"Reah and I talked about it—that's how I know." Gavril wanted to shout at the adults. Reah had tried to tell Lendill Schaff about Nods Whitlin, but he'd ignored her, sure that Nods was only an illegal immigrant on Tulgalan. "She said there was no water shortage on Mandil. They were growing citrus in the desert so there was plenty of water to grow drakus seed. We pieced it together—she said somebody called the High Commander could have been in on this." Gavril sat in front of his mother, his father, ASD Director Norian Keef and Vice-Director Lendill Schaff. "She didn't contact you a second time because she was embarrassed after the first time." Gavril knew that feeling all too well.
"Whitlin won't be able to talk for a few days—Tory nearly crushed his throat," Norian grumbled. "Those wizards are refusing to talk—we can't force them. They're older than that stupid boy—I'm hoping he'll get upset and frustrated enough to tell us all he knows. As soon as he can talk."
"The wizards won't say anything?" Queen Lissa asked.
"The most powerful of them keeps asking about Reah. He stopped talking when I told him she wasn't any of his business." Norian was angry about the entire incident. Lendill had ignored Reah's warning; she hadn't had enough courage to come to him again. Ry hadn't thought the information he'd gleaned was serious enough to call in agents and seven people died. Another eight were wounded.
"But how are they getting to Tulgalan?" Lendill knew he'd miscalculated—he should have gotten at least one agent to tail Nods. He might have learned a great deal from that. Instead, they were left to clean up bodies and attempt to explain to the Governor of the Realm of Tulgalan just why a wizard's battle had destroyed half of Taritha Village.
"I would have made the same mistake," Norian sighed. "She's only nineteen. We didn't give her enough credit."
* * *
"Reah, my darling, wake up. Please."
I ached. All over, I ached. The pain wasn't unbearable now, but it had been. I remembered waking up occasionally; the pain had been so bad. I only recalled cool fingers against my feverish forehead before blessed blackness came again. A voice, now, asking me to wake. Calling me darling. Not Aurelius—he never called me that. I was attempting to puzzle it out in my foggy brain. That hurt too, I think.
"Aurelius is out on assignment again. I am here, pretty one." I was afraid to open my eyes. Afraid of the reality that I might have to face when I did. Perhaps someone would come to send me back to unconsciousness.
"No, darling. They'll relieve the pain, but you must wake. You must move and eat and answer questions."
I moaned. I didn't want to answer questions. I didn't want to think. Didn't want to remember.
"Hush, now. We'll get you through this."
"Wylend, go away." That voice I'd heard before. I was trying to connect it to a face and a name.
"Karzac, if that order came from anyone else, I would turn them into a goat." I opened my eyes a crack to see Karzac the healer glaring at Wylend Arden, King of Karathia. Why was Wylend here? Surely he didn't want me to cook for him that badly.
"I will explain it to you very soon," Wylend rose from his seat beside my bed, returned Karzac's glare and disappeared.
"Reah," Karzac sighed heavily, "I know you are in pain. I will try to relieve as much of it as I can, but the one who calls himself the Director of the ASD is clamoring to speak with you. I did my best to hold him off, but he keeps insisting that the ASD owns you. That I find repugnant in every sense of the word, and have considered asking a Larentii to put him through the pain you have suffered, just so he will have some idea of what he is asking of you." Karzac's green-gold eyes were kind as he reached out to touch my shoulder. The pain lessened. He put his hands on my neck, then, causing the pain there to drop dramatically.
* * *
"What am I going to do?" Tory wanted to slam his body into a brick wall. Then back up and slam it into a brick wall again.
"Bro, I have no idea." Ry watched his taller sibling carefully. Lissa had asked Ry to watch Tory—he wouldn't be able to reconcile his feelings with what his Thifilathi had done. He should have realized the full moon was close on Tulgalan, and when he'd forced the Thifilathi to deal with the shooter, it had taken over completely.
"I've ruined everything," Tory moaned.
* * * * *
Demon Revealed is coming along. Happy Wednesday, everybody!