Emaria couldn’t help being impressed as a guard marched her into the new stockade. Two hightides after seeing their first trees, the Militia had gotten dismantling and reassembling the prison down to a five-minute drill. One more and they might learn not to build around puddles.
The captives gulped down water. Afterward, there was little to do but sit around while Kragn mustered his audience. She toyed with the bit of coral she’d hidden by shuffling it around her legs whenever they searched her, glad Eventhe had freed her from having to do the same thing with the key.
She’d escape again. There was nothing stopping her. With the water, the others had the strength to join. But what could they do?
“There’s got to be a way,” she said.
“To do what?” the monk asked. Everyone was looking at her.
“To stop Kragn from stealing the Clearing. From taking over for good.”
“I agree. That’s why I’m here,” a woman said. “But there’s so few of us. Everybody out there calls him savior.”
“Why?” He hadn’t saved anybody. At the Eye, it had seemed the opposite.
“He’s the hero of the Field fight,” the woman went on. “If a lobster doesn’t think Staever called the manatees to save us, odds are they’ll say Kragn did.”
As for the fear of retaliation…
She spun to the woman. “Say that again.”
The prisoner looked taken aback. “People think Kragn and the manatees had an arrangement. You look at those metal things, they could be right.”
The words Wrest’s stolen diary combined with memories of the Eye falling, crystallized into new forms with Kragn at the center.
Emaria turned back to the sea-monk. “Find me a branch, brother. And a clear patch of dirt. I need to make some notes.”
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