The White Road: The Nightrunner Series, Book 5 by Lynn Flewelling

  Two of them were simply drops of melted sealing wax; it was more prudent not to advertise who was sending certain letters in case they were intercepted. The third was from a duchess he knew slightly, and the scroll was from Magyana.

  Alec pushed Seregil’s feet aside to sit down and covered them both with his cloak as they waited for the room to warm.

  “Let’s see,” said Seregil, breaking the first blank seal. “This is from old Lord Erneus. Seems his daughter has gotten herself—No, look at the date. She’s given birth by now.” That one was relegated to the fire. The second had been left for them just a week before. The scent of a lady’s perfume still clung to it. Seregil held it to his nose, giving Alec a wink, then looked it over. “This one is from Duchess Myrian, Duke Norin’s wife. It seems she’s unwisely given a token to her lover—Bilairy’s Balls, why do they always do that?”

  “We’d be out of work if they didn’t.”

  The third missive was from Tyrien, a Street of Lights courtesan Alec had met the first time he’d blundered under a green lantern. The young man wanted someone to rob the house of a patron who’d wronged him.

  “I wonder what he’d think if he knew it was you he was writing to?” Seregil said with a grin.

  Alec ignored him and picked up the scroll tube. Breaking the seal, he shook out the rolled letter. “Let’s hope Magyana has something more challenging for us. This is dated just four days ago. She must have left it as she went out of town.”

  Seregil pulled the edge of the cloak up under his chin. “That sounds promising.”

  “‘My dear boys, if you return before I get back, I have a small matter that might be of interest to you. Please visit Lady Amalia as your lordly selves as soon as you can. Tell her you are in my confidence, and know of someone trustworthy who can help her. It’s a small political matter. I do hope you had a pleasant adventure.’”

  Seregil grimaced. “‘Pleasant’ is not the word I’d use to describe it. What about you?”

  Alec pushed Seregil’s feet off his lap. Going to his discarded saddlebag, he took out the false slave collars they’d worn and propped them up on the cluttered mantelpiece between a box of loose gems and a broken lock.

  “Are you sure you want to save those?” Seregil asked. How could Alec look at them and not think of Sebrahn?

  “It’s all right,” Alec assured him as he sat down beside him again.

  He didn’t say more, and Seregil didn’t ask. Instead, he made a show of weighing a letter in each hand. “What do you say, talí? The lady or the whore?”

  “Magyana first, then the whore, and then the lady,” said Alec. “On one condition, though.”

  “You’re leveling conditions now? All right, what is it?”

  The flickering firelight made Alec look a bit menacing as he grinned and said, “That I don’t hear you complain about being bored for at least two months.”

  Seregil gave him a mocking seated bow. “You have my word. I’m sure this old whore of a city can keep me entertained for a bit. Besides, it’s nearly spring, and people do all sorts of foolish things in the spring. Ah, Alec—a good honest brawl and jobs waiting.” He yawned and stretched, then uttered the words he had not said since the Cockerel Inn burned.

  “It’s good to be home.”

  The White Road is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

  A Spectra Mass Market Original

  Copyright © 2010 by Lynn Flewelling

  All rights reserved.

  Published in the United States by Spectra, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.

  SPECTRA and the portrayal of a boxed “s” are trademarks of Random House, Inc.

  Map by Virginia Norey

  eISBN: 978-0-553-90701-8




  Lynn Flewelling, The White Road: The Nightrunner Series, Book 5



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