Ax had informed Zeff of Asad’s involvement, along with the sudden appearance and assistance of Chergoa’s brother, and while Zeff was thoroughly glad to hear that their siege was progressing well, he could not imagine leaving Rheinhal right now, not while he knew that Francisco and Dennex were here.
“I will wait with you,” he said.
“Are you sure?” Octavia asked. “Because if I were in your position, I don’t know if I would be able to control myself.”
Zeff nearly told her that ‘he was not her’ before thinking better of it. “I’ll stay close to you,” he said instead. “If I step out of line, you can give me a good caning.”
The day drew on from there, painfully slow. He met with the other family heads in turns, as they came and went from their patrols, and he exchanged words with each. It was frustrating, to say the least, but he felt that it was also good, seeing everyone’s support like this. These were his people. His kin. Redwater, Merlo, Stroud, Garza, and Zabat. Commanding more than sixty servants in total.
They offered him their sympathies, of course. But they also offered him their anger, which he found much more comforting. Their desire for justice. The Rain’s justice.
But of them all, Rayen Merlo surprised Zeff the most. By appearance, she had not changed since Zeff’s childhood. Unlike Octavia, Rayen was a large woman, soft-faced and motherly-looking, until she really started sharing her feelings. The vitriol in her voice nearly rivaled that in Zeff’s own heart. And he could not have appreciated it more.
At length, however, word finally arrived.
“Sanko is here,” said Octavia.
Chapter One Hundred Five: ‘The Gargoyle of Korgum...’
Click to display entire chapter at once -- (mobile link)
Zeff had never met Field Marshal Sanko before, but he knew the woman as soon as he saw her. She had that inexpressible something about her, a kind of invisible aura that every servant who stood at the top of the world seemed to possess. He’d felt the same thing when he met each of Sermung, Jackson, and Lamont. The Crystal Titan, the Star of the West, and Iceheart.
And now, the Gargoyle, too.
Axiolis had explained it to him once. These were people who had acquired such immense synchronization with their reapers that it made their passive soul defenses begin to feel oppressive to the less powerful people around them. It was a kind of gravitational pull created by the sheer strength of their souls.