Tyrolean kept close, but he needn’t have bothered. The citizens barely glanced Draken's way, marking him for what he was: a foreigner coming to trade. They just didn’t realize his goods were life and death.
That image disintegrated when they met the gate guards at Kordewyn. First the queue—and Draken had considered the steps slow-going. He shifted from foot to foot and constantly glanced back down into the fog concealing the city. Darkness crept through it as moonfall encroached on Sevenfel. Daybreak would not be far behind.
“Gods forbid we don’t make dayclose.”
“It’s Tradeseason,” Galbrait said. “The merchants are open in the night.”
Right. He’d forgotten.
Someone turned their head at Galbrait’s voice. Maybe it was the accent, or his handsome features, bruised on one side. Draken leaned close to Galbrait. “We’ll never get there at this rate. Tell them who you are.”
Galbrait looked back at him, brows raised. Draken just looked back at him. The Prince hissed a breath and undid the top ties on his cloak so his torq showed, and called out, “Make way for business of the Crown. Make way!”
Heads turned, protests sounding and dying as people realized who Galbrait was. Everyone knew the torqs the royals wore—all of a kind, twisted precious metals with skystones embedded in the ends. Draken stared down the people just in front of them, and they shifted to one side as best as they were able; the path sloping up to the gate was barely five shoulders across. Slowly, they were able to shift their way through the crowd and reach the gate. Word had preceded them and the guards studied Galbrait, albeit politely.
“Gods, he’s on a bloody coin,” Draken said. “Let us pass.”
The guard, his belly straining the straps of his armor, turned to Draken. “And you are?”
“Khel Szi, Prince of Brîn,” Galbrait said. “And this is his Captain and guard. Let us pass, soldier. Do we look as if we’re out for a leisurely stroll to market? Your delay could cost us all more than your own position here.”
Galbrait’s authoritative ring did it. Or perhaps it was that his cloak had parted to reveal the blood caked on his skin. The guard stepped back with a bow. But it had been long enough for people on the inside of the gate to grasp that they were looking at not only the actual Prince, but also a foreign one. It would only take moments more for them to realize they were largely unprotected, though Tyrolean was an imposing presence. Draken hurried Galbrait along, steering him down streets and alleys toward Ashwyc.
“Do you know where you’re going?” Tyrolean asked.
Not exactly. “Aye. This way.”