Kaeritha Seldansdaughter sat in the chamber Lord Trisu had assigned to her in Thalar Keep and gazed out the window at a cloudless sky of midnight blue spangled with the glitter and glow of Silendros’ stars. It was a clearer sky then she’d seen any night since arriving on the Wind Plain, and she had never seen the stars brighter or larger than they looked tonight. A crescent nail-paring of a new moon glowed purest silver in the eastern sky, and she studied it with an intent frown, wondering what Lillinara thought She was doing to let this situation get so out of hand.
Well, she told herself scoldingly, that’s probably not entirely fair. It’s not as if She were the only god with an interest in mortal affairs, and I suppose not even a god can be expected to keep up with everything Her worshipers need. But these are war maids, for Tomanak’s sake! Her war maids—so what in the world is She thinking about? And why hasn’t She spoken to Her Voice at Quaysar about it?
That was the heart of the entire question. Of course, it would have helped if it had occurred to Kaeritha to test the authenticity—or, at least, the accuracy—of the documents at Kalatha. She should have, if only in the name of thoroughness, although to be fair to herself, she’d had absolutely no reason to doubt them. And even now she was certain Yalith and her council saw no reason to question them. And why should they? They knew they had the original, controlling documents in their possession.
Unfortunately, Tomanak Himself had seen fit to assure Kaeritha that the copies in Trisu’s possession were most definitely not forgeries. One of those special abilities she’d mentioned to Salthan was that no one could lie successfully to her while touching her sword, and that no false or deliberately misleading document or evidence could evade her detection when she held the blade and called upon Tomanak to determine its accuracy. Which meant Trisu’s documents were not simply genuine, but that they accurately set forth the original language and true intent of both Gartha and Kellos. Kaeritha had seen enough in other investigations she’d conducted to be unwilling to rule very many things categorically out of consideration, but she was not prepared to question His personal assurances.
Which meant that somehow, impossible as it manifestly must be, the original documents at Kalatha were the forgeries.
Kaeritha hadn’t shared that conclusion with Trisu. And she had invoked her champion’s authority to extract Sword Oath from Salthan to keep the results of this afternoon’s examination and investigation to himself. Which meant that so far no one but she knew where the unpalatable chain of evidence was leading her. Nor did she intend to share that with anyone else until she saw a clearer path through the maze before her.
She let her mind wander back an hour or two to this evening’s after-dinner conversation with Trisu.