Kaleigha’s face burned with shame. The city was hardly safer this way.
“What are the other Fadian doing about this?” Egoly demanded, turning from Kaleigha to the elders.
The elders remained quiet and unreadable.
“Tell them,” Ilma smiled, looking very much like a queen. “Let them in on the illustrious duties of the city’s greatest servants.”
“Oh no,” Kaleigha said when no one answered, “They’re dead!”
“Not quite,” Ilma smirked. She was enjoying herself. “But I am sure they wish they were.”
“It’s better that we show you,” Hailmon stepped forward suddenly to usher them out of the crucible.
“I’ll take your word for it,” Egoly side-stepped the elder and threw his hands up defensively.
“Egoly,” Delaine moaned. She looked as if she might faint.
“Leave us!” Kaleigha said suddenly, not wanting this new string of drama to distract her. “All of you except, Egoly.”
Kaleigha tensed, expecting a huge fight, but everyone gave in with no resistance.
“What are you going to do?” Karen asked under her breath as she passed.
“My job,” Kaleigha smiled, sweetly.
The party shuffled out of the room casting cold glances at the throne. Kaleigha realized they expected her to put Ilma down. To return her to her previous role as the Sleeper. Kaleigha considered it for moment, but could not see the advantage. She did not speak until the bar closed down over the crucible door.
“Ilma,” she said, looking directly into the woman’s eyes. Ilma gave her faint smile and returned the gaze. Kaleigha tried not to flinch as scenes of violence at the city’s borders inserted themselves into her memories.