Morven acted fast. He clamped his hand over his sister’s mouth and dragged her away from the tent before she could shout to her father about our affair. Thankfully, none of their warriors saw them, but my stomach plunged and continued to roil at the thought that Teague could destroy the budding relationship on offer from our enemies.
Cador watched me closely, as my brow beaded with sweat and my cheeks flushed. His suspicions were aroused. I was fairly sure that he was too stupid to put two and two together, even if he had seen Morven removing his sister. Leaning across the table, I picked up the ale jug and filled Blake’s cup to the brim.
It was important that no one saw me rattled. I fixed a smile on my lips while everyone stuffed their faces with pheasant, pork and rabbit. Nyle was quite the performer. He stood on tables with his cup held high, singing bawdy songs and crowing about his victories. His father cackled and egged him on, while his warriors joined in where they could.
Cador was remarkably quiet. Neither of us knew where our surviving men were, or the bodies of those slain. We were vulnerable on so many levels and yet, if Blake’s aim was to kill us all, he could have achieved that on the beach. My questions seemed partially answered a few moments later, when the slimy kyjyan reached under the table and fondled my leg.
I froze, wondering what he would do if I stopped him. Was I spared in order to provide their Chief with carnal entertainment? His dirty fingers squeezed my thigh and crept higher. I inhaled sharply; my whole body went rigid with disgust.
Blake must have sensed my revulsion, for he returned his hands to his meal, chewed the last morsel from a leg bone and cast it aside. Patting his belly, he swivelled around to face my brother over the top of my head.
“Now that we’ve eaten, it’s time to talk deals.” Blake’s breath was rank. I tried not to shudder.
Cador took a swig of his beer and peered at the Duro Chief from the corner of his eye. “What do you want?”
“Isn’t it obvious?”
Cador frowned. I regurgitated some of my food in horror and swallowed it back down. Surely, he didn’t mean to strike a deal over me?
Blake was playing with us again. “Tin, of course. You have it, we need it.”
I panted with relief, closing my eyes and thanking the gods for my deliverance.
Cador squinted at the cunning old brute. “What about the spoils from the wreckage?”
“We’ll split it, on the condition that you will supply us with what we need at a favourable rate, say two copper ingots for every one of tin.” The warriors and elders all around us went quiet, listening to the discussion. Even Nyle showed respect and sat quietly.
Blake grinned at my brother, revealing his blackened and missing teeth. From all his symptoms put together, he was obviously in ill-health. “Well? Don’t you think our tribes have fought for long enough? We should be peaceful neighbours, allies and trading partners. This feud between our families must end. I don’t want my boys to carry this foolishness on while Nyle is Chief. Make the deal and celebrate a new era and a beneficial pact for all our people.”