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Monday, January 5

Hidden Greed: Part 5b – Face Off

Kham sat down once again in Pallas’ abode. Once again, he was served tea in a mismatched cup.

“So, you saw it for your own eyes then?” Pallas asked eagerly. “What those damn lizards are capable of?”

“Yes,” Kham said slowly. He hadn’t touched his tea. “I saw them. I spoke with them. Pallas, if there’s something you’re not telling me, it’s not too late for me to help you.”

Pallas paused. “What do you mean?”

“I mean that the ss’ressen are saying you were leading negotiations for Saeber. They kept asking for peace and you kept rebuffing them.”

“That’s preposterous!” Pallas put down his tea. “I expected better of you, Kham. The lizards are lying through their forked tongues and you, of all people, are buying into their deception?”

Kham shook his head. “I didn’t say I was. But you don’t seem too concerned about keeping the peace here. Milandir can’t afford another war, not after the Nierite invasion from Canceri.”

“You don’t afford wars, Kham. They happen because you run out of choices. And I’m telling you right now, this whole idea that ss’ressen should be able to resettle in human lands was a mistake from the beginning. The Duke’s a fool if he thought the Black Talon tribe would be peaceful.”

Pallas stood up and began pacing. “You don’t know what I’ve seen, Kham. They’re murdering cannibals. I’ve watched lizards rip babies from wombs and eat them. There’s no decency in those things…no shred of compassion. I’m doing Milandir a favor by calling them on their lies now, rather than later when Ssethregore strikes and Altheria ends up flanked by lizards on both sides!”

Kham looked sadly at his cousin. “Look, I don’t trust the lizards either. But I know one of them, and he tried to save a little boy…a HUMAN child. That’s not the same monsters you’re talking about. The ss’ressen aren’t all like that.”

“Aren’t they?” Pallas’ features twisted with indignation. “I didn’t figure you for a lizard-lover.” [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 6:12 AM


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