A wildfire in the heart of a great forest was a dreadful power. For Damrin Graeves, that was the only comparison he could equate to the breaking of the Wielder’s Council. Rogue Wielders had never been an uncommon occurrence in the world but the number of those allied and bound to the Shoal Oaths kept those flames from spreading. Now, however, there were too many flames and they were being fed by pride, promises, and the Hallowed knows what else.
His options were limited. He could not reach out to Wielders he called friend. Since Kesree’s betrayal–his closest of allies–he had to select his movements more carefully. Too much use of his Shoalway, Qorum, and he would likely draw attention. Wielders could detect the power from a fair distance away but they could not be everywhere. So, many Wielders had trained and hired agents tucked away in all sorts of corners and pockets of the Holds, waiting to feel the stinging sensation in their teeth. Sensors, they were called. Damrin had refused to employ such people for he had no need to keep eyes and ears on his brethren.
It had taken longer than he wanted, but he reached his room, held by the grimacing innkeeper, Goel Begeen, after traveling by foot. It had been the first time in three decades since he walked such a distance without touching his Shoal and it had been arduous to say the least. The village of Nemeck in the Teras Hold had been one of several hiding places he kept secret. Only Kesree had known of his corner room in Goel’s inn, The Commoner.
Days of rest had been needed after his journey. Once there, he had removed the collection of manuscripts, ledgers, and maps hidden away in the ceiling. His eyes moved over one such map where he made notes and drew symbols based on a personal cypher not even Kesree had known about. Some secrets had been kept.
The list of names and affiliations on the narrow piece of parchment was complete and thorough but he needed to know which of those names still drew breath and which way they leaned in this ominous war. For Damrin, he needed to find an ally and quickly. Too many were dying and fresh rumors sprouted from the earth as Wielders killed each other and kingdoms fell. Truth slipped from his fingers but a net could succeed where his hands failed.