Zeff gripped both arms of his chair with white-knuckled hands. “You brought me here to isolate me from them.”
‘Provided you simply cooperate, then--’
“If you think my wife is going to let you take our children into custody for any reason, then you are sorely mistaken.”
‘She is no longer in Aguarey, either,’ said Dergoz. ‘As soon as we confirmed that you had left the city, your wife received orders to report to Lagemoor. And we all know how dutiful Mariana is.’
‘At least tell us why it is so important that you find Gema,’ said Axiolis.
‘Why? I am sure you already know.’
‘But we don’t!’
Zeff was at a loss, growing equal parts desperate and furious, but he kept his voice steady and quiet. “General Lawrence, ensir, how can you condone this action?”
The older man couldn’t meet the Rainlord’s gaze.
‘I don’t believe them,’ Ax said privately. ‘If Mariana left for Lagemoor while you were away, she would have called and told you.’
Zeff squinted. ‘You think she ignored the order?’
‘Yes. She and Shenado were already suspicious, so it would make sense.’
Dergoz was becoming annoyed. ‘Are you trying to buy time? To what end? I hope you are not thinking of fighting Lawrence. You must know that you stand no chance against him. Especially not here.’
The reaper was probably right, but given that none of Zeff’s comrades had acted suspiciously when he talked to them earlier, it was a fair bet that they didn’t know about the actions being taken against his family. Once upon a time, Rheinhal had been a stronghold of his ancestors, before House Rhein met its end. That this place was now being used against him only made the circumstances sting all the more. But it also reminded him of something.
“If you seize my family, the other Rainlords will not sit idly by,” said Zeff.
‘They will if they know what is good for them,’ said Dergoz.
‘Are you mad?’ said Axiolis. ‘You would risk war with the Rainlords just to find Gema?’
Dergoz chose not to answer.
‘We have to run,’ Ax said privately.