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Jiadé's family and friends believed for two years that she was dead. She's just returned, without an explanation for her absence, but it's clear that she has an agenda. Top on her list is paying a visit to The Sand King, an old adversary, and when she arrives in Emoraan, she finds that the desert tribe has occupied the city. It is a violation of their truce. However, when she crashes a party, she learns that the man she thought she'd be confronting is dead; his son now leads the tribe as aukiera. She considers that a plus.
“What is the meaning of this…outrage?” Nataju asked with all the hatred that Jiadé had ever heard in her life funneled into that one word. She was impressed.
“I intend no disrespect, aukiera. Simply, you have your god to please and I have mine.”
He stared her down for a moment. “Reveal yourself.”
Jiadé pulled her left sleeve to her elbows and showed him the row of scars on her forearm. “I am she who tamed your father. I’ve come to collect his debt.”
He closed some of the distance between them, but remained out of her reach. “Our debt to the Xarit hakis is paid.”
“I said his debt. I said nothing of his debt to me.”
“I will not discuss details with a ghost.”
She pulled the ties to her veil cloak and in one swift motion, she cast it to the floor. Beneath, she wore nearly nothing, and it drew gasps of disapproval and shock.
“You owe Nirati a debt of gratitude,” Jiadé told him gently.
“I rescued them from the monsters that came from across the sea!” Nataju spat.
“You occupy their city.”
“My army secures their borders.”
“You keep them as servants.”
“They live their lives as before.”
“That was not part of the agreement, aukiera,” Jiadé said. “You…are not…their king!”
“It’s a compromise,” Nataju argued.
“Speaking of which...I need your help.”
“I see no obligation.”
Jiadé could see that he was trying to appear strong, trying not to cave with an audience. “I haven’t even told you what I want.” She gave him a flirty grin. “That’s unlike you.”
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