In The Shadow Of His Nemesis
Chapter Sixty Three
BY AL BRUNO III
Friday December 3rd 1996
The dining room fireplace was dark but the conversation was more than a little heated; everyone at the table had either brought hard liquor or an empty stomach. The only calm person in the room was Isobel. “I'm going,” she stood before them, “they're depending on me and I'm going.”
“This is not a good idea,” Galen paced the room, “you'll get lost out there.”
“Then come with me.”
Warren was sitting beside Hao, when he spoke his voice was panicky, “Do you remember how hard the trip was to get here?”
Isobel nodded, “But we got here didn't we?”
There were only a few candles lit and the fireplace was cold and dark. Magwier was sitting in a chair near the corner, chewing his thumb and watching. Zeth stood nearby, he crossed his arms “One of us could go instead. Some of us can move a lot faster than you.”
“Sig wants me to do this,” Isobel said, “but I'll take all the help I can get.”
Bodivar leaned on the fireplace mantle and stared into a half empty glass, “Medicine may be of no help to her, as I said some viruses have to run their course.”
“He's got a point sis,” Warren said, “you could end up dying of exposure for nothing.”
“I can't tell you what to do, but just because the Monarchs can't find you doesn't mean they've forgotten about you,” Jack was leaning back in a chair, his feet were propped up. Roxanne was conspicuously absent from his side.
Isobel nodded, “I know....will you come with me Galen? We can be there and back by morning.”
Galen drained a glass and refilled it, “You sure about that?”
“Sig did it all the time.”
“He can make that risk,” Galen said slowly, “the minute I pop my head up all Hell will break loose again.”
“You can't be sure of that,” Isobel said, “they're not gods.”
Magwier cleared his throat noisily in response.
Everyone paused expecting him to say more but he didn't. “Come on guys,” Isobel pleaded, “Sig and Angie would do the same for any one of us.”
“You sure about that?” Galen said.
“I'm sure he would,” Hao spoke icily.
“Sorry,” Galen waved a hand, “I didn't mean anything it's just... I've been running from the Monarchs for so long. There isn't anyone they want more.”
With that Magwier cleared his throat again.
“What the Hell is this? We're all supposed to be friends here,” Isobel said, “I'll go alone if I have to.”
“We could make you stay here,” Bodivar spoke thoughtfully.
“None of us is going to make her do anything,” Jack glared.
Warren buried his face in his hands, “Christ what a mess...”
Zeth raised an eyebrow, “From what I've read he didn't know how to stay out of trouble either.”
“I'll go,” Hao stood and put her hand on Isobel’s shoulder.
“Oh Hell no,” Warren said.
“You worry too much.”
“Hao...” Galen said, “I don't want this to happen. Doesn’t the word of a Highborn mean anything to you?”
“Not in the least,” she grinned toothily, “besides if there's anyone that can get her up and down this mountain in the middle of the night it's me.”
“She is really good in the dark...” Warren started to say and then began silently blushing.
“What about her duties as Castellan?” Bodivar asked.
Now Jack stood, “I can take care of that if need be. No problem. You sure you want to do this?”
“Yes,” Hao nodded, “no doubt in my mind. The two of us will be just fine.”
Magwier cleared his throat violently.
“Oh.” Zeth said, “I’m coming too.”
Isobel gave him a confused look, “Really?”
“Well, I do have some experience as a bodyguard.”
“What a wonderful idea!” Magwier clapped his hands, “It’s settled then.”
Jack nodded, “I should be able to find supplies for the trip. Give me about half an hour.”
The three volunteers nodded with approval.
“Wait a damn minute here,” Galen said, “I don’t want her doing this.”
Isobel drew closer to him, “I have to. Just like before I have to do this.”
He turned away from her, “And how many of your friends will you get killed this time?”