Omar was well prepared for this meeting, it seemed. Within moments the sounds of battle echoed from outside the hall. I turned back to him sharply. He was smiling. I put the battle cries out of my mind. The Keith and the march soldiers were well equipped to battle whatever guards Omar had at his disposal.
“I wish to know, Omar.” I started, gripping my staff tighter, “What you think you are accomplishing? What you think you could uncover what I and others with far more skill could do. What you have done acts against all Council has worked for. Did Gwynhafer glamour you? Or did you come to this willingly?”
“You are mistaken,” he insisted. He too was readying himself, changing the grip on his staff to a fighting posture. He was well aware what my arrival meant. What we were left with was the polite acceptance our battle was inevitable. “I am only acting in the best interest of the kingdoms, the Collegiate and Council. Not the Empire or the Moon Witches. You insult me.”
“Those stones are crucial to the health of the kingdoms and were promised in perpetuity by Council to the Marches.” I reminded him. “Return them and I will offer sympathetic testimony at your trial. I am even willing to overlook the elemental fire you summoned to stop my search.”
The tightening of his jaw confirmed my statement.
“That is generous of you, my old master, but unnecessary,” he replied. “For I will not need any sympathy from the likes of you.”
“You clearly do not understand the purpose of those stones,” I insisted.
“Yes, I do. They are critical to our collective future,” he said evenly, glowering at me, taking a step back, holding out his hand as though gripping one of them. “The power that exists in those stone’s, Arcory’s power, is crucial to all our survival in the coming conjunction. Their power must be unlocked before it is too late, before the dragons and the demons come and we are as unprepared and as lost as you and yours were at the beginning of the last war of the realms. I was not there, you were! You have to understand that his remaining power needs to be controlled and utilized, that what he knew, what he was, we will need. The decision to tap that power was made, and it was the right decision.”
“It is not your decision to make,” I told him, I knew Arcory’s power and disposition better than any man alive could. “The stones were not created for that purpose. I was there, I knew Arcory. They were dispersed for to protect the lands blighted by the Riven War. It was his act of contrition! Surrender now, Omar, you do not want to face the weight of penalty Council will place on you for your actions.”
“Do you think I would not have taken the stones without sanction?” he grinned again at me. “Your archival work far from the world at large has blinded you to the true state of kingdom and council. I am not alone in my beliefs. I am not without allies.”
“Who then, sanctioned your theft?” I demanded stepping towards him. “Tell me now!”