When Wekniz scowled as he did now, he looked ready to kill. The stretched skin dragging at the corner of his left eye and mouth, scars from the burns that had nearly killed him several years ago, made the Nobek look malevolent to most even when he wasn’t angry. The raised lumpy skin of the cheek and jaw on that side of his face added to the ferocious look. More damaged skin ran down Wekniz’s neck, extending down to the shoulder and chest hidden beneath the Nobek’s loose-fitting shirt.
Falinset could not say he didn’t see Wekniz’s scars, but they held no horror for him. To the clan leader, his Nobek looked more brave and noble with them. Knowing what Wekniz had gone through, saving lives in the midst of a raging inferno, only intensified that notion. Falinset thought he preferred the marked left side more than the unscarred, handsome right.
Falinset offered his noble Nobek a grim smile. “Why worry ourselves about honor at this point? They’ve made it so we’re well beyond that. Go ahead and pound Feyom and Maf with my blessing.”
Nur came close to sit on Falinset’s desk. He pulled a lock of his hair forward to examine the ends, upsetting the artful waves he’d given himself. “We have honor. We are not our parent clans. Or our biological parents.” He lifted a perfectly arched brow at Falinset.
Falinset woofed out a breath, his large jaw tensing. “We’re still suspect if our parents’ misdeeds are ever discovered. I keep thinking about how good it would be to pick up and leave the Empire. Just get out for good.”
Wekniz’s rumble was comforting even as he reminded Falinset, “We can’t outrun all of it.”
“Particularly not Maf’s latest scheme. Feyom hinted strongly that he may be aligning himself with the Basma in this rebellion craziness.”
Nur’s mouth dropped open in shock. “By the ancestors, is he mad?” On the heels of that statement, he found a note of hope. “Maybe we can turn that to our advantage. We could report your suspicions to the authorities.”
Now it was Falinset’s turn to remind someone of unpleasant facts. “And Maf will spill his guts about your parent clan’s drug deals and Wekniz’s fathers’ embezzlement of government contract funds along with stealing security secrets.”
“If it was an anonymous tip—”
Wekniz cut the Imdiko off. “Maf already said if he goes down for any reason, he’ll take everyone he can with him.”