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*****


"I thought they were just young ne'er-do-wells, wasting our coins and their days wenching, mocking and breaking things," Ulb Jardeth growled. "For once, I was wrong, and I don't regret my error one whit."

"Likewise!" Eremoes Hawkwinter laughed. "Gods, but that was splendid! Our new young lions, fighting for Waterdeep!"

"And some older lionesses, too," Lord Jardeth added, looking down at his wife.

There was dried blood all over Allys Jardeth's hand and bodice and dagger, none of it her own, but she was nestled in the crook of his arm quite happily, with none of her usual fussing about how she looked or who was wearing a better gown.

She grinned up at him. "So is it all over?"

"You sound disappointed," her proud husband observed. Lord Eremoes Hawkwinter gave the handful of surviving monster-men a hard look-where they were spread out bound on the floor, with swords held to their throats-and shook his head, frowning.

"We're still prisoners in here," he said quietly, "with the Walking Statues blocking all ways out, and there's something wrong with Piergeiron, or he'd be commanding them elsewhere. Moreover, the Lord Mage of Waterdeep, who could do the same with a wave of his hand, seems nowhere to be found. I've been hearing rumors no one's seen him for days-including some powerful outlander mages who came a long way to climb the steps of Blackstaff Tower. I'd say we're far from out of the shadows yet."


***** | The City of Splendors | CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT