[This post is from Marin’s point of view.]
I stared at him, knowing that shock was written all over my face. I clambered down from the wall quickly and he shook his head slightly, staring at me with crossed arms and a smile.
“You’re worried,” he surmised.
“It’s what I do,” I said as my boots hit the ground. “You’re leaving?”
“Was I lying about there being work to do?” He just regarded me with a faint smile. He’d changed since he’d come to us, but I suppose that was true of a lot of people. Somehow, he seemed happier, though, which felt like something that really mattered—mattered a lot. Maybe we’d given him back something he’d lost a long time ago.
We seemed to do that for people, too, no matter what we cost them.
“No, I guess not,” I said, then exhaled. “Where are you going to go?”
“Surprisingly enough, not far,” he said, letting his hands drop. He glanced up toward the sky. “I need to figure out the lay of the land and I may well be your best chance of that, I think.”
“What are you talking about?”
Cariocecus shrugged with one shoulder. “Who’s still out there, who might be hunting, where they are—what their weaknesses are. You know. Keep my promise to you all to help.”
“Keeping your promise nearly killed you,” I said softly.
“Still,” he said. “An oath made is an oath kept, Seer. At least for me. I’ve watched one too many double-crosses happen in this past year, all the ones I’ve seen in a thousand lifetimes notwithstanding. I’m not stupid enough to cross you and yours, not with your track record—and mine. I’ll be back, probably a week or two, maybe three.”
My mouth was dry. Words weren’t coming. “Don’t disappoint me,” I managed to say in a whisper.
Cariocecus smiled and inclined his head. “I’ll aim not to, my lady.” He executed a courtly bow and turned to the gate, walking silently through it and out toward what was left of the road. I watched him go, my throat strangely tight.
He would be back—I knew he would be. I didn’t need to see it to know.
I watched him until he vanished from sight.