Hector wasn’t sure he’d followed all of that, but the strained look on Garovel’s face told him more or less everything he needed to know.
‘In other words,’ said Garovel, ‘Chergoa is right in the middle of this war of yours.’
‘I am afraid so.’
Garovel kept his next word between him and Hector. ‘Fuck.’
Hector had to unburden himself of his questions. ‘You have a fucking sister?! I mean--?! How is that even--?! Why didn’t you ever--?!’
‘I’ll tell you later,’ was all Garovel offered him. And then publicly, he said, ‘I would very much like to know more about the Rainlords’ current circumstances.’
‘Then I shall very much like to tell you,’ said Axiolis. However, he was distracted when he noticed Haqq quietly stepping for the door. ‘Haqq, don’t think I’ve forgotten about you. You need to join your brother upstairs.’
“I would love to, but I am quite busy here,” said Haqq. “Your new friends here have tasked me with a critical analysis of great urgency.”
‘Leave him be,’ said Sazandara. ‘He will not be much use to Asad, anyway. I will go with you.’
‘Very well,’ said Axiolis. He turned to Garovel. ‘I would like you and your servant to attend as well.’
‘Of course,’ said Garovel. ‘I was hoping you’d invite us.’
The reapers led the way, and Hector tried to explain where they were going and why to Lynn as she just followed with that resigned look on her face that he’d seen several times before. By now, she must have gotten accustomed to being left in the dark about half of the things going on around her.
During the trek back upstairs, Axiolis continued with his story.
‘We still do not know why they decided to attack us,’ he said. ‘Zeff and I have been with the Vanguard for over twenty-five years. I am still having a bit of difficulty realizing that I no longer work for them. Part of me is hoping that this is all just some kind of gigantic misunderstanding.’
‘I would have expected you to sound angrier,’ said Garovel.
‘Oh, I am. But I am also... very confused. I cannot imagine what could have motivated them to betray us the way they did. Zeff and I are--were--believers. In the Vanguard. In everything it stood for and tried to accomplish. We devoted ourselves to it. We devoted our FAMILY to it. Can you understand that, I wonder? Have you ever believed in your cause so fiercely that you would devote not just your life to it but also the lives of your loved ones?’
‘I’m afraid I haven’t,’ said Garovel.