Asad appreciated Qorvass’s attempt at encouragement. He wasn’t sure what he would do if he couldn’t convince the other heads to help. The Rainlords would attack Rheinhal any day now. Hell, they could be launching their assault this very moment. Octavia Redwater hadn’t been keen to share that particular information with him, and Asad didn’t fault her for it, not when he couldn’t even guarantee that the Sandlords would help her.
It was reaching the point where he was beginning to consider doing something that he knew to be very stupid. If Abbas and the others refused to help, then perhaps he would just go in on his own. Of course, if he took the full strength of Hahl Najir with him, it would undoubtedly come back on the others and put his own family in danger, but if he acted independently, that wouldn’t be an issue. It also meant he would be much more likely to get killed. Hence, the stupid part.
He’d already talked to Qorvass about it, and while the reaper was certainly not thrilled by the idea, he hadn’t entirely dismissed it, either. They hadn’t seen Zeff in months, due to an argument that Asad couldn’t even rightly recall now, but the mere thought of the man’s family being betrayed by their own comrades, of Mariana dying for it, of Zeff being held captive, and of their children suddenly without parents--it was all more than enough to anger Asad past the point of conventional wisdom.
After the Egasi lord concluded, Abbas began assuring the man of what would be done to address his agricultural concerns. Asad noticed the new group of onlookers enter from the far end of the room. Three reapers, and two young foreigners. Sazandara was among them, but Haqq was not. He should not have been surprised, he realized. His brother was many things, but a concerned citizen of the world was not one of them.
When the time finally arrived for him to speak, Asad stood and circumnavigated the long desk in order to reach the room’s center platform.
All of the Hahls were represented here today, which was a rare thing, and Asad knew the reason for it was due to the perfect split between their allegiances. Hahls Najir, Shihab, Duxan, and Saqqaf were all independent, while Hahls Haayen, Kattan, Mateen, and Dagher all worked for the Vanguard.