Blood for Blood 2.2

Danza kept her hand on her face. 

“Alright. We need to keep people from panicking. We’ll need to speak with the constabulary, sheriff, whichever when they arrive. I think it’d be better if people don’t know. We don’t need a mob on our hands too.”

Edam nodded in agreement. Even if the blackblood – or Saints forbid it, a redblood – in question was long gone, the situation could spiral if they believed the vampire to be amongst them. Three generations of revolution and democracy didn’t mean much when the other side had all the time in the world to plot revenge.

Verat looked forlornly at the corpse and the crowd, huddling closer with the rest of them. Imera turned and began his speech. 

“Alright people,” he announced, “There’s nothing to be alarmed about. Please return to your homes in an orderly fashion and go about your day as you would. If someone would be so kind as to send for the sheriff, a gravedigger and this man’s family, we’ll be handling things from here.”

As he did, Edam turned to Verat.

“Go to the church, get my mask, my flail and- agh, just get the whole box. Make sure to pick up the stakes as well. I might have to ditch it later.”

There were some fearful murmurs from the crowd, but they dispersed from the scene quickly enough with Verat in their midst. Trust was one of the more valuable resources that the Church could afford, and it wasn’t bought with gold or charity. They needed to follow this with action. As they left, Edam found the strangest emotions on Danza’s face. It was a look that was totally and completely austere – tranquil, almost, in the light of the sun. Somehow it still betrayed anger. It was caught in her eyes as much as the light. 

“We can’t leave him strung up like this,” said Danza, “It’s undignified. I’ll get beneath him.”

She produced a knife from her coat, handed it to Edam, and stood ready to catch the man. She cut through the knots easily, and eventually he came loose into Danza’s waiting arms. She stumbled slightly as Edam grabbed onto his legs and slowly put him to the ground. Danza cradled him as he came to the earth. 

The sheriff arrived shortly thereafter – a burly man with a thin mustache and ruddy hair. Verat was next, huffing slightly as she hauled all of their things back to them. Imera briefed him while Edam and Danza continued to investigate. It hadn’t rained recently, so the prints were scant. There was a long scuff where the man’s boots had cut into the ground as he struggled – and two or more others who were dragging and holding him. They were no good for tracking though. That brought them back to the corpse. Danza looked around.

“Any family?”

The sheriff shook his head and sighed.

“Tomas didn’t have a family. Not that I know of, anyways. He was homeless, went from household to household and bed to bed. I can’t say I didn’t expect to be dealing with his death at some point or another, but not like this.” 

His eyes were still open. The gravedigger still hadn’t arrived. She took the gag from his mouth and closed it. The rest watched on.

“O lonely dead one,” said Danza, “None have come to your side on the day of your death but I. From the blessed earth you were made, and to the blessed earth you shall return. Sleep now, lonely soul; may you find your way to Paradise. May the Godhead forgive your sins, and may they hold you with open arms. You are always welcome there.” 

There was a long quiet as she shut his eyes. The prayer for the lonely was always a sad thing to see. Judging by his yellowness, he was a drunk, but he seemed a young drunk – his pallid chest was stretched tight over his bones, and his belly sunk deep. He had died hungry.

Edam handed her knife back to Danza and opened her case. She grabbed the flail first, and put the fire wand and a stake on her belt. Danza and Imera took a stake apiece as well. They loaded their pistols – not that it would kill them, but pain could slow a vampire down. That was the doctrine when dealing with them. If they couldn’t be killed immediately in an ambush, you bound them up so that you could get a clean immolation or strike at the heart. Silver or wood worked best for the latter. Anything less and they wouldn’t stay dead. Even a beheading would be a temporary solution at best.

Edam readied the flail in her hands. It was one of her better pieces, though she sometimes debated whether it was better to call it a flail or a whip on account of how long the chain was in comparison to the haft. It had a thick bell-shaped weight at the end which she hefted lightly in hand. She ran her hands along the tassels of red cloth attached to the chain, and inspected them. The sigils were holding well. She donned her mask as well, the padding covering her cheeks. It was like a breath of fresh air. A layer of protection that she wasn’t afforded normally.

Danza produced a black divining bowl from her pocket. It was made of thick black stone, not unlike a mortar, with a thick copper plate as a lid. The whole thing was only the size of a teacup. A short triangular plane extended from the plate. She added a secular verse to her prayer. 

