This is an excerpt from the free novel CHILD OF THE GHOSTS:
Caina blinked. “You’re the circlemaster of Malarae.”
Both Halfdan and Theodosia looked at her.
“I told you she was clever,” said Halfdan.
“Indeed you did,” said Theodosia. She smiled and tapped one finger against her lips. “Halfdan also said you were most observant. Tell me what you see about me.”
Caina shrugged, looked at Theodosia for a moment, and then at the room.
“Well?” said Theodosia.
“You’re a widow,” said Caina, “and you have at least two children, both sons. They probably went into the Legion or the Civic Militia.”
“The scar from the ring,” said Theodosia, tapping her finger, “and the candles?”
“Yes,” said Caina. It was common for mothers with children in the Legions or the militias to light votive candles to Markoin, god of soldiers.
“What else?” said Theodosia.
“You’re carrying at least three knives,” said Caina, “two in your boots, one in your belt, and I would wager that you have more that I haven’t been able to find. You’ve had a bad cold, and only just got over it. And you dye your hair.”
Halfdan burst out laughing.
“I most certainly do not!” said Theodosia, touching her hair.
Caina shrugged. “But you have all those bottles of dye on the table, and I can see the stains where your hair brushed the walls while still wet.”
Theodosia sniffed. “How did you know about the cold?”
“The spots on the mirror, from sneezes,” said Caina. “You haven’t cleaned them off.”
“So I see,” said Theodosia, tapping her finger against her lips again. “Well, Halfdan said you were clever, and I see he was right. No doubt he had Riogan teach you to kill, hmm? There is more to being a Ghost than killing and fighting. You must know how to disguise yourself. How to blend in, whether you are dancing at a noble ball or strolling the slums. You must know how to mask yourself so well that your best friend and dearest lover could not recognize you.”
“How?” said Caina.
“Why, I shall teach you,” said Theodosia, spreading her arms.