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."You have been diligent," observed Jeslek."That is definitely one of your virtues." He gave a brisk nod."We should visit the viscount.Come, Cerryl."The two walked down the corridor from Shyren's chambers, down another set of steps, then across a high-ceilinged vaulted circular hall and through a set of pillars past two guards in green and gold.Another fifty cubits down the lamp-lit hall, Jeslek paused before a set of double doors, where two more guards blocked the way.One of the guards took in the two mages in white and the amulet around Jeslek's neck then offered, "His Mightiness requested he not be disturbed.""Tell him the High Wizard of Fairhaven would like to see him.Now." Although Jeslek's tone was mild, the words almost steamed with the power of chaos.The guard inched back."He did say."Jeslek smiled, and a tongue of flame leapt from the floor before the guard."Tell him."The other guard, without speaking, turned and rapped on the heavy door.After a moment, he bellowed, "The High Wizard seeks the viscount immediately!"After another pause, the guard opened the door.As the two mages passed, Cerryl noticed the dampness on the foreheads of both guards.He would not have wanted to be in their boots.The viscount rose from the gilt chair set behind a broad gilt table, setting down a scroll as he did."My dear High Wizard, I had expected to see you at dinner.You and your red-haired assistant."Jeslek stepped forward while Cerryl closed the study door behind them, then eased up almost even with the High Wizard."My dear viscount, perhaps you have seen one of my mages.This is Cerryl.He was sent here not only to help prepare for the invasion of Spidlar, but to resolve some.irregularities.in the handling of road tariff golds." Jeslek flashed his brilliant smile at the blond and burly viscount.At each corner of the table stood a guard with an iron blade, and both watched Jeslek."Irregularities, you say?" Rystryr's voice was thoughtful, barely rumbling in the confines of the private study."Yes.Apparently, Shyren entered into an agreement with your finance minister, one Dursus, I believe, and perhaps his assistant." Jeslek turned to Cerryl."What was his name?""Pullid." Cerryl kept his eyes on the guards and his order-chaos senses on the crossbowman hidden behind the lattice to the right."And what of Shyren? Should he not be here to address such.irregularities? I do not see him." Rystryr raised his bushy eyebrows."And you will not," said Jeslek."Those of the Guild who line their chests at the cost of the Guild usually do not survive.""Ah.yes.I could see how that would not set well with the Guild." Rystryr nodded blandly.Cerryl could sense both dismay and concern behind the words, though the viscount's voice remained dispassionate."No, it does not.The Guild acts for the good of all of Candar, not for the good of a single man or a single land.Some find it difficult to understand such," added Jeslek in a tone that seemed almost musing."Until they act against the Guild, thinking that we do not see or understand." The bright and false smile followed."Unlike you, Rystryr.I am most certain you understand.""Of course I understand.How could I do otherwise? You and the lovely Anya have made that most clear.""We are most glad of that." Jeslek frowned."You will, of course, seize the golds taken by this Dursus and his assistant and return them to Fairhaven.I would judge you should be able to find 5,000, at the very least, before releasing such brigands to the mercy of chaos." Another smile appeared on the white-haired wizard's face."Five thousand, at least.""That might be difficult.""Oh.I am most certain that you will find a way to trace such coins and return them.Most certain.And I do look forward to seeing the posting of all of the spring levy notices in the next few days," Jeslek said mildly."Under the circumstances, I think that would be wise, do you not agree?""We but awaited your arrival, High Wizard, and we will let all know that both Certis and Fairhaven are opposed to the troubles created by the Spidlarian Council of Traders." Rystryr smiled back.He's going to make sure everyone in Certis knows he was pushed, Cerryl reflected.Is that wise? The younger mage wasn't sure but wondered if admitting you bowed to a stronger neighbor might not create even more discontent."That will suffice." Jeslek smiled even more broadly."We look forward to seeing you all this evening." Rystryr nodded politely."And we you, my dear viscount." Jeslek turned.Cerryl followed his lead but his senses on the concealed crossbowman until they were out of the study and well down the corridor headed back toward Shyren's chamber."The viscount was part of it, wasn't he?" Cerryl asked."If I suggested directly that he had been part of this," Jeslek shrugged, "then we would need a new viscount-and now is not the time for that.He has been warned in a way that will keep him honest for a time.But only for a time.No ruler stays honest."Cerryl was inwardly amused at that.There's no difference between honesty over power and honesty over coins."We will need to exercise more control over those such as the viscount, especially after we deal with Spidlar.Especially then."Cerryl kept pace with the taller High Wizard."We leave tomorrow, and not a word of this, not that I should have to tell you such.""Yes, ser."Jeslek's long strides across the stone tiles of the courtyard were noiseless, and only Cerryl's boots clumped in the late-afternoon grayness.LXXXVCerryl found himself beside Fydel and behind Anya and Jeslek as the White force rode out from the north gates of Jellico with the sun barely rising over the eastern walls.The flat fields beyond the causeway and flanking the road were damp and brown, with furrows that showed seed to have been planted, seed that had perhaps an eight-day before it would show green against the rich dark brown of the tilled bottomland.The road itself was damp packed clay, not the smooth stone of a White highway, and rutted from wagons and carts.The High Wizard turned in the saddle, again and again, until all the lancers and the wagons were more than five kays beyond the causeway and well onto the road that followed the western bank of the River Jellicor [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]