Imyne, the hidden enemy, uses her position on the council and in the meeting with Kedriq for her own use. In this six paragraphs the hidden enemy enters.
~ * ~“You are right,” Imyne spoke aloud to Alth. “The Kaereyans have little we can use.” Satisfaction calmed Imyne’s last worries. Governor Vitann’s ill-judged efforts had floundered.
“More likely, we have little they can use. Until at least, the new king is ready to confer with a delegation,” Vitann said.
Behind her calm face, despairing thoughts entered Vitann’s mind. The Governor’s mind reflected on the number of ships anchored in the harbor, and the prevalent dark blue of Kaereya’s Royal Guard on streets lining the docks. The country of Kaereya was rich, but troubled. Imyne gleaned these thoughts filtering through the governor’s mind. She doubted any other Adept could hear those sequestered, speculative thoughts, and Imyne wondered at Vitann’s purpose. It was clear Vitann found Kedriq’s views of the turmoil unexpected and unwelcome. No help would come from Kaereya.
Vitann’s persistence in the Kaereyan matter angered Imyne. There was no reason to ally with a land of nulls. It diminished further Imyne’s estimate of the woman’s governing ability. Cygna didn’t need Kaereya. It needed a zealous and intelligent leader.
Perhaps the Governor feared Kaereya would align with Pertelon to conquer Cygna? Imyne inhaled sharply, but dismissed Vitann’s preoccupation with Cygna’s neighbors. Cygnese Talent squads could out-maneuver ordinary fighting men. Cygna had more important dangers to face than the Pertelonese and Kaereyan nulls offered. Cygna’s null population needed quelling, even eliminating if necessary. Vitann failed to grasp the importance of protecting Talents. Fury at the Governor’s perverseness filled Imyne. If they followed Vitann’s present course, Cygna could fall back into the chaos rampant in the time before Talents secured the government.
Dismissing her peers’ questions on aspects of Kedriq’s journey, Imyne inspected Kedriq. He must have cleaned up since his arrival, but she knew he had not seen Brenna. So Vitann must have offered him hospitality. His soft gray quilted tunic fell to his knees. Blond hair, bleached lighter by the more intense sun of Kaereya, contrasted with a tan that made him appear like an outlander. He was either effectively masking his emotions, or so dispirited, he felt none.
~ * ~