

           Jasmine Giacomo
 

  ~~~

  When everyone else had slipped gratefully into their rooms and closed the doors, Anjoya stepped close to Kemsil and whispered in Hyndi, “You know you are not required to stay in your own chamber this night.”

  Kemsil smiled appreciatively, but shook his head. “I am afraid I cannot visit you tonight, Anjoya. The banns have been placed.”

  Surprise entered Anjoya’s wide, dark eyes. “That soon…”

  “I’m afraid my sara Alima was impatient,” Kemsil said, using the term of endearment mockingly. “It has been several weeks now.”

  “Weeks? Then how…” Her hand slid gently to his left wrist. “Kemsil!” she breathed, pulling up his sleeve and exposing the slavers’ manacle. “Is this some terrible joke? Tell me she did not put this on you!”

  “No, Anjoya. This is not Alima’s version of the marriage band,” he said lightly, but she saw his smile did not reach his eyes. “I am not wed yet. There were, shall we say, complications, in getting to the chapel on time.”

  Anjoya’s jaw slackened. “Not wed, after the banns were placed? But…the Aldib will kill you,” she whispered, as if someone might be listening even now.

  Kemsil merely nodded. “Yes. And I fear Salience might be too close to home to hide me well, or for long. I do not know what I shall do yet.”

  “I will help you,” Anjoya nodded emphatically. “You possess qualities unlike those found in the rest of your House. Don’t shake your head at me, my lord. I have hosted for them often enough at your recommendation. I see the way they scheme and plot. You are different.”

  “Because I am the third son of a minor cousin of my House. I am a pawn, and can have no personal ambitions for myself.”

  Anjoya slashed the air with her hand. “No. You are different because you seek to better yourself without hope of reward. Now come with me, and I will get that awful thing off your arm, and we’ll see what we can do about hiding you.”

 
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