Later, she sat at the desk in her room, doors locked but curtains wide open. She was exhausted, but there was too much going on to get any rest. She doubted the meeting would alleviate any of that. The other Hands never listened. Varra was just an ignorant girl in their eyes, just a shadow of the Hand her mother had been. Her mercy to the boy this morning probably did her no favors. She was not weak. As soon as he was well enough to tell her what she wanted to know, it would be off to the gallows. In fact, it was in her best interests to make sure he didn’t leave Upper Terrace alive, but now was not the time.
Varra turned around from her chair. Resting against the curtains in that small space between the window and her bed was the boy’s staff. It was no coincidence that she had placed it there where she could look at it and the obelisk simultaneously. It was a simple thing. Nondescript wood that wrapped around a small stone at the top. If she hadn’t seen the rune, she would have thought it a typical walking staff. Of course, then the boy had activated the rune once they got back into the city. A security risk, even half dead as he was. She had instructed Xan to bind his wrists so that he couldn’t etch any new ones.
But his use of magic proved that there was more going on. Magic wasn’t practiced anywhere in Tebrein. Anywhere on Asamos, even, as far as she knew. But Eranos… The sister-planet had many secrets.
The problem was, the Spear Gate hadn’t been opened in over a decade. Maybe two. That situation had been handled, though her mother had never told her what had happened to Rozire. Most likely he had died, but even if he didn’t, she made one thing clear: he didn’t open the Gate again. Perhaps he didn’t even know how to do it from this side.
Which led to the question of the boy. He wasn’t old enough to have been around during the incident. Even she was too young to remember it. How, then, had he gotten access to magic?
The most simple explanation was Rozire.
But no, that was impossible. She could believe that he had escaped Upper Terrace somehow, perhaps even without the knowledge of the Hands, but teaching a boy magic and bringing him back to the capital of Tebrein, so many years later? What purpose would that serve?
Still, Varra knew she was onto something. And with the boy alive, it was easy to verify, too. That was one mystery solved, at least. But it raised more questions than it answered. If he was alive, where was he? Why bring the boy, only to leave him for dead in the Meadows? Perhaps Rozire wasn’t at Upper Terrace at all, and the boy had ran here of his own volition? That made a certain amount of sense, too.
Either way, there was no use dwelling on it now. She would have her answers when she conferred with the boy. That was probably best done sooner, than later, given his condition.
Standing from her desk, Varra walked across the room to the window. The shadow left by the obelisk told her she didn’t have much time before the meeting with the other Hands. Traditionally, such meetings happened during the Shadow. But they couldn’t have the meeting without her, either. They would have to wait for her to start, and since the Hands already had a low opinion of her, it wouldn’t make much difference.