My blackout only seemed but a moment, but when I opened my eyes, I lay on a table with my hands tied out away from my body. Grand Councilor Fadreel’s face appeared above mine. I started to speak but he shook his head, reaching for my face. I tried to turn away but strong fingers pried my mouth open and spoon of something hot and nasty smelling was shoved in. He forced me to bite down on the spoon and the substance oozed around my teeth, sealing them shut. If he hadn’t titled the table upright, the foulness would have gone down my throat.
I stopped screaming.
I was in a workshop. Fadreel stood back, hands on his hips. I still had my elemental sight active and what I saw shocked me. He had two soul sparks. One dimly lit with barely a glitter in his chest, the other, red and encased like a horcine’s, set on his right side, glowing brightly. His right leg, from the glow downward, had a gray tinge. Behind him, a Dvergr stood, grinning. He was the same one who had cut the heart out of the man in Southallow, the same one who had captured Zat. He’d been at Fadreel’s side the entire time I’d been in Crown City. I’d just never noticed him.
“Angestirian, you disappoint me. I had such hopes, didn’t I, Mwaagralt?” The Dvergr priest nodded.
“But you just had to interfere, didn’t you? Like mother like son, I guess. When you said you preferred mules to horcines, I forgave that because you were ignorant. When Sentinel Ernol reported that you’d destroyed all of the horcines, I…Well, that made me angry, but I think he provoked you by stealing your lovely horse. I’ve informed him of his error. But…” He walked closer, a thin blade in his hand. He ran it down my arm, cutting me. I didn’t feel the cut until after the blood dripped. The Dvergr priest said something and Fadreel pulled the knife away.
“You just had to tell Technician Stygand to stop his projects because the elementals ‘were being hurt.'”
I tried to avoid the bloody blade as he shook it in my face.
“You’re weak and a disgrace to the Crown of Adnor.”
Blood spattered my face and I blinked.
Fadreel stood back and cleared his throat. “Of course, Stygand is being punished for his error.”
I shuddered at what that punishment might be.
“I wanted you to be a part of the technological advancements of Adnor. I wanted you to defend your country and uphold what is right and pure.” He glanced at the Dvergr, who nodded. “And so you shall.”

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