My brother had little choice but to accept the Duros’ offer. Blake had all our men surrounded and both heirs to the tribe unarmed and at their mercy. As far as I could tell, it was a good deal.
Our homesteaders could return to the borderlands, our people would be safe from their raids, and we’d have a continued and peaceable alliance forged with a reliable trade route through their lands. What could be better?
During the long hush between the two Chiefs, I caught a glimpse of Morven sneaking into the far end of the tent. He was alone. He caught my eye just long enough for me to signal not to betray me with a wide stare and a tiny shake of the head. My pulse quickened, wondering whether he had silenced Teague.
Blake balled his fist and thumped his chest, belching and wincing with pain. “I can’t make a better offer than that. So, what’s your answer, Chief?”
Cador rubbed his chin, pretending to think, but I could tell he’d already made up his mind. He was just annoyed that Blake was being reasonable. Underneath the sullen exterior, my brother was seething. His thirst for bloodshed was unquenchable. “Our rate is usually four copper for one tin, but I’ll lower it to three in the name of good will. We will also take all of the loot from the ship. Agree to that, and we have a deal.” Why must he always push his luck? There are times when I could cheerfully throttle him.
The Duro warriors and elders murmured their discontent. Nyle shot out of his seat, readying himself for action, but for a second time, the old Chief lifted his hand to halt his progress. Snorting and baring his teeth, the eldest son did as his father commanded.
Blake’s jaw set. The muscles beneath his whiskers tensed as he clenched his teeth, but he was better at maintaining his calm manner than Cador. He looked down at me. “A healer, eh?”
I nodded, bowing my head away from his leering gaze.
“I’ll take your sister as my third wife to seal the pact between us. She’s got to be better than that useless lump, and I could do with a few more sons.”