His Own Good Sword (The Cymeriad #1)

His Own Good Sword (The Cymeriad #1) by Amanda McCrina Read Free Book Online

Book: His Own Good Sword (The Cymeriad #1) by Amanda McCrina Read Free Book Online
Authors: Amanda McCrina
been picked for the Guard.
    Not that it was really all that remarkable, he supposed. In fact he
wasn’t sure why he hadn’t considered the possibility
before. Certainly Luchian had all the skill and zeal and ambition to
be chosen for the Guard—the elites, the pure-blooded and
fiercely loyal arm of the Imperial military, personally sworn, on a
blood oath, to the Emperor himself.
    “Marro,” he said.
    He recognized the sandy-haired Guardsman now, too: Recho Seian,
Luchian’s kin through the marriage of a sister. Tyren
remembered him from Vione. He’d never been far from Luchian
there, either. Fitting they should have made the Guard together. They
were cut of the same cloth.
    Luchian unbuckled the chinstrap of his tall black-crested helmet and
lifted the helmet from his head and tucked it in the crook of his
left arm. He came over slowly to the end of the table where Tyren
sat, loosening his leather gloves one finger at a time, not taking
his cold blue eyes from Tyren’s face.
    “I didn’t know you were in Rien, Risto,” he said.
    “Only for tonight,” said Tyren.
    “On your way to your new command?”
    “I heard about it,” Luchian said. “Souvin. Quite a
disappointment. I’d heard you were hoping for a post in the
capital—that your father was, at least.”
    “Unfortunate we can’t choose where our commissions take
us,” Tyren said. He looked down into his wine bowl so Luchian
wouldn’t see anything in his face.
    Luchian tossed his gloves down onto the board. “Yes,
unfortunate. May we join you?”
    “It would be an honor,” Tyren said.
    “I received my own commission a few days ago,” Luchian
said, as he sat.
    “Is that so?”
    “I’ve been given command of a Guard column here in Rien.”
    “My congratulations,” said Tyren.
    Luchian shrugged. “No, in truth I envy you, Risto. I get tired
of the city. There are enough useless men they can post to Choiro and
Rien. I’d rather see action.”
    “You anticipate there’ll be much action in Souvin?”
    Seian spoke up. “I’ve heard there’s still the
remnant of a native resistance movement in the Outland. Out-manned
and pointless, of course, but these Cesino bastards still can’t
learn their lesson. Maybe that’s why they want you there,
Risto—a commander who’ll finish the work, put down this
rebellion once for all.”
    Tyren looked at Luchian. But Luchian wasn’t looking at him now.
He’d put his helmet down and was resting his wrists on the edge
of the table, looking down suddenly and intently into his hands,
pretending disinterest. Tyren could see the scar of his oath-taking
still fresh and dark across his right palm.
    “Who knows, Risto?” Seian went on. He was smiling
stupidly. “Maybe this commission is your chance to prove
    He said, in a bland voice, “To prove myself?”
    “To prove yourself after Choiro.”
    “I’ve nothing to prove after Choiro.”
    “There are some who feel your loyalty should be called into
question. Hasty conclusions, maybe. But that’s the word going
    “Foolish of me to expect a Marro might exercise some
self-control, I know that. I wasn’t aware it constituted
treachery against the Empire.”
    Luchian looked up from his hands. He was oddly blank-faced. He said
    Seian said, “He was one of your own kind, wasn’t he? The
Cesino? One of your own blood, Risto?”
    “You’re a fool, Seian,” said Tyren.
    “I’m only trying to understand your reasoning. Because if
I were you—if I knew my father were having to beg and barter
for his friends in the capital—I might have thought twice about
demonstrating to every man at Vione that my loyalty to my Cesino kin
outweighs my loyalty to the Empire.”
    Anger swept through him all at once—hot, senseless, impulsive
anger, the same as it had been that day at Choiro. He stood up and
pushed the bench back in one movement, leaning across the table to
drag Seian up by the shoulder with his left hand. He

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