“Rest, noble Kolet. Your toil and work is over. I am sorry that I must take from you even now. Death to the dragons.”

She shaved a piece of skin and muscle from his chest. He was so thoroughly exsanguinated that barely any blood was visible. Danza took the strip into her hand. She placed the scrap within, cleaned the knife on her thigh, sheathed it and rose again. It sparked, the focus sprung to life. The metal lid spun and scraped until it held steady and pointed itself right to the east. 

“Let’s move,” she said, “If they haven’t purged themselves of the blood yet, we might get right to them.”

The hunt was on. Edam’s heart quickened. 

Back they went down the byways. Imera handed his badge over to the sheriff so that he’d arouse less suspicion while he furiously instructed. All the while the needle wobbled and spun before returning to the correct course. It led them down towards a neighboring bog. The stone road cracked and ragged before giving up entirely and becoming dirt. The houses loomed in the morning light, and cast long shadows. 

“I’m going to need every man you can muster, but they’re to render aid and slow these things down, not fight them. You encircle them and keep them from escaping. We’ll be handling that. If they’re holed up in a building, we’ll need to consider that they may have taken hostages. If this leads us to a purging spot-” 

The needle stopped and spun back. All of them came to a halt. A sheen of sweat formed on Danza’s face from the effort. It was pointing straight at an old home that sat down a long driveway. It might have been rather nice in its glory years. A solid two stories of wood¸ brick and mortar with fine glass windows. Now it sat near dereliction. A garden had not just overgrown its place in the plot – it had covered the brick and mortar. A sea of ivy and moss that had utterly consumed the building. The windows were all dark and empty. The copper top rattled.

The blood was still moving. 

“Sheriff, who lives there?”

“Just an old hermit – we didn’t think-”

“No time to talk,” said Edam as she took stock of their surroundings.

She pointed to the abandoned lot that Imera had already started towards. He had come more prepared than she had been – he had already pulled out a hex-box, and was placing some constituents in the trees and on the road, quickly darting back to the cover. She followed him while keeping a close eye on the house. 

Edam caught a better look at the hex as she got closer. The constituents were eyes – carved, clay eyes with little metal ampoules on them. The ampoules themselves were adorned with a circle struck through with a line. The symbol for mercury. They had lengths of twine on them so that they could be hung in the right places. The ever-seeing eye of the Order of Tattered Skin.

Imera hid behind a tree and held their source close to him – a length of wood with holes cut into it. Danza was soon to follow. 

“Two at least,” said Danza, “Two of them. Dramun mekhedyed! Two of them. What’s our plan?”

Imera peeked out from behind the tree.

“No movement yet. Glad I charged the hex, but they haven’t come out. I think it’s best to wait until they do. Once at least one of them is exposed, we can chase them to the roadblocks, surround them and kill them. If two come out at the same time, Danza and I should take them on. Edam, are you willing to move in on the house?”

“I’ll handle any hostages or victims. I’ll wait for you there so that we won’t lose track of each other.”

She focused herself. The air felt constricting as they waited in silence. Her breath was hot in her mask.

And they waited some more. Men carrying weapons trod through the forest, avoiding the main road. Everything was in place. Edam peeked around the tree once more.

The door opened a crack. A pale hand pushed it the rest of the way. Edam hid again.

“That’s one,” whispered Imera, “Two. One woman, one man. Both blond. I think they’re trying to act inconspicuous. Danza. On my mark, we move. Edam, be ready to rush the house.”

He held up five fingers.

Edam put the stake and pistol on her belt, and put her flail in her hands. She rolled the chain around her wrist, making sure that she felt the weight right.


She wiped the sweat from her face.


She stood from her crouching position, peeking just a little around the trunk. The bark pressed into the tree. Two figures were walking down the road, now a good distance from the house.


She readied herself.


Like a bolt of lightning Imera and Danza emerged from the brush and sped towards the two. Edam followed, cutting her way across the road in a run. The sounds of the conflict continued – she heard someone yell, and the distant crackling of mana – but kept her eyes single-mindedly on the closed door until she arrived. She slammed her boot into it, and it flung open, one of the copper hinges coming straight out of the rotten wood.  The scent of decay filled her nose. 

It was a small foyer. She could feel a draft from the northern wall, perhaps where the wood had rotten more than other places. The coats on the wall ruffled as she passed, and a cloud of brown moths emerged from them. She opened the door carefully, trying to not move so much that the clinking of the chain would give her away. 

