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Prince of Fire
Book Three of the Lady Warrior Saga
Wood creaked around her. She’d grown accustom to the sound and found it comforting, even though her bunk was below deck and the waterline. Above her, scuffling footsteps ran back and forth amidship. D’Mique contemplated opening her eyes, but decided against it. She sighed and shifted in the close quarters, relieving the pressure on her shoulder as much as possible without actually rolling out of bed. A member of the merchant ship’s crew blew a high whistle to call an end to that morning’s hustle. Thumping footsteps continued back and forth above her head. D’Mique opened her eyes and glanced at the wall where she’d carved tally marks. One for each day. She had a vague memory of the Captain, Dris by name, telling her it was two days to Ebony Bay. “Wind willing,” she added with a mirthless smile to herself. Captain Dris had told her this same thing four days after her rescue, as they reached Freeport. Another two days and she’d cornered her escort, demanding how much further until Ebony Bay, “wind willing.” Chagrined, the goblin, Karok, had admitted that the journey from Freeport to Ebony would take another three cycles. They had lied, but only for her own good. Thinking now, counting her tally marks, she realized it had been for the best. The goblin chiurgeon, true to Karok’s word, had worked wonders on D’Mique’s wounds. Not as good as an elf, but worth her weight in salt and gold. If D’Mique really had been dropped ashore two days later, the stitches would have torn, her bleeding would have continued, and, she admitted silently, and only to herself, she likely would have died.
There were twenty-three tally marks. She closed her eyes again, listening to the second mate bark orders at the motley crew. Usually, she told them off for slouching about when they should be mending rope, scrubbing the deck, or caring for sails and lines. The commands she gave now brought D’Mique fully awake. It sounded like they were preparing tor something big. “We’re here!” she thought, catching a thrill of excitement in her throat before it could overwhelm her.