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Blade Breaker by Victoria Aveyard

Blade Breaker by Victoria Aveyard

Author:Victoria Aveyard
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: 2022-05-05T00:00:00+00:00


16

The Wolves of Trec

Corayne

This is much better than sneaking through wet tunnels and armed guards, Corayne thought, remembering how she’d once entered Erida’s palace. The castle of the Treckish king was far less difficult, now that Prince Oscovko led the way.

He snapped his fingers and the castle gates swung wide, the portcullis rising with the clatter of iron chain. The prince stalked through without so much as a backward glance, his burly compatriots from the war camp in tow.

The city set Corayne’s mind on edge, and she was glad to be leaving it behind, the castle walls swallowing her up. The smell of the streets alone had been almost unbearable. Sweet, savory, and foul all at once, clashing in her senses. Corayne’s eyes still stung with smoke even as her mouth watered over the cooking meat and fresh-baked bread. There was no fruit in the markets. They were too far north and too far into autumn for it. In Lemarta, Corayne never found herself wanting for fresh food. She ached for it now, after so many days of meat and hard biscuits upon the Wolf’s Way. She could barely even recall the taste of olives or oranges, or good Siscarian wine. With a twist of sadness, Corayne realized she missed home. The salty breeze, the cypress hills. Fishermen in the harbor, the cliff roads, and the little cottage. A blue sky over bluer sea. She thought of her mother, and the Tempestborn. Where they were now, she had no idea. Still sailing on to Rhashir, seeking riches? Or will she do as I asked, and fight?

Corayne knew her mother so well, and yet not at all. She couldn’t predict what path the pirate would take. The uncertainty was a needle in her skin, never forgotten, but sometimes ignored.

With a will, Corayne shook her head and raised her eyes, casting aside her doubts as best she could. She noted the inner bailey of the castle, smaller than the square outside. A great keep frowned over everything, blackened by fire long ago. Corayne spotted a barracks, a stable, and a chapel built up within the curtain wall. Compared to the New Palace, it felt cramped and closed in, the high walls throwing the entire yard into shade. Briefly, Corayne understood why Oscovko preferred living in the war camp outside the city.

Dogs bayed near the barracks, a loping pack of hounds ranging in color from yellow to gray. Corayne eyed them, remembering what Andry said about wolves. But the only wolves she saw were made of stone or thread, in black or crowned white, sculpted on the walls or embroidered on the many flags and tunics.

Prince Oscovko ushered them through at a harried pace. Men stopped to salute but he didn’t pause, climbing up the steps to enter the keep without so much as a wave. Corayne could almost see the nerves firing beneath his skin. He was clearly uncomfortable.

“Welcome to Volaska, the Wolf’s Den,” he said without fanfare, pushing the oaken doors open.



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