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EXCERPT: The People’s Blade

“We’re not leaving Rembrand to die in the cold,” she said. “If we have to leave, we carry him.”

“It’ll slow us down,” Rayk said.

Arca rose with a hard and deliberate stare. “If you want to see slow, resist me on this. Do you want to carry one man among the three of us, or would you like to carry me between the two of you?”

Marlow was an expert judge of honesty. The truth in her threat was almost refreshing. He’d been threatened by many men, and many more women. Few meant what they said. Arca did.

“Very well. You carry him first. And one more thing.”

“Yes?”

“Save your tears. Many people will die because of this Empress. More than there are tears in your eyes, believe me. So save them. For people who deserve a tear. Those two out there on the ice—they don’t deserve it.”

“Because they’re assassins, it’s somehow proper to slit their throats?” She quaked at the image. “You’re an assassin too.”

“I won’t ask you to cry for me either.” He strode past her. “Not that I plan on dying.”

Read the whole thing Wednesday, Dec. 14

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