The Citymaster's request to speak came earlier in the book while Marian and Jaquar were on the island.
A crackling zap whistled through the room along with a flash. For an instant Marain thought their kiss had generated the lightning. It didn't surprise her. She was hot, hot, hot – sizzling with desire.
But Jaquar stepped away and the lightning shot through the dome again. His mouth twisted into a wry smile. "My message crystal."
Marian blinked, trying to make sense of his words. She watched as he crossed to a large crystal ball set in a three-legged iron filigree stand. Lightning was his telephone ring tone? It boggled the mind. Boggled hers, anyway. So she let out her breath and sucked in another deep one as she stolled to the loveseat. She moved slowly because her knees were still weak.
Jaquar placed his palm over the clear crystal ball. "Salutations," he said.
"This is Sevair Masif, Citymaster of Castleton. I would like to consult with you...and the Scholar Lady Marian."
Lady. Marian smiled, that sounded so fine. Wouldn't her mother have been pleased. With a small jolt of shock, she realized it was the first time she'd thought of her mother since reaching Lladrana.
"–accomodations for the night," Jaquar said.
"One room or two?" asked Masif matter-of-factly.
Jaquar's eyes met hers. His still held a trace of raw passion. "I would actually prefer a suite with two bedrooms."
There was a slight pause. "Then I will arrange for you to stay at an inn."
"Done," said Jaquar as if he was closing a deal.
"Does the Lady Scholar Marian have any special tastes?"
Marian stared at the crystal. She couldn't see the image of the man who spoke to Jaquar, but began to wonder about him at such a question. But perhaps she was putting a connotation on the phrase that wasn't sexual like it could be construed in English.
But Jaquar raised his brows. "What do you mean by that, Masif?" he asked coolly. Again his gaze sought hers and for no reason at all an image of velvet bonds around a four-poster bed flitted through her mind. Blue velvet. She'd never had such thoughts before.
Another short silence, then a chuckle from the globe. "Exotique Alexa is known for her taste in tea," Masif said. "Does Scholar Lady Marian prefer tea?"
"No," Marian said loudly.
"Did you hear?" asked Jaquar.
"Yes," Masif said.
"We'll see you in about two hours," Jaquar said.
"Land in ** Square. I'll have my secretary and stablehand meet you. They'll be wearing my colors."
"Of course," Jaquar said. "Until later."
It wasn't until the crystal went dark that Marian realized it had looked as if it contained cotton wool. Or clouds.
"How can we get to Castleton in two hours?" Marian knew the city was located a couple of miles from the Marshall's Castle, and that was nearly in the center of Lladrana, far from the coast.
Jaquar had moved from the desk to a closet by the door, opened it, and pulled out a large set of saddlebags. "My volaran is strong in distance-magic," he said absently.
Volaran! Marian swallowed in excitement, anticipation – anxiety. She was going to ride a flying horse?
"Uh," she said, then realized he couldn't hear her since he'd crossed the room to his bedroom door, unlocked it, and was inside – packing. She hoped he wasn't filling the bags will all his stuff, she'd need some room, too. She cleared her throat and called out, "I don't ride."
He appeared at the doorway, with an irritated expression. "You don't either?"
Jaquar tossed the saddlebags next to her on the couch. "Alexa didn't ride either. I heard she broke an arm three times already trying to learn."
"I suppose I should teach you a floating spell."
Her eyes widened. "I can learn to float?"
"You can learn to fall slowly."
"Oh." She was dissapointed, she'd always wanted to float or fly – and not in airplanes or on winged horses, by herself.
"Do you swim?"
"Swim!" her voice rose as she recalled the channel of sea between Jaquar's island and mainland Lladrana.
"I'll pull you from the water if you fall," he assured her with an amused gleam in his eye.
"I'm a strong swimmer," Marian said stiffly. She shifted uneasily. "Are there any–" sharks, giant squid, barricuda, pihrana** "–nasty water monsters in the channel**?"
"Not that I know of," he said. He gestured to the saddlebag. "Do you have something suitable for riding?"
"Tuck's coming with us."
"Of course, get him, too."
She'd wear him around her waist in a fanny-pack she'd crafted.
Those of you who've read Sorceress of Faith will recall that they actually went to the mainland by travelling by lightning...