La Danse Calinda, over Raurugia, bound for Mt. Isolla…
Peino Starhand was one to act first and question later. Even as Lotye asked her surprised question, he jumped from his seat, nearly knocking over the table and the objects on it. Yanking open the window casement, he grabbed the dangling person outside with one hand while drawing his dagger with the other. He pulled the elf to him, arm circling a waist, and in nearly a single movement, cut the rope and tumbled Lafitte’s wizard onto the floor of the cabin.
A quick lean out the window revealed nothing but the rope whipping about in the wind. In the darkness, he could not see who or what might have been securing her up top. He brought his head back inside and looked down at the soaking wet woman.
Jeneyeru was on his feet as well. A startled yelp when Peino nearly up-ended the table into his lap had been his only outward sign of surprise before he had unclicked the bone head of the staff he kept close at hand at all times. Now the smokey quartz point of the dark crystal dagger that was normally concealed within the ebony Staff of Ghosts was directed at Tayliana Winddancer along with the rain-dripping steel of Peino’s knife.
Three in two — two blades and a wizard’s wand challenged the unexpected visitor. The identical brothers towered in the cabin so that their heads nearly touched the low ceiling.
“That was a daring but foolhardy maneuver, milady,” said the prince.
“Indeed,” agreed the wizard. “You may have simply knocked at the door like a proper person, if you wished an audience that much.”
“Now that you have gained entry,” added the prince, never lowering his dagger, “is there some way we can be of assistance?”
— — —
Raurugia Rail Lines, Train 47 North…
What happened as Y’lanna Sparti passed the Sesans seated facing each other in dark silence was that all four masks angled as if glancing up at her — and two of the four continued to watch her walk down the corridor, their wearers craning perilously to do it. One of them even gave a long, low whistle of appreciation for her hips swaying through the narrow passage until Ashcat smacked one of them in the head.
“Ouch, boss,” the man complained rubbing his ear.
“Scope the train. Find out who’s on board. And stay out of trouble.”
The half-masks revealed eager grins. “Sure, boss,” both men said a little too quickly, causing Ashcat to smack the same man again, since he was the closer of the two.
“You take the front. You take the rear. And get back here in less than an hour.”
One frowning, one grinning, the men split up. The woman shook her head, but said nothing, and neither did Ashcat once they were gone.
The fellow who had won the more desirable of the directions, moved quickly through the cars, barely noticing whether there were any guardians or military on board. He swept along, keeping his broad shoulders turned sideways and muscling other travelers out of his way, until he spotted the svelte hips and lithe waist of the lady he took to be a purple faerie.
“Ahoy there, poppet,” he said with the popular Sesus casual greeting as he swooped in at her side. “Tell me true now, where do they grow flowers as pretty you?”