Far Horizons: Tales of Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror. Issue #13 April 2015 - Page 80

tomorrow morning, if possible.” A trapped look entered her brown eyes. He’d seen it before, most often right before he plunged a blade through a target’s heart. “Six years, Khellus.” For the first time, he dropped his gaze. “Did it mean so much to you?” “Didn’t it to you?” He sat back. “You knew I’d have to leave. Where my duty lay.” “Perhaps. We often fool ourselves far more than we realize. Even so, I didn’t think your duty would involve slipping away in the middle of the night without so much as a goodbye.” “I left a note.” “I burned it.” He suppressed a wince. “Can we go back to talking about business?” “You mean talking about killing the nobleman who lets us remain...” She waved at the home in general. “Cosy?” “You’ve every right to be angry, but please don’t let that stop you from doing the right thing. If it helps, don’t think of me as that man anymore.” “I don’t think of you as much of a man at all.” Devils below, she’d sharpened over the years. He took a few seconds to corral his thoughts. While he’d expected a lashing of this sort, he didn’t fully understand where her cold fury came from. She practically radiated with it. Yes, he’d abandoned her, he admitted it. Unfair to her, but she seemed to have done well since, despite everything. He’d been drawn to her inner strength, her passion, when they first crossed paths—but that passion had been tempered since he saw her last. Turned a bit more to steel. He tried again. “What I mean is, don’t let your bitterness against me, for the way I wronged you, sway you into denying me outright. Don’t see me as Khellus, but as a hand of the king. Someone who is trying to save a good number of lives.” Abrodail sipped from her water. “By taking lives.” “A life. One that is malicious and corrupt and is poisoning all those around him.” She looked away. “You don’t realize what that would do to us.” Something in her voice snagged his attention. “What do you mean?” As she hesitated, footsteps thumped overhead. Khellus came to his feet, a hand going to a sword hilt. “I thought you were waiting for your husband to get home?” Abrodail’s eyes widened. Apparently she hadn’t heard anything. “I am. He always comes home after us.” “Daddy’s upstairs,” Eogwen said. “He was here sleeping when we got home.” Abrodail rose as well. “Why didn’t you say anything?” Eogwen shrugged and went back to reading. A man’s voice called down. “Abby? Is that you?” Khellus caught Abrodail’s eye and mouthed, Abby? Shut up, she mouthed back. “A moment, darling.”