PAIGN COULD FEEL HIS BODY wanting to contort, badly. But he didn’t allow even a flinch. Lement-Nor’s face was just inches away. His breath was foul, with a smell like burnt tar and sulfur. Still, Paign didn’t want to give his captor any satisfaction and willed his body to remain motionless.
“Do you understand me, boy?” he hissed. “Not a word. Not a glance. Not a hint. Not even an unfettered thought.”
Twisting his head ominously, the gargoyle continued, “Because you may know that your mother’s life is instantly forfeit if you betray me in any way!”
“Yes, sir,” Paign said quietly.
“Yes, I understand, Lement-Nor. There is no reason for concern since, first, I don’t know anything to disclose, and second, I’d be crazy to make an alliance with the likes of Kahrnahrgx.”
Lement-Nor leaned in even closer, so that Paign felt the heat coming off of the creature.
“I’ll be the one to determine that, human.”
Paign wondered which of his two reasons was “to be determined” by his captor. Then he wondered if Lement-Nor heard his unfettered thought. There was no sign that he did.
Seeing that Gudrun was unconscious, the gargoyle spat at her feet. Again, Paign controlled his body from reacting.
“See to it that she doesn’t hinder our departure. We leave at the next rising of the sun.”
Lement-Nor abruptly pivoted on his heels, chewing up the stone floor as his rear talons dragged the shape of half-moons into it. Paign was grateful that his own feet were tucked beneath him, or he would have likely lost a few toes as the talons swept over where his feet had been.
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