A Court of Mist and Fury Page 63

Cassian had merely laughed, his eyes snaking over Nesta’s ice-blue gown with a predatory intent that, given her hiss of rage, he knew would set her spitting. Then he was gone, leaving my sister on the broad doorstep, her brown-gold hair ruffled by the chill wind stirred by his mighty wings.

We brought my sisters to the village to mail our letter, Rhys glamouring us so we were invisible while they went into the little shop to post them. After we returned home, our good-byes were quick. I knew Rhys wanted to return to Velaris—if only to learn what the Attor was up to.

I’d said as much to Rhys while he flew us through the wall, into the warmth of Prythian, then winnowed us to Velaris.

Morning mist still twined through the city and the mountains around it. The chill also remained—but not nearly as unforgiving as the cold of the mortal world. Rhys left me in the foyer, huffing hot air into my frozen palms, without so much as a good-bye.

Hungry again, I found Nuala and Cerridwen, and I gobbled down cheese-and-chive scones while thinking through what I’d seen, what I’d done.

Not an hour later, Rhys found me in the living room, my feet propped on the couch before the fire, a book in my lap, a cup of rose tea steaming on the low table before me. I stood as he entered, scanning him for any sign of injury. Something tight in my chest eased when I found nothing amiss.

“It’s done,” he said, dragging a hand through his blue-black hair. “We learned what we needed to.” I braced myself to be shut out, to be told it’d be taken care of, but Rhys added, “It’s up to you, Feyre, to decide how much of our methods you want to know about. What you can handle. What we did to the Attor wasn’t pretty.”

“I want to know everything,” I said. “Take me there.”

“The Attor isn’t in Velaris. He was in the Hewn City, in the Court of Nightmares—where it took Azriel less than an hour to break him.” I waited for more, and as if deciding I wasn’t about to crumple, Rhys stalked closer, until less than a foot of the ornate red carpet lay between us. His boots, usually impeccably polished … that was silver blood speckled on them. Only when I met his gaze did he say, “I’ll show you.”

I knew what he meant, and steadied myself, blocking out the murmuring fire and the boots and the lingering cold around my heart.

Immediately, I was in that antechamber of his mind—a pocket of memory he’d carved for me.

Darkness flowed through me, soft and seductive, echoing up from an abyss of power so great it had no end and no beginning.

“Tell me how you tracked her,” Azriel said in the quiet voice that had broken countless enemies.

I—Rhys—leaned against the far wall of the holding cell, arms crossed. Azriel crouched before where the Attor was chained to a chair in the center of the room. A few levels above, the Court of Nightmares reveled on, unaware their High Lord had come.

I’d have to pay them a visit soon. Remind them who held their leash.

Soon. But not today. Not when Feyre had winnowed.

And she was still pissed as hell at me.

Rightly so, if I was being honest. But Azriel had learned that a small enemy force had infiltrated the North two days ago, and my suspicions were confirmed. Either to get at Tamlin or at me, they wanted her. Maybe for their own experimenting.

The Attor let out a low laugh. “I received word from the king that’s where you were. I don’t know how he knew. I got the order, flew to the wall as fast as I could.”

Azriel’s knife was out, balanced on a knee. Truth-Teller—the name stamped in silver Illyrian runes on the scabbard. He’d already learned that the Attor and a few others had been stationed on the outskirts of the Illyrian territory. I was half tempted to dump the Attor in one of the war-camps and see what the Illyrians did to it.

The Attor’s eyes shifted toward me, glowing with a hatred I’d become well accustomed to. “Good luck trying to keep her, High Lord.”

Azriel said, “Why?”

People often made the mistake of assuming Cassian was the wilder one; the one who couldn’t be tamed. But Cassian was all hot temper—temper that could be used to forge and weld. There was an icy rage in Azriel I had never been able to thaw. In the centuries I’d known him, he’d said little about his life, those years in his father’s keep, locked in darkness. Perhaps the shadowsinger gift had come to him then, perhaps he’d taught himself the language of shadow and wind and stone. His half-brothers hadn’t been forthcoming, either. I knew because I’d met them, asked them, and had shattered their legs when they’d spat on Azriel instead.

They’d walked again—eventually.

The Attor said, “Do you think it is not common knowledge that you took her from Tamlin?”

I knew that already. That had been Azriel’s task these days: monitor the situation with the Spring Court, and prepare for our own attack on Hybern.

But Tamlin had shut down his borders—sealed them so tightly that even flying overhead at night was impossible. And any ears and eyes Azriel had once possessed in the court had gone deaf and blind.

“The king could help you keep her—consider sparing you, if you worked with him …”

As the Attor spoke, I rummaged through its mind, each thought more vile and hideous than the next. It didn’t even know I’d slipped inside, but—there: images of the army that had been built, the twin to the one I’d fought against five centuries ago; of Hybern’s shores full of ships, readying for an assault; of the king, lounging on his throne in his crumbling castle. No sign of Jurian sulking about or the Cauldron. Not a whisper of the Book being on their minds. Everything the Attor had confessed was true. And it had no more value.

Az looked over his shoulder. The Attor had given him everything. Now it was just babbling to buy time.

I pushed off the wall. “Break its legs, shred its wings, and dump it off the coast of Hybern. See if it survives.” The Attor began thrashing, begging. I paused by the door and said to it, “I remember every moment of it. Be grateful I’m letting you live. For now.”

I hadn’t let myself see the memories from Under the Mountain: of me, of the others … of what it had done to that human girl I’d given Amarantha in Feyre’s place. I didn’t let myself see what it had been like to beat Feyre—to torment and torture her.

I might have splattered him on the walls. And I needed him to send a message more than I needed my own vengeance.

The Attor was already screaming beneath Truth-Teller’s honed edge when I left the cell.

Then it was done. I staggered back, spooling myself into my body.

Tamlin had closed his borders. “What situation with the Spring Court?”

“None. As of right now. But you know how far Tamlin can be driven to … protect what he thinks is his.”

The image of paint sliding down the ruined study wall flashed in my mind.

“I should have sent Mor that day,” Rhys said with quiet menace.

I snapped up my mental shields. I didn’t want to talk about it. “Thank you for telling me,” I said, and took my book and tea up to my room.

“Feyre,” he said. I didn’t stop. “I am sorry—about deceiving you earlier.”

And this, letting me into his mind … a peace offering. “I need to write a letter.”

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