Enveloped in the noise of the storm, the Embassy of the Grand Navigators lay dark and quiet. The lower floor, which consisted of the lobby and some salon chambers for meetings, had been emptied of loose furnishings and artworks, and the storm shutters and grates fixed over the strategically opened windows and doors. Now, as the night deepened, the rising storm tide flowed through the stone building, the occasional piece of heavy debris banging in to the metal grates. That was how they did things in Sesus — it was always the way of the folk of the sea to let the waves roll.
Above the flood, the night guards played cards in the seating area on the landing. Most of the staff had gone to their own homes in the city, but due to the storm, a contingent of maintenance workers had stayed and, due to the presence of the Sovereign Prince and the Lord Magus, extra security had been assigned for the night as well.
Even so, the anger of Manawydden, though it was not aimed at them, prevented them from hearing the intruder who so daringly entered the ducal residence.
Upstairs, in the apartment, Lotye’s door was closed and her room dark as the other thief, the second of the night, snuck past, leaving a trail of rainwater in his steps.
At the opposite end of the hall, Jeneyeru’s chamber was also dark, though the wizard was not asleep. He was not truly awake either, but lost in a scryer’s trance and the narcotic fumes of vision-inducing incense. He sat up without light, gazing into a black obsidian mirror to view dark images only his eyes could perceive, and hear sounds far away from the apartment in which he sat.
Between them, in the chamber closest to the salon, Prince Peino dreamed. The day’s exertions, the strong drink, the lullaby of wind above and waves below had conspired to send him to sleep quickly, but his rest was marred by visions like those on that night in Kledy, when he had slept with the two cards of the Blood Arcana inside his shirt — except that tonight’s dreams were about his brother, Ruili, bloody, delirious, facing monsters in a deep forest.
Lost in the realm of his dreams, Peino did not awaken when the chamber door opened with a tiny click of the door handle. He did not awaken as the black-clad figure slipped inside, paused, and began to move about, coming right up to his bedside.
He did not hear the gloved hands run softly over the empty goblet, the cold candle in the silver holder, nor the easing of the first drawer a few inches open, nor the hands touching but not moving the rings, fobs and sundries inside.
But the loud, sharp squeak of humidity-swollen wood when the thief tried to close the drawer did break his dream at last.
Peino’s eyes snapped open. A dark figure looming over him. He shout out a hand, grabbed a cold, wet sleeve, as he sat up.
“Who’s there?” he demanded.