“Where is he now?”
“The Starscape, it would appear. They’re rather more resourceful than expected. Even he couldn’t have prepared for that.” The halfling gave a smile and idly flicked one of her braids behind her shoulder. Her master did not share her good humour, keeping his back turned to her, arms clasped behind his back.
“And the Shield?”
“Gone, I’d imagine. Though not restored. I can’t imagine it will be—Belarius has forsaken the Knight. Nothing to fear.”
Her master turned, and the arcanist was fixed with a hard glare from behind his metal visor. He closed the distance between them as he spoke. “You would do well to remember that the Watcher, flawed as he is, has thus far produced more results than you, wizard. I want it found, and I want it recovered. I will tolerate no more delays, else someone else shall sit atop the Spire when Meriden falls.”
“The adventurers will not be a problem, I assure you—my prodigy will-“
“Your prodigy has been nothing but a thorn in our side. You speak empty platitudes about patience, and yet the Raiment remains unfound while your failed experiment leads the thieves that took the Shield from us. If you do not begin to produce results, Stoneward, I will have no qualms about making an example of you.” The halfling’s master bent to her level, speaking softly, little more than a whisper that demanded her attention and compelled her loyalty. “Find the Watcher, find the Shield, and bring them both to me.”
The halfling nodded and left, saying nothing. Her master returned to his position overlooking the encampment.
“Wars do not win themselves.”