If anyone was listening in, Dixon might have company on his trip. He didn’t want to take that risk. He went to the balcony. A branch from a nearby oak reached toward his room, as though in invitation. He decided he would accept.
Rummaging through his backpack, he removed a rope, then confirmed that his Oathtaker’s blade, Verity, was in its sheath. Its power wouldn’t work while the band blocked his attendant magic, but it could still serve as a useful weapon.
He grabbed hold of the tree branch, then made his way to the ground. Guards at the gates to the east walked their beat. When the way was clear, he sprinted across the lawn, finding refuge behind statuary, trees, and shrubs, along the way. Upon reaching the south end of the lawn, he surveyed the area once again. Finding it clear, he dashed into the night.
Though he knew the palace grounds well, it was always riskier to move speedily in muted light. Fortunately, the sky was overcast, softening and spreading out the light of the two current moons. Still, his jaunt would have been much easier if the band didn’t restrict his magic. Without it he had to move more slowly and use greater care.
When he reached the area near where Basha had instructed him to go, he slowed. He moved out from behind a tree. There she is. He raised his hand to catch her attention.
She placed a finger over her pursed lips, cautioning him to silence. Then she motioned him forward. When he reached her side, she clasped his arm and walked toward the falls.
Shortly, they came upon a pile of smooth boulders hidden among the branches of a willow. They sat. The rush of the falls thundered off to the side.
“Did anyone see you leave?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Good. I don’t want anyone to overhear us. I chose this place with background noise so that any magic that might enhance someone’s hearing would be of little use.”
He nodded. “Are you all right, Basha? Lilith said some terrible things at dinner.”
“Welcome home, Dixon,” she joked.
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