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Jordan recognized his nemesis’ voice, and he began to climb faster. As soon as he was close enough to jump without breaking every bone in his body, he let go and let himself fall, rolling as he landed so that he was quickly on his feet again. Running, he wished he at least had his black cloak, which was not only warm but could be discarded somewhere. He’d have to change his clothes as soon as he had a chance, but until then he’d have to make sure that he stayed far away from anyone who might have been at the Palace tonight.
Eventually, he was off the Palace grounds and there was Simon, waiting in the carriage by the low stone wall. “Good man,” Jordan muttered under his breath, and made one last dash that just barely carried him the rest of the way.
“What happened to you?” Simon asked, alarmed.
“No time. Go now. Hurry!” As the carriage began to move, Jordan collapsed onto one of the seats and tried to catch his breath. Simon wisely didn’t ask him anything more, but instead waited for his friend to begin to speak. “The letter was delivered safely,” Jordan began, and recounted all of the events of that night.
When he’d finished his narrative, Simon turned to him and asked, “So who is this M? Do you think it stands for mage? And was he really trying to help, or was it a trap and you were just lucky?”
“Well for starters, I’m always lucky. But no, I don’t think it was a trap. And there’s something about all of this that bothers me.” By now, he’d changed into a warm black shirt and some thick woolen pants. As he pulled on one fur-lined boot and began to lace it, he commented, “I remember now who she was. It was Lady Morgaine who gave me the note.”
Simon whistled. “Morgaine begins with M. But how could she know...”
“I don’t know. But it’s the only thing that works. Besides, I keep feeling like there’s something more to her than meets the eye.” Jordan yanked on the second boot to get his foot all of the way in, and then changed the subject. “Right now, I need to get out of here, and you need to lay low for a while. I’m hoping that by the time I come back, things will have settled down, but meanwhile it stands to reason that if I’m in danger when I’m here, then you will be too.”
“Don’t get caught, you mean?” Simon asked, grinning.
“Exactly,” Jordan replied darkly.

Morgaine sat up in her room that night, thinking about everything that had happened at the ball. Jordan was safe for the time being; that much she knew. It seemed that no one had gotten a close look at the escaping man’s face, and Ormand would doubtless try to avoid the King’s attention for a while. As it was, the King had been greatly interested in hearing just why Ormand was so determined to capture a man who (aside from acting quite suspiciously) had not necessarily done anything wrong.
One other thing caused her to smile; as she was leaving, she noticed an envelope in the King’s hand, and, in one of her bursts of cognizance, she knew that the note inside it was signed, “The Prophet.”


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