Deathwalker 4.1

            It was said in a lazy, sibilant drawl that sent my mind flashing back to the port on Calder. For a second, I was 10 again staring down an angry crowd of huge, scaly humanoids with glistening teeth that flashed in time to their enraged hisses.
            “Ter Fless sends his apologies, Captain,” Ter Dryst’s level voice broke through the flashback. “He did not give the Deathwalker much time.”
            “Sso you said.”
            While they were occupied with each other, I took a deep breath and pushed the memory aside. Low-level adrenaline was surging through me, and I could feel the cold sweat trickling down my back. I had an instant to reel at how strong the memory had been before they turned back to me.
            “Captain Nathaira, this is Deathwalker Sephtis.”
            I started to reach out my hand, caught Ter Dryst’s raised eyebrow, and quickly continued the motion upward to form the Kaihmi gesture of respect specific to captains. It was less elaborate than the one I’d given Ter Dryst but not by much. On their ships, Captains ranked higher than most leaders.
            The captain showed no sign of recognition. He nodded abruptly and turned to the ship.
            “Let’s go.”
            That susurrant voice still made my hair stand on end, and as I followed him up the ramp, I hoped fervently that the reaction wouldn’t last.
            A hand in front of me stopped my forward motion. It held something that looked suspiciously like parchment. I glanced at Ter Dryst.
            “Your case, Deathwalker,” he said blandly.
            “Of course,” I said as if I hadn’t forgotten. I gingerly took the parchment from his hand. He gave me another of his long stares.
            “Prep this time,” he said finally. Then, he walked away.
            I gaped after him until an impatient hiss sent me scurrying up the ramp. It rose with a groan and closed me in the dark with the captain.


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