Alastair: the lovable, self-serving, ever charming rogue. By the second book we’ve peeked into his past and confirmed what we already suspected: he treats life as if it’s a game, one great gamble, and therefore treats people with the same glibness and dispensability of a hand of cards–win some, lose some (Mouse is a bit of an exception to his mindset). What happens, though, when a man who’s lived for nearly forever–escaping every possible responsibility or attachment–suddenly finds that fate has caught up with him? Read on to find out!
Again, and as with every sand since a chance encounter in the hallway that morning, Beatrice’s pale ghost followed Alastair through Eod’s starry halls. Had she been waiting for him? As a shadowbroker, and a man who’d lived and cheated death for many hundreds of years, Alastair believed he’d mastered the art of stealth, but he could not seem to shake the woman. He took the mustiest paths and darkest hallways he could find. He dashed through crowds, and once tried to lose her by plunging into the raucous lunchtime crowd at the White Hearth. But every time he turned around, he saw the same white head still bobbing behind him.
In the Court of Ideas, he’d played a game of masks and stolen the overcoat of a scholar who’d been paying too much attention to his books to notice the offense. Then he’d joined a huddle of sages and bullshitted his way convincingly through a conversation on the fluctuation of northern etheric currents. Alas, Beatrice’s white countenance emerged from behind a bookcase, and he threw off his disguise and elbowed his way through the knot of learned men. The maze of bookcases should have provided ample opportunities for evasion, but however much he tried, he could not free himself of his pursuer. Every time he looked over his shoulder, there she was.
Bloody Kings! What sort of hunter was she? Most Menosian ladies were devious, but vapid; they were like pretty snakes—venomous, powerful, to some degree cunning, but with the tiniest of brains. Yet this wife of an Iron Sage was determined and clever; she was of a breed much closer to that of Gloriatrix. She would simply not give up. Feeling the heat, running out of options in a palace that seemed to be growing increasingly smaller, Alastair darted into one of the many indoor arboretums. Shining with green life, it boasted cloisters twined with crystal flowers, splashing brooks, and many other distractions that might throw a pursuer off the scent. Tucking himself in amongst a row of tall, lanky hedges, he closed his eyes; smelling the rich soil, he wished he could sink into the stone, that the earth would swallow him entirely. Make him disappear. He was not practicing magik, only trying to remain so still and silent that he would go undetected even by the sharpest senses.
Fuk. Creaking open his eyes, he saw that with one lean, pale hand, Beatrice had parted the bushes that screened him. She stared at him curiously. “Are you going to come out? It seems a bit tight in there for two.”
Alastair settled himself in more firmly, gripping branches. “What do you want?”
“To talk, you fool. Now come out of there.”
All my love,