Mael sat on the edge of the shattered tower and watched the waves roil and heave. A storm slid across the waters, far out but moving closer, grey sheets of rain blending with the grey ocean, creating the illusion of a single mass the color of a rotted corpse.

It’s too good to be true, you know.

What is?

The whole Templar thing. Something’s not right. We’re being played. 

What? But…

Look, I spent my life on the streets of Gagetztan. I know a hustle when I see one. We’re being played! It’s Three Card Monte, it’s the shell game. The dealer is letting us think we know where the queen is, but the whole time it’s up his sleeve. 


Consider the facts, all right? We contact the holy Lightbender about one of ours being killed by one of theirs. The first thing she brings up is the incident from five years ago. Five years! With all that’s happened since then, that feels like an eternity ago! She knows who we’re talking about, she has to, but she trots out this old murder. 

Yes, and…

And then she gets around to Zasheena. Who, it “coincidentally” turns out, was killed by the same guy she just happened to mention yesterday!


Don’t you get it? They feed us a name of someone we already knew had murdering tendencies, in fact they made damn sure we all remembered who he was and what he did, so we’re already predisposed against him when they reveal he’s the one again! That way we’ll be ready to just believe it and not look any deeper. 

Silence but for the sound of the rising wind. The first raindrops splattered on the worn rock of the tower.

But why? 

That part I don’t know. My guess is that they’re protecting someone, someone big. Maybe the Lightgrinder herself. All I can tell you is what my grandpappy always told me: if it looks too good to be true, it is. Get out. 

Another silence, and a flash of lightning. Thunder rumbled several seconds after. The storm was awhile away yet, but getting closer. 

Well, MY grandfather said the only way to deal with a trap is to spring it. A Blood’s life is at stake.

Aye. Let’s prepare the best ever can, then, for whatever may come out way. 

Ossis came at a whistle, and Mael flew through the growing deluge without noticing, lost as she was deep in her thoughts. 

Author Sunscryer
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