Vision in Silver Page 107

“Would they have killed her if she’d made up what she wrote in the book?” Nyx asked.

“Truth or lie, it would have caused trouble,” Tess replied. “There are a lot of accusations here by a woman who wasn’t as important as she’d believed.” She might have felt a stir of pity for Elayne Borden if the woman’s judgment and actions hadn’t brought the trouble to Lakeside through the presence of the Lizzy. “Humans will say she wrote these things out of spite, or jealousy that the man who was living with her and making promises to her was also mating with other women. They’ll say she’s trying to discredit the HFL movement as a way to get back at him.”

Nyx thought about that for a moment. “Whether humans believe it or not doesn’t matter. It is human confirmation of what the terra indigene already know. We need to show this book to Vlad and Grandfather Erebus.”

“Simon is the leader of this Courtyard. He should be told first,” Tess said, wondering if there was a potential power struggle between the Sanguinati and the Wolves. There had been some tension between the two groups because of Meg.

“He is wounded and needs rest. Vlad and Grandfather are not injured. Besides, this problem began in Toland, and the Sanguinati control the Courtyard there.” Nyx paused. “In fact, the Sanguinati control the Courtyards in every human city that is a major port on the eastern coast. Urban settings suit our way of hunting, so we’re the best form of terra indigene to watch those places.”

Tess couldn’t argue about Simon needing rest. She hadn’t realized the Sanguinati controlled so many of the Courtyards in Thaisia, although what Nyx said about them fitting into urban settings made sense. They had that much in common with Harvesters, who were also drawn to the glut of prey packed into cities.

If the Sanguinati were usually selected to control the Courtyards in port cities, why was Simon the leader in Lakeside, the major human port on Lake Etu? Why choose a Wolf when there was such a strong gathering of vampires here, not to mention the presence of Erebus? Had they yielded to a leader from a different gard by choice, or had they been asked to yield?

“We’ll show this to Vlad and Grandfather Erebus,” Nyx said again.

“All right. But we should show it to Henry and Elliot too. And we should wait until Simon has a chance to see it before we make any decisions. Whatever we do with this information will affect Lakeside and our Courtyard.”

“In that case, Blair, as the dominant enforcer, should be included as well.”

“Agreed.”

She and Nyx settled into a thoughtful silence as they considered all the choices. Just like so many decisions they had made recently, whatever the Others in Lakeside did now would ripple through the whole of Thaisia. That made Tess wonder if it was this book or Simon Wolfgard who had been the real target yesterday.

*   *   *

Henry sat in the summer room beneath his apartment, sanding a wooden paw. The right side of his face hurt, and the furrow left by the bullet that struck him would leave a scar he would carry as human and Grizzly. He wasn’t concerned about that. Some scars were a part of life, while others . . .

Catching Meg’s scent, he raised his head and watched her approach his apartment. Then, when she realized he was in a summer room like the one she shared with Simon, he waited while she looked at him through the screen door.

“You can come in,” he finally said.

She opened the door and limped to the table he used for all kinds of work.

“What are you making?” she asked as she studied the pieces on the table.

“A replacement for Boo Bear.”

She reached for the head, then hesitated and looked at him for permission. When he nodded, she picked it up and explored the wooden bear head with her fingers.

“The carving is done. I’ll finish sanding the pieces this morning and give them to the seamstress to attach to the cloth body she made.” He put down the sandpaper and paw, sat back, and waited. She looked unhappy, and he was partly responsible for that because some scars were a part of life, while others . . .

Meg set the bear head on the table. “I didn’t make a cut on purpose. I fell on the stairs.”

“I know,” he rumbled gently. “I also know if you hadn’t fallen, if you hadn’t bled and spoken prophecy, we would have known something was going to happen at the efficiency apartments because you sensed that much without cutting, but we wouldn’t have known about the attack at the stall market. We wouldn’t have had any warning about that, wouldn’t have had time to call for help—and more of us would have died.”

“Are you mad at me?”

Henry shook his head, a small motion since the movement made his face hurt. “No, Meg, I’m not angry. This isn’t simple, and it’s . . . hard . . . for us. I am grateful that you gave us warning, and I am sad that you have another scar.”

“I’m not sad about this scar,” she said softly, waving a hand toward her knee. “I am sad that you’ll have a scar.”

He smiled carefully. “I’m not sad about this scar. I got it saving Simon’s life . . . just as you got your scar because you were taking care of us.”

“It feels different, this scar.”

“It’s a sign of a caring heart. It should feel different.”

She looked at the head and paws of the bear he had carved for the Lizzy. “We take care of each other, don’t we?”

“Yes, we do.”

A howl rose from the other side of the Green Complex.

Meg sighed. “I thought Simon would sleep longer. I’d better go before he does something foolish.”

Henry watched her walk back to Simon’s apartment. There were two grown Wolves staying there right now. He found it interesting that Meg had known it was Simon calling to find her.

*   *   *

Simon hobbled after Meg. Trees and bushes prevented line of sight between the human streets and the complexes where the Others lived, but the buildings had been located close enough to make use of the utilities the humans had to provide for the Courtyard and yet as far back from human sight as possible. Not an easy compromise, and yet the terra indigene had made it work. Had no alternative but to make it work, because someone had to keep watch and report behavior that would indicate the humans had become too much of a danger to Thaisia and all the creatures who lived there.

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