Abass’s breath misted in the moonlight. He jumped again, the power and speed of the godblood in him, making the world fall away—branches whipping past, the darkness, then the curve of the earth like a great chalice waiting to be filled to the brim with life. As he fell, the forests bled out beneath him, patches of darkness eating up the white stretches of snow. Closer now, almost beneath him, the red and orange flicker of campfires. Smoke slipped up like lacework around the stars.
He landed in one of those patches of white, snow bursting up into a cloud around him, freezing and melting on his cheeks in an instant. Abass stayed kneeling, listening. The crystalline brush of the snow settling. The wind scraping branch against branch. Crackling flames. And the voices of men. Low, chatting, undisturbed.
They had not heard him.
Firelight scratched the bark of nearby trees—slivers of light that would have been all but invisible to Abass without the power of the godblood. He crept closer, moving slowly so that the snow did not crunch underfoot. This type of sneaking was new to him; born in the city, a man of the city, Abass had never been a hunter or a woodsman. And, of course, Nakhacevir had never known snow in all the years of his life until now. But time did funny things to a man—and to a land. So he took his time easing up between the trees, avoiding fallen branches, grateful that if he moved slowly enough, the heavy snow masked his sound.