Safira stretched out lazily, thoroughly enjoying the midday sun’s gently caress against her skin. A few days ago she had discovered a way onto the roof, and had made herself a little refuge there. Here she was above the stench of the streets. Here she was shielded from the chill breeze by the upper floor. Here she was out of sight of prying eyes.
Here she could relax.
For all its charms, this city was not home to her. She longed to leave its dark and restless avenues behind and return home to the warmth and light of two suns. It had been over a year since she first saw a sky with but a single disc of flame, but she just couldn’t get used to it.
The sky felt empty, even on cloudy days.
A scraping noise startled her. Someone was moving around in the unfinished upper floor. Safira carefully pulled herself into a crouch, curious who else might have reason to go up there. Ky’s money hadn’t been enough to complete it, and it was nothing more than bare bones inside. Perhaps it was those Silver Cloaks Ky had been wary of. Or perhaps…
Voices drifted out to meet her as she eased her way toward the window.
“Surely he told you something! You are his confidant, his compatriot, his co-conspirator-” The man was agitated, his tirade soon far too rapid for Safira to keep up. She did recognize the voice, however.
“Why?” She barely heard the question, but could only imagine one person as the speaker.
“He has been very secretive of late. Preparing to hand the Guild over to me of all people. While I do consider myself quite the competent polymath, I am by no means an adventurer. Nor do I care for the politics of such a position. I once sat on the council of academicians of House Goldgear, and it was a nightmare. The incessant-”
“Regardless, he is up to something. The change in his agenda clearly relates to his mysterious rendezvous with lady Katrina. Whatever he learned during that meeting, it is obsessing him. Because of it, he plans to do something. This something must also be a dangerous something, and as usual he is trying to put all the risk on himself to protect us. It is the only logical explanation for his behaviour.”
“So we need to stop him, of course. We cannot simply allow him to throw his life away to keep us out of whatever he is up to!”
“Your monosyllabic responses leave me with little confidence in your ignorance of his affairs, Shadow. Do you then believe it is for the best neither I nor the girl are told what is going on? Are you certain that whatever he is up to would not benefit from my vast repertoire of knowledge?”
Safira could hear them leaving the room and making their way down the stairs, leaving her alone with her confusion.
“Well?” Kyrion was anxious, a feeling he did not like at all. Shadow looked up at him, his scowl all but cloaked by the shadows. The room’s lone oil lamp cast its light well enough to see the crude model Kyrion had shaped, but did little to help illuminate the dark skin of his companion. It was sufficient, and less light meant smaller chance of the others discovering them.
“It is a sound plan, though a risky gambit.”
“Can I take him?”
“You wound me,” Kyrion feigned a dramatic gesture. “Could you?”
That surprised him. “You and Aziz are the best fighters I know, yet you are so sure you would lose?”
“How many fighters do you know?”
Kyrion started to reply, then conceded the point.
Shadow looked at the model, his brow knitted in contemplation.
“Can I do it?”
“Perhaps. With luck and surprise.”
“So about the same as any fight?”
A derisive snort was Shadow’s only reply.
The plan was not very detailed, but it was their best bet. For justice, for vengeance, and for the good of the kingdom. Though they had both lost many good friends back then, this was about so much more than that. What he had found out from the shattered mind of the former Grand Chancellor…
“You are sure the others can’t help?” Shadow’s question drew Kyrion back to the plan.
Gethak was getting suspicious, but there was nothing he could do to help. He was certainly no fighter and his creations were not reliable enough for a situation like this. Safira’s insight into summoning, though limited to the stories and traditions taught to her in relation to the genies of old, had been very valuable in piecing together some of the things that Kyrion could not; tales of old would not help here, however.
“I can see nothing to be gained from dragging them into it,” he replied. “I- We do this for our fallen comrades. It is a dangerous undertaking and we have no right to throw their lives away for own our petty revenge. Too bad Aziz is not here. He deserves to be part of this and his skills would be far better suited to this fight than mine, but we cannot afford to wait for him to return even were a message to reach him tonight. Hopefully, he will forgive us for not including him.”
“You are not the one he will need to forgive.”
Kyrion could do little more than rest a hand on Shadow’s shoulder and offer a sympathetic smile.