‘If it’s only a single general and his underlings we have to worry about, then I’m not too concerned,’ said Mevox. ‘Problem is, you Vanguardians like to send reinforcements.’
‘Indeed,’ said Jostomere.
Soon, more Rainlords began to arrive, and Octavia decided to move the conversation upstairs. Mariana still hadn’t set Marcos down or left her daughters alone, wanting the girls to hear everything that was discussed.
Mariana knew that Zeff was well-loved among the other Rainlords, but even so, she was still a bit surprised by everyone’s readiness to support her. Only House Blackburn and House Stroud did not have representatives here today, but among the other eight family heads, none even humored the notion of handing Mariana and her children over to the Vanguard. At first, Mariana thought they were just holding back while in her presence, but more and more, she became convinced that was not the case.
“I can’t believe they had the gall to attack you in your own home,” a lumbering man was saying. He was the largest person in the room by a head and had the bulk of two men put together. Salvador Delaguna was his name, and just like his reaper, he was prone to ‘listening to his passions’ as Octavia had once put it. “We should go to Rheinhal this very moment and demand they return Zeff to us.”
‘Sounds good to me,’ said Mevox.
Abel Sebolt shook his head. “We all care for Zeff, but let’s not be rash,” he said. The Lord of House Sebolt reminded Mariana of Zeff in many ways. They had the same kind of naturally cold expression, though Abel was slimmer. “We are still immensely outnumbered, you realize.”
“So were our ancestors,” said Joana Cortes.
“Hear hear!” said Salvador.
As they talked, Mariana noticed a maid enter the room and rush to Octavia’s side, whispering in her ear. After a moment, Octavia nodded and whispered something back. The maid exited, and Octavia stood to address everyone.
“I’ve just received word from Asad Najir. Apparently, Axiolis is with him.”
That caught everyone’s attention.
“Zeff?” said Mariana.