THE NIGHTSTEALER STOOD NUDE BEHIND ICE. The hibernating chamber was propped against the wall, holding him secure with metal bands at neck and hips that didn’t cover many of his recognizable glyphs. Celtic cross armorglyphs the same as mine wrapped wrists and traveled his forearm to elbow. Torso lunaglyphs matched a few of my fifty bioglyphs. My golden coin-sized glyphs stranded like a necklace and imprinted my chest, a permanent lifecollar, but his silver glyphs swirled seamlessly, one into another like intricate scrollwork. I remembered tracing some of them four months ago, their beauty all a glimmer, when he lay nude on me after transmuting from smoke, when I’d first kissed him this life, when I’d discovered we had made commitments in twenty past lives, both physically and emotionally, as lifebonds—
THE SQUEALS GREW LOUDER as they turned the corner into the room and stopped before my bed. Yukiko panted, pushing a chair with wheels. Inside the chair sat a child with dark disheveled curls, hollow cheeks, and slate-gray eyes rimmed with violet—Daystealer violet!
Is he a Daystealer?
No, I couldn’t tell his age. He didn’t appear older than sixteen years old, but he couldn’t be that young; Nightstealers have had fertility problems as well my people; a child hadn’t been born in the past four hundred years—except for Crossbreeds.
Is he a Crossbreed?
No. Croix had red veins. I stared at Saba. Why didn’t you tell me about a child? Saba kept many secrets, but truly, this was his biggest—and an enigma.
When I raised brows at Donar, he asked, “You have many questions, ja?”
LIGHT FOOTFALLS TRAVELED CLOSER IN THE HALL. Suddenly alert from the short doze, I kept eyes closed, feigning sleep, and kept a hand wrapped around Windiamond. The echoing violin started and kept time with the ticking clock, but I focused on the heavy breathing, pounding heart, and footsteps coming closer. Closer. When I opened eyes, just slightly, a female with her back to me stood before Saba, her hands balled and glued to her hips. She’d removed her long coat and now donned what looked like a cat suit packed with knives. In her waistband at the small of her back nestled a jewel-butted hilt. I slowly pulled Windiamond flute.
“Use it,” she taunted without turning, her voice as cold as the ice separating her from Saba. Did she want to die? No, she wanted me dead. My strike would give her permission to defend herself. I transformed the flute into a dagger, tucked it under a leg I couldn’t feel, and propped on elbows. “Bequia?”