Vision in Silver Page 110

“You think the humans in government don’t already know?” Vlad sounded skeptical. “It’s the rest of the humans who need to know that, as far as the HFL movement is concerned, the humans who have first claim on food live in Cel-Romano, and the humans in Thaisia will get the scraps, if there are any. Hunger will push them into trying to take more land from the rest of Namid’s creatures.”

<I agree with revealing this to human governments,> Elliot said. <But how do we do that? How many copies of that diary can be made?>

“Most of what was written is personal,” Tess said. “I doubt it would be of interest to any human except Lieutenant Montgomery.”

“What is important to the terra indigene can be distilled into a couple of paragraphs that will confirm to our leaders which humans are responsible for the shortages of food and materials,” Vlad said. “That’s all human governments need to know too.”

<We should make two copies of the whole thing,> Elliot said. <Keep one copy for ourselves and give the other copy to the Toland Courtyard since they’ll have to deal with the part of the trouble that’s in their city.>

<It’s not our place to howl this information to humans everywhere in Thaisia,> Simon said. <That choice must be made by the terra indigene taking care of each region of our land. We make decisions for Lakeside.>

“We’ve been making decisions for a lot more than Lakeside lately,” Henry countered. “At the very least, the whole Northeast Region will abide by our decisions.”

<Well, if we’re making decisions for those who aren’t . . .> Simon stopped. Was Montgomery not quite their own, or was he part of the human pack now? <I think the original diary should be given to Lieutenant Montgomery. That Elayne died so that the Lizzy could escape the bad humans and bring the words to him.>

Silence as they all thought about this.

“Two copies of this diary will be sufficient,” Erebus said with a nod toward Elliot. “One for Lakeside and one for Toland. Vlad, when this meeting is finished, you will call Stavros. Tell him there are things he needs to know that cannot be discussed over the telephone.”

Vlad nodded. “I’ll call him and ask him to catch the next available train.”

<I still think we should tell more humans,> Elliot said.

<It doesn’t matter now how many humans know,> Simon said. <They lied to each other and tried to blame us in order to cause trouble. They deliberately did things so that their people will be hungry in the coming year in order to create more conflicts. Because of that, it’s the terra indigene in the wild country who will decide what happens next.>

No one spoke as they considered the implications. Humans had little understanding about the terra indigene they could see. They had no understanding at all about the earth natives who lived in the wild country.

“Train. Train,” Tess said. “When she spoke the last prophecy, Meg said that word twice. The Controller and his . . . people . . . spent years training her, so everything she says in prophecy has meaning.”

“Stavros will be coming by train,” Vlad said.

“And so will someone else. For good or ill, I think we should expect a second visitor.”

Simon grunted with the effort to get to his feet. <Enough. I’ll be able to shift tomorrow. Then I’ll see how the human form feels and what limitations it may have.>

“I’ll go over to the Three Ps now and make the copies of the diary,” Tess said.

Since there was nothing more he needed to do at this meeting, Simon hobbled to the door, then had to wait for someone to open it. He wanted to walk a little and rest a lot. He wanted to curl up with Meg and get petted while she watched a movie.

He wanted to be strong and well enough to protect, just in case the second visitor who was coming to Lakeside turned out to be an enemy.

*   *   *

Jenni Crowgard returned to her apartment in the Green Complex early that evening. The Crowgard had spent the day together, mourning the loss of Crystal, not dissimilar to the way the humans had gathered to mourn the loss of Lawrence MacDonald.

Will the Crows open Sparkles and Junk tomorrow? Meg wondered. Or will they abandon their shop in the Market Square?

Feeling awkward, she knocked on Jenni’s door . . . and tried not to stare when the Crow answered.

Jenni’s black hair, usually shiny and well groomed, hung dull and unkempt around a face drawn by grief.

“I have something for you and Starr.” Meg held out a small decorative box, one of the items Julia Hawkgard had picked up for her.

Jenni took the box and stared at it for a full minute before lifting the lid. She poured a few dimes into one hand. “Shiny,” she whispered. “Coins aren’t always so shiny. Crystal liked shiny coins. She kept them in a bowl on the counter.”

“I know. That’s why I polished these. I thought you could add these to the bowl in her honor.” Meg stopped. “I don’t know how to help, and I want to help.”

“You helped. You warned Simon, but we didn’t listen when he said we had to leave. There was so much shiny, so many treasures to look at and touch, we didn’t want to listen. He had to wait, had to argue with us, and that gave the humans time to attack.”

“Those men had planned to attack the terra indigene. It wasn’t your fault, Jenni.”

The Crow poured the dimes back into the box. “Doesn’t change things. Crystal is dead. MacDonald is dead. And we have learned, again, that humans can’t be trusted.”

The anger in Jenni’s eyes chilled Meg. “Jenni . . .”

“Our Meg can be trusted. Our Meg would not betray us.”

“No, I wouldn’t. Neither would Merri Lee or Ruth or the other humans who work here.”

Jenni shrugged. Meg thought that was a very bad indication of how angry the terra indigene were about this latest clash between themselves and humans.

“Merri Lee and Ruth wouldn’t betray the Crows or any of the terra indigene,” Meg insisted. “Neither would Debany or Kowalski. They wouldn’t.”

Jenni stared at Meg. Then, finally, “Crystal being killed in that place. It wasn’t their fault either.”

Meg nodded, relieved to hear that much of a concession.

Jenni hesitated, then stepped back to close the door. “Thank you for the shinies.”

Prev Next