Longshadow consulted the shadows he had left in the cell with the missing woman. Then he visited the bedridden Howler. “You idiot. You grabbed the wrong woman.”
Howler did not respond.
“That was Soulcatcher.” Her. And whole. How had she managed that?
In a voice little more than a whisper, Howler reminded, “You sent me there. You insisted Senjak was in Taglios.”
And what did that have to do with the result? “You couldn’t scout the situation well enough to find out we’d been deceived?”
Contempt, poorly veiled, flashed across Howler’s face. He did not argue. There was no point. Longshadow never made a mistake. Whatever dismayed him, it was always another’s fault.
Longshadow pitched a tantrum. Then he went coldly calm. “Error, no error, fault, no fault, the fact is we’ve made an enemy. She won’t bear it. She was just playing with her sister before. Now she won’t be playing.”
Howler smiled. He and Soulcatcher were not beloved of one another. He rasped out, “She’s walking.”
Longshadow grunted. “Yes. There is that. She’s in my territories. Afoot.” He paced. “She’ll hide from my shadow eyes. But she’ll want to watch the rest of the world. I won’t look for her, then. I’ll look for her spies. The crows will lead me to her. And then I shall test us both.”
Howler caught the timbre of daring in Longshadow’s voice. He was going to try something dangerous.
Disasters had knocked the daring out of Howler. His inclinations were toward the quiet and safe. That was why he had chosen to build his own empire in the swamps. They had been enough. And nothing anyone wanted to take away. But he had succumbed to seduction when Longshadow’s emissaries had come to him. So here he was easing back from the brink of death, alive only because Longshadow still thought him useful. He was not interested in more risks. He would return to his sloughs and mangroves happily. But till he fashioned some means of flight he would have to pretend interest in Longshadow’s plans. “Nothing dangerous,” he whispered.
“Not at all,” Longshadow lied. “Once I find out where she is the rest is easy.”