The next room was a large living room. The furniture was old and in disrepair. It might have been very fine once, but now it was moth-eaten and mostly empty. A defaced sigil of nobility sat over the fireplace. Now it had been refaced – a crude, but recognizably calligraphic signature had been painted there. 

Erkha. An old house from before the revolution.

After she had checked all the corners and the ceiling, she kept moving through the shadowy half-light to the door on her left. She opened the door to a face covered by black hair.

“Don’t-” she whispered as the figure fell to her feet and cowered. 


It took a moment for Edam to calculate what she was looking at. It felt impossible to put into exact words. Still, words came to mind, and memories. A rush of adrenaline mixed with the sense that she was repeating herself. A living reflection of her nightmare. The poor girl’s dress had been torn open to accommodate a mantle of dozens of deformed arms. They were distended, many-jointed, many-fingered – one that hung low near her belly had no less than four elbows, each twisted in its own direction. Much of the skin that was exposed was covered with bite marks, some of which looked infected. She shuffled and kneeled. She grasped at Edam’s feet. 

“Help me,” she whispered.

She knelt, gently removing the hands from her ankles. 

“I’m here to help. I’m going to help you out of this. Is there anyone else in the house?”

The woman shivered. 

“Yes,” she said, “Upstairs. The dining room. The others left.”

“Stay. I’ll come back for you.”

The woman entered a scuttling retreat, quietly moving to one corner of the room. It was vampire work, no doubt – whether by witchcraft, or as a part of their curse. She clutched at herself with her many arms. Edam could feel her blood boil as she saw more of the wounds. Her skin itched, and something under it itched as well – a deep wailing anger that filled her chest up.

Edam swallowed the rage, and her heart pumped it into her veins. She did her best to ignore it. Calm would get her further than anger. Patience over impatience.  

She kept moving, through the hallway and to the spiral stairwell. It might have been beautiful once – maybe even palatial in its scope. The bannisters were finely carved; the windows were broken and let in the breeze, but they must have been a sight to behold in their glory days. She almost couldn’t tell it at first, but there had been a rug on the landing once. Now it was scraps of cloth and string. She reached the top, and pressed herself up against the wall of the landing. She peaked around the corner. 

The hallway was empty. To the far end, there was a door open. The orange light of fire flickered in the doorway. 

She exhaled, and let ochre mana trickle into her mask as she walked down the hall. It was always a rush – her ears popped as they readjusted themselves to her new sense of balance, and her limbs felt lighter as she walked. 

The stench of the room hit her before she entered. It was rotting meat and fruit. It was spilled wine and beer that had soaked into a rug. She smelled sex – the vaguely putrescent smell of semen and fluids from a corpse. Most of all, she smelled blood. As she entered, its source was obvious. The dining hall was massive – a table ran its length, and a rotting feast had been splayed out on it. A pig had been butchered and opened, hardly cooked, its giblets and chitterlings covered in buzzing flies and maggots. Opened pomegranates sat half-eaten all around it, and more expensive meats and fruits and every variety of food Edam could think of sitting and spoiling. Much of it was covered in bloody half-congealed bile – the result of a vampire purging up their actual sustenance. 

Vampires had ravenous tastes. That much was apparent. 

Then, as her eyes reached the far end, she saw him. He was half-nude, with a black cloak laid around his waist, sitting on the table. He was all muscle – corded and tight. It rippled as he moved. At his sides were two bowls of dye. He had painted himself with them in whorls and obscure symbols of ancient Kolet gods. The pale indigo and dark red decorated his entire chest; a single stripe swung down over his eye in imitation of a scar. His long red hair was tied back into a ponytail.

An enormous sword sat on his lap, still sheathed. It was nearly half Edam’s height in length. His eyes were clear, without signs of rot. A redblood.

“Ignorant peasant,” he began. His accent was archaic. 

Edam wasn’t about to negotiate. She reached for her pistol, pulled it from its place, cocked it, and fired. The sound echoed in the tiny space and left a ringing in Edam’s ears as the smoke rose away from her gun. 

The vampire looked down at himself, then to the hole in the head of his chair.

“Thou must be one of those witch hunters that I’ve heard so much about. I thought they trained thee to aim.”

He rose from his place, let the sheathe fall around his side and drew his sword. 

Edam dropped her gun and unwound the flail from her arm, beginning to swing it slowly in a loop. The momentum pulled it into a circle.

