“Relaxing already?” Imas said in Valgan. “Where is Qorvass?”
“With Hector and Garovel,” said Asad.
‘They seem to have become fast friends,’ said Orjand. Her little scorpionfly wings buzzed silently as she hovered there in midair. ‘Qorvass is usually the last of us to warm up to new people.’
She wasn’t wrong, Asad knew. It had taken Qorvass years to finally accept his friendship with Zeff. “I think he senses an opportunity for an alliance,” said Asad. “Or maybe he just wants me to stop calling him a surly bastard.”
“An alliance?” said Imas. “With the young Atreyan lord? Why? Not to knock the boy, but his strength is not his own.”
“So you noticed it, too,” said Asad.
“Of course. And I am a little annoyed that Haqq did not give that shield to me. Or something like it, at least.”
“Be sure to chew him out when we get back to Kuros.”
“Oh, I will.”
Orjand hovered closer. ‘By the way, have you heard the news? We just heard about it downstairs.’
“Which news would that be?” Asad scratched his cheek absently.
‘The war between Jesbol and Horsht. It’s over.’
Asad blinked and sat up straighter. “What? Since when?”
‘Since earlier today. Jesbol won. They’re already talking about dissolving Horsht completely. It seems Jesbol will have territory on the mainland now.’
“So sudden,” said Asad. “How long has that war been going? It’s been so long, I’ve forgotten.”
‘Oh, it’s been a collection of wars, really,’ said Orjand. ‘The one you’re familiar with started about thirty years ago, but it’s been on and off for more than than a hundred now. I’m still not sure whether to believe it. If it were merely news of another “cease in hostilities,” I wouldn’t buy it for a moment, but this is the first time that one of them has been reported of conquering the other.’
“And there’s more to it,” said Imas. “The victory is being attributed to Field Marshal Jackson. They’re saying he cut through Abolish like a knife and killed Gunther and Dunhouser both.”
Asad’s eyes widened. “By himself?”
She nodded. “And in order to pull something like that off, the smart money says he achieved emergence.”
‘If it’s all true, then this means a major victory for the Vanguard.’