Chapter Three

Quinlin had to keep himself from groaning when the babysitter Bronte had left him with entered his office.

"Councillor Terik's here to see you." He said, and left the room. Terik shuffled in a moment later.

"Good evening, Quinlin." Terik said.

Quinlin stood up and gave a quick bow. "Good evening to you as well, Councillor. How have you been, as of late?"

"Well, the Black Swan's been on the entire council's nerves for a while." Terik sat in the chair across from Quinlin. "How have you been?"

"I must say that I am rather upset about the emissaries putting that child into prison for no reason. It's not his fault that his parents are rebels."

"I did all I could, Quinlin, you know that. Oralie, Kenric, Emery, Noland, and I voted against, but Bronte had swayed the rest already. You know how he is. But this subject is what I would like to talk to you about. Bronte has "invoked his right as a senior councillor" to demand a probe."

"On Wylie?!"

"Unfortunately so. Wylie lived with both Tiergan and Prentice. He is a well of information, one I personally think we should not mine, but Bronte does not take my point of view."

"That's unfortunate."

"I've put together some information for you about what needs to be done." Terik set a folder of paper down on Quinlin's desk. "Bronte will tell you when he wants the probe done. I have some crucial matters to attend to, but it was nice to see you again, Quinlin."

"It was good to see you as well, Councillor. Enjoy your day."

Terik walked out of the office.

Quinlin put his head in his hands. First the council locked up a ten year old, and now they wanted a probe? This was insane! He opened up the folder Terik had given him. It contained a single piece of paper.

Quinlin-

We're on your side and we need your help. We won't let you get in trouble if you do this for us.

The gnomes have built a new prison to house Wylie. (It is exactly 400 kilometres east of The Shores of Solace, Cassius Sencen's secret beach house). They are moving him there this afternoon. We want you to help break Wylie out. Get Alden and Tiergan to work with you.

By the way, we know you and Alden were the ones to inform Tiergan about Magnus Carcer. And, as noted earlier, we won't let you get in trouble.

-Councillors Emery, Terik, Noland, Kenric, and Oralie

Quinlin stared at the note. This was more than unexpected. There was no doubt that he was going to go along with their plan, but it would be hard. 400 kilometres east of the Shores of solace landed them right in the middle of the Australian bush. But if this was what it took to get Wylie, this was when Quinlin was going to do.

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When Quinlin leapt to the gates of Everglen, Alden was there to meet him.

"Quinlin, did you hear that Tiergan broke into the prison and then escaped when he was chased out? I bet he hates me even more now, what am I going to do?"

Quinlin sighed. He hadn't thought of it that way. "They moved Wylie. And possibly Prentice. Terik came to see me because Bronte wants me to probe Wylie's mind. Could we talk somewhere more private?" Quinlin added the last request when Alvar ran by, chasing Fitz along a path lined with deep purple flowers. Alvar was prone to eavesdropping.

"Of course." Alden led him inside. They walked through a maze of hallways before arriving at Alden's office. A gnome was standing on a footstool in one corner, feeding the sea life in the huge aquarium. Several rainbow coloured fish were waiting on the surface for their food. The gnome finished up quickly and left Alden and Quinlin to their privacy.

"Thank you, Icek." Alden said as the gnome left the room. He sat down on the couch and Quinlin joined him. "Tell me what happened."

Quinlin began the story. He ended it by giving Alden the note from Terik.

Alden was dumbfounded. Before he could say anything, there was a shriek, a thump, a crash, and a "Why are you invisible in front of Dad's office, Alvar?" from the hallway. Alden looked to see Alvar lying on the floor with the shards of a former vase of flowers lying around him. He had several cuts on his cheeks which were streaming blood all over the floor. Biana was standing next to him. They were both covered in water and flower petals.

Alvar stood up. "I knew I should have stayed at Foxfire this weekend."

"Probably." Alden brought Alvar into his office and sat him in a chair. He rifled through a cabinet until he had found some Laceration Termination. He smeared the orange balm on Alvar's cuts and sent Biana to get a cloth to clean up the blood. "Alvar, anything you just heard is confidential, okay?"

"I didn't hear anything."

"Good." Alden kept adding more of the balm to Alvar's wounds. "This isn't working. I'm hailing Elwin. He might have a stronger remedy." Alden retrieved an imparter from his desk. "Show me Elwin." Elwin's face appeared.

"What happened?"

"A vase landed on Alvar's face. Laceration Termination won't close one of the cuts and it's still bleeding."

"Have you put pressure on the wound?"

"Yes."

"I'll be there in a second, hold on." Elwin disappeared from the screen. Not ten seconds later the doorbell rang. Quinlin went to answer it.

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"Must have been some vase." Elwin smeared another coat of something vile smelling on Alvar's worst cut. It was still seeping blood around the balm and Alvar was getting light headed. Alden had to keep sending Biana for more towels.

"Biana scared me."

"No kidding."

"Sorry." Biana squeaked from the arm of the couch.

"It's okay. I should've seen you coming."

After Elwin had finally gotten the gash on Alvar's cheek to stop bleeding, he gave him several elixirs. Alden and Quinlin stepped into the hallway to finish their discussion.

Alden was still a little confused about the plan. "So the councillors want us to find Tiergan, break into Wylie's prison, and then release him? Can't those councillors just let him go?"

"And be exiled? They couldn't but they probably don't want to."

"Terik said that he would ensure we weren't exiled, correct?"
"That is correct."

"Okay. Any ideas on where to find Tiergan? Apparently, he leapt to his house, but leapt away when the emissaries rang his doorbell."

"Doesn't he have a pathfinder to the Forbidden Cities? That'll make finding him hard."

'We need him if we're going to break Wylie out." Quinlin sat down in the decorative chair that used to be next to the vase Alvar had broken.

The door to Alden's office opened to reveal Elwin standing there. "Do you guys have any more towels? That stubborn cut won't close- why are you talking about breaking Wylie out?"

Alden left to go find some more towels.

"Because we are going to break Wylie out. Please don't tell anyone." Quinlin explained.

"Of course I won't tell. I want to help."

"Elwin are you sure helping is a good idea?" Quinlin stood up from the decorative chair and began pacing. Several Councillors have promised protection from exile for Alden and I, but you have no such defences. Surely the risk is greater than the benefits."

"So you want me to leave Wylie in a prison cell, knowing I could help but not helping? I don't think so."

"I suppose you could help." Alden returned with some particularly fluffy towels. "Will these towels work, Elwin?"

"Yes, perfect. Thank you." Elwin took the towels and went back into the office where Alvar was still bleeding.

Quinlin turned back to Alden. "How should we go about this search then?"

"Not sure."