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Chapter 4

"Captain Dzornaea." Kinnet smoothed her skirts and watched the back of the captain's head. When the captain turned to face her, Kinnet made herself smile.

"Stormwitch Ardelis." Kinnet appreciated how careful Arama was to keep her face turned toward her. "Is there trouble?"

Kinnet inclined her torso, keeping her gaze on Arama's face. "I feel...echoes. I think echoes. I..." She drew her brows together. "I am not sure."

"Echoes of...power?" Arama asked. "Of a storm? Is there something building?"

Kinnet spread her hands and opened her mouth. After several seconds, she huffed out a breath and clenched her fists. "Echoes. My feet feel them. Through the floor."

"Deck," Arama corrected.

"Deck. They shake." Kinnet shook her head. "Vibrate."

Arama scrubbed a hand through short, blue-black hair. "What do you think it is?" she asked at last.

"I..." Kinnet let her gaze go unfocused as she searched again for any hint of recognition. "I don't know. I have never felt this before."

Arama swore. "What can you do?" She scraped her toes against a coil of rope. Kinnet wondered if they itched. What would it be like to go barefoot all the time, as Arama did?

Kinnet lifted one hand to curl around the large sea-glass pendant that hung at her throat. "I will try to sense what causes the disturbance."

"Good idea." Arama didn't hide the annoyance in her expression.

Kinnet flinched. She knew what the captain must be thinking. Any stormwitch who wore as much sea-glass as Kinnet did must be powerful. Sea-glass wasn't cheap by any measure, and a chunk as large as that pendant would have come dear. Why couldn't the woman have intelligence that equaled her wealth? Well, Kinnet would show her. She was intelligent, as well as powerful. She had just never been given the opportunities so many others got.

Kinnet glared at her. "I must not be disturbed," she said. "And I will need a pitcher of water."

"Of course." Arama signaled one of her crew and gave the orders necessary. "Should I prepare to defend ourselves?"

Kinnet's gaze turned inward. "No," she said at last. "This is something...not made by humans. I feel..." She trailed off, then clenched her teeth. Why should she try to explain how the power felt? Not even a ship's captain could understand the way stormwitchery called to you. "I will inform you when I have learned anything."

She swung around, her skirts swishing around her, and strode away, hips rolling with the pitch of the ship. She would show Arama Dzornaea. She would do whatever was necessary to protect Prince Vistaren. She would gain the prince's trust and admiration. And then Pralith Menever and all those buzzing toadies at the college would see that Kinnet Ardelis was more than a poor deaf girl who could channel lightning.

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