‘The Seadevil is a dwarf,’ said Qorvass privately. ‘Was not expecting that.’
Asad had to agree. He supposed the size of a servant made no real difference in the measurement of their worth, but it was still quite strange to discover that one of the most feared Rainlords of Sair could seem so unintimidating. And it wasn’t just Xuan’s height that was responsible for that false impression, Asad realized. His easy smile and big, sea green eyes had contributed something to it as well. And then there was the way he bobbed from side to side as he walked, as if stepping in tune with a song only he could hear.
Xuan led them to the back with his unintroduced reaper following closely behind. They ventured through a series of doors and offices until they arrived at a boardroom.
Asad recognized most of the faces present. Octavia Redwater, Rayen Merlo, Santos Zabat, Evangalina Stroud, as well as a handful of their family members. A map of Rheinhal lay across the center table.
“Glad you could make it,” said Octavia, already standing there by the door. The tiny old woman wasn’t much taller than Xuan. “Ah, and who is this that you have brought with you?”
“My sister Imas and my daughter Jada,” he said, gesturing. “And their reapers, Orjand and Atalim.”
Axiolis assumed the responsibility of answering for the remaining two. ‘This is Garovel and his servant, the young Lord Hector Goffe of Warrenhold. They have come all the way from Atreya, and as it happens, Garovel here is Chergoa’s brother.’
That sent a ripple through the chamber. Asad saw Octavia exchange looks with Xuan before responding.
“I see,” she said. “Then I suppose you are hoping to meet with her.”
Garovel spoke for himself now. ‘Yes, I am. I was not made aware of Chergoa’s ties to the Rainlords until just yesterday. Axiolis explained that she is a fairly new addition to your ranks.’
“Your timing is unfortunate,” said Octavia. “We’ll have to speak quickly. Chergoa and her servant are currently being held hostage.”
‘What?!’ said Axiolis. ‘Since when?!’
“Dimas Sebolt arrived here last night and informed us of an attack on Red Lake in which the Elroys were abducted. By Melchor Blackburn, no less.”
‘Melchor? Why would he do such a thing?’
“We don’t know yet,” said Octavia.
The Lady Rayen Merlo decided to chime in now. “We are sending the Sebolts and Delagunas to recover the children. Abel and Salvador are attending to the matter at this very moment and intend to leave Rheinhal before sundown.”