Home > The Rebels of Gold (Loom Saga #3)(7)

The Rebels of Gold (Loom Saga #3)(7)
Author: Elise Kova


   In front of that throne was a ruby-skinned man. Cvareh didn’t know him but he recognized the beads of a King’s Rider when he saw them.

   “Good of you to join us, both of you,” the Rider praised brightly. “We heard you had returned, Cvareh’Ryu, from your late-night adventures.”

   Cvareh didn’t believe for a moment that the Rider didn’t know exactly where he’d been. Cvareh barred his fangs in a wide grin. He was not to be tested right now. The past day was beginning to tug on his shoulders to the point of pain, contorting his muscles under the weight of something he couldn’t yet fathom.

   “Don’t you mean Cvareh’Oji?” Cain corrected darkly from his side. For all their differences, and even when he dripped with anger, Cain still stood for Xin. If that fact ever changed, Cvareh’s world would truly have ended.

   “Not quite.” The Rider turned back to Cvareh, smiling, fangs gleaming. “Cain Bek was gone for a while. I trust he informed you of the death of your sister.”

   Petra is dead.

   “I require some clarity.” It was all Cvareh could muster. Something had to begin making sense. The sad eyes of his House surrounded him, wary gazes begging for an answer he didn’t have. He didn’t even know the questions to ask.

   “Ah, well, then allow me to inform you that your sister, Petra Xin’Oji To, has perished on this day.”

   Cvareh could see the ghost of his sister behind the man, sitting proudly on her throne. Her golden curls cascaded over her shoulders and down to the curve of her hip. A woman among women, and warrior who could best them all.

   “She was challenged to a duel in the Rok Estate,” the Rider continued.

   There were whispers now, but all Cvareh could focus on was the ghost of his sister. It was a figure that already threatened to haunt him until the end of his days.

   “A duel between whom?” Cain asked. “A Rok, no doubt. For if she was slain by a Rok, the title of Oji falls to Cvareh.”

   “I know well how titles work,” the Rider chided with a condescending smile. “We use the same ones in House Rok. And you would do well, Cain Bek, to remember where House Rok sits.” At the top, the Rider allowed everyone to mentally fill in the words. “No, she was challenged by a Xin.”

   They all knew who it was. There was only one man it could’ve been. For the only other Xin present at the time of Petra’s death was Cvareh, and every last man and women assembled knew that Cvareh would have never challenged his sister.

   “On the fifteenth day of the month of Soh, eleven years after the annexation of Loom, Petra’Oji was slain by Finnyr’Kin in a duel of her challenging.”

   Cvareh stared through the Rider. He looked back to the ghost of his sister in all her power and glory. She had a might that should only be thwarted by the Gods themselves, and Finnyr was no God. There was foul play here. Deceit and lies abounded everywhere Rok stood.

   “Coletta Rok’Ryu and Yeaan Rok’Soh bore witness to this honorable challenge and kill. It determines before the Divine Twenty and the mortals below that Finnyr Xin’Kin To will henceforth be known as Finnyr Xin’Oji To.”

   In this moment, the Rider’s words were muffled, garbled. The visage of his sister moved her lips, and all he heard was Cain’s voice again, ripe with pain and colored in grief—Petra is dead—before the ghostly presence vanished, and left the halls of the Xin Manor forever.

 

 

Arianna


   She was relieved to be free of her bonds. The feeling of entrapment in that dank little room was too similar to what she had endured on Nova at Yveun’s hand. Even though the man before her was the antithesis to the hulking Dragon King, and her surroundings looked nothing like the architecture found in the sky world, there was something disturbingly similar to both situations.

   “So, where are we?” Movement helped, but thinking helped more.

   “Suburb of Ter.5.2.” Louie moved at a snail’s pace, and Arianna was reduced to a shuffle to avoid striding past him. “It was a warehouse I was using to transfer goods from Dortam to the port of Ter.5.2, and vice versa.”

   “How far does your reach actually extend?” Arianna didn’t know why he was suddenly sharing all this information with her, but if his tongue was well oiled, she’d encourage the words to flow.

   “Far enough.” Louie paused at one of the switchbacks, giving her a smug smile.

   “I suppose you weren’t known for your transparency.”

   “The opposite, actually.”

   He pushed open a door that was quite light when Arianna caught it, despite the heavy-looking wood-and-bronze framing. They arrived in a homely upstairs room far more domestic than Arianna expected. A long wooden table was lined with pewter stools, one of which was occupied by a red-eared Chimera.

   “Adam, go fetch our little crows from their tinkering.”

   The man named Adam stood and Arianna regarded him warily. She knew Chimeras got the luck of the draw when it came to organs, but seeing red Dragon flesh evoked a completely new response in her. He was oblivious to her apprehension, however, and left the notes he’d been looking over to disappear through a galley door.

   “I’m going to need your help.” Louie drew her attention from the table as he rounded it in his deliberate manner.

   “With what?” Arianna was surprised when he slid the papers toward her. It seemed her needlessly complex planning for how to sneak looks at them was no longer necessary.

   He fanned out the papers, an assortment of technological specifications, schematics, unit numbers, and more. “We need to outfit this airship for magic, using this much gold.” His finger settled on a quantity.

   Arianna scoffed. “Impossible.”

   “You seem to be someone who makes the impossible, possible.”

   “I’m an engineer, not a wizard.”

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