Karda: Adalta Vol I Chapter Five

The restaurant hummed with quiet conversation when the two Mi'hiru walked in. Marta strengthened her mental dampers. She didn’t need the assault on her emotions that intruded even in small crowds. She was hungry, and Philipa said this place had exceptional food. Three men at a table in the far corner of the room were the focus of the energy in the room. One, whose long brown hair and face resembled Daryl’s, looked up as if expecting someone when they came in. Irritation flicked across his face, then disappeared in a laugh at one of his companions. Marta had seen him, Readen, the oldest of the guardian’s two sons, in other taverns several times in the tendays she'd been in Restal, often with the same two Mounted Patrol guards and the center of activity, laughing, joking.

"Watch out for those two guards. The Karda refused to carry them when they applied to the Karda Patrol. They don't like Mi'hiru," Philipa murmured. "Readen’s friendly enough and fun. He tolerates Mi’hiru, but that’s about all. Karda won’t accept him either. If the revolt against the so-called aristocracy of talent every amounts to anything, he’s probably the one who will lead it. He was born without any. Not even a hint. The only person in all our history to not have talent."

There’s that word again. Talent. I know it means something more here than the ability to play an instrument or write a poem. I’m missing something critical about the people here.

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Karda: Adalta Vol. I Chapter Three

A shaky Marta followed Mother Cailyn down the spacious aisle of the mews to a roomy open stall. Her shoulders were so tense they ached. So much was riding on this. Her whole assignment. Success or failure. She was breathing so fast the cold air burned through her sinuses. Cailyn stopped in front of a stall. 

It was unlike any stall she'd ever seen on any world—half walls of smooth stone, flagstone floor, rare, gleaming, dark wood framing the opening. An enormous pile of clean golden straw laid in one corner partitioned off by another half wall of polished wood. Light from a row of clerestory windows at the back brightened the space. A long, bronze-colored flight feather lay against a side wall, reflecting fire in the light.

"This is Sidhari."

Marta couldn't move. Cailyn pushed her inside.

The enormous Karda was beautiful. No, she was beyond beautiful. Her hawk head sat atop the long graceful neck of her horse body. A dark mane started just below the feathers of her crest, long and glossy. Her tail swept the ground. Sidhari's wings were lighter than the hair on her body, gold mahogany, with long bronze-gold flight feathers. Her sleek body shone; her bay coat shaded to black from hocks and knees down. Four long, sharp, black talons tipped huge avian feet.

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