Voice of Crow

Voice of Crow by Jeri Smith-Ready Read Free Book Online

Book: Voice of Crow by Jeri Smith-Ready Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jeri Smith-Ready
here in Asermos.”
    “I don’t want to.” Lycas rolled a clod of dirt between his long, thick fingers. “I want to go to Leukos and get your people back. Our father’s people, even though I never knew him. I want to kill Descendants.”
    She nodded, accustomed to his casual declarations of Wolverine aggression. “But you can’t go.”
    “Not with Mali pregnant. Besides, a rescue mission needs people settled into their second-and third-phase powers. I’ve only been second phase for a month.” He took the mug from her. “You drink too slow.” He drained the rest, then refilled it.
    “I’m used to Kalindon meloxa. It’s much stronger.” Thinking of the fermented crabapple drink reminded her of home, and what had happened to it. “I wish I were second phase. Then I could be invisible at night, like Marek, and I could go with the rescuers. I dread going back to Kalindos. It’ll be so empty.”
    “Hopefully not for long. Galen said the rescue party is picking up a third-phase Hawk in Velekos on the way to the Descendant city. Another one’s coming from Tiros to stay here and receive her messages.” He handed her the full mug. “Asermos will keep Kalindos updated as best we can.”
    “Didn’t the Velekon Hawk just become third phase? Won’t that make it harder to figure out what she’s saying long-distance?”
    “It shouldn’t be too hard to interpret ‘We found them!’ or ‘We’re captured!’ At least we won’t be left wondering, feeling any more useless than we already do.”
    She took another gulp of ale. “Don’t feel bad about staying with your family. Ladek’s going back to Kalindos to take care of Thera and Etarek, and because he’s our only Bear. So it’s just Adrek going with the Asermons.”
    “At least it gets him out of your life, which can’t be bad.” He angled a black-eyed gaze at her. “Are you seeing him tonight before he leaves?”
    She looked away and tried to sound casual. “I think so.”
    “Don’t get pregnant.”
    She gaped at him. “Even if I were considering—which I’m not—it’s still the month of mourning.” She couldn’t stop a glance at Nilo’s mug.
    “Good general advice, anyway. Don’t wish you were second phase. Enjoy your youth while you have it.”
    Alanka nudged his shoulder. “ My youth? I didn’t know Asermons got old at twenty-four.”
    He didn’t smile at her teasing. “Becoming a parent brings power, but it also takes it away. Mali and I should both be on that rescue mission, but instead we’ll be here, driving each other crazy. Fulfilling life for a pair of warriors.”
    “But like you said, Asermos is only sending established second-and third-phase people, so if Mali hadn’t gotten pregnant, you’d both be first phase and still not going.”
    “That’s not my point—”
    “And if you hadn’t gotten your second-phase defenses before the battle, then you might have been killed—” She stopped before adding too, but not soon enough to avoid the meaning.
    They looked at Nilo’s mug for a long moment. Then Lycas slowly poured its contents onto the thirsty soil.

05
    A child’s scream splintered the night.
    Rhia launched out of bed, stumbling over Marek in her dash for the door. He grabbed his bow and arrows on the way out.
    They reached the wooden rope bridge between their house and Coranna’s just as the Crow woman opened her own door.
    “All clear!” called Olena, the Wolf woman from two trees over. “Just another nightmare.” After a moment she added a soft “Sorry.”
    Rhia released a sigh, echoed by Marek and Coranna.
    “Was that the third time this night or only the second?” he asked on their way back to bed. “I’ve lost track.”
    “The second. Better than last night.”
    He crawled in first to lie against the wall. “Were you asleep?”
    “Almost.” She sank onto her back and glared at the ceiling with wide-awake eyes. “You?”
    “Sound.” Marek lay his head on the pillow and sank back into

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