Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Beyond These Walls 03b

"That seems... less than completely honorable," said Miledha, when Roberr had finished telling her about the voices he'd heard in the night -- the voices that almost certainly had not been a dream.

Roberr shrugged. "Scouting and even spying are acceptable under a truce. I have some of our men out scouting the enemy -- for all the good that will do us -- and I'm sure they have their own scouts watching us."

Miledha frowned. "What happens if your scouts stumble into their scouts?"

"They look embarrassed and back away," he said. "The terms of a truce forbid fighting, and scouts aren't given the authority to negotiate, so that's really about all they can do. Magic doesn't really change that; they can look, but they can't attack."

Miledha grunted. That seemed like the sort of thing that would only work if everyone followed the same rules, but she didn't say so. People, she'd found, tended to get upset when she pointed out that even their most treasured customs were arbitrary and negotiable. "Well... the Shadir adepts aren't subtle. They probably didn't do anything especially clever; they probably just called up enough power to push through the protections in the walls." She paused, thinking. "That's probably why it woke you up, and why you could hear them. If I'd done it, you'd never have known I was listening."

Miledha had a brief moment to realize that she probably shouldn't have said that she could spy on Roberr; that was exactly the sort of thing that nobles tended to find threatening, but the words had come out before she could stop them. That's what I get for thinking out loud, she thought.

Roberr didn't react to that, though. Instead, he frowned thoughtfully. "You could spy on the Westerners without their knowing it?"

He wants them as much as I do, she realized, and found herself unaccountably relieved. And he trusts me, at least a little.

"Yes," she said. "I know, because I have." She paused, then added: "Not today, though. I'm setting traps along the road."

He chuckled. After a moment, he said: "I'll leave you to it. I assume if you knew any way to stop them from looking in on me, you'd have said so already."

"That's... true. Unfortunately."

He wasn't bothered by the knowledge that her arts had limits, either. "Take care, then. If we haven't heard back from Boeringen by tonight..."

She nodded. "I'll be ready."

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