He spoke with no trace of an accent. Hell, if it wasn’t for his clothing, if it wasn’t for the way her gut screamed at the sight of him, she could have mistaken him for one of her people.
“How considerate of you, showing such concern for us.” She bared her teeth at him. “Any other reasons why you’re darkening my doorstep?”
His brows came together, a puzzled frown on his face. “I’ve yet to darken a doorstep, witch.”
“You’re too damn close to our territory—too damn close to a whole lot of people who’d sooner gut you than look at you. Why in the holy hell are you here? Where are the rest of your men?”
With a humorless smirk on his lips, he said, “It doesn’t look as though I have any men.”
“Not buying it.” Syn shook her head. “Warlords don’t travel alone. Where are the others?”
“There are none. I’m what you would call a…” He paused, his head cocked as though he was trying to find the word. “A deserter,” he finished, his voice cool and regal.
Off in the forest, they heard another ominous crack and the ground under them shuddered as one of the forest giants went crashing to the ground. They were going to be dealing with downed trees for a while, she suspected. Glancing up into the canopy, she hoped none of the trees around them gave out just yet.
Unless of course, one of them fell on the Warlord’s head.
Xan lifted a hand, rested it on her shoulder. He dipped his head and quietly said, “It isn’t safe to stay here, Captain.”
“Agreed,” Kalen said, his voice flat and hard.
Damn it, she knew that. But damn it, she didn’t know what to do. Tersely, she said, “What about him?”
She glanced at Kalen, one quick glance, because she wasn’t looking away from the Warlord for any longer than two seconds.
He didn’t answer outloud. His voice, hard and harsh with worry, blasted into her mind with enough force that she almost flinched. “I don’t know what in the hell to do, but I don’t think it’s wise to just leave him here.”
“How do we know he’s telling the truth about being a deserter? And what in the hell does that mean anyway? Why did he help us?”
Kalen’s silver flashed. “I don’t know. And we don’t if he’s telling the truth—you or Elina need to look at him. I can’t do it—if he’s ever encountered a psychic before, he’ll know how to modify his thoughts, but he can’t alter his basic emotional landscape. Look at him—if he’s a threat, kill him. Here and now. Otherwise, he comes with us. But he doesn’t leave here alone.”