There was a long, horrible moment as Pallian put that together in his mind. The Heir of Edrias had been taken in battle, or so he'd been told. Ravaj couldn't have kept her as a slave, though; not the way he might have with a commoner. No, she'd been a combatant, a sorceress, and a noble in her own right.
But he could still have decided that he was owed the right of conquest, before any formal negotiations began. And if the Shadow of Edrias was to be believed, he had taken it... and now he planned to do the same with her. Given the way she was bound, he had absolutely no trouble believing it.
Given what he knew of Ravaj, he believed it absolutely.
If he drew his sword and cut her loose, his father might see it. His brother might figure it out. The wizard-king of Teregor might be using his helmet to see everything that Pallian saw, right now, and might already be aware of his disloyalty. Or, with the initial battle done, he might have taken a glass of mulled wine and gone off to bed.
If Pallian killed her, that would at least be in keeping with the character of the black knight: a mindless killer, utterly loyal to the wizard-king, merciless to his enemies. If he cut her loose, there would be no mistaking the treachery. No mistaking it, unless he set his helmet aside so that it could not see.
That would be a treachery in itself, and if his father witnessed it Pallian would be stripped of his initiations, tortured, and slain. But his father had said nothing, and Pallian thought that if he were watching he would surely have spoken up by now. Unless all this is a test...
He didn't know.
So he lifted a single finger and touched it to the front of his helmet, just above where his mouth would be. Then he unfastened the clasp, pulled the helmet off, and set it to face an empty corner of the room. Panic set his heart to racing, but he was committed now; he drew the sword and stepped closer to the woman.
"Pallian?" asked Ravaj, from behind him.