1The book that Hap was reading slipped
from his hands, and he sprang from his chair to the window. Afire with hope, and braced for disappointment, he pressed his face to the bars.
Far below was Barkin on his chestnut-colored horse, trotting up the causeway to the Aerie, the carved pillar of rock that Lord Umber called home. Hap glimpsed the corner of a box lashed to the horse, behind the saddle. “I think he got it,” he said aloud, and his heart turned a cartwheel.
He flew down the stairs, out the door, and into the gatehouse as Barkin rode in. The cargo looked like a strongbox: a...