Joseph jolted upright. “Careful with that!” he exclaimed, then broke out coughing again.
The innkeeper gently pressed him back. “You should rest. We’ll finish this up later.”
“No, I’m all right. But that thing is a weapon. A magic weapon, I guess you’d say.”
Ezra’s brow furrowed as he turned his attention back to the object. He rolled it between his fingers. “Oh?”
“It holds a powerful poison, a sort of magic poison, that is released if it punctures something.”
“You mean something like someone’s skin?” Marshall asked.
“How powerful is the poison?” Ezra asked.
“You’d be dead in seconds.”
“Where’d it come from?”
“Every Chiranian soldier receives one along with his uniform and weaponry. The soldiers are ordered to use the poison on themselves if they’re captured and find themselves unable to escape without the risk of disclosing important information.”
“Hmmm. So . . . you infiltrated successfully, anyway.”
“Yes, but something gave me away.”
“What was that?” Jerrett asked.
Joseph shook his head. “It was stupid really. I was assigned to Mortal Cark’s protection in Darth.”
“Wait,” the innkeeper said, his hand raised. “Darth is a city?”
“You said Mortal Cark?”
“That’s an odd name.”
“It’s not a name. Zarek recently adopted it as a title, a form of address, for use in Chiran. He chose ‘Mortal’ to serve as a constant reminder that the people are just that—mortal.”
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