Chapter Ninety-Five: ‘Where the streams darken...’
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They’d been split up. Emiliana had a room all to herself. It was a comfortable prison, bearing a large bed and a television, but there weren’t even any windows. Melchor had taken her mask from her, apparently thinking it important to see her horned-face. He’d taken Chergoa, too, but Emiliana could still communicate with her.
‘Ugh,’ came Chergoa’s disembodied voice. ‘I hate being stuck in a box.’
‘What’s the point of separating us?’ Emiliana asked. ‘I can still talk to you.’
‘Because if you managed to escape, it’d save them the trouble of hunting you down. They could just kill me and not have to worry about you telling anyone anything.’
Emiliana appreciated the reaper’s candidness, but sometimes it could be a bit much. She sat down on the edge of her bed and put her head in her hands, closing her eyes and trying to think. ‘What about Marcos and Ramira? Why separate me from them?’
‘A solitary escape attempt is easier to stop than a coordinated one. But guarding multiple prisons also requires more guards. From that, we can infer the Blackburns are not short on people.’
Emiliana didn’t think it made much difference how many guards they had as long as Melchor was around. She would not soon be forgetting what she saw the man do at Red Lake. And if that wasn’t disheartening enough, she’d gotten quite a good look at Marshrock from the outside. The name was not queerly chosen. The castle had literally been carved into a gigantic rock, and murky wetlands did indeed surround it and the entire town of Luzo. Marshrock was a dark monolith on an otherwise flat and muddy landscape, sticking up toward the gray sky like a mountainous child that had somehow strayed from its herd.
‘I’m still wondering why in the world they’re doing this,’ said Emiliana.
‘No kidding. Their behavior is strange. Considering our circumstances, the Blackburns seem to be pretty cautious, and yet they decided to bring us to Marshrock, which is undoubtedly the first place the other Rainlords will think to look for us.’
‘Well, it is their stronghold.’
‘But it wouldn’t have been that difficult to hide us. I’m sure Melchor could have smuggled us out of the country, if he wanted.’
The reaper had a point.
‘It almost seems like they want the other Rainlords to come here,’ said Chergoa.