“A peasant mindset,” said the vampire as he began to stride towards her, “Bringing a thresh to a sword fight.” 

The instant he was just outside of her range, Edam slammed the chain forward horizontally. It missed by inches as the vampire rushed forward. 

Beneath the mask, Edam grinned. 

She let verdure surge through her fingers and into the flail, to the tassels. The chain stopped in mid-flight as if an invisible hand had grasped it. The momentum carried and swung its head directly into the vampire’s neck. She heard bone crack and stopped the flow as he stumbled forward.

She stopped the flow of verdure, and felt the head hit the ground at roughly the same moment her knee made impact with the vampire’s nose. He made a hasty retreat, pointing his sword at her to keep her at bay. 

“Cur!” He yelped, “Shpoer!

Edam reeled back her chain hand and readied herself for the next attack. In a single swift motion, the vampire cracked his broken neck back into place and threw himself headfirst towards her with astounding speed. She jumped aside just in time to see the blur of the sword pass where her head once was. She was falling-

Her balance readjusted in an instant, the mask correcting her so that she landed into a stable position. The vampire forced himself forward again. His teeth flashed. They were red with blood.

Her boots skidded against the ground as the sword sparked with verdure mana. It slammed into the table, and it erupted into a clattering chaos of silverware and rotten food. The next blow came high, and as she ducked under it, the shockwave from the blade struck the pillar a foot away. Splinters shattered up into Edam’s face and chest, buffeting her away. She was knocked up on one leg until she forced herself back down with the rest of her weight. 

He was on the war-path. She saw a spark of bright blue and hardly had time to react as the sword burst forward like a spear. It lodged itself in the wood between her legs. She waited a moment for him to bring it loose, still dazed from the previous blow.

Edam realized her mistake a moment too late. He had stopped the flow of mana, and now it was bringing him to her.

Within an instant, he was upon her, and he brought down his teeth on her. She held up her chain on instinct but he had the height on her, and bit her shoulder. His teeth sunk in, but worse than that was his tongue. It cut through the cloth and rasped against her flesh, digging it up and supping blood from it.

It crunched, and he finally relented, his mouth agape and filled with some of her blood. His nose hung by a thread now; she had gouged cartilage straight from the bone of his skull. At the very least, Edam was certain he was a vampire now. His ichor dripped with the consistency of honey, mixing with hers as he licked his lips. An unnaturally long, thick tongue emerged from between them and probed the wound for just a moment. It then wrapped itself around the hanging remnant of his nose, tugged it off and carried it back into his mouth.

He swallowed.

The words from her instructor echoed in Edam’s head. Every vampire is unique in their physiology, though they have a common need in their diet. 

Unique was one way of putting it. She reached into her pocket, and pulled out her athame, wielding the flail with only one hand now. Unlike the rest of her uncle’s gifts, it had some use outside of ritual. She pushed herself forward, bounding in ways that felt impossible. The drain of ochre mana was starting to weigh on her – she felt a trickle of blood emerging from one of her nostrils – but even still, her mask held her true as she bounded from floor to the table for but a single step before leaping and driving the knife into the vampire’s open nostrils. 

The burnished silver seared at the vampire’s flesh as he screamed in pain. She wrapped her legs about his chest, using each point of contact to keep herself firmly in place. He dropped his sword and awkwardly tried to bat her away with both hands. A fist met her gut and nearly took the wind from her. Then another. She held fast. She had taken worse. Another bruise wouldn’t be much. She stabbed him in the cheek again and again. Viscous ichor slathered onto her hands. She rolled herself forward.

He was balanced and strong.

But he wasn’t perfect. He toppled down and she let the momentum take her and free her from the hold, rolling away and rising in a single fluid motion. She skidded to a halt on her feet, and turned to face him as he rose.

He spat out blood.

“Idiot,” he said with clipped nasal sounds interspersed in his words, “Dumb peasant girl. Do you know how long it will take for me to regrow that nose?”

She wasn’t fazed. A week on the high end was her own estimate, but she kept that thought to herself.

“It’s no matter. I’ve no need for a sword or a nose to fight.”

This one thinks very highly of himself. I suppose it’s to be expected of a creature that formerly held a high position, she thought.

“I was the best pankratist in Perasef in my day,” he added, a bubble of ichor popping on the edge of the cavity where his nose once was, “Would thou like a demonstration?”

