Hepaten guessed this meeting was as official as any Mairild had called.
Olvar was there as was Glarien.
And the dragon.
Why he wanted a meeting was beyond Hepaten. It didn’t matter. When dragons called you came. And it really didn’t matter this time. The stranger needn’t have been a dragon for him to set up this meeting.
For eightdays the outworlder taleweaver had made a public fool of him, and by now theatres were setting up plays based on the slanderous tales he spread.
He had decided to respect the request for anonymity. It wouldn’t hurt if Olvar and Glarien were kept in the dark. He wasn’t.
Dragons were rumoured to be infallible as well as invincible. He knew better. This wasn’t some farming village pretending to be a city. This was Verd.
World War had taken its toll on the dragons as well, and it had been depicted. Hepaten recognized the scar running down the stranger’s face.
Kakad ad Rhigrat. A demon of this world. An enemy. An asset.
The resource spoke. “Gentlemen, we have a war to fight. Two wars really. The northern empire is a sanctuary. Chach still gathers her strength for a renewed attack. She will not rest until mages are firmly in power of this very centre of that sanctuary.”
He paused to give them time to agree. Hepaten nodded. Not in agreement to the bombastic drivel, but in acknowledgement of his skill, erroneous as it was. Olvar was indeed infuriated enough and afraid enough to listen to any powerful stranger who preached war against the Midlands.
“They threaten your lifeline as well. I know for a certain that they paid the western raiders to concentrate their strength along your coast.”
That was news. Hepaten didn’t know that, but Kakad had no reason to lie. If he said so it was probably true. True and good news. Glarien nodded and leaned forward. Threats to trade were threats to his coffers. He would follow as well.
“The only way to stop that is to take this war to them. I won’t lie to you. It may end in disaster. I can’t promise you victory, but I can promise you utter defeat if you don’t try.”
That rang true enough to enable Olvar to convince a majority of the council to sanction another war. Hepaten guessed Kakad would provide information rather than weapons, but information was a weapon when used correctly.
“Then there is another war. One among you. A renegade taleweaver Weaves what should not be Woven. He endangers the very world we share. That is a threat we cannot accept. He is no longer under our protection.”
Hepaten jerked back.