“They’re young enough,” Mehen said. “And I’m training them fine. We need defenders.”

“That girl is going to be no one’s defender and you know it,” Criella said. “Everyone knows it. Better to put up scarecrows than to send her on patrol.”

“No one was hurt.” But Farideh heard the embarrassed tone in Mehen’s voice. Havi could be sent on patrol, but not Farideh. Not so long as she jumped at martens and couldn’t keep hold of her sword.

“She’s a bright girl,” Criella said, “but she has a smart mouth and she’s too clever by half. Give her to me. I need an apprentice, and a few years of devotion to Chauntea should wear her …”

Farideh hurried down the lane, her face hot despite the cold wind. She didn’t need to hear the rest of Criella’s offer-the priestess had hinted at it often enough to Farideh-and she couldn’t bear to hear Mehen’s reply. Determined as Mehen was to keep her home and training, Farideh wasn’t sure which fate was worse.

But she would have to choose. There wasn’t much else open to her within the village’s walls, and Farideh knew better than to dream of a future she couldn’t have.

Farideh picked her way up to the ancient stone barn that had been converted, long before she’d been born, into a house for the dragonborn veteran and, later, his foundling daughters. By the time she stomped the snow off of her boots, she had forgiven Mehen, as she always did, but Criella knew just how to get under her skin.

She wasn’t the kind of tiefling Criella thought she was. She started to unwind the scarf from her neck and looked up into the room. Maybe Criella was right. Maybe she ought to keep her head down and stay here, so that people didn’t think …

The flutter of her thoughts ceased.

Her twin sister, Havilar, sat on the floor, her long legs stretched out in front of her, resting back on her arms. She was looking up at something standing in front of her.

No. Not something, Someone.

The devil was standing-waiting-in a circle of chalk runes that Havilar had drawn on the ancient oak planks of the floor. If Farideh looked at the runes, she would have known their names, but she could only look at him.

Someone else might have said he looked like an archdevil out of one of Garago’s books. He did-red-skinned, cinder-haired and black-eyed, handsome as a young lord, with shapely horns and a pair of veiny wings that nearly scraped the ceiling of the loft he stood below. He was slim and well-muscled and clothed in snug leather, with rings on every finger and charms pinned wherever they could find a place.

But to Farideh, he looked like sin. He looked like want. He looked like all the thoughts she couldn’t let herself have, bundled up in a skin and watching her drip snowmelt on the floor.

Handsome was a paltry word for him. Tiefling, human, or anything else-boys didn’t look like this. Boys didn’t make her feel as if someone were pulling seams loose inside her. He smiled, and his teeth were so like hers-even but for the sharp points of his canines that were too large by human standards, and pitiable by dragonborn. She had never thought so looking at her own teeth, but the devil’s looked like a wolf’s. Like something ready to take a bite of her.

The book slid out of Farideh’s hands.

Havilar nearly jumped out of her skin when it hit the floor. When she turned and saw Farideh, she clasped a hand to her chest and let out a sigh. “Karshoj, you scared me.”

“Oh Havi,” Farideh breathed. “What have you done?”

A grin split Havilar’s face-a face that was in almost every respect identical to Farideh’s, save two: First, where Havilar’s eyes were both golden, Farideh’s right was silver and always had been. Second, Havilar was much more likely to be grinning. People called her “the cheerful one,” and sometimes “the wild one.”

The one I am always chasing after, Farideh thought.

“Isn’t he marvelous?” Havilar said, though by the tone of her voice, Farideh could tell that the devil with his black, black eyes didn’t have the same effect on Havilar at all. “The spell was supposed to call an imp,” she said, “but I must have gotten lucky. He’s a cambion. Half-devil,” she added. “And people say you’re the smart one.”

“No one says that,” Farideh said, forcing herself to look away, to look at her sister. But still she could feel the cambion looking at her. “Listen to me: This isn’t lucky. This is very bad. You have to send him back-right now.”

“You’re such a worrywart. He’s safe. He can’t harm anyone as long as he’s in the circle and look-” She turned and made a series of rude gestures at the cambion. He regarded her with the same mild smile. “He’s locked right in. He can’t do any harm.”

He can, Farideh thought. He is. She felt as if her mind were slowing down, as if her tongue were turning to clay. “Send him back. If anyone finds out you’ve summoned a devil-”

“I’m not sending him anywhere until Mehen has seen him. Maybe you won’t be the smart one forever. This is a hundred times better than that dire rat he had me trap.” She pulled off Farideh’s scarf the rest of the way and wrapped it around her own neck. “Here, you watch him for a minute.”

“What? I can’t! You can’t leave me-”

Havilar took up Farideh’s cloak as well. “Yes, you can. Just don’t mar the circle. That’s important. Probably.”

“Wait!” Farideh said, but Havilar was already out the door and into the snow.

Leaving Farideh alone with a devil who looked like walking sin.

He stood there-quiet, still, watching her intently. The silence felt so fragile, as if the slightest breath would shatter it. She thought of Criella’s concern, of the fiendish blood undeniably coursing through her veins, ready to make her do something foolish. Or dangerous. For a long time she didn’t dare move.

But then, neither did the devil. The circle-despite the fact that Havilar shouldn’t have been able to do anything of the sort-was holding. He was only standing there.

She told herself to relax-she wasn’t going to talk to him, she knew better than that, Criella was wrong-and bent down to pick up the book.

“You’re not like that one,” the cambion said.

Farideh lost her grip on the book and dropped it again. She stared up at the devil, but he was still standing there, still trapped in the circle. “What?”

“You are not like her,” he said. His voice slithered into her ears and Farideh shivered. She scooped up the book and held it to her like a shield.

“I … I thought you weren’t supposed to talk,” she said.

“I’m not able to do any harm,” he said, “and what harm is talking?” He smiled again, as if he knew what Farideh had been thinking before. “You’re not like her,” he repeated. “Like night and day. Like sweet and sour. Like the ocean and the desert.” He tilted his head. “It’s astonishing.”

Farideh flushed. “I don’t know what you mean by that. We’re twins. We’re alike tip to toe.”

The cambion tapped a finger below his right eye, the same eye as Farideh’s silver one. Farideh’s flush burned hotter.

“It’s only an eye.”

More than an eye though. Even the dragonborn who refused to see fate or the hands of the gods in anything, touched the hafts of their weapons when they spied her odd eyes. Bad enough to be a tiefling, the descendent of humans and fiends; worse still to be marked like that. If she’d come by it honestly-she knew they thought-by a blinding stroke, it would be one thing … but nothing normal was born with two-colored eyes.

“It’s a very clever eye,” the cambion said. “Both of them are. They see things your sister’s don’t.”

Farideh scowled at him. “It’s just an eye. It can’t see invisible doors. No spell-hidden creatures. No silver pieces in your ear-”

“Of course not,” he said, and like that, the wheedling tone was gone. “But you do see the way people look at you, devil’s child.”

Those black eyes, cold as a winter storm, were staring right into her heart and the sudden seriousness in his voice jolted her.

“What is it they say?” he asked. “One’s a curiosity, two’s a conspiracy-”

“Three’s a curse,” she finished. “You think I haven’t heard that rubbish before?”

“I know you have.” When she glared at him, he added, “It’s not as if I’m plumbing the depths of your mind, dear girl. That is the burden of every tiefling. Some break under it, some make it the

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