Emergency Contact

“Um, Councilor?” a voice asked from outside Raeth’s chamber. It was a young voice. One of the children, perhaps, making themselves useful. Sourceformers rarely emerged that young.

“Yes, child,” Raeth replied, looking up from their newest pile of documents. “Speak.”

“We’ve received a message from… from Gala- Galavaria,” the child replied, stumbling over the exotic name. They walked into the dim light of the chamber. A girl-child. Menissa’s? There was a resemblance.

“From Councilor Aurora?” Raeth asked. “I had expected to hear from her sooner. What is-”

“I’m sorry, Councilor,” the girl interrupted. “It isn’t from… from Councilor Aurora. We don’t know where it’s from. Messenger Gaeji says we don’t know how it got here.” The girl stared at her shoes, shuffling them nervously.

Raeth smiled, hoping to put her at ease. They had never cared for the deference Councilors were given in the Dawning. “Well, then, that is a bit of a mystery. What can you tell me?”

“It’s… um… the Messenger wouldn’t let me read it, Councilor,” the girl said. “He said it was only for your eyes right now. He didn’t look happy, though.” With that, she shoved a small, folded parchment in Raeth’s direction. She shuffled awkwardly forward until it was in Raeth’s reach.

“Thank you, child,” Raeth said. “Tell Gaeji you did well.” They hid the concern from their face carefully until the girl had run off again. This was unusual protocol. It was rare that anything was hidden within these walls. Raeth unfolded the message and scanned it in an instant. Their face paled.

“Jauleth!” they shouted. Raeth’s brother of stone and metal buzzed in from the other room. “Prepare rights for a trip to Galavaria for myself and… no, just myself. And make sure Tass is aware this is of some urgency.”

Aurora was not a neophyte. That someone had trapped her in any way was worrisome, at best. Raeth only hoped that they were overestimating their position. It would be best if none of the rest of the Council was aware. It should be handled alone. Otherwise Tass would have one more piece of leverage against the girl.

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