Yarr mateys, here be spoilers. Sort of. Not really. Damn it, I say that every time.

Emma looked up and found Seshua watching them. His face was still harsh with fury, but the look in his eyes was bruised.

“Seshua,” she said reasonably. “Have you ever been a danger to me?”

He frowned at her. “Of course.”

Sigh. “I mean to my life.”

His brow smoothed out. “You had no way of knowing what the Captain of the ravens wanted with you. He could have been after your head for a trophy.”

“What would that achieve?”

“I don’t know, I don’t care!” Seshua bared his teeth and started to pace. “We are in foreign territory -”

Emma cut him off. “What is this really about, Seshua?”

He stopped, half turned away. Emma tilted sideways to catch his eye, but he wouldn’t look at her.

“Seshua,” she said quietly. “You didn’t fail me.”

He turned. The air got hard to breathe all of a sudden, heavy with the taste of power, sharp with the scent of blood and lush growing things; Seshua’s aura pressing at Emma, thick and touchable. But its caress was not a seduction, not this time. This time Emma tasted its fear.

Seshua’s eyes held twin points of gold. His face had started to turn; his nose was thicker and flatter than it should be, his eyes too round, his jaw heavy with curved teeth. “What am I supposed to do with you?” Those drowning blue eyes searched her face. “Even if I locked you away.” His voice went impossibly deep. “Even if you did not have more than two dozen loyal and bonded servants and companions willing to lay down their lives to free you. You would only need ask me for the key, and I would be powerless to refuse you.”

That was Seshua – always hung up on power. “You’re not powerless. We’re having this conversation, aren’t we?”

He made a deafeningly loud sound that was all jaguar, shaking his head once as if to clear it. “The only reason I can argue with you is because we never completed the ritual! If not for that, I’d be just as compliant as the others.”

Fern and Alexi gave identical snorts of laughter.

Seshua bared his teeth at them. “Is something funny?”

Emma forced her face into neutral. “Um. They argue with me all the time.”