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False Colored Eyes

by Sean O'Hara

Copyright 2011

Smashwords Edition


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


***


I


Father is dead.

The note contained no salutation, no signature, but I recognized the handwriting of my ulom-sister Asnaio. I crumpled the note and tossed it into the fireplace. I turned to the messenger, the man's clothes rumpled and weather-stained from the rough ride through snow filled passes, his hair hanging limp with sweat despite the frigid weather. "How long?"

"A week, your lordship," the messenger said. "Lady Asnaio dispatched me before they could close the city gates."

Good. Aoko couldn't assume the throne for another three days, not until funeral services ended. Another week for the first assassin to arrive here. I had plenty of time. "Thank you," I said to the messenger, tossing him a gold mark.

"By your leave," the messenger said with a bow, then backed out of the room.

I went to my bedchamber window and stared down at the harbor. Frozen. At least another month before any ships could get in or out. Karldorben might be open--only a five day journey on horseback. But at this time of year the only open road out of Karldorben would be the one back here--if that port were closed too, I'd be trapped between the mountains, the sea, and my brother's assassins. Maybe I could find a trader in town who'd been that way recently. Otherwise I had no option but to stand against the killers Aoko dispatched after me.

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