“I remember almost nothing of the evening after that,” Chaya said after a quiet minute, having returned to the present, “except that I ended up with Cark.” Her eyes pooled with tears.
“How did he—”
“Afford it?” She grimaced. “It seems he’d just come into an inheritance—a very large one. He spent the entire amount to purchase me, and he’s never let me forget it. Because of it, he’s never been able to buy himself a better position.”
“But he’s never sold you.”
“He can’t afford to. He lost half his fortune with the taxes on his inheritance, then spent the remainder on me. The only way he could come out even—in his mind anyway—would be to sell me for twice the price he paid.” She smiled, though her eyes teared up. “No one would pay that exorbitant a price for someone previously owned. In fact, no one would pay half that price.”
The Oathtaker bit his lip, lost in thought. “So, when was that?”
“Seven years ago.”
“Dear Good One!”
Her eyes darted his way, dancing with recognition. “I knew it! Not only are you from Oosa—you’re a follower. A follower of Ehyeh.”
He swallowed hard. He wanted to kill Tanith and Cark. He wanted to help Chaya. The intensity of his feelings surprised him.
“I’m so sorry,” he said.
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