The Guild Secret (The Dark Ability #6)@D.K. Holmberg Page 0,1

well, watching as the city slowly blinked to life as the sun set completely. He focused on his sense of metals within the city, and with his increased affinity for lorcith, he could practically feel the shapes that had been forged, everything from pots and decorative works to knives. Even two swords. The knives were his work—the act of forging them created an even stronger connection to them for him—but the others were not.

Rsiran focused on heartstone but found none. That he didn’t made it less likely that Danis was down in the city. Rsiran still wasn’t sure that he was prepared to face his grandfather again. The last time, he had nearly died. Others had died. And if not for the cell that had originally been created to hold Rsiran, he might not have survived.

Had he only been more decisive when he’d trapped his grandfather in that very cell, he wouldn’t have to worry now about what the man might do next. He’d had him, contained. He could have gone back, finished him off, so that he wouldn’t cause anyone else the same harm that he had caused all of Rsiran’s family, but he hadn’t. At the time, he claimed that it was compassion, but the more he thought about it, the more he wondered if it hadn’t been something else: fear.

Rsiran had already lost his mother—killed by his own knives—and still didn’t know what had happened to his father. How many more would die because of him?

“Is he down there?” Sarah asked.

Rsiran shook his head. “I don’t detect any heartstone.”

“And you’re sure that’s how you’ll know he’s there?”

“He carried something with him,” Rsiran said. “It was his sister’s.”

“Evaelyn,” Sarah said. She didn’t mask the anger in her voice. She had been controlled by Evaelyn, Compelled to nearly attack Rsiran. Fear that it might happen again had kept her from getting involved in the last attack. Now she wore bracelets much like Rsiran’s and Valn’s that were meant to prevent her from being Compelled. “I didn’t think they were close.”

“Maybe not anymore,” Rsiran said. “But Della claims that they once were very close and that he would have done anything for her. Considering how she went to him for help…”

Sarah nodded, her eyes still troubled. “Why are we really here?”

“Venass. We need to weaken Venass,” Rsiran answered.

Sarah focused on the distant shape of the Tower of Venass. From where they stood, a mist seemed to envelop it. Rsiran could feel the way that Venass pulled on him, as if the lorcith within the tower itself drew him forward. He had stopped wondering how Venass had access to so much lorcith, having discovered that they had access to alternative mines with seemingly limitless veins of the metal. This unending supply allowed Venass to experiment with the metal, learning of uses that those in Elaeavn would have once believed impossible.

“I don’t know that we can truly weaken Venass from here.” Sarah stared at the tower, likely feeling its pull in some way as well. As a member of the Alchemist Guild as well as the Thenar Guild, she would share a connection, though probably weakened compared to what Rsiran experienced. “Reaching the tower—”

“We’re not going to enter the tower,” Rsiran said.

She turned her attention to him, glancing briefly at Valn as she did. “You intend to go into Thyr. That is close enough to the heart of Venass.”

“We will enter Thyr to demonstrate that we aren’t afraid of Venass,” Rsiran said.

“That isn’t why you’re going.”

Rsiran shook his head. “There is word of Venass scholars in Thyr.”

“I suspect this close to Venass, it would not be uncommon for their scholars to be there,” Valn said.

“That isn’t the reason, either,” Sarah said.

“You don’t have to come with me,” Rsiran told her.

“I want you to admit the real reason we’re doing this.”

Rsiran took a deep breath before answering. The more he discovered about his connection to the guild, especially now that he was guildlord, the more he questioned why his father had kept it from him. And now that he was missing… Rsiran had no way to ask. What had happened to him? Could it simply be that his mother’s attempts at Compelling his father had caused him to go mad over time, much the same way that Luca had grown increasingly insane during his time in the mine all alone, with nothing other than the song of the lorcith and Venass attempting to Compel him?

“I need to find my father,” he answered. “You