• Asupeira shot a momentary glance at the man, but her face softened as she nodded to him. "Of course."
    All was silent escept for the crackling fire, which popped and sparked as she walked confidently toward it. She sat down on the ornate rug in front of the fire, pulled her red hair back with a strip of leather, tied it, and let it fall down over her right shoulder. Eight pairs of eyes watched Asupeira as her young face stared into the blue flames, and the fire became smooth, reflecting her features like a mirror. Her eyes became blank (as ws the usual reaction of a studier). Her mouth gaped open in a silent scream, and a disembodied male voice echoed about the room, slow but loud.
    "I do not sense my usual studier. Where is Rel?"
    The man in the armchair stood and faced the teal slames with a sudden stern face. "She ran, Superior. Had a change of mind. She wanted to reveal our meeting place, our ideals, and even the identities of the members of the group."
    The voice did not reply for a moment., but soon broke the silence. "What did you do? Did you dispose of her?"
    "Yes. I sent Mikhan after her, and you know how track and destroy is his specialty."
    Mikhan smiled and laid back in his chair, putting his hands behind his head, gloating.
    "But did he kill her?" the voice boomed.
    "I assure you, superior, Rel is gone. No more. She will leak no information to the District."
    Asupeira continued to stare, unblinking and unmoving, as the voice traveled through her and into the room.
    "Good," it said. "Good."
    The figure sighed, feeling relieved, and closed his eyes. "Toma," he murmured.
    Instantly Toma looked up. "Yes, my Lord?"
    "Would you tell our Superior what information you have?"
    "Of...of course, sir," Toma said quickly. "Well, as we all know, the District has started a program that trains new members of the High Guard. I have found information on their boss.
    "His name is Cyrin Donri, and is 664 karns old. He has been a formidable man since age 45."
    "And?" The Cyrin Lord said. Patience was not a strong point of his, at least not having to do with Toma.
    "He has been bugged. The reason I was late --- and I'm still sorry about that --- was because I was undercover in the District, giving Donri and injection. I made him sleep with a charm and dosed a Trillan."
    This remark was met with much applause from the others in the group. Mikhan, now with reason to smile, did so, but only if the Cyrin Lord was not watching him.
    Even the Cyrin Lord himself gave a small nod, approving the action Toma had taken . "But, Toma, how will we control him?" He asked.
    At this all clapping stopped, intrigued by his question. Every pale red face turned to Toma, who stuttered: "I-I gave him a Trillan, sir, if you remember, and I recently created a new spell which allows its user to take control of the mind of the person with the Trillan and mold it to their own liking."
    "Ah, yes, your discovery," said the figure. "And you are absolutely sure that this new charm of yours will work?"
    "Of course, my Lord." Toma said this with such confidence (which was not, one might say, one of his greatest assets) that all in the room believed his words with utmost certainty.