Lord Padraic’s aide-de-camp had been out for weeks, combing the hills, searching all of the places runaways usually ended up, looking for a single runaway American slave.
Now he came in, looking more lost and confused than Padraic had ever seen the man. He bowed low, head to the ground.
“If you’re going to tell me you can’t find him, I obviously know that already. Try harder.” He leaned forward, his elbows on his knees. “It’s not that big of a country, Ciaran.”
“It’s not that, my Lord. It’s…” Ciaran twisted to look at the doorway. “It’s him.“
Padraic wasted a perfectly good disbelieving expression on the top of Ciaran’s head. “Him?” he imitated. “What – or who, I suppose, is he?”
“That would be me, sir.” A quiet, deep voice was followed in the doorway by a slender Tuathan man. His hair was cropped short and he’d allowed a short goatee to grow, giving him a strange look for their people. He dropped to his knees next to Ciaran, making the gesture look like a dance move. “I am Arlen, sir, and I am for you.”
“For…” Padraic found himself on his feet. “What do you mean, for?“
“For you, sir. If you’ll stop looking for Seth.”
“You’re a bribe.” Padriac rose to his feet. “I have been sent a bribe. By whom?”
“By me, sir. I am well-trained…” The man lifted his face to stare Padraic in the face. “But I can fight if you prefer.”
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