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“The man who died, died by accident. He and some fellow ruffians attacked a—friend—of mine, who was defending himself with difficulty. I intervened, and the man attacked me from behind. When I turned, I threw him as far as I could. Most unfortunately, he hit the wall, and broke his neck.”
“Yes, I had heard much that story. And where is your friend?”
“Here!” said Steppan, his mouth quirking ironically, turning towards Fluin.
Fluin bowed. “Your Grace.” Magda had taught Fluin how to address each rank in the Capporean nobility. She had also taught him that, though he should be polite, he was as good as anyone, and need not feel himself inferior. Yet despite this, he found the Khedha formidable. Her face was hard and there was a manic gleam in her eyes. She wore power as easily as a coat.
Steppan stared at Fluin, with just a hint of a smile around his eyes, and Fluin stared back. The bond between them was almost tangible. How touching, thought the Khedha, sourly, observing Fluin properly for the first time. Obviously the lord’s catamite. Understandable. Very beautiful. This was an interesting complication.
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