Bless-month, Year 1189, Cycle of the Raven
The smells were getting to him. Cut-rate liquor and sour wine; days-old sweat and too-fresh spunk. The scents of mortality.
Skel wrinkled his nose.
The tavern wasn’t crowded, but there were enough bodies present to drive up the summer heat to a sticky swelter. Cheap tallow candles added a slickness to the air that almost made Skel wish he didn’t have to actually breathe. And if he got one more look from one of the shoddy sows that apparently passed for doxies in this forsaken hole, he might not be able to stop himself from razing the place.
For two days, Skel had been watching, and still, he had no idea what he was supposed to be seeing. Watch, Husao had told him. Gauge. Tell me what it is Wolf saw when he turned him.
Skel rolled his eyes and downed the rest of his drink. He grimaced. Even the beer here had a sour tang.
He thumped the cup down and set his stare once again on Kamen. And saw the same things he’d been seeing since his first look.
A pretty face, but not perfect, by any means. This Kamen had broken his nose once or twice—the bridge of it slightly skewed to the left. He could have taken care of that when Wolf had turned him, or any time he'd returned from spirit thereafter, but he hadn’t. Skel couldn’t tell if it was because Kamen hadn’t known it was possible—indeed, expected—or simply hadn’t cared, but he had yet to employ glamour, so Skel suspected this Kamen simply thought himself quite handsome as he was.
He is vain, Father.
But then, most Temshiel were.
Skel ran his fingers through his own jet-silky hair, confident in his classic looks, the deep blue of his eyes, the straightness of his nose and chin. Husao had made him, and Husao was very good at everything he did. Sighing, Skel posed himself artfully at his lone, wobbly table, and sent out a little shove to the maid who’d brought him the beer before; he didn’t really want another, but it looked like Kamen had dug in for a while, and Skel needed to do something while he watched Kamen do nothing.
He smiled when the girl came to refresh his flagon, made his gaze bright and dazzling, and smirked a little when she pulled up a practiced blush. She didn’t speak to him, because he didn’t wish it. He’d been watching Kamen flirt and flatter her through two drinks on the house thus far; Skel knew just enough about this house in particular to understand what a rare thing that was. What he didn’t understand was why Kamen bothered. He could have prompted the girl to hand over the entire bottle with a great deal less effort.
Then again, Kamen was new and quite young. Perhaps he simply hadn’t grown into all his powers yet.
He still acts as though he is one of them. He seems to actually like them, even the little harlot handing him drinks he could very well have taken.
Skel almost sneered; he took a drink instead. There had been no need for Bear’s-own to grow into anything—Skel had simply stretched himself inside his new skin and taken what had been given him. If he were completely honest with himself, he might admit that he fostered a small seed of resentment that the Null power had come to him as a result of the making of Wolf’s newest. Skel rarely felt the need to be honest with himself.