What is it? Adree mouthed, looking over her shoulder.

Robbes had popped open a pouch of aspirins, and was offering them to her. Adree nodded gratefully, and took two with a dash of water.

Even when the Librais was inert, with no operator, it exuded a signal that compelled people to approach it – all the Engines did. But when it was operational, that signal changed and subtly increased in pitch until it was, to someone as sensitive as Adree, near unbearable. She had tried, more than once, to get some kind of reading from the men sitting below, but the interference from the Librais made it impossible.

I wasn’t expecting this. I should have delegated this one to Arawn Lessinger, to take his mind off Padrin Telcane’s death. Lessinger’s about as sensitive as a block of wood - the Librais wouldn’t bother him.

No. She’d never have sent anyone else to do this job for her. She was close, now. He was sitting beside a bright fire, right in her crosshairs, a perfect target. She could squeeze off a shot, and he’d be dead before he knew what hit him – the younger man too; he’d have no time to react. Clean, neat, and all to the benefit of her people.

But then she’d never know why that woman had gone into the Librais Tower, or why they were waiting. It was possible there was another banru expedition wandering in the ruins, and they were planning to rendezvous, or that something even stranger was going on. So she was gathering intelligence, and it was prudent to wait until she knew more.


Lightning struck from the darkening sky overhead, and hit the pylons on the Tower roof – once, twice, then thrice before winking out. Adree lifted her head from the rifle.

The lightning arced down again, jumping from pylon to pylon, then struck once more. The bolts were coming almost every few seconds now, so the Tower flickered between being in stark white light and complete darkness. Adree elbowed Robbes and pointed at the Tower, then pushed herself up on her elbows and crept closer to the wall of the building to get a better look. Far down below, the two men were also looking up at the Tower, the younger one pointing towards it.

That must be an incredible concentration of Gating energy. I’ve never had a report of it drawing that much power. What’s going on in there?



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