“Come on, man.” Rozen grabbed Baram by the arm. “Party tonight.”
“Party? It’s Tues…” He shut up, but not before he saw the look the bigger guy shot him. “Right. Party. Whose place?”
“Ardell’s. His Keptie seems to like cuddling with you.”
“No-one likes cuddling with me.”
“Hey, man, Annie’s not bad, and everyone knows you’re not as rough as you look.” Rozen punched his shoulder. “You’ll do fine. You always do.”
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Shad and Meshach had Ib up against the wall and were doing their best to break every bone in his body one at a time. Every time he tried to get away, one of them muttered in his ear, and he found himself squirming in pain, his feet rooted to the ground.
“Say you’re hers and it’ll end,” the older of the two whispered. “All you gotta do is say you’re hers.”
“Luke ain’t gonna find you down here, and he hates you anyway, little bastard. Say you’re hers.”
“Trouble?” The rumbling voice was a new one – might be Baram. Ib couldn’t see.
“None of your concern, freak.”
Something happened. Ib was never sure what. But when he woke up, he was in the doctor’s office, Baram was looming in the doorway, and he didn’t belong to Liza.
Agmund was hunting.
He’d been hunting for a long time. Other obligations kept getting in the way, but he came back to this one over and over again. This was his failure, this was his mistake. He would fix it.
Meshach had been his Student. Meshach had done this to his daughter. Everything since then – what Ardell had done, what being cy’Valerian had done, what being abandoned by the Thornes had done – came back to Fridmar’s failure as a Mentor and a father.
And now he would resolve that issue.
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