“I’m glad we’re so appreciated,” Daris replied dryly, then poured himself
another drink. “I hope Alexa found a better mailman, or she may have already
had her baby. Think about how your mother would feel about that.”
Jase shuddered. “Her fury would shake the Nine Lands,” he said.
“Fortunately, the letter was dated. She isn’t due for another six months.”
“Do you think she’s happy with her new life?”
“I think so. Lavin sounds like a nice guy, even if he is Heir to the Throne
of Midion. Alexa always did like attending royal balls and all that other
pageantry garbage, so I’m sure she feels right at home.” He paused and took a
sip of his ale before adding, “If you ask me, the scheming that takes place at a
dance rivals even the most subversive political machinations of the High
“You never miss a chance to criticize city life do you?” Daris asked. “Do you
truly hate it so much?”
Jase smiled. “I live here don’t I?”
Daris leaned forward and fixed him with a stare. “You live here because
your mother moved here. Perhaps she’s the one who’s had enough of Trian
“I’m sure she has,” Jase said. “But she can still back my uncle and the
tribunal into a corner anytime she wants. She moved us down here because...
uh....” He stopped. The move had taken place when he was a baby. He’d been
too young to know anything about politics or bureaucratic scheming. It had
been his mother’s decision. “Why did she move us down here?”
Daris’ eyes narrowed, and his face grew serious. “Because your father made
her promise she would.”
Jase was stunned to silence. This was the first time he’d heard anything like
this, and it was some time before he could force himself to speak. “Why?” was
all he could manage.
“His reasons were his own,” Daris said. “I’m not even sure he told your
mother everything. Me, he told nothing.”
They fell silent, and Jase noticed Tana’s eyes on him from across the room.
He knew he needed to talk to her about what was going on between them, but
now wasn’t the time. He told himself it was because he needed to work out the
details of his mother’s trip to Seston, but really he was scared of how she might
react. And with all the emotional turmoil he was going through over the
discovery of his Gifts, not to mention this new shock of learning it had been his
father’s decision to move to Kindel’s Grove, he didn’t think he could handle a
discussion about his relationship with her just yet.
When the plan for Seston was finalized, Jase waited until Tana was busy in
the kitchen before leaving his money on the table and slipping quickly outside.
He would explain things to her later. After he figured them out, of course. He
just hoped he could. Because sooner or later, she was going to corner him, and
he would have to talk to her.
Back outside, he and Daris parted ways—Daris off to talk to Fadus about
the trouble with the Highwaymen, and Jase back to Zander’s to pick up one
more thing for his mother.
The ride home was uneventful, giving him plenty of time to wrestle with the
nagging question: Why had his father wanted them out of Trian?
Lost in concentration, he didn’t notice the bladehawk gliding from tree to
tree, a feathery wedge of black following a short distance behind.