“It seems to me, Therese, that your seeking me out is rather unusual. I understand you are Select, and you’ve rightly identified me as an Oathtaker, so you’re aware I’m no threat to you. But that doesn’t mean that I can trust you—or that I do trust you.”
Mara placed her hands on the arms of her chair. “So, before I answer any of your questions, I have a few of my own.”
“You say your name is ‘Therese.’”
A sudden recollection of a dream from the night before startled Mara. It had seemed so real—the darkness of a woods, the mist from a waterfall, a skittering hare, hushed voices she could just make out from what felt like a hiding place behind a nearby tree, the almost tangible feel of danger. She’d thought little of it when she’d awakened. But now she closed her eyes for a moment, drawing forth the details. Then she looked back at her visitor.
“Tell me, Therese, where is your Oathtaker? I take it you are not the charge of either Jules or Samuel. They are bodyguards. Yes? Not Oathtakers.”
“No, wait, I’ll tell you,” Mara continued as she held her hand up, palm out. “Basha is your Oathtaker,” she whispered. “Currently she is at the palace in Shimeron, and she believes you to be dead.”
Therese’s mouth dropped open. She closed it, then pursed her lips.
“Rowena is—that is she was—your sister. You rather look like her, actually.”
Therese said nothing.
“How am I doing so far?”
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