He made his way into a boxer’s stance, his hands at the ready. The whorls of madder and woad on his chest rippled and mixed with the spilt blood as he readied himself. Edam spun the chain of her flail slowly in one hand. He threw himself forward, and she brought it down.

This time, mana sparked across the vampire’s body – across the red paint. A sigil on his chest glowed bright red for an instant before it exploded with a rush of air and heat, throwing the chain backwards, and Edam’s hand likewise just a moment later. In reaction, she ran verdure through it to regain control, swinging it back in the direction of her quarry only to find that he had made his way into her defenses. She readied herself for a punch.

He feinted to one side and presented his shoulder, where one of the largest woad symbols laid. It sparked and threw out another shock of air that knocked Edam off her feet and onto the table. The pressure hurt her ears – the ringing nearly drowned out her own yell. She scrambled away as he smashed his hand down like a hammer. The thick wood broke like glass under the force of the blow, and the whole affair collapsed from all the punishment it had taken. 

She brought herself upright once more. She could feel blood rushing out of her nose now,, and the ochre was weighing heavier and heavier on her bones. If she wasn’t careful, she could be outlasted. 

Edam breathed out, and got her bearings. He was already vaulting over what remained of the table. She threw the flail in a wild swing, and waited. He dodged once, and she brought the verdure along its length once more. It whistled as it wrapped itself around his arm tightly. With one swift motion, she pulled him off balance and onto the floor. 

Immediately, she pounced on him with all her strength, forcing him back to his feet, and to the wall by the fireplace. She then jammed the handle of the flail up the empty cavity in his nose and for a moment he went limp.

She worked quickly. The brain of a vampire would always regenerate first, in a matter of seconds. She took her knife and sawed at his hand until it came cleanly off, the undead flesh still twitching and trying to grasp at her. She felt blessed that the Godhead saw it fit to make vampire flesh part before silver. She pinned the other through the wall with the knife, right into the rotten wood, before pulling out the haft from her foe. It was covered with pinkish brain matter. He groaned horridly all the while.

Edam looked around for a moment until she found what she was looking for – a bottle of wine. Methodically, she cleaned the haft, as the vampire came to.

“What,” he gurgled, “How?”

“You are a pagan creature of the night without any morals. I have the divine power of the Godhead at my side,” said Edam as she rubbed the haft with a handkerchief she found, “My victory was as inevitable as rain.”

“How… thou’re a peasant.”

“Yes. I have no noble blood in my veins. Now I need to speak to you about an important matter. How do I fix that servant of yours downstairs?”

“The worm? Why would thou save her? She is-”

He probed his tongue up through his open palate, and into the open space in his face before returning it back to chastising the woman he had enslaved.

“Without honor. A whelp.”


“She deserved it.”

Edam was quiet.

“How so?”

“She was a nasty little thing, if thou must know. People in town talked and talked about her. I heard them. They wouldn’t miss her. Thou should kill her and be done with thine duty. A sinner, as thou might say.”

“She’s done no injury to me,” said Edam, “And there is always time for redemption.”

“She deserves it. There is no redemption in this land, foreigner.”

She thought back to the woman’s wounds. Edam felt as if there was nothing in the world that could ever convince her that she truly deserved it. He was lying. She felt it in her bones. 

“Stop it. She didn’t deserve that.”

The vampire cackled.

“Struck a nerve, didn’t I? She-”

Edam had enough. She raised her flail, and brought it down on the vampire’s chest. He continued to laugh.

“What? Does the peasant girl have-”

Again, she brought it down.

“-sympathies! Does she want to have vengeance-”

Again. His ribs cracked. 

“-for the poor wretched waif! She’s angry! The whore! She thinks she’s better than a peasant because she has permission from a priest. Such common vio-”
Again. White bone emerged from his chest. He wheezed wordlessly as she savaged him.

“No! You don’t – you don’t treat people like that,” she said.

She kept bringing it down, goring his belly and breaking his legs. Her rage overflowed out of her heart and into her hands, shaking even as she brought down the chain again and again. Her mouth sputtered out curses in Agoran as she did.

“Parasite! Śira metuon! Cunt! Murderer! You don’t do that! You don’t!”

He gurgled, unable to form words anymore. Tears were emerging from his eyes from the pain. By the time she stopped, his torso was nearly unrecognizable. Her arms burnt with exertion. She knelt to his level.

“Tell me how to fix her and I stop. Don’t tell me, and this goes until next week.”

Weakly, he raised one of his remaining fingers towards the mantelpiece. He forced his hand straight through the knife, leaving a gaping hole therein, pumped air into his lungs by pressing down on his chest, and spoke.

“The doll. The one with too many. Remove the pin from it. Not the other one. The other one kills her. Just stop. Thou – you win. I will aid thee – have mercy-”

Edam pulled the stake from her belt and slammed it into the center of his chest. His sternum crunched and gave way more than it already had, and he finally went limp. He was dead. For good. 

Edam found her gun amidst the chaos, returned to one of the few intact seats and cleaned off the rest of her flail before examining the mantle more closely. Sure enough, there were two dolls – one flaxen one with far too many arms, and a porcelain one that was quite plain. She turned the first over in her hand, and found a metal pin in the back of its head. She pulled it out gently, and kept both in her care. 

At the bottom of the stairs, the woman was waiting for her. Her blouse had utterly torn to shreds. She had pulled her hair back from her face. She was a rather plain woman with soft blue eyes and a thin figure, no longer obscured by the mass of arms. She shuddered as Edam approached, and hid her chest for modesty. Edam put her weaponry onto her belt and raised her hands.

The scars and some of the wounds were still there. They marked her remaining arms up and down. She had used some of the remaining bandages to cover what she could of them.

“It’s just me – see? I won. I won. You’re safe now.”

Oh, thought Edam, It’s the mask. The mask and the gore-soaked clothes. That’s probably what’s scaring her.

She slowly removed her mask and showed the woman her face. 

“See? It’s me.”

Very slowly, the woman sat on the stairs and shook, hunching herself into a ball.

Edam sat beside her. 

“Are you cold?”

The woman shook her head lightly.

“Well, you’re sort of nude. Would you mind if I put my jacket on you? For modesty’s sake? I know it’s dirty.”

She stared back at Edam over her arm, and shook her head again. Edam looked down at her clothes. Some of the blood was still wet.

“Yes, in retrospect that seems like a bit of a stupid question. I’m supposed to stay here until my comrades come and get me, so we have some time to talk. This isn’t an interrogation, for the record. I’d just like to know some things about you. What’s your name?”

She stared straight ahead to somewhere past Edam for a long while.


She didn’t respond.

“Miss, are you alright? It’s fine if you can’t talk.”

She continued to stare. Edam felt the urge to comfort her further.

“Stay there. I’ll be right back.”

Edam walked up the stairs and found her way into a bedroom in the palatial estate, and took a blanket from it. It was ratty and old, but it could serve its purpose. She returned to the poor woman, and slowly placed the blanket over her back, to preserve her modesty. Edam sat again, and slumped back against the stairs.

“It’s fine if you don’t want to talk. I’m not very good at it either.”

The woman looked up at her.

“Akham,” she said shakily, “My name is Akham.”

“Good! That’s good, Akham. Do you have any family-”

“They won’t want me,” she said quietly.

“I’m sorry?”

“They won’t want me. I did terrible things. I- I sold them out. I sold out my country. For what? When they see my arms, they’ll know. They will.”

Edam looked away for a long while, trying to find an answer.

“Well, my family didn’t want me very much either. My father didn’t, at least. And-”

She paused a moment before rolling up her sleeve, showing the scars up and down her arm.

“You learn to hide them eventually. And they bother you less.”

She rolled the sleeve up and slumped back in the stairwell. It was shortly after that she heard steps coming through the front door. Two pairs of feet. Edam rose, and was met with the faces of Danza and Imera walking through the door. They both looked worse for wear – Imera’s shirt was singed in several places, and Danza had a gash on her left shin that trickled blood.

“Please tell me that isn’t your blood,” said Imera.

“It isn’t my blood.”

“Thank the Saints,” he said, looking at the half-nude Akham with disdain, “We caught one. The other got away.”

Edam nodded.

“I got the third.”

Imera reached into his pocket, and produced a paper letter, handing it to Edam.

“You’re going to want to have a look at this. It was on the woman.”

Edam unfolded the letter and scanned it over, before groaning aloud. She nearly swore.

“Four more at a masquerade? Where we can’t test them without arousing suspicion?”

Danza shook her head in anger.

“It’s never easy.”

“And it gets worse. I know one of those names. She’s a blueblood.”

Edam huffed. It was going to be a long road to Kallin.

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