We open on a scene in Lara’s private quarters, it’s early morning, so early the sky is only barely touched with the lighter blue of dawn. She is sitting at a desk by the window, head down and writing intently in a leather-bound book. She pauses for a moment and looks out the window, tapping the pen against her mouth. She shakes her head slightly and recommences her scribbling.

Shapeshifting. A possibility I only thought existed in the Weir or the Weir-tainted. Apparently not. Flora thinks Bleys has the ability (and has been impersonating Brand with it) and my research has led me to believe that Alma possesses it as well. I wonder if Luce did? He never exhibited any sign of it that I could see. What if that’s the thing in the blood Madoc found and that Tomas mentioned to Erica? Oh. Is that what’s in my blood? Maybe it has to be triggered by something? How do you get it in the first place? The texts haven’t been very clear on that. It could be spontaneously generated via mutation I guess, but it’s certainly transferred as part of Weir-taint, so can it be “caught” in other ways? So many damn questions. I guess I’ll have to go and speak to Alma about it, if she would be willing to talk to me. How do you even approach that conversation, “Hi, I’m the Sheriff and you don’t know me from a bar of soap, but I believe you’re a shapeshifter, something that is reviled and seen as highly suspicious? Would you mind talking to me about that?” Yeah, that should go well.

Difficult conversations appear to be my immediate future. I agreed to, not even agreed really, just told Flora I would, speak to Hagen about his father, Werewindle and the fact that Julia believes there is a mystic blood connection between Hagen and it and this may be used to track the sword and, thus, Bleys. “Hi Hagen, so, Julia thinks you’ve some sort of mystic connection to Werewindle given that it would have gone to you if your father had died of natural causes and not at the hand of Oberon for his seeming betrayal. Sorry for opening an old wound, but how do you feel about using that link to track the sword and Bleys?” I can see no problem with that.

Another pause and her eyes close for a moment,  the candles guttering in the breeze from the open casement. She opens her eyes and sits up straighter, but her hand hesitates over the page for just a beat.

And then there’s Edan. Erica thinks Monroe will play the long game and not act out a coup unless there is a catalyst. Which would be Bleys. I’m really starting to dislike that guy. Thank god she doesn’t want Monroe dead because, although a seemingly easy solution, unless you killed every male of royal Karm blood you’d still have the same problem. Oh and you’d turn an ally into an enemy, no big. But, I need information on what Monroe is planning, his preparedness, if he knows the true extent of the issue with the breaking of the treaty and whether he has had any contact with Bleys recently. This means I need to send a spy into his camp. That’s not something I would ever ask of Edan, but I do need to let him know. “Hey, Edan, you know how your Dad is building an army for a potential coup? Well I’m sending in an agent to gather a bunch of information on what’s going on so we can get a clearer picture of it. No, I would never ask you to do it, and I promise that information gathering is the agents’ only assignment. So, we cool?” How could that possibly cause any problems? It’s not like I need my second in command to trust me.

A soft sigh can be heard.

Ugh.

I need to clear my head. If I were home I’d take the bike out and ride until all I could think of was the white line and the next curve in the road. And I could still do that I guess. I think, though, that I’ll take Greyswandir down to the practice field and work on those sword forms Hagen set for me. The sword seems to provide a sense of calm and focus, more of the mystic shit I guess, and I could really use that now.

Lara puts the pen down and closes the book. A brief flash of green lights the room. She stands up and moves away from the desk with purpose, walking towards the shining sword in the rack by the bed. She picks it up and raises it to eye level, examining the length of the blade. Seemingly satisfied by what she sees, she sheathes the blade and makes for the door, opening it, then pulling  it softly closed behind her.

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