Elska-Chapter 5 by Acton Bell

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Kara drew a deep breath of the heavily scented air, enjoying its spicy aroma. Somewhere nearby krydde bushes were ready for harvest. House El-Zora had also cultivated krydde. It was a scent she hadn't realized she missed.
She strolled across the sand lawn, her bare feet sinking into the warm sand. The House L'u-cif-er servants attached to Ilith and her rooms had assured Kara it was both acceptable and safe to walk outside in the evening. "It's full formal dinner tonight, Dsk," said the woman who'd directed Kara outside. "There won't be a soul of them near it tonight."
Gratified that she wasn't required to endure the hours long evening that included dancing and entertainments between the heavy food courses, Kara had escaped into the cool night.
This could have been mine, she thought, then firmly pushed it aside. She had long ago ceased to curse the flaw in her blood for her fate. Had she wished, she could have used her Talent to become one of House T'o'lz's Masters and commanded her own estate.
T'o'lz was not quite the House of thieves and assassins rumor had it to be. It was not truly a House proper united by bloodlines. Rather it was an organization of people with like Talent. Negative Psi was a wild Talent appearing randomly and almost equally in Psi and non-Psi families.
T'o'lz recruited Negatives Psis, training them, then hired them out to those requiring their services. Corporate types from Terra and Avononia and their sister worlds were T'o'lz's main customers. As Psis were rare among their populations, they didn't understand or trust Byshen's Psi Houses. It gave the off-worlders a feeling of security to have a Negative Psi at their side. A few of the minor Houses had also used T'o'lz's resources, but never did any of the Six Houses contract with them. De'enth Us'guin Debor was not truly aware of the treasure she possessed in her Dsk Kara.
A Hound of T'o'lz had sensed Kara's talent soon after she had arrived in the City, approached her and offered her a position. It had been during the lowest point of her life, but she had refused, clinging to old prejudices without thought. She would not become the monster L'u-cif-er Ini Ben had thought she was. It had taken her a long time to throw off the teachings of her past and accept that Negative Psis were simply people, no better or worse than most.
When she had become a dsk she had been involved in transactions from time to time where Negative Psis were present. She had sensed them, known they sensed her, but neither had acknowledged the other.
Sometimes she thought of what prejudices had cost her, but not often. Regrets were a waste of time.
A cold breeze chilled her arms. She shivered. Turning, a strangled scream escaped her throat as she saw the man behind her. It was Kaen, clearly visible in the light of the floating glow globes, looking to her dazzled eyes the same as he had all those years ago. Hard won self-control came to her rescue, even as she wondered why he should be here when the dinner was still in progress.

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