Jerem Cozak put out a hand. “It ends, Julius. Now.” And the Neverborn fell silent.
The warlord looked then to Nogilian. “I am sorry,” he said. “I know this was never what you wanted. Return to her. Do no more than you feel you should.”
Nogilian’s eyes flashed. “But she will not come!”
Jerem Cozak shook his head. “She finds her own path. She must be herself. She has never been my friend. She is free to fail as we are free to die. I was going to tell her to hurry. But that does not matter anymore. Only, when she goes, do not let her go alone.”
“Then we’re leaving?” Julius asked, as Nogilian turned away. “We can go today?”
Jerem Cozak nodded but put out a hand, stilling him. “Bind your hope. We do not know what we will find. He should not have gone without us.”
Julius looked to the deck, nodding, and slipped away.
Jerem Cozak started, as if he had remembered something. “Nogilian!” he said loudly, and the large man turned, stopping at the edge of the deck where his skiff had been raised.
“Do not tell her, but beware the plateau. You know the fanaticism there.”
The Guardian shook his head in puzzlement, but nodded and turned back toward the skiff. No one spoke to him, or anyone else, as he climbed into it and was lowered down into the sea again. Jerem Cozak snorted to clear his nose and sat down again at the fire. I decided to go and speak to Julius, even as the warlord spread his hands again. And I thought I saw, just as I turned, a flash of white like flame flaring briefly in the mist.