Octavia showed them into a vast, windowless chamber with a high ceiling. Beds sat on either side of the room, each one neatly made. Octavia had her housekeepers show Mariana’s own staff to different rooms on the same floor. Ramira and Emiliana didn’t leave their mother’s side, but Emiliana was eyeing one of the beds as if it might be holding all the secrets of the universe. Mariana certainly understood the impulse. The fatigue was weighing on her, and her clothes were still smote and ragged from earlier.
She’d been struggling to think of what to tell her girls. Before she could even get started, however, Wendy phased through the ceiling and floated down toward everyone.
‘Our other guests have begun to arrive,’ the reaper said.
“What other guests?” said Mariana.
“I called an emergency meeting,” said Octavia. “We will be needing a plan of action, of course.”
Three more reapers descended from the ceiling after Wendy. Mariana recognized all of them. Lonogren, Jostomere, and Mevox. Each one belonged to a different Rainlord family--House Merlo, House Zabat, and House Delaguna, respectively. Their servants were all the heads of their houses.
‘So what’s all this then?’ said Mevox. He stood out a little from the other reapers in that his fox fur had a faint luster to it.
“If you would please wait upstairs with your partners,” said Octavia, “Mariana and I will be with you in a mome--”
‘Nah,’ said Mevox. ‘I wanna know what’s goin’ on right now.’
‘We know the Elroys were attacked,’ said Lonogren. ‘We would like to hear the full details from Mariana and Shenado. I am sure we can all agree that this is a matter of great urgency.’
“We should at least wait until everyone has gathered,” said Octavia.
‘Hell with that,’ said Mevox. ‘No need to wait for their slow asses. Talk to us, Mariana. We’re here to help.’
Octavia looked at the Lady Elroy with sympathy. “We’ve an impatient lot here, it seems.”
Mariana took a haggard breath. She only wanted to talk to her daughters, but she supposed there was still plenty of time for that. Regardless, Shenado was gracious enough to speak up for her.