Thy Father's Shadow (Book 4.5)

Free Thy Father's Shadow (Book 4.5) by Robert J. Crane

Book: Thy Father's Shadow (Book 4.5) by Robert J. Crane Read Free Book Online
Authors: Robert J. Crane
something between disapproval and a warning to behave, something that had roots in Terian’s childhood. He felt himself subconsciously straighten as Guturan pushed open the door, and Terian stiffly went up the last steps into the study.

Chapter 8

    “Your son,” Guturan announced as Terian strode through into the study. The aroma of the gruel was even stronger in here, in spite of the weak nature of the stuff. It was hardly fit to feed the poor, yet his father consumed at least a bowl of it per day along with all the other meals that were served in the house. Doesn’t affect the old man’s waistline, though , Terian noted.
    “So it is,” Terian’s father spoke. His hair was a dark, lustrous black, like the oil that came from the Depths, and his skin showed nary a wrinkle in spite of his several centuries of life. It was all combed back in smooth lines and slicked down, as though it had been wet with water from the well. Not a strand was out of place and Amenon Lepos stared at Terian down a nose that was as pointed as his son’s.
    There was little enough noise in the study, an almost ominous silence in the book-lined room. A few lamps hung in the corners and a small hearth blazed with heat and light to Terian’s right, the only sign of comfort in the room. A picture of a dark elven girl was hung above the hearth, but Terian averted his gaze from it as quickly as he saw it.
    Ameli .
    The chair behind his father’s desk was a simple thing, functional wood and not nearly enough to be considered extravagant. His desk was a table, well crafted but spare, and with parchment carefully organized in stacks on top. A quick look toward the hearth showed Terian his memory was not in error; the remains of parchment turned to ash lined the front of the hearth. The fire was as much for the destruction of the countless secret missives his father received as it was for any sort of warmth. The smoky aroma filled the room, reminding him of more than one uncomfortable memory of this place.
    Terian’s eyes fell upon a single red gemstone centered in the middle of the desk on a small pillow. He pursed his lips when his gaze fell upon it; it was the lone decoration on the otherwise Spartan surface, the only item not made of paper. “You still keep that?”
    Amenon Lepos did not even raise an eyebrow. “I prefer to surround myself with reminders of the blessings of the Sovereign, to always keep my remembrance centered on thoughts of gratitude for what has been given unto me.”
    Terian stifled the bitter reply he wanted to make. He shuffled from foot to foot for a moment before he spoke again. “You summoned me, Father? Called me home?”
    Amenon looked past Terian. “Leave us, Guturan.”
    Guturan nodded. “If I may, m’lord, do you require—?”
    “I need nothing further right now,” Amenon said curtly and turned once more to look out the large window behind him. Terian stole a glance and saw that it was as he remembered, a full view of the approach to the house. And directly across from it, clear and proud against the far cavern wall, was the manor of Dagonath Shrawn. “My son and I have things to discuss.”
    “As you wish,” Guturan said, making his retreat with a last bow. He shut the door behind him, the sound of the stone’s heavy weight on the hinges as they closed almost palpable to Terian.
    They stood in silence, Terian’s skin prickling at his last memory of this place, of the last conversation he’d had within the walls of this study. Echoes of that conversation   had played in his head for years, but not a word was spoken now.
    “I heard you fell on hard times,” Amenon said, turning at last to face Terian. “That you had taken to selling yourself in menial guard duty, drinking and whoring in your off time.” His countenance was dark and serious; grave.
    “Well,” Terian said with lightness, “I was all about the drinking and whoring in better times, too, but I had more money to pay for it

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