By Patricia C. Wrede
In the magic woods of Lyra, a noblewoman struggles to flee from a faceless man
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Bracor led them within and up an extended, spiral staircase to a delightful, notwithstanding easily supplied, room. Maurin used to be happy to discover that the cleansing frenzy had now not thoroughly stripped the fort of furnishings; there have been benches and a footstool, as well as a trestle desk affected by parchments. when they have been all seated, Bracor checked out Har and acknowledged, “As Alethia has already guessed, i would like to speak to you in regards to the Lithmern. ” “I don’t see the point,” Har acknowledged. “The border has been quiet for months. ” “The Conclave of First Lords feels a similar manner, I’m afraid,” the Lord of Brenn responded tiredly. “But open raids should not the single factor to worry from the Lithmern. ” Har appeared questioned, then frowned unexpectedly. “Open raids? Are you asserting you think that they’ve been raiding secretly? ” “It’s now not speculation,” Bracor acknowledged. “I’ll bet your dealer buddy is familiar with what I’m pertaining to. ” Maurin checked out Bracor with shock and admire. “You should have very good resources to have exposed that, my lord. ” Har made a annoyed gesture. “What are you speaking approximately? ” “Three caravans have disappeared thoroughly long ago six months,” Maurin stated. “Disappeared? ” Har raised his eyebrows skeptically. “How can fifteen or extra wagons and sixty males simply vanish? ” Maurin shrugged. “If we knew that, we would manage to cease it. however the simply details we have now is that every one 3 caravans have been touring close to Lithra. a minimum of, that’s the place we predict they have been. ” “You aren’t yes? ” Alethia requested. “Caravan masters may be very secretive, particularly in the event that they imagine somebody desires to reduce in on their earnings. ” “The Lithmern have by no means made any mystery in their raiding before,” Har acknowledged, his frown deepening. “They should have whatever new to conceal. ” “I think they need to maintain us unsure in their numbers and their intentions,” Bracor stated. “Are you certain it’s no more than that? ” Har stated. “Need they've got extra cause? in the past, the Lithmern were scared of Alkyra; they keep in mind their defeat at Eirith too truly to take percentages with us. yet i feel their worry is passing eventually. ” Alethia stared at her father. “You imagine the Lithmern are making plans to assault Alkyra! ” she blurted. “I do,” her father responded. “I have attempted to persuade the Conclave of it, yet they won't hear. ” “Your Regent—” Maurin all started, yet Bracor used to be already shaking his head. “The Regent has too little actual energy to compel even the minor lords, less the 9 households. they've been secure too lengthy. Oh, there are a number of who suspect, who construct their very own forces, yet Alkyra has no harmony. ” “The Regent by no means does anything,” Alethia installed. “I imagine he’s afraid to offend the 1st Lords, simply because if he did they could exchange him. ” “Alethia is right,” Bracor stated. “The Regent’s authority is determined by the great will of the 9 households, and he understands it too good. we won't search for aid there. ” Baffled, Maurin shook his head. He could by no means comprehend the best way stonebound folks controlled their affairs. A direction grasp who neglected the requests of even one in all his Caravan Masters wouldn't preserve his place for one more month.