Cark stood outside his abode. “Get my wagon ready immediately,” he ordered. “You’ll accompany me again today.”
The Oathtaker rushed to the stables and with the help of the men stationed there, quickly prepared Cark’s wagon. It was an open affair with two seats for riders, one facing forward and one back, drawn by four horses.
Once ready, he jumped into the driver’s seat, then brought the conveyance to the front door where the man, who disliked waiting for anyone or anything, waited.
Prone to gluttony, Cark’s steel gray dress uniform, which he wore whenever he left Camp Cark, bulged out from the buttons at his chest. He left the lower ones undone, whether by accident or design, Marshall could only wonder.
“You’ll take me to the main camp,” Cark said, wiping his hand over his nearly black hair, shorn close to his head and looking like steel brush bristles. “My wife, Chaya, will accompany us.”
At that moment, a woman exited the house. Barely more than child-sized, a finely woven, nearly transparent black shroud hung from the top of her head and then cascaded down over her face. She made her way toward the carriage.
The event surprised the Oathtaker, as he’d never seen the woman leave the residence before.
“To the main camp,” Cark ordered as he lumbered up and into the wagon ahead of his wife.
Marshall waited until they both sat, then urged the horses forward with a click of his tongue. He strained to hear, over their jingling and the sounds of their fast moving hooves, any conversation between his riders, but they spoke not a word.
Upon arriving at the main camp, a man directed the Oathtaker to the same building where he and Jerrett had signed up for the guard. There, he halted.
As he dismounted, Cark ordered Marshall to wait.
“I hope he dies and rots in Sinespe,” Chaya muttered, the moment Cark was out of sight.
She leaned forward and responded, her voice louder this time. “I said, ‘I hope he dies and rots in Sinespe.’”
Marshall rolled back his shoulders and looked about. All appeared busy with their duties; no one seemed to notice the wagon. He dropped his head so that no one could see him when he spoke. “Some things are certain, ma’am,” he said. “Cark will die one day, and from all I’ve heard, he’ll most certainly be doomed to an eternity in Sinespe.”
She gasped. “You know of Sinespe? The great under?”
He lifted his head and, without turning her way, nodded.
“What kind of Chiranian are you?” she whispered. “Zarek forbids the teaching of such things.”
At that moment, the door to the building opened. Cark stepped out. Grik, then Jerrett, followed.
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