Shenado looked like she had something to say, but she remained quiet.
Mariana made a few more calls. She tried Zeff and Francisco without success, and then she rang Joana Cortes again to inform the woman of what had happened. House Cortes was a burgeoning Rainlord line, an offshoot of House Elroy started by Joana herself. She’d chosen to take her commoner husband’s name--a decision which had upset Zeff to no end--but Joana had at least made it clear that she still intended to carry on their bloodline with children of her own.
It was a particularly delicate issue for Zeff, because for many years, aside from him and his sister, there had been no other Elroys left. Zeff had inherited his family’s fortune when he was only fifteen. And not due to peaceable circumstances.
At the moment, though, Mariana didn’t have the time or patience to listen to Joana’s questions or ramblings. As soon as Joana confirmed that she did not have a reaper for Marcos, Mariana hung up and called three other Rainlord families. House Garza, House Merlo, and House Delaguna. They were the only other ones without ties to the Vanguard, but as Mariana had expected, none of them had any reapers available, either. The tradition of turning one’s own children into servants was a custom exclusive to the Vanguardian Rainlords, so it was unsurprising that they were not keeping any spare reapers around. Supposedly, House Blackburn had cut ties with the Vanguard a few years ago, but Mariana didn’t know that family well enough. This matter was too important to entrust to strangers.
With no other calls to make, it was time to leave. Mariana knew that Zeff and Axiolis might turn up here looking for her, so she scribbled a quick note and left it at the helm. Then she gathered everyone back into the boat again, topped off its gas tank, and set out for Red Lake Castle. It was an easy place to reach, as the castle sat on the farthest northwestern edge of Aguarey’s platform and doubled as a gigantic support column.