The Price of Independence - Rough - Day 19


“What do you mean you’re not sure! Do you have any idea how much money the Conclave will give you for this information? Are you insane?” Altman cringed back from the incredulous venom in Deman’s voice.

Deman had cornered him as soon as the two of them were alone, admitting his eavesdropping easily and without a trace of embarrassment and ready with a generous offer of help. “Haven’t you ever wondered if the Conclave’s policies are really for the best?”

“Don’t tell me you’re buying into that line of thinking. The Conclave is the natural choice to handle this. They know how to handle it safely.” His tone was dismissive, perfunctory.

“So do I. It’s not like it’d be in untrained hands.”

“Hands trained by the Conclave, of course! What, are you going to live here the rest of your life too, toiling in obscurity? If you want to accomplish something real, you need people, resources, money! Where do you think you’re going to get that?”

That was the part that stumped Altman. He wasn’t at all sure he wanted to turn the deposit over to the Conclave, but if he didn’t … the young lord.

Wheels started turning in his mind. Kaylene had told them a story of a young lord who had failed to settle the area. If he had succeeded

“Dem, this has been a lot to take in, and shouting at me isn’t clearing my mind any faster. You’re absolutely right about resources, people, money. Let me think it over some.” He pinched the bridge of his nose; the shouting was in fact bringing on a headache the likes of which he couldn’t remember ever having suffered before. He needed to talk to Kaylene, and soon.