Far Horizons: Tales of Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror. Issue #13 April 2015 - Page 78

and people who don’t look nice are. And sometimes there need to be not-nice people to do not-nice jobs. Don’t you think?” in to comment on my daughter’s schooling, so that means I’ve something to do with whatever business you’re about.” She swung the door wider in order to confront him with crossed arms. “Is that s’posed to be a puzzle?” “Can I come in?” “Does it confuse you?” “No. You just make it sound c‘fusing.” Khellus chuckled. “Maybe I’m trying to confuse you.” “That’s not nice.” “Eogwen,” Abrodail called, rushing into view. “What’ve I told you about answering the—oh gods above and below.” She halted for a second, colour leeching from her cheeks. After a second, she hurried forward and pulled Eogwen back, pushing her off down the hall. “Little flower, go read until your father gets home.” Khellus rose as the girl skipped off. “She can read. That’s good. I was at least twice her age before I learned how.” Abrodail stared at him, hand on the door as if debating whether to slam it or not. Then she swallowed and firmed her shoulders. “You shouldn’t be here.” “Probably not. Nevertheless...” Khellus spread his hands. Various expressions cast shadows over her face, like clouds over the sun. “You’re not here for me.” “I wasn’t at first. I initially came on business.” Her laughter still sent a tiny thrill through him, even laced with scorn as it was. “A job. I should’ve known.” “Yes, you should have.” “What do you want? You’re obviously not dropping “No.” They engaged in a silent stand-off until Khellus gave way. “Wescel Asmoran. He’s your employer, isn’t he?” “Oh, devils take you, you utter bastard.” She moved to slam the door, but he jammed a boot and shoulder in the gap. Abrodail struggled to dislodge him, to no avail. “Get away from us. I want nothing to do with you.” “Just hear me out, Abby, would you?” “Don’t call me that.” “Rah!” Something struck Khellus’ boot over and over. He and Abrodail looked down at Eogwen, who had thrown herself between her mother’s legs and now stabbed at Khellus’ toes with a wooden fork. “Go away!” Khellus cleared his throat as Abrodail swept her daughter up and hustled her back into the house. She returned half a minute later, looking flustered. This turned to a glare. “You’re still here.” “I’d appreciate it if you let me at least explain.” She raised a finger. “One word. You get one word.” “Treason.” She froze. Khellus pushed the door a little wider. “Abrodail, your employer is a traitor to the king and he’s at the head of a growing faction working to undermine the safety of this entire region. I can’t believe that someone as smart as you could work there without picking up on that.” He leaned in until he caught her eye, though she still refused to look at him straight on. “You know it’s true.”