Boundary by Heather Terrell

Boundary by Heather Terrell

Author:Heather Terrell [Terrell, Heather]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 978-1-61695-198-6
Publisher: Soho Press
Published: 2014-12-01T16:00:00+00:00


Augustus 1

Year 242, A.H.

I lie awake in the darkness, waiting for the house to quiet. My parents went to bed after the evening meal, but it wasn’t until about a half bell ago that I heard the gentle rumbles of my father’s snoring. Still, I had to wait; the scurrying sounds of the Attendants finishing their nightly tasks continued until about a quarter bell ago. Only then could I consider my next steps.

I tell myself that I can rise within fifteen ticks. That should be long enough for the whole household to deepen their sleep such that my creeping to the turret won’t awaken them. I’m so nervous—about getting caught or seeing Lukas, I’m not sure which—that I can hardly stay still under the covers. That, and the fact that I’m wearing my full Archon uniform under the bedcovers and am boiling hot.

In an effort to still my mind and body, I recall that moment earlier today at the Clothing Keep when Lukas turned and realized I was standing behind him.

His dark brown eyes widened in shock. For an instant his lips formed that wide, rare smile of his. His lips parted as he began to offer greetings before he recollected where we were and who we were meant to be. Then he snapped his mouth shut. And in the next instant, his brow furrowed in anger. He’d made me promise to stay away, to allow him to find me. Still, I wanted to hug him; so fearful I had been for that tick when I thought it might be him on the gallows.

The Keeper ignored Lukas, and I followed his lead. A Maiden of the Aerie would not be expected to recognize an Attendant in any event; eyebrows would be raised if I greeted a Boundary worker unprompted. I pretended to hang on the Keeper’s every word as he led me past the row of blue dyes, carefully stored in ice bowls. As I did, I brushed up against Lukas’s arm, slowing his rhythmic pestle motions.

Standing on my tiptoes, I examined each ice bowl. “These are exquisite, Keeper. Truly.”

“Thank you, Maiden Eva.”

I returned to the two shades nearest Lukas. Drawing close enough to him that I could hear his breathing, I whispered in my lowest voice, “Tonight I will come.”

Before Lukas could react, I summoned the Keeper. “Here. If we combine these two shades, I think we will come close to the brilliant blue of the Frozen Shore’s glacial waters.”

“Maiden Eva, I will make the most beautiful blue thread for your Union gown that the Aerie has ever seen.”

The Keeper offered his hand to guide me back to the Ladies. I wanted to look back at Lukas one last time, but I couldn’t bear to see the expression on his face at the mention of my Union day. I took the Keeper’s outstretched hand and returned to the Ladies.

Now, lying here alone and thinking of Lukas, my stomach churns. I know he’s furious with me for breaking my oath. But I had no choice; our window to examine the Tech is too small.


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