“I’ll have to tell Marian,” Tara said quietly.
“That her son’s been playing her?” Matthias asked.
Tara hesitated, staring out of the window. “Yes,” she said finally. “And the rest of it – I wish I didn’t have to tell her the rest of it. She doesn’t need more pain.”
“She does need to know, though. How is she?”
“From the last imp Estara sent, she’s not much better and she’s fighting Estara’s attempts to heal her essence. She wants to die. She’ll feel even worse now. Adrian is the light of her life – I honestly don’t think she could have killed him even at her craziest. But we need her help to deal with him.” She gave a heavy sigh. “I’ll send Estara an imp and arrange to speak with her.”
“We need her at the council anyway.” Matthias turned to Sarah. “Did you invite him to the meeting?”
“I did â€“ I thought he would not dare break a truce in front of everyone. But if he is working with one of our enemies I’m not so sure.”
“Yeah, I thought the same thing,” Matthias said. “But forewarned is forearmed and we might be able to use this to our advantage.”
“But what are we going to do about him?”
“Well that all depends on if he’s just a dupe or knows exactly what he’s doing, and of course who he’s working for. Either way we need to trap him first and for that we need Marian’s help. Send the imp, Tara. We’ll go and tell the others.” He turned to where Agrona was also forming an imp. “Is that to Ystelyan?”
“Yes,” she said. “My mirian needs to know this information.”
“He does,” he agreed. “Send it and then I think you all should join us in the main house. We need a plan.”
“They knew?” Lyrrekka stared at Collette when she described what she’d learned from the blocks. She shook her head and scowled out across the wide lawn. “And they wanted it to happen? But why? I mean yes it would have been harder to take down Emms without our help but I think you would have managed it.”
“Plus he wouldn’t have been able to coopt us that way if we didn’t exist,” Naria said. “So why… unless…” She narrowed her eyes thoughtfully.
“What is it, Nari?” Andrew asked.
Naria gave a quiet sigh. “Unless it somehow delayed his escape. It’s possible it would; it depends on how our ancestors secured that pocket. But still, why?” She looked back to Collette. “Did you get any clue from the blocks?”
Collette shook her head. “I think there were other blocks once but they’ve been lost, most probably destroyed, and we don’t have time to look for them.” She hesitated. “But I think you’re right. When they acted, they thought his escape was imminent and they wanted to stop it.”
“If he’d escaped so soon after he was imprisoned there would have been no one to stop him,” Tarian mused. “That might explain it… but why keep it up? Why make sure even your own descedents didn’t know and then leave a message? We’re missing something important. Are you sure there was nothing else?”
Collette shook her head. “If there were I’d have told you.”
“We could speculate all night,” Lyrrekka said. “But for now we need to come up with a trap for Adrian before we come face to face with him at the meeting tomorrow.”