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In time, they arrived at their destination. It was a modest building overlooking a muddy river with Marshrock standing in the distance. And since he hadn’t been paying attention to what everyone had been saying, Hector wasn’t sure why they were here.
Once they were inside, Asad stopped to address everyone.
“Before we go any farther,” the Sandlord said, “there is something I must tell you all.”
His audience gave him their attention.
“Earlier, I received word that the siege in Rheinhal has failed.” Asad let the murmurs pass before continuing. “I’m afraid the details are still unclear, but at the moment, everyone there is being presumed captured or killed. I’m very sorry. I felt you should know now, because I’m sure it will come up during negotiations.”
‘None escaped?’ said Shenado.
‘We don’t know,’ said Qorvass. ‘It’s possible, but unlikely. There were a handful of messages that came in at once, all saying that Sanko was attacking the Rainlords. And since then, we’ve received no further contact from anyone.’
There were no other questions after that. Everyone seemed to need time to process what they’d just heard. Hector was tempted to ask what they planned to do now, but then he realized that was why they had come here. He saw the Lord Ismael in the front lobby with an entourage of Blackburns around him. Ibai was there, as well.
Chapter One Hundred Nine: ‘O, stalwart deluge...’
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The negotiations were taking a while, but Hector wasn’t complaining. He still just felt privileged for being allowed to observe.
Abel Sebolt and Salvador Delaguna headed up their side of proceedings, though for Salvador’s part, it was his reaper Mevox who did most of the talking. Various others voiced their opinions as well, including Asad and Amaya Sebolt. Naturally, though, Chergoa and Emiliana’s testimonies proved the most crucial.
That was the heart of the issue--how to handle the presence of this aberration. Even now, the Blackburns gave very little ground. They offered testimony from a variety of people, all claiming that Ibai could be trusted, which of course just made everyone on the other side of the table skeptical. At a few different points, Hector grew worried that another fight might break out. And when the arguably more pressing subject of Rheinhal came up, a resolution to the problem of Ibai had still not been reached.