With less than a fortnight to go until the release of Reawakening, I thought it might be fun to introduce some of the supporting cast. Over the next few days, I’ll be sharing some missing scenes which show what they were up to just before Tarn met them. Depending on the characters and the situation, some of these will be fairly silly and others more ominous. If you’re very spoiler-wary, you might want to tread carefully. They don’t give away any of the main plot, but they do reveal bits of backstory and character motivation.
To begin, let me take you to the trade city of Hirah, and introduce you to lawman Cayl and Sethan, a caravan master…
Sethan and Cayl
It was raining outside, with a soft, steady thrum against the closed shutters. The fire was a warm glow of embers, and the lamp beside the bed flickered and jumped a little at each gust of wind that slipped inside. Cayl wasn’t cold though, not with Sethan stretched out beside him, his long body lax and easy against the heaped pillows, and his side pressed against Cayl. Idly, Cayl ran his hand down Sethan’s bare chest, savoring every familiar spot.
“That’s nice,” Sethan murmured, without opening his eyes. “Don’t stop.”
“And what are you going to do while I cater to your every whim?”
“What, is my company not enough for you now?” But he cracked one eye open and lifted his hand enough to tug at Cayl’s shoulder. “You’re too far away.”
Cayl leaned down obligingly and kissed him, fitting his mouth against Sethan’s easily. Fifteen years, and this still made his heart lift. When the kiss ended, he slid down the pillows a little, gathering Sethan close as he rolled over. Cayl pulled the blankets up, well aware whose side of the bed they would all be on by morning, and slung his arm across Sethan’s back. Sethan took a slow breath and rested his head against Cayl’s shoulder.
It felt like time to sleep and Cayl considered leaving the discussion for the morning. He’d thought that last night, though, and the night before. Once day came, there was Sethan’s business to run and his own day-to-day responsibilities to the crown, and this open-ended promise they’d made the Prince of Shara last year seemed less vital. Yet, week by week, the world grew more unsettled.
“I was thinking…” he began cautiously.
“If you’re going to tie me up, I insist on the red silk this time.”
Cayl blinked, entirely distracted by that idea. It was a very pretty thing to imagine: the red twists of silk, Sethan’s long hair cascading over them both as he writhed against…
Sethan took advantage of his distraction to squirm around a little and get his hands on Cayl’s ass, groping him lazily. “Or I could tie you up again. That’s always frightfully good fun.”
Cayl grabbed Sethan’s arms, pulling them up, and rolled them both over, trapping Sethan beneath him. He took another kiss, because there was no point resisting when he was this close, but then said, before he got distracted again, “I was thinking about what we agreed at the council.”
“Politics?” Sethan protested, his lip curling in distaste. “Now?”
“You’d rather I’d wait for a time when you’re already in a bad mood? Besides, you love it.”
Sethan didn’t argue with that, though he still looked a little disgruntled. “You had better not be thinking of his highness right now.”
“Why?” Cayl asked, grinning. “You jealous?”
“Certainly not. Jealousy is so vulgar. Especially since the good prince is married and losing his hair.”
“So are you,” Cayl pointed out, trying not to grin too broadly. It was always a little gratifying to see Sethan get possessive. “Married, that is, not balding.”
“I should hope not,” his husband muttered. “It just galls me that he got you first.”
“You get me last,” Cayl reminded him, dropping a kiss on the end of his nose. “Now, stop distracting me. I was thinking that it’s been a while since we took a caravan across the desert to Tiallat.”
Sethan’s face went tight with consideration. “I like that thought. His highness still can’t get any spies into Tiallat, can he?”
“The Savattin seem to have a knack for finding them,” Cayl said, feeling his shoulders tense. He’d once served with one of the men the Savattin had recently caught and stoned to death. “But we’re well-known there. They won’t look at us and see anything other than traders.”
“It’s a risky run, lover,” Sethan said. “We’d want to keep it small. Only people we know and trust to keep calm in a crisis.”
“Triple the guards we’d usually take,” Cayl suggested. Many of the traders who joined their caravan were good friends, and he wasn’t going to take them into danger without some certainty that he could get them out again.
“Hmm,” Sethan said, his eyes going distant. “Do you think Ia would come out of retirement for this?”
“Just like old times,” Cayl commented, as Sethan tried to squirm out from under him. “Where are you going?”
“To write to Ia, obviously. Barrett’s in Rashamel, isn’t he? That’s not far away, and he’s always a steady head on a risky run. The twins might be interested as well, and if we get them, Jirell and the boys will follow.”
Cayl suddenly remembered why he hadn’t started this conversation earlier. With a sigh, he wrestled Sethan back down against the pillows. “The letters can wait until dawn.”
“You were the one who insisted on distracting me,” Sethan pointed out. “You’re so inconsistent, darling.”
“Hush, you,” Cayl said and kissed him quiet to make sure. When he finally drew back, Sethan gave him a slow, lazy smile.
“Planning to show me why I shouldn’t be jealous?”
“I thought jealousy was vulgar,” Cayl said, but kissed him again.
The letters didn’t get written until morning.