Nere was looking even more frantic than usual now. “What are you saying?”
Rholtam didn’t answer. No one really needed him to. It was a discussion they’d had before.
“I fear Rholtam is right,” said Ismael. “He must die.”
“No!” said Nere. “We can’t! And even if we could--!”
“I know what you would say,” said Ismael, “but we have been down that road this entire time. Going along with him. And here is where we find ourselves. Again, we teeter on the verge of both treason and ruin because of his vile game.”
Nere still did not seem to agree, but if she had further arguments, she was not able to put them into words.
Ismael looked to Melchor again. “You are the only one who can do it. Any resources you require, you need only ask.”
Melchor inhaled deeply and folded his arms. “To be honest, I’m not certain I could manage it. Even under ideal circumstances, it would be a struggle.”
“It does not matter how you accomplish it, only that you do.” Ismael sat upright and seemed to find more strength in his voice as he spoke. “You must do it. Whatever happens, I want you to promise me that you will. Even if you are the only one of us who survives the coming battle, I want you to hunt him down and end his life. Even if all it will achieve is vengeance. That will be enough. Swear to me, Melchor. I need your word.”
Melchor looked at his cousin evenly. He hadn’t seen the man look so sure of himself in ages. The bags under the man’s eyes were still there, but that old clarity seemed to shine through regardless. Melchor’s chest swelled with a sudden purchase of honor, of pride in the man he now saw before him. “As the Lord of Marshrock commands,” said Melchor. “I swear, here and now before you all, that I will kill Parson Miles even if I must use my dying breath to do so.”
These confines were exasperating. And just plain unfair, really. He was a grown man, after all. More than grown. Hell, at this point, he and his parents looked the same age.
Ibai Blackburn groaned aloud. He was already so bored. There wasn’t even anything good on television. News, news, and more news. What few cartoons he could find, he’d already seen. His favorite shows didn’t air new episodes until the weekend, and for all he knew, the castle might be in ruins by then.