Home > Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass #6)(13)

Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass #6)(13)
Author: Sarah J. Maas

She moved with a nimble grace, her feet—clad in practical black slippers—swift and unfaltering as she crossed the room, either not noticing or caring about the ornate furnishings.

Young, perhaps a year or two older than twenty.

But those eyes … they were far older than that.

She paused at the carved wooden chair across from the golden couch, Nesryn shooting to her feet. The healer—for there was no one else she could be, with that calm grace, those clear eyes, and that simple, pale blue muslin dress—glanced between them. She was a few inches shorter than Nesryn, built with similar delicacy, yet despite her slender frame … He didn’t look long at the other features the healer had been generously blessed with.

“Are you from the Torre Cesme?” Nesryn asked in Chaol’s own tongue.

The healer only stared at him. Something like surprise and anger lighting those remarkable eyes.

She slid a hand into the pocket of her gown, and he waited for her to withdraw something, but it remained there. As if she was grasping an object within.

Not a doe ready to bolt, but a stag, weighing the options of fighting or fleeing, of standing its ground, lowering its head, and charging.

Chaol held her gaze, cool and steady. He’d taken on plenty of young bucks during the years of being captain—had gotten them all to heel.

Nesryn asked something in Halha, no doubt a repeat of her question.

A thin scar sliced across the healer’s throat. Perhaps three inches long.

He knew what sort of weapon had given that scar. All the possibilities that burst into his head for why it might have happened were not pleasant ones.

Nesryn fell silent, watching them.

The healer only turned on her heel, walked to the desk near the windows, took a seat, and pulled a piece of parchment toward her from the neat stack in the corner.

Whoever these healers were, the khagan was right: they certainly did not answer to his throne. Or find it in themselves to be impressed with any manner of nobility and power.

She opened a drawer, found a glass pen, and held it poised over the paper.


She did not have an accent—or, rather, the accent of these lands.

“Chaol Westfall.”


The accent. It was from—


Her pen stalled. “Age.”

“You’re from Fenharrow?”

What are you doing here, so far from home?

She leveled a cool, unimpressed stare at him.

He swallowed and said, “Twenty-three.”

She scribbled something down. “Describe where the injury begins.”

Each word was clipped, her voice low.

Had it been an insult to be assigned his case? Had she other things to do when she was summoned here? He thought again of Hasar’s wicked smile the night before. Perhaps the princess knew that this woman was not praised for her bedside manner.

“What is your name?”

The question came from Nesryn, whose face was beginning to tighten.

The healer stilled as she took in Nesryn, blinking like she had not really noticed her. “You—are from here?”

“My father was,” Nesryn said. “He moved to Adarlan, wed my mother, and I now have family there—and here.” She impressively hid any trace of dread at the mention of them as she added coaxingly, “My name is Nesryn Faliq. I am the Captain of the Royal Guard of Adarlan.”

That surprise in the healer’s eyes turned wary. But she again gazed at him.

She knew who he was. The look conveyed it—the analysis. She knew he’d once held that title, and now was something else. So the name, the age … the questions were bullshit. Or some bureaucratic nonsense. He doubted it was the latter.

A woman from Fenharrow, meeting with two members from Adarlan’s court …

It didn’t take much to read her. What she saw. Where that mark on her throat might have come from.

“If you don’t want to be here,” Chaol said roughly, “then send someone else.”

Nesryn whirled on him.

The healer only held his stare. “There is no one else to do this.” The unspoken words said the rest: They sent their best.

With that steady, self-assured posture, he didn’t doubt it. She angled her pen again. “Describe where the injury begins.”

A sharp knock on the sitting room door cut through the silence. He started, cursing himself for not having heard the approach.

But it was Princess Hasar, clad in green and gold and smirking like a cat. “Good morning, Lord Westfall. Captain Faliq.” Her braided hair swaying with each swaggering step, Hasar strolled over to the healer, who looked up at her with an expression Chaol dared call exasperation, and leaned down to kiss her on either cheek. “You’re not usually so grumpy, Yrene.”

There—a name.

“I forgot my kahve this morning.” The thick, spiced, bitter drink Chaol had choked down with his breakfast. An acquired taste, Nesryn had said when he’d asked about it later.

The princess took up a perch along the edge of the desk. “You didn’t come to dinner last night. Kashin was sulking about it.”

Yrene’s shoulders tightened. “I had to prepare.”

“Yrene Towers locking herself in the Torre to work? I might die of shock.”

From the princess’s tone, he filled in enough. The best healer in the Torre Cesme had become so thanks to that grueling work ethic.

Hasar looked him over. “Still in the chair?”

“Healing takes time,” Yrene said mildly to the princess. Not an ounce of subservience or respect to the tone. “We were just beginning.”

“So you agreed to do it, then?”

Yrene cut the princess a sharp glare. “We were assessing the lord’s needs.” She jerked her chin toward the doors. “Shall I find you when I’m done?”

Nesryn gave Chaol an impressed, wary glance. A healer dismissing a princess of the most powerful empire in the world.

Hasar leaned forward to ruffle Yrene’s gold-brown hair. “If you weren’t gods-blessed, I’d carve out your tongue myself.” The words were honeyed venom. Yrene only offered a faint, bemused smile before Hasar hopped off the desk and gave him a mocking incline of the head. “Don’t worry, Lord Westfall. Yrene has healed injuries similar and far worse than your own. She’ll have you back on your feet and able to do your master’s bidding again in no time.” With that lovely parting shot, which left Nesryn cold-eyed, the princess vanished.

They waited a good few moments to make sure they heard the outer door shut.

“Yrene Towers,” was all Chaol said.

“What of it.”

Gone was the faint amusement. Fine.

“The lack of feeling and movement begins at my hips.”

Yrene’s eyes shot right to them, dancing over him. “Are you capable of using your manhood?”

He tried not to flinch. Even Nesryn blinked at the frank question.

“Yes,” he said tightly, fighting the heat rising in his cheeks.

She looked between them, assessing. “Have you used it to completion?”

He clenched his jaw. “How is that relevant?” And how had she gleaned what was between them?

Yrene only wrote something down.

“What are you writing?” he demanded, cursing the damned chair for keeping him from storming to rip the paper out of her hands.

“I’m writing a giant no.”

Which she then underlined.

He growled, “I suppose you’ll ask about my bathroom habits now?”

“It was next on my list.”

“They are unchanged,” he bit out. “Unless you need Nesryn to confirm.”

Yrene merely turned to Nesryn, unruffled. “Have you seen him struggle with it?”

“Do not answer that,” he snarled at Nesryn.

Nesryn had the good wits to sink into a chair and remain quiet.

Yrene rose, setting down the pen, and came around the desk. The morning sunlight caught in her hair, bouncing off her head in a corona.

She knelt at his feet. “Shall you remove your boots or shall I?”

“I’ll do it.”

She sat back on her heels and watched him move. Another test. To discern how mobile and agile he was. The weight of his legs, having to constantly adjust their position … Chaol gritted his teeth as he gripped his knee, lifting his foot off the wooden slat, and bent to remove his boot in a few sharp tugs. When he finished with the other one, he asked, “Pants, too?”

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