♥ Excerpt ♥
Book Two in The Ferryman and the Flame
2013 © Rhiannon Paille
“There are things you must know about being a Ferryman,” Tulsen said before he could leave the hall.
Krishani turned, pain mushrooming across his chest. His heart felt like a dead weight, heavy and black. Adoron taught him to mind his manners in front of the elders, but Tulsen Tavesin didn’t carry the demeanor of an elder of Avristar. He was human, incapable of manipulating the tides or forging the forests with his mind. The Brotherhood of Amersil wouldn’t have accepted him and Krishani wasn’t ready to accept him as his flesh and blood either. Anger flared up inside of him, a hot searing pain shot through his chest like a thousand flaming arrows. He staggered along the red carpet, his shoulder bumping into a wooden pillar. He put a hand to his shoulder and made eye contact with Tulsen.
“You mean, how I can die?” Krishani spat. He wanted nothing to do with the stodgy man before him. He reeked of sandalwood and mold; his brown robes clearly hadn’t been washed in weeks. Krishani made a guttural sound to show his disgust. He pulled his black tunic taut.
Tulsen shot him a bewildered glance. “Nay, you need to know about the Vultures and how to fight them.”
It was like Tulsen had rammed him with a solid oak tree. He fought to keep his balance, but dread crept into him, making it difficult to see. Tulsen must have been talking about the black thing with the self-contained black storm circling its shapeless body, the thing that seemed a void of the world itself. Tulsen sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose with his thumb and index finger. “You’ve already seen the Vultures.”
Krishani’s anger reached the boiling point. “Tell me why Davlin died,” he hissed.
Mallorn groaned and turned away, his gray robes scraping along the ground. Krishani went to say something about Mallorn’s blind trust in Tulsen but stopped.
“Are you asking because you saw him die? Because you are afraid of your own death?” Tulsen’s tone was acidic. “I can assure you that your death is not your concern.”
Krishani lowered his infected hand, his shoulder throbbing. He tried to keep the fury in his eyes as Tulsen strode forward, nothing but three feet between them. Krishani met his hazel eyes, noting their flecks of deep brown.
“There isn’t a way to change it. You will be the Ferryman until your successor gives you passage to the Great Hall. You’re immortal until that happens, unless . . . you become a Vulture.”
Krishani flinched, the heat that burned through him turned to ice. Shivers ran the length of his spine. He wanted Tulsen to stop staring at him, memorizing his black hair, mismatched eyes and elongated ears. He wasn’t Istar’s champion and he wasn’t Tulsen’s. He was nothing. He tore his eyes from Tulsen’s scrutinizing gaze and found Mallorn. With a sudden pang he realized what the black marks meant.
The curse was turning him into a Vulture.