Chapter 16

The Pavilion was an elaborate, formal open building with white stone arches and columns framed with ivy and a pedestal with a wide shallow bowl like a big bird bath.

That birdbath held fire.

Drake Alcaide was exchanging what looked like differing opinions with the woman. She was wearing what might be a formal outfit at a formal dinner for a formal occasion, the kind of occasion where you’d wear long black gloves. It was the sort of outfit his mother might wear to a funeral.

“Alcaide runs the place right?”

“That’s Robanna,” Marek told Jay. “She guards the place.”

“Guards what?”

Marek paused, and in a solemn voice and a smile said, “The dead.”

Cute, Jay thought. She guards people from scary dead, or she guards the dead themselves, or maybe the dead attacked each other. The outfit the woman wore was more suitable than he had at first thought. It was a perpetual funeral here.

He wouldn’t know unless he asked, which he didn’t intend to do. Fiona stopped at one of the little buildings on the other side of a narrow bridge over the green water. The door’s thick red paint did not cover an impressive lock. It was in use. He joined her and glanced down the line of buildings. All had locks but some had been painted over, some had not.

“Marek said Robanna guards the dead,” he told her quietly.

She whispered, “Only the empty tombs are locked. It’s not the dead she’s guarding.”

Marek walked up the stairs ahead of him. Little sparks leaped from the fire bowl and the fire itself seemed brighter.

“Jaegar Lombardo.” Robanna called him now using his full name.

Jaegar Lombardo…well they knew who he was. Jay shoved his hands into the pockets of his jeans, held his ground and looked up at the two of them. The woman in particular faced him down. Don’t try it, he thought, it’s not going to work on me. He’d been raised by the whole pantheon of his family, and Camilla Lombardo was his mother.

“I’ll come up, but if you’re looking for someone to save the world, I’m not your man. I left my sword at home